DCI changes championship broadcast format to reach out to new fans

by Chris Hollenback, DCW Editor

In an effort to reach out to the general public, the Drum Corps International world championship broadcast will have a new format and air tape-delayed in 2002. In the past, DCI would show complete performances of the top five or six corps live.

Now, the show will air during Labor Day weekend in most markets and will have a format that includes clips of shows and more feature material.

“It’s kind of a hybrid of the coverage of the championships and reality TV,” said Tom Blair, DCI telecast producer. “I don’t want people to think this is going to be just a documentary. There will be championship coverage in there.”

The difference, however, is that viewers will see clips of more than just the top six corps, and they won’t see any complete shows.

“The PBS broadcast is the best way to get drum corps out to the world,” Blair said. “The guy channel surfing who isn’t into drum corps might see it.

“In our opinion, we can do better (than the old format). We’ll feature the best moments out of a greater variety of corps. If the last three minutes of the Madison Scouts’ show was really unbelievable, we’ll show it, then move on to the next corps.”

And since national broadcast time is so expensive, DCI can only show so many corps and tell so many stories.

“We want to use the limited time to tell the up-close story,” Blair said. “Talk to the kid who tried out three times for a corps and finally made it and it was his lifelong ambition. Those are things that the live format doesn’t allow. We’ll have much greater freedom to program for the average guy.”

“The motivation is centered around creating better TV,” said Dan Acheson, DCI executive director. “I’m sure the avid fan is fine with live programming. But the avid fan knows how to get access to the show or the DVD. We’re appealing to a wider audience, and 10 minutes of any drum corps is not the best TV. We’re going to have something that mixes the stories with more corps, and feature the best aspects.”

The DCI broadcast team started filming the experiences of a member of the Cavaliers…

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Drum Corps World is published as an on-line electronic magazine by Sights & Sounds, Inc., Madison, WI. It is supported by advertising from manufacturers, service providers, corps, circuits and show sponsors. The publication began in October 1971 at the same time Drum Corps International was formed and has been produced continuously as a tabloid newspaper until April 2011 and on the Internet since May 2011. It is released monthly, as well as six additional e-mail blasts, one in late June, three during July and two in August.

The worldwide staff of writers and photographers provide show reviews during the season and interviews, feature articles, news and human interest stories during the off-season. The photographs that appear in the magazine are provided by 27 staff members who are scattered around the world. The publication covers World and Open Class Drum Corps International corps, Open and Class A Drum Corps Associates corps, alumni, mini-, parade and standstill units, as well as the growing activity in Europe, the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Philippines and South Africa.