If you’re a fan of watching live television, it’s been interesting in COVID times. As we know, most locations aren’t allowing for stadiums full of spectators.
Over the weekend, I watched the Queen’s Plate, run before an empty grandstand at Woodbine. It was interesting to watch Might Heart just wipe up the rest of the field. Sadly, there was nobody there to cheer the winner. But, they could wager online. Still, there’s something special about seeing your horse win and then cashing the ticket.
The winner’s circle, with everyone wearing a mask was a sign of the times.
Later, that evening, we watched the Grand Ol’ Opry to see Tenille Townes. She, and the others on the show, played to an empty hall.
Sunday was a media trifecta for me.
Harness racing live from Leamington Raceway, a place where I would normally spend Sunday afternoons. New track announcer Nathan Bain did a terrific job calling the races. There were a limited number of people that were allowed to attend.
On television, I flipped between the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions football games. (I need to get into the habit of recording one and watching the other.) At the Minnesota game, there is a tradition before the game starts to play the large Gjallarhorn before the game. For this game, it was silenced.
My Vikings didn’t play well and Detroit, now with Adrian Peterson, could have won but managed to lose the game in the fourth quarter.
Now, my wife isn’t a football fan, but she noticed something strange and came to the rec room and said “I thought there wouldn’t be fans at football games”. And there weren’t. But you could hear them.
All of the events before the football games were played to mostly empty seats. As a result, when the announcers/musicians stopped talking/singing, there was silence. When they were indeed doing their thing, it was crystal clear because there was no background noise.
However, in the football games which aired on FOX, you could hear an audience. I guess I had heard it but, unlike the other events with their silence, I hadn’t noticed it. It was football media as usual. I started to pay more attention to the background and you could tell that it was recorded and played back just for effect. If you’ve ever been at Ford Field to watch the Lions lose, you know that the fans would have booed loudly at the end of the game. The fact that it wasn’t there was a dead giveaway!
And, of course, my mind turned to media literacy! There is a great deal to be learned from this. Of course, live broadcasts are unpredictable. But, if you’re providing your own background, you could make it predictable. It would make for a great lesson in getting your audience’s attention, not by the actual content, but by everything else that is or isn’t there.
Think about live events that you normally would watch. What is happening or not happening in the background. Even if you’re teaching online, what difference does the current background make compared to face to face. Can we use this as a teachable moment?