An Eye-Opening Visit to Georgia Public Broadcasting


Mike Callinan

Popi Marquez (left) and Jon Nelson (right) at Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Popi Marquez, Guest Writer

“Lights, camera, action!” There I was behind the television journalist and host of Football Fridays podcast, Jon Nelson, and his co-host, Hannah Goodin. After weeks of exchanging emails, I had finally made it to the recording studio at Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) in Atlanta for a live taping. The intriguing feel of the microphones and technical equipment immediately struck me when I got settled in behind Nelson and Goodin.

Waking up that morning was certainly a morning I’ll never forget because, while my classmates were taking their semester finals, I was getting ready to visit the Georgia Public Broadcasting headquarters. The experience was unforgettable. I listened to Nelson and Goodin recap the last two days of the Georgia high school football state championship, and was amazed at how smooth Nelson and Goodin sounded when they talked during the tapings, having no notes either. Not only that, their producer looked like he was controlling five different microphones and computers all at once with no trouble! The behind-the-scenes operators are sometimes overlooked for their ability to literally control the show from behind.

After the podcast wrapped up, Nelson gave me the chance to ask questions. Man I tell you, there were fireworks going off in my brain, but I was trying to look calm and collected. This was my first time ever having the opportunity to talk to professionals who are already living my dream job, so I had about 20 questions…at least. I was announcing my first ACAD basketball game in a few days with my co-announcer, Eli Rogers, so I was particularly curious to learn how Nelson and Goodin developed such a good working relationship. I asked them, “How does it appear that you guys can read each other’s minds?” Nelson’s first answer was of course the fact that they have years of experience working together, so they really have learned to anticipate who will say what and when. But he also explained to me how they have signals they give each other to keep the show running smoothly. It may even be a slap on the arm or a pinch on the shoulder! As a softball player, I get signals all the time from my third-base coach, so I was already planning signals in my head to teach my co-announcer, Eli, for the upcoming basketball season when I returned!

The day was not over yet, though. I then went down to the studio room for Nelson and Goodin’s Facebook Live taping. I noticed there that, similar to Nelson and Goodin, the cameramen had their own secret code as well in order to coordinate where the camera would be focused at all times. Even though the announcers and on-air talent are the main show, I realized this whole production was a team effort, and the coordination behind it all was key in making the taping run so smoothly.

This experience was unforgettable to say the least. It gave me a path to follow as I continue into the world of sports media. In preparation for our first ACAD basketball webcast, Eli and I developed our own signal system and we have improved with each game! I’ve also learned how to correctly prepare an interview or a quick report without relying on a script. Not only did my visit to GPB help me, but now I have taken all of this knowledge back with me to ACAD to teach my fellow media teammates.