The MuchMusic Video Awards took place Sunday evening and no one was listening more closely to what the hosts and artists sounded like than Anthony Kuzub.
If anything went wrong with the sound during the show, the Electronics Engineering Technology – Communications was ready to jump into action to quickly solve any problems that needed fixing. It’s all part of his job as an audio technician for Bell Media — the large Canadian media subsidiary that owns MuchMusic and many other broadcasting channels.
Anthony has worked in the audio industry from the time he was 10 years old. Since then, he has been able to amass an impressive resume working on a number of different television and live event productions. Last year, however, he realized he still had a lot to learn about his chosen profession and decided to go back to school full-time to become the best sound man in the business.
The College caught up with him before his big gig to ask him what’s it like to work on an event of this size and what he hopes to gain from his Seneca education.
Seneca: Your LinkedIn account shows you have been working for a while. What made you decide to come back to school and study in the Electronics Engineering Technology – Communications program?
Anthony: The more I worked and was exposed to, the more I realized how much I couldn't learn on my own. The more systems I designed and built, the more questions I had. I wanted to learn more so I could deliver higher quality products and services to my clients. I wanted a deeper understanding of the technology and the mentorship and learning opportunities I saw at Seneca appealed to my curiosities.
Seneca: What specific skills from the program are you using to assist you at events like the MuchMusic Video Awards?
Anthony: Patience. When technical problems arise, like in the labs, you must trouble shoot them. Following instructions. Large schematics are delivered by the designers and there is no room for improvisation.
Seneca: Are you working full-time for Bell Media?
Anthony: I was working full-time...now I'm at Seneca full-time. I only take on contract work for the "big shows." I've developed a great relationship with the audio engineering department and that connection has kept me on the list of people they can rely on.
Seneca: So what's the job of an audio tech entail?
Anthony: The marching orders come down from and engineering team. Paper work of the "big picture" is split between the teams. Cable and equipment are requisitioned for each stage and deployed as planned. I'm a rare breed of technician because I've come from an operating background but have capital 'E' engineering experience. A tech implements systems that are reliable, safe, and to the designers specifications. I am equipped with a mobile tool kit for on site repairs and services. Should something break or need servicing on site I'm able to do so.
Seneca: What other events for Bell Media have you assisted on over the years?
Anthony: I've worked tons of shows. Marilyn Dennis, New Music Live, the Juno Awards and eTalk. Being under the Bell umbrella you can work for one TV network one day and a totally different one the next. I've worked for Space Channel, Bravo, MTV, MuchMusic, CP24, CTV etc. It's a massive corporation that allows its employees to be a part of many different productions. I would consider working for their engineering department, but without the type of designation I'm striving for with my studies at Seneca it would be impossible to be involved in that aspect.
Seneca: How big is the audio team working on this event?
Anthony: There are close to 20 people working on the broadcast audio team. There are close to 40 people doing sound at the event.
Seneca: How many hours are required for set up on your end?
Anthony: We've got one day to set up and deploy the plan, one day to test tweak and adapt it, two days of rehearsals and a day for show and strike. This all happens outside rain or shine.
Seneca: What's your role on the day of the show?
Anthony: I monitor and assure rock solid communication paths between my assigned stage and the mobile production trucks. This involves programming wireless com packs and insuring hardwired redundant backup packs are fully operational. If something should fail or if there is interference on the wireless channels these are our direct lines of communication to production. I insure hosts microphones are properly programmed, in working order and in the right hands at the right time. I use a portable spectrum analyzer to monitor my assigned microphones frequencies throughout the show. Once they count down it's out of my hands but I've got to be ready to spring into action and make changes at any moment. Live TV is unpredictable, that's why it's such a rush and such an amazing technical beast to tame.