Nineteen SJMC students visited San Antonio on Tuesday, April 2, for a gameday tour of the Spurs’ television truck and broadcast set-up in the AT&T Center. The field trip is one of the annual rites of spring for Larry Carlson’s sports media class. The entire class made the trip and was joined by KTSW sports staffers who were enrolled in last fall’s class.
Students were hosted by Mike Kickirillo, the Spurs’ Director of Broadcasting and a 1988 Texas State alumnus. Kickirillo engaged in constant Q&A with the students while showing them the camera set-ups, various program sets and other points of interest. He then toured the students through the truck as his crew prepared for that night’s game, getting graphics, highlights and features ready. The crew is dominated by Texas State alums who served as interns for Kickirillo after taking Carlson’s class. Among those who visited with the students were producers Daniel Ashcraft (’96), Avery Schneider (’17) and Taylor Hair (’17). Kyle Spencer (’18), a former KTSW Sports Director, is the newest member of the Spurs broadcast crew, working in a variety of positions on the staff.
Following the tour of the truck, students got the chance to see some of the Spurs and Atlanta Hawks players warm up while the class engaged in a lively, half-hour interview session with Bill Land and Bill Schoening, the Spurs’ long-time play-by-play announcers for TV and radio, respectively.
“Meeting Land and Schoening inspired me even further to pursue my broadcast career in sports,” said Reily Chestnut, KTSW Sports Director. “Mike KIckirillo’s willingness to let us see the process of putting together a live TV broadcast made me thankful for this field trip.”
The students from Carlson’s class stayed for the game and saw San Antonio rally from a big deficit in the fourth quarter for a comeback win. A member of Carlson’s class, Michelle Moreno, actually worked the game, shooting video from the sidelines as part of her internship with San Antonio’s Sports 2Nite, a nightly show hosted by Brooke Shoemaker, a 2017 alumna.
One of the May graduation candidates in attendance, Alex Gibbs, perhaps best summed up the students’ feelings from the visit.
“I kept telling myself over and over that I really felt like a kid in Candyland,” Gibbs said.