Andrew Marden, sports director for KSEE24/CBS47, is still not 100 percent certain why he was one of four sports reporters from the 104 TV stations owned by Nexstar Broadcasting selected to cover the Summer Olympics in Rio. He’s just happy he got picked and was the only Fresno sportscaster to report from the Games.
“I like to be where the action is and the top athletes are competing,” Marden says after taking a few days to recover.
Marden was told in November there was a chance he would be going to Brazil to cover the Games. Even before the final decision came from the Nexstar corporate office that the trip was going to happen, Marden already had started working on the Olympics coverage.
It was time well spent as Nextar selected four reporters to create reports that could be used by any of the company’s TV stations that produce local news. But the main focus from July 30 to Aug. 23 would be the 21 NBC stations owned by Nexstar.
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Those stations were divided among the Nexstar team. Not only did Marden report on the Games for Fresno, he also did reports for Nexstar stations in Bakersfield; El Paso, Texas; Amarillo, Texas; and Brownsville, Texas.
“I did an average of 13 live reports a day. There were 162 live reports plus packages,” Marden says. “The four of us did 450 live reports, special packages and put together a half-hour special three days after getting to Rio.”
The reports were for the morning and evening broadcasts. Because of the time difference, there were no live events for the late-night news. Weekends were only slightly lighter because most of the stations didn’t have a morning program.
Marden worked with the on-scene NBC news channel staff, who assisted him in the live reports to his five stations. He did all the camera work himself for the recorded news packages. Those packages often included interviews with athletes from the cities for which he was reporting.
All of this meant 17- to 20-hour workdays. When he wasn’t working, Marden stayed in a facility built for the Games. The rooms were small and sparse, but had all that the local sports director needed for sleep and a shower before he headed back to work. He traveled everywhere by bus.
The highlight for him was seeing the medal ceremony in which Michael Phelps picked up his 19th gold. The low points were days when he was afraid he was going to miss a live shot, but the majority went off without incident.
About midway through the Games, Marden felt the fatigue of the long days. He pushed through it and found his second wind to complete the coverage work. He didn’t have much time to catch up on sleep as Marden was back at work in time for the opening of football season.
The Brazil work was long and hard, but Marden isn’t complaining.
“I like what I do,” Marden says. “I have covered other big events like Super Bowl 50. This was the biggest project I have been a part of and very flattered and appreciative I was asked.”
He and the other Nexstar reporters have started talking about the Winter Olympics in 2018 and the next Summer Games in Tokyo in 2020. If asked, Marden would jump at the chance to make a return trip to the Games.
Getting ready to party
It might seem like ValleyPBS has been around forever, but before KMTF-TV signed on the air as part of the Fresno County Public Schools on April 10, 1977, finding the network’s programming was a real task. PBS offerings were available on other local TV stations or, if you had cable, could be seen on Sacramento’s KVIE.
The Fresno County Public Schools sold the station to the community-owned nonprofit Valley Public Television Inc. 10 years later and the call letters were changed to KVPT.
The staff at ValleyPBS is making plans to celebrate the station’s 40th anniversary. If you’re on social media, look for the hashtag #40YearsOfFun for trivia, tidbits and invitations.
There has been some recent juggling of channels that mainly impacts those of you who watch television via an antenna. You can now find Bounce TV on channels KSEE 24.2 and KJEO 32.1, while Grit is on KSEE 24.3 and KFTV 21.4.
Escape TV is not only on KGPE 47.2, but it is also on KFTV 21.3. LATV is now on KGPE 47.3.