Sarah Lauch, 13 time Emmy-award-winning producer and Executive Producer for Comcast SportsNet visited the Illinois Center for Broadcasting, Chicago Campus on Feb. 6, 2014, to share with the students a bit of advice on how to succeed in the media business.
The biggest thing in an internship per Ms. Lauch, is one’s fortitude; “Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t learn something (unless of course you’re restricted because the venue you’re at is a union shop). Put your nose in everything you can by asking a lot of questions – go out on shoots, shadow anchors and reporters and get out in the field… because that’s where you learn so much.” Sarah suggested to the students that if they went to a game, they should watch what a cameraman does or an audio tech or the guy who handles the lights and take mental notes on what they were doing.
Sarah shared with the students why she got into sports programming. She preferred working on stories about athletic contests rather than hard line news which covers various topics including murders, crime and politics. Sarah had a penchant to tell stories, quirky, fun, unique tales about the thrill of competition and what athletes must go through to be competitive. One of her first jobs, after she developed her skis as an editor for CSN (Comcast SportsNet) Philadelphia, was working for the George Michaels Sports Machine, a program that aired after Saturday Night Live on NBC. George Michaels had basically an ESPN sports format kind of show long before ESPN existed. Sarah learned a lot from working on that kind of format and also how to deal with deadline pressure. She had a chance to go back to CSN but this time it was with the Chicago office.
Her original assignment was to edit for the sports news programs that did the recap on various sporting contests such as the Bulls, Bears, White Sox, Cubs, Blackhawks hockey. But now after ten years with the company, she has the role as Executive Producer over original programming concepts that are brought to air. She asked if any of the students had seen “Gas Money,” and one student replied that he had been on the show twice. The concept is getting a new name, “Beer Money,” but still will have the same flair and feel of a trivia game show. Some of the notable documentary style programs that she has worked on are: “5 Outs,” that dealt in part with the Bartman controversy (the young man blamed for interfering with Cub outfielder, Moises Alou attempting to catch a foul ball). However, Sarah pointed out that this story was more than just Bartman but a serious look at the 2003 quest by the Cubs to make it to the World Series. Another outstanding production was “FOG BOWL,” the 25th anniversary of one of the wildest and most memorable playoff games in all of sports history between the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Illinois Center for Broadcasting, Chicago Campus would like to thank Sarah Lauch, for her time to meet with the students as well as her work as a member of our Professional Advisory Committee that makes suggestions on how best to improve and keep the curriculum and ICB program sharp for our students.