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…