ABC Radio says listeners to its Melbourne-based sports commentary program Grandstand will not notice any difference in the coverage of AFL matches being played in Brisbane and Sydney.
The ABC has revealed the Grandstand commentary team will be calling all AFL matches from a special isolation room established at its Southbank studios in Melbourne because COVID-19 travel restrictions ruled out sending staff interstate.
“ABC listeners can rest assured that the Grandstand team will deliver a professional, informative, and entertaining coverage of all AFL matches right up to the grand final which right now we think may be played at the Redcliffe Speedway just north of Brisbane,” ABC spokesperson Sid Thetic said.
“We set up a special committee that has devised a process that will give listeners seamless coverage of all matches so they can still follow the action second by second, or at least minute by minute. Well, perhaps quarter-hour-by-quarter-hour.”
Mr Thetic said the Grandstand coverage would involve a high-tech process (pictured clockwise from top left) in which descriptions of play and activity on the remote field would be sent via email to the ABC’s “super-computer” at Southbank, where it would be embellished by a team of ABC sports reporters, plotted on a schematic diagram of the playing field, and then broadcast to fans by a member of the Grandstand team hitting a pencil on their desk to mimic the sound of the ball being kicked.
“We really think this is going to work very well, as long as our dial-up internet connection holds,” he said.
“We can’t afford the NBN yet because of budget cuts, but once we get that in maybe a few years there’s nothing we won’t be able to do.
“We’re already holding rehearsals at our Alice Springs studio for our planned coverage of the postponed Tokyo Olympics.
“I think I can say with confidence that listeners won’t notice any real change in the quality of our sports coverage,” Mr Thetic said.