A fire alarm was to blame for the 10 minutes of beeping heard during the Toronto Blue Jays-St. Louis Cardinals radio broadcast over the weekend.
Blue Jays voice actor Ben Wagner, who describes the action by watching television screens when the team is on the road, paused briefly when the alarm went off before resuming his call.
“We had a fire alarm in the studio,” Jason Jackson, senior communications manager for Rogers Sports & Media, said Monday in an email.
“It was a false alarm, everything is fine,” he added.
It was not immediately clear why employees in the study area did not leave the building when the alarm went off Saturday afternoon. Sportsnet declined requests to interview Wagner and broadcast/operations managers.
Sportsnet returned to pandemic-style remote radio coverage for away games this season. The LA Angels are the only other MLB team not to have a flagship radio set on the road and instead use a remote setup.
Sportsnet has not publicly stated why it withdrew roadside radio coverage this year. Requests for interviews with the network’s bosses were turned down last February when the network unveiled its 2023 broadcast plans.
Network television crews are present at all 162 games: 81 at Rogers Center and 81 away from home.
COVID-19 concerns and travel restrictions made remote streaming a reality for many radio and television crews when sports returned in the early days of the pandemic. The difference used to be noticeable, but viewers and listeners had to accept it given the unusual circumstances.
Like most team broadcasters, the Blue Jays radio team resumed regular travel last season. Wagner began the 2022 campaign with remote call-ins for away games before traveling again for most of the second half.
Interruptions with stadium broadcasts, power outages or, in this case, a fire alarm, are some of the risks associated with using a remote setup instead of providing on-site coverage.
Wagner has called Blue Jays games since 2018. Broadcasts are heard nationwide on 14 Sportsnet Radio Network affiliates, including flagship sports station Fan590.
Sportsnet is part of Rogers Sports & Media, a subsidiary of Rogers Communications Inc. The Toronto-based telecommunications giant also owns the Blue Jays and Rogers Centre.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 3, 2023.
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