NET sports producer masterminds Big Red Wrap-Up
By Dustin Michael Hoffman
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Jim Carmichael’s job is similar to a traffic cop’s role during rush hour.
At NET, Nebraska’s public television station, Carmichael is the chief producer for Big Red Wrap-Up. The weekly show features Husker football, covering game results and previewing upcoming action.
Carmichael started his career in broadcast production by earning a degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He graduated in 1976 and was hired at a local cable system. He moved on to be a production manager in Omaha for another cable station. After getting a lot of on-the-job experience, he moved to NET, where he’s worked for 26 years.
The job and the Big Red Wrap-Up show have changed over the years. These days, Adrian Fiala and Kevin Kugler, the show hosts, interview sports writers from the Lincoln Journal Star and the Omaha World-Herald. But when Carmichael first started, the show focused on player interviews.
A broadcast producer’s job is similar to a newspaper editor’s job, Carmichael said. The producer decides what to feature on the show and how much time each segment will get. He also must make sure the content will interest a range of ages and variety of people. Much of the tough work involves the advance planning.
Once the show is ready to air, everything is already set up. Carmichael talks to the director about camera views and makes sure everyone follows the scripts closely. He reminds the crew about what is coming up and he talks to the host through a headset. Making sure everything stays on time is crucial so all the videos and other content fit into show. “I am basically the traffic cop throughout the whole show,” Carmichael said.
His job does center around an 8 to 5 work day. It requires a lot of weekend hours, and he sometimes works very late at night. On the day before a show, he’s often at work until 3 a.m. And he’ll work a 10-hour day on Sundays.
Carmichael also works on the NET showing of high school sport championships. Mid-November is one of the busiest times for him because high school football and volleyball play their championship games.
Although his job can be stressful, Carmichael said good communication is the key to making sure things run smoothly. If you didn’t love the work, he said, you wouldn’t put up with the long hours.
Carmichael has also been recognized for his excellence by the Nebraska Broadcaster Association.