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Plan comes together for A-Team

JUSTIN MARVILLE, [email protected]

Plan comes together for A-Team

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IT’S LATE WEDNESDAY afternoon, and they prepare to wrap up another seamless showing on the track.

They’re out front at the Stadium, but that’s where most expect them to be coming to the end of an opening day of inter-school sports.

After all, it has been 15 years now.

Yet, this isn’t enough. They still want more.

No, not Springer Memorial. Try track and field’s other A-Team.

Paul Mayers and Kurtis Hinds have never been mistaken for “B.A.” Baracus, Hannibal or any other action-adventure hero from the 80s TV series to be quite honest.

“The comment is always the same when people see us in person for the first time, “I thought you all were bigger”, and I guess it’s because people expect big people to match our voices,” joked the 35-year-old Hinds.

At the same time these broadcasters won’t ever be recognised as ordinary, average or boring either.

It’s the kind of the mandate for this A-Team – at least part of it anyway – when it comes to covering athletics live or any sport for that matter, whether it be football, netball, volleyball, boxing or motor sport.

“We’re not just doing this to the best of our ability or just striving for better, it has to be fun, it has to be entertaining,” Hinds said of the duo’s sessions following one of their live broadcasts for Starcom Network last week.

“We can’t do it stiff like “here comes X, Y, Z” because that’s not how it happens or how we see it, so it has to be attractive, something that gets people to turn on the radio and listen.”

And it’s not always what’s on the track, field or court is what they’ll find entertaining.

To them or to their listeners.

From a full breakdown of Kurtis’ lunch (which usually is anything that’s available), to the expert analysis of Paul’s wardrobe (typically slacks and a polo shirt) on the day, absolutely nothing is exempt from commentary on a live show – and that’s just the way their audience loves it.

“When we get comments from listeners some will obviously talk hard-core sports but people will always remember the silliness,” Mayers laughed while recalling a couple of old broadcasts joking at who is fatter than who now.

“We don’t just want the hard reporting but things around the sports to attract listeners that aren’t quite hard-core sports fans that will make the broadcast enjoyable for them because our main aim is that when people listen to one of our broadcasts that they enjoy it regardless of who they are.

“And as a result we had some emails from Iraq, we had some from Panama and the Middle East as well as those from the Bajan contingent here at home so we must be doing some things right,” said Mayers.

Still, that’s not enough for them.

It’s been a decade and a half since the dynamic duo first joined forces at Starcom when a young Hinds stumbled upon an unlikely sports broadcasting job alongside a man 12 years his senior while looking for a deejaying career instead.

“I wanted to be Peter Coppin really. Everyone still wants to be Peter Coppin,” Hinds explained.

But Starcom was undergoing changes and sport was the area that provided the opening – and the opportunity for two men to reinvent themselves.

And though they worked together from 2000 bringing their own style to the sporting broadcasts, it wasn’t until eight years later when Damien Best came aboard that their true identity was formed.

“That was a bit of a joke, actually. We were leaving one day and Tony Redman, a former co-worker at Starcom, was like ‘there goes the team, the athletics team’,” Hinds recalled.

“So then we had a promo to be done for the athletics season and we needed a name for the team and he was like ‘this is the A-Team’ so we used it for the promo and it stuck, so that is how the A-Team was born.”

However, as quickly as they found identity they very nearly lost it. Starcom underwent further restructuring that same year, resulting in them being severed from the company on the final day of the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Athletics Championships of 2008.

Best went overseas to study before going over to CBC, and it was only until a year later that the team of Hinds and Mayers came back to the company under a contractual basis as the private entity A-Team Productions.

By that time, though, they had already evolved beyond the “athletics team” Redman had dubbed them.

“We do everything sports related from writing, broadcasting, some TV but primarily radio and we do some hard news stuff as well, and we’ve been trying to expand more into regional and international coverage as we did a broadcast for about 15 stations across the region for CARIFTA and that went very well,” Mayers explained.

“Now we are already starting to focus on the Olympics for next year in Brazil to be there live so we have our fingers crossed. We also envisage for things like the boys’ and girls’ championships in Jamaica, which is the biggest track and field school meet in the world, we want to do live coverage for that but the difficulty is sponsorship.

“But there is always room for more.
If you settle in any profession then that’s when you get beaten. So we have to come out there and add stuff to our broadcast. Another three years, if we’re still doing it like this then something has gone wrong,” he added.

This isn’t to say anything is wrong with covering inter-school sports, because you won’t find any greater joy for these two broadcasters than trying to match an explosive performance with an equally powerful broadcast.

“This is our baby, as this is where we have the most fun,” Hinds said.

“Track and field also lends itself to that brand of commentary because it is tailor-made for radio coverage. But at the same time we don’t want to limit ourselves to sports either as we are available to do any broadcast that is out there.”

Yet you get the sense that still may not be enough.

Just another mission for the A-Team.

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