He Could Go All The Way
ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, draws millions of viewers every day for games and sports highlights. While we all patiently wait for updates on our favorite teams, how many of us have thought about what goes into the behind-the-scenes production at the Bristol, Conn., studio?
Jeffrey Linn ’07 is fortunate to be a part of the team that makes a worldwide brand. He operates the audio console and mixes a variety of shows, including “SportsCenter,” “First Take,” “NFL Insiders,” “NFL Live,” “College Football Live,” and “Sports Reporters.”
“I’m balancing the levels of a variety of audio sources that are used on any given show, such as microphones worn by the talent, background music played throughout the show, sound effects, live shots with reporters from a remote site, and audio that’s included on any pre-recorded segments,” he said.
Linn rotates between shows, so that no two days are the same. “This allows me to work on other projects such as developing training modules, updating notes and workflow instructions on an intranet-based Wiki style webpage, or learning a production that I haven’t covered yet,” he said.
Linn, a native of Warminster, Pa., received a music recording technology degree from The Valley. He chose LVC for a combination of reasons, including the sense of community, ability to build relationships with professors, and proximity to home.
“Music and technology have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember so it only made sense to do something that merges the two,” Linn said. “I began playing on toy guitars and keyboards as a kid, graduated to an alto saxophone in 4th grade, and carried that through my college graduation.
“The creation, capturing, and reproduction of audio became a way to merge music with computers and technology so that I could get the best of both worlds,” Linn added.
Linn’s degree from The Valley sparked a career that included travels throughout the United States as a touring audio technician with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, then international adventures with Cirque du Soleil.
Linn started with the circus thanks to a little help from the LVC Global Network. “I was referred to this job by a friend who had graduated from LVC a year before me and was currently working on a Ringling show. He helped push my résumé along to the right people,” Linn said.
For two years, Linn lived on the famous Ringling circus train changing cities every week. His responsibilities included the setup, operation, maintenance, and tear down of all show-related audio equipment.
More networking helped Linn with his next major job with Cirque du Soleil’s “Kooza.” During his time with Ringling, Linn and several co-workers went to see “Kooza,” which was playing in the same city as the circus.
“I simply walked to the front of house sound console during intermission to introduce myself. This simple introduction led to frequent phone calls and messages that eventually resulted in a job offer on the show,” he explained.
Linn started as an audio technician and was promoted to assistant head of audio during his five years with the show.
While Linn enjoyed his early jobs, he grew tired of the constant travel, and started searching for a new position in the audio field that would enable him to establish roots. He found the ESPN listing on a job website, carefully crafted a résumé, then interviewed via Skype while in Paris with “Kooza.”
Reflecting on his four years at LVC, Linn most often uses what he learned in recording and ear training courses. He adds that a broad learning base gave him the best foundation.
“Rather than learning how to use one specific piece of equipment, I learned how to use any variant of that piece of equipment,” he noted. “While I didn't end up in a recording studio, the concepts and principles of audio engineering are global, and with those principles and building block concepts, it's easy to take any tangent route possible.”
While he appreciated the rigorous academics, he fondly remembers the traditions of ValleyFest and Dutchmen Day, and an exciting campus life.
“My best memories are probably all of the social activities I took part in with a group of friends that became life-long friends,” Linn said. “Anything directly music related—band, marching band, MEISA, Sinfonia—yield the best memories as I was doing what I loved to do with the best possible people.”