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Q&A; with Andrew Urlacher,

Audio Engineer for ROOT Sports

An Inside Look at Being an Audio Engineer for Studio Production and Live Events

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Working with professional athletes is always a bit of a guessing game. Some are gracious and engaged, others are just uninterested and withdrawn. And as Andrew Urlacher, Audio Engineer for ROOT Sports found out, some are larger than life.

"I was very excited to go to work one day because we were conducting a big interview with former Mariners outfielder, Jay Buhner. When I went out to the set to introduce myself and get him mic’d up, I asked ‘Do you want to put this mic up under your shirt or would you mind if I do it?’ Jay said ‘Man… that’s your job.’ As I grabbed the mic and fished my hand up under his shirt he turned his head towards me and started barking like a dog and it scared the living daylights out of me! Only then did he introduce himself with a smile and a laugh, and said it’s nice to meet you. He then looked at everybody on set and said ‘man did you see his face… you might want to check your pants before we roll tape!’ "

When did you decide to pursue a career in Television Production?

I obtained my degree in music production and digital audio engineering. It wasn’t until I heard a friend say that Fox Sports Northwest needed some part time help that I decided to pursue TV production. Once I got there I was hooked.


Andrew Urlacher’s Sports TV “Stats”

andy urlacher audio engineer root sportsEducation: Shoreline Community College

Production Jobs held: Control Room Operator, Audio Engineer

Stations: Fox Sports Northwest (now ROOT Sports), Seattle, WA

Most memorable moment working in Sports TV: Being the A-1 for my first professional soccer game was a huge rush. I was having some technical difficulties early on (I had no prior training on any truck before!), but I pulled it together and once we were on the air and the atmosphere was kicking, it sounded huge!

Best piece of advice for aspiring Audio Engineers:. Try and work on the most state of the art equipment you can find, for three reasons – 1: It will always sound better 2: That’s where the money is and 3: When you understand how to use the latest equipment you prove to potential employers that you keep up with the changing trends and they will pursue you and your skills.


What was it about a Television Production job that originally lured you?

I believe what lured me was the fact that I could work in sports finally, and I’m a sports junkie. What truly ended up reeling me in was the fact that my specific skillset is highly sought after because not many TV people want to concern themselves with audio. They more or less want it to just be perfect right away so they don’t have to mess with it… I thought "I could do that for them."

Did you always know that you wanted to work as an Audio Engineer?

Yes. I remember telling my Mom when I was 16 that I wanted to work as a recording studio engineer. She didn’t know what that meant, but she supported me all of the way. I played music at a young age and then played in a couple bands. We would go and play concerts and I always wanted to document what we were doing, so I learned how to make us sound the best that we could. It really started by recording our practices, and then I moved on to micing us up for our concerts and trying to obtain high production value through our PA system. That actually worked out really well. Very fun times.

You went to Shoreline Community College, how much did it help you in your Television Production Career?

I obtained 3 AAS degrees from Shoreline C.C. Great school! My degrees are: Audio Production, Digital Audio Production, and MIDI Programing. And YES, absolutely YES it helped me start my career. I was working at a Mexican resaurant and a car dealership as a lot porter my 1st year at school. My 2nd year I was working in the industry while finishing up my degrees.

How did you land your first job in Television?remote live sports production football field

I overheard two guys at my rental shop talking about Fox Sports Northwest (now ROOT Sports) needing a part time engineer immediately, and I thought I might as well turn in a resume, it can’t hurt. I drove there the next morning and found out who to give my resume to. I was asked to stick around for a minute, next thing I knew I was being interviewed, and then was hired the next day for part-time work. Brilliant!!! It’s been a blast from day one on. I’m a TV Audio engineer. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What is the most difficult thing about being an Audio Engineer?

All of the different components, and tricky little gadgets that the directors and engineers want you to figure out when they get a mad idea in their head. They might come up with a good idea, but it’s my job to hook it up and make sure it goes off without a hitch.

Would you do anything differently if you could go back to the beginning of your career?

I think I would have pursued working in the production trucks with more urgency. I like working on live events and the pay is better. Building a live Sports event production from scratch and making it work and air later that day is a huge accomplishment.inside a live sports mobile production truck

What is the coolest thing you’ve done while working as an Audio Engineer in Sports TV?

Coolest thing I’ve done is work as an A-1 on a live broadcast truck for a soccer game. My first professional soccer game was a huge rush. I was having some technical difficulties early on (I had no prior training on any truck before!), but I pulled it together and once we were on the air and the atmosphere was kicking, it sounded huge! Yes, yes I’m a soccer fan…a BIG soccer fan. Coolest person I’ve met was Lenny Wilkens. I don’t think that needs to be explained. The man is a legend.

What would you like to see yourself doing in the future?

I would love to own a production truck (not a fleet of them) and travel Canada and the US working live HD and 3D events. More of a documentary aspect than a pure sports angle, but I’m sure some sports would be involved. Anybody have $10 million I could borrow?

Do you have any advice for someone considering a career in Sports TV?

Don’t give up when you get turned down. Everybody is going to hit a bump or two in the road… keep trying until you get your foot in the door. Also, don’t just focus on one thing, try a little bit of everything until you find what you truly love or what you’re really good at. jay buhner seattle mariners outfielder

Do you have a memorable story – whether funny, sad or just interesting – that you’d like to share?

I was very excited to go to work one day because we were conducting a big interview with former Mariners Outfielder, Jay Buhner: "The Bone". When I went out to our set to introduce myself and get him mic’d up, I asked him "Do you want to put this mic up under your shirt or would you mind if I do it?" Jay said "Man… that’s your job." As I grabbed the mic and fished my hand up under his shirt he turned his head towards me and started barking like a dog and it scared the living daylights out of me! Only then did he introduce himself back to me with a smile and a laugh, and said it’s nice to meet you. He then looked at everybody on set and said "man did you see his face… you might want to check your pants before we roll tape."



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