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Learfield faces increasing traffic with more colleges, games

Board operator and associate producer Isaac Baumann takes a call from a Hoosier fan while manning the Indiana University sports network booth alongside board operator Michael Tackett during a busy college football Saturday at Learfield Communications in Jefferson City.

Board operator and associate producer Isaac Baumann takes a call from a Hoosier fan while manning the Indiana University sports network booth alongside board operator Michael Tackett during a busy college football Saturday at Learfield Communications in Jefferson City. Photo by Kris Wilson.

A row of football helmets representing NCAA Division I teams sit atop rows of radio broadcast systems at Learfield Sports in Jefferson City.

At some point between 6:30 a.m. Saturday and 2 a.m. Sunday, each station will seat a corresponding college-colors-wearing operator.

Jerry Kelly has worn the crimson shirts of Alabama for nearly a decade. But he’s been a board operator for 22 years.

“For a sports fan, this is the perfect part-time job,” Kelly said. “You’re around sports and in the middle of everything.”

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The board operators receive sports broadcasts from the on-site technical crew and on-air personalities and then send the feed to a satellite, which sends it to all the radio stations airing that particular college’s game.

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