The old adage “the show must go on” was put to the test during Global News Calgary’s coverage of the 2022 Calgary Stampede Parade, but the ingenuity of staff members saved the day, and their efforts garnered a coveted award.
The Western Association of Broadcasters awarded Global News Calgary with a gold medal award Thursday night for multi-platform coverage for a problematic, but what proved to be not insurmountably so, parade show.
Together Again — the television, radio and online broadcast of the first edition of the parade to take place with spectators since the arrival of COVID-19 — appeared in jeopardy on parade day morning due to an unexpected nationwide Rogers network outage.
“Getting to host the Calgary Stampede Parade is one of the highlights of the year, every year,” said Dallas Flexhaug, a Global News Morning Calgary anchor, who hosted parade coverage in 2022 alongside Blake Lough. “There was so much anticipation, having it be the first large parade in the country since the pandemic.”
Mere hours before the start of the parade, the Rogers outage downed all communication and transmission capability, and discussions were held about cancelling the parade broadcast.
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A plan was put in place to build a small Wi-Fi zone — with assistance from Shaw — for the control room, and to run 300 feet of cable to alternate network suppliers for the broadcast feed. Global staff members who were on networks other than Rogers volunteered their personal cellphones to ensure the control room could communicate with crews in the field.
“I remember saying, ‘If we can see the pictures and hear the sounds, we will figure it out,’” recounted Flexhaug. “ But, I’ve got to be honest, not having communication channels between the studio, control room and various places in the field was a huge wrench, and I wasn’t sure how it would all turn out.
“Thankfully, I work with the best team in television and we pulled it off. Having Kevin Costner as parade marshal and (with Global TV’s) The Morning Show’s Jeff McArthur in the city to help rally the parade crowds made it a morning to remember for all the right reasons. We strapped our boots on, said, ‘Yahoo’ – not ‘Yeehaw,’ as every Calgarian knows – and had the best time doing it.
“Kudos to the Calgary Stampede and Corus for working together to organize one amazing parade Calgarians and cowboys all over could be proud of.”
Global News Morning Calgary traffic specialist Leslie Horton, who along with McArthur provided live reports from along the parade route, said the Western Association of Broadcasters gold medal is symbolic of the collaboration of that day.
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“Our team worked through a massive communications outage on Stampede Parade day to bring the sights and sounds of the parade to our viewers,” Horton added. “To be recognized for the extraordinary work that went into making that broadcast happen is extra special, and a testament to our extraordinary team of professionals.”
And the extraordinary team will bring you full parade coverage again this year, but hopefully with fewer hiccups.
Tune in to Global Calgary on Friday, July 7, at 8:45 a.m. to watch a special live broadcast of the 2023 Calgary Stampede Parade. Our Global News Morning team will have all of the action for you from this year’s route. The special broadcast will air on Global Television, the Global TV app, Globalnews.ca, the Global News YouTube channel, Facebook and Amazon Prime.
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.