As viewers from around the world tune in to watch athletes go for gold at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, broadcasters are working hard behind the scenes in Pyeongchang to make it possible.
Niagara College graduate Austin Munday is one of them.
For Munday, who graduated from the College Broadcasting – Radio, Television and Film program in 2013, this is already his second time at the Winter Olympic Games. Just months after he left NC, Munday took on a job in Sochi as a cable rigger for Olympic Broadcast Services at the 2014 Winter Games. His job then was to ski down mountains to lay audio and video cable for the host feed, making it possible for Canada and most of the world to watch events such as downhill, ski jump, bobsled luge and skeleton events.
This time, in Pyeongchang, Munday was part of a cable crew working for NBC that laid all the network’s broadcast cable for every 2018 Olympic venue – not just for the mountain cluster, as he did in Sochi.
“This, in my eyes, is always one of the best gigs to be on,” said Munday. “I’ve been fortunate enough to see every venue at this year’s Olympics and had the privilege of exploring each of them before the world gets to watch.”
Munday has been overseas since January 9 when he landed in Seoul and travelled to his accommodations in Gangneung. He was reunited with some of the same crew members who he met in Sochi and hasn’t seen since.
“The crew is extremely hard working,” he said. “The days are long … but you get to see a lot and it’s also a ton of fun and a lot of laughs.”
While Munday’s contract with NBC ended on February 4, his work at the Olympics did not end there.
From Feb. 4 until February 26, Munday will be working as a robotic camera operator through CBC for Olympic Broadcasting Services to shoot Olympic curling events. He noted that the event is making Olympic history with the debut of mixed doubles in curling for the first time. The camera that he is operating, he said, is also making history.
“They have never had a camera in the centre walk position. So as far as highlights go, the entire experience, since I’ve landed, has been one,” he said. “The amount of work and planning that goes into the broadcast side of the Olympics is truly unbelievable – it’s extremely humbling and I’m beyond grateful to have a role in it.”
Munday, 26, reflected on how fortunate he has been in his early career. Originally from Simcoe, he enrolled at NC to pursue a career in sports media. During his third year at the College, he chose to focus on production and worked a camera position on the College’s mobile sports truck. As a NC student, he worked an eight-month internship with Dome Productions where he continued in various positions after graduation, in addition to working as a freelance television assistant at Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Maple Leafs games, as well as CFL and UFC events.
Following the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Sportsnet debuted new broadcast gear after they acquired broadcast rights to the NHL – small robotic cameras called ‘Q-ball’ and a small wearable RF camera which became ‘Ref Cam.’ Munday was hired by Dome Productions to become one of the operators to help introduce the new gear – along with four others from different cities across Canada – and helped bring it to life during the 2013-2014 season.
“Loving the game of hockey and watching Hockey Night in Canada growing up, getting a chance to have a unique impact on the show was – and still is – an absolute dream job,” he said. “It has led me to over 150 NHL games, NHL all-star weekends, multiple outdoor games, a World Cup of Hockey championship, two Stanley Cup finals and – just recently – my first World Juniors championship.”
Currently, Munday works to broadcast all home games for the Toronto Maple Leafs that are under the Sportsnet/Hockey Night in Canada package – both regional and national.
What’s the secret to his success?
“Wisdom comes in all forms,” said Munday. “I learned very quickly that hard work breeds with opportunity and, if your attitude matches your work ethic, the right people will notice.”