Behind-The-Scenes at GolTV And American Soccer

Across the street from the GolTV studios on the JF Kennedy Causeway in Miami is the beautiful green water of Biscayne Bay. Stroll down the street and you see the WSVN Channel 7 studios featuring a view of downtown Miami to the left and Miami Beach to the right.

Yet, one block away, the buildings that house GolTV comprise two nondescript structures. One is a free-standing edifice that’s so unassuming from the outside that it’s easy to drive past without noticing. The building’s blue color is warm and soothing, though, and consistent with the look and feel of the network.

The offices of GolTV, meanwhile, are on the fourth floor of a generic office building that’s separated from the studios by a strip plaza. It’s hardly the surroundings that I imagined, but it made me realize how the professionalism and GolTV brand makes the 24 hour soccer network appear much larger than what the buildings portray.

Buildings aside, what matters most about GolTV is the product on the screen and how it’s presented, which I believe is exceptional and continues to improve. More on that later.

Inside the GolTV offices, I was impressed by the TV monitors inside every office and almost every cube on the floor. The day I arrived, everyone was watching the Chelsea against Valencia match from the Champions League. How refreshing it must be to work in a company where watching soccer on TV is encouraged!

After a tour of the GolTV offices and the impressive conference room (see the photo slideshow here of the entire behind-the-scenes tour), we headed over to the GolTV studio. Inside, it was a rudimentary building but filled with a team of hard-working people. After a brief tour, we stepped on to the set and chatted with the team of the “American Soccer” TV show (Phil Schoen, Ray Hudson, Lindsey Dean and Kelly O’Donnell).

As the cameramen made their preparations, the team of “American Soccer” traded notes, jokes and verified pronunciations as well as running through the schedule of the show to ensure that everything was prepared before the cameras started rolling.

We then had the pleasure of sitting in the studio and watching the “American Soccer” TV show unfold. Aired on Wednesday’s at 8pm ET, the show is by far the best original soccer programming in the States packed with 60 minutes of news, highlights, analysis and passion.

Sitting back and watching the show being taped, I could see first-hand the fantastic chemistry and knowledge of the game that Schoen, Hudson, Dean and O’Donnell possess. Each of them are scholars of the game, and are able to communicate that knowledge with confidence, energy and, at times, humor.

Incredibly, the show was taped with only one or two retakes in the entire 60 minutes (one, when O’Donnell forgot to switch on his headset so he could hear the producer). Schoen, who was interviewed recently on the EPL Talk Podcast, demonstrated his experience in broadcasting by taking the lead and maintaining a professional attitude throughout without distancing himself from the viewer.
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  1. Kartik April 16, 2007
  2. ZTN April 18, 2007

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