(By: Max Correia)
Over 18,000 fans gather at the Air Canada Centre (ACC) one Sunday night to watch the Toronto Raptors play the Washington Wizards. While every fan’s eyes are looking at home court, there’s another show going on down in the parking garage.
Dan Gladman sits calmly in the broadcast truck making sure the Raptors broadcast is playing out according to his vision. Gladman is the producer of all Raptors broadcasts and has been for over 700 games.
Gladman’s right hand man is director Chris Phillips. Phillips is in charge of executing Gladman’s vision for the broadcast. Phillips joked about his relationship with Gladman and said “it’s pretty much a marriage.”
Gladman’s other partner in crime is John Rusin, the font producer for the broadcasts. Rusin has been broadcasting the Raptors since their inception and has worked through evolving technology in his 23 years behind the scenes.
Gladman, Phillips and Rusin see a lot of each other as they travel together with the team during the season. But the broadcast team on the road often welcomes new faces.
Being on the road brings on a whole different set of challenges for Gladman.
“On the road you have to spell things out, like audio and cameras you want to tell them exactly what you want,” said Gladman.
Gladman’s role within the broadcast has changed since Phillips took over as director late last year.
Gladman previously worked with Troy Clara and Jim Marshall, who he describes as “two of the best directors we’ve ever had in Canadian sports broadcasting.”
At the beginning of Gladman’s tenure as producer, he could look to Marshall and Clara, the veterans of the broadcast, for guidance.
With a younger director like Phillips, Gladman takes a different approach.
“I’m the senior person in the production. I feel part of my job is to help Chris succeed as the director,” said Gladman. “Compared to in the past the veteran directors were there to help me.”
Gladman said one of his favourite moments working with the Raptors was game four of the 2016 NBA Eastern Conference Finals where they beat Cleveland to tie the series at two games apiece.
“All of a sudden it looked like the team was two games away from the NBA finals, and the ACC, the roof blew off,” said Gladman.
In the future, Gladman sees himself continuing to grow as a person and as a broadcaster.
“I still want to produce the games 10 years from now, but I do see myself having more of a leadership role at the executive level,” said Gladman.
He said he couldn’t see himself doing anything different.
“This is what I was always meant to do, [producing these games] is one of my favourite things in the world.”
(Header image: Max Correia)