On a Thursday afternoon, just before Christmas, Barry Manuel and George Scott were crammed into the media room at the Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium.
The broadcasters of the Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts audiocast were learning how to record their commercials that play during stoppages of their senior hockey coverage. It was one of many things the pair has learned since they began calling games this season with Scott giving the play-by-play and Manuel providing the colour commentary.
"We tend to not be very uptight and very loose with it. We want to have a bit of fun with it and that's been evident so far," said Manuel. "We've been having a good time and so far and I think that comes out in the audiocast. If anyone has got any suggestions (they are welcome.)"
There is a lot of work put into each broadcast and the duo, which also has jobs and families to work around, would also like to expand their broadcast group to include supporting roles for researching and director to monitor the order of sponsors and interviews, for now, the two manage to keep hockey fans in the loop each weekend.
While people have enjoyed hearing Scott call they games and Manuel interject his hockey knowledge, it almost went a different direction.
"Originally there was talk of play by play and perhaps me taking that role - I wasn't at all comfortable with that to be quite honest," said Manuel. "I would not be able to do as good as George does, to be honest. He does a great job on the play-by-play. My job is to fill in the gaps in between and paint the picture of what is going on and that is what I try to be conscience of. I think George and I complement each other well."
Manuel said the people listening at home could be doing many things from sitting with their eyes closed to working around the house, so they try to describe the game as much as possible.
"Barry's hockey knowledge is so much more than mine. I know hockey like a basic fans - I've never been a coach, and never played hockey beyond the high school hockey, so I leave that stuff to Barry and I try to describe what is happening," said Scott. "We have separated our roles very well and I think that is why it works for both of us."
The audiocast is something the Cataracts organization had been considering for a few years and approached Manuel to see if he was interested. He was and he approached Scott about joining him in the booth.
Manuel said the broadcast opens new doors for Cats fans and Scott agrees.
"I think it's a plus for fans that can't get out to the games. We have fans that have followed the Cats for years and can't get out like they used to," said Scott. "When the Cats were on the road it was tough for people get updates on the scores, so I think it has increased interest. There is nothing like being in the stadium and watching the game and we are not replacing that by any means."
Scott was hesitant to join the audiocast at first, unsure if he wanted to be travelling every second weekend, but thought it over and decided to spend his weekends volunteering his time to the Cataracts.
"You're not going to get too many chances to do this again, so I decided to do it and I'm very happy that I did," he admitted. "Even with the travel - the Cataracts have made that easy. They look after everything and we just kind of show up and do our thing."
Scott was a play-by-play announcer for a local television station during the last five years of the Jones Shield and enjoyed the job.
With the audiocast, fans of hockey have come full circle. Before television became a fixture in homes hockey fans would sit around the radio and follow hockey. Until television stations decide to cover senior hockey in the province, Cats fans can turn on their computers for a modern game coverage.
"It is sort of old-time hockey broadcasting from when it was on radio. I can remember as a youngster listening to the games on Saturday nights, so it is a little like going back," said Scott. "When I did the (school) broadcast there was the picture in front of you, which was good, because you could pause and people could get the image and see what was going on and did not always have to describe. On the internet I can mess up occasionally, and call the wrong player's name, the only ones that know are myself and Barry, but I try not to do that too often."
Scott may not be out of the woods completely as Manuel noted that with technology, a video broadcast may not bee too far off into the future.
"The technology and software that you use for the audiocast you can run video through it as well," he said. "Of course, with that, there are more logistics that come with that - a master switchboard and cameras and people to man those pieces of equipment, but when it comes to the audiocast I think people really enjoy it."