Live from the Arkansas River, Wichita State students live-stream regatta

  • Wichita State students learn how to broadcast live sports with their experiences at the Plains Regional Regatta.
  • Wichita State's Media Resources Center will stream the regatta for a third year on Sunday.
  • Calvin Cupp, Shocker rowing coach, envisions the streaming feed as a tool to publicize his program and give his rowers an experience similar to other college athletes.

Putting a live sports event on camera is an experience like no other for students thinking about a career in video. Sports are unpredictable and create imagery that tells the story through action and emotion. 

Rowing produces all that against the backdrop of the river and the weather.  

That is the story Coach Calvin Cupp wants to tell about his Wichita State University team and the Plains Regional Regatta. It takes place Sunday on the Arkansas River in downtown Wichita over a mile-and-a-half of water between the Lincoln Street and First Street bridges. 

Wichita State’s Media Resources Center will live-stream the regatta for the third year, using MRC staff and students for all aspects of the production. 

“We wanted to create a regatta in our region that was very athlete-centric,” Cupp said. “We looked around and said, ‘What can we do to elevate the experience for the student-athlete?’ Rowing doesn’t get on TV. We can create that same experience they see other college athletes having on TV.” 

In 2014, the MRC worked with the rowing team on a promotional video. That connection grew into live-streaming in 2021.  

“It’s one of those ways to create awareness and exposure,” Cupp said. “It helps expand and expose our program to our community. It’s hard to get people here to show them what we do. But I can send them a link, and they can watch it from their computer or their phone. We can bring it to them in a high-quality, high-production way.” 

For students, the demands of live action give them proficiency in an area that the classroom doesn’t usually demand. 


A career in corporate or commercial videography interests senior Ryan Chastain after working in Wichita State’s Office of Strategic Communications. Chastain, who majors in business management, will work as an assistant camera operator at the regatta and appreciates the challenge that working on live sports offers. That experience adds to his video portfolio. 

“It’s incredibly fast-paced, so it’s about understanding timing and when to point the camera a certain way,” he said. “Fast, while being live. Human error is something I try to avoid, and it really shows live.” 

Katie Pham, a junior majoring in graphic design, is building motion design graphics for transitions from camera to camera during the regatta. It takes Pham roughly three hours to create a three- to four-second transition. 

“I research transitions that I think look neat and what I can do to make it fit into my topic,” she said. “The motion helps it look more clean, more flowing.” 

 Pham is comfortable working with still graphics. Adding motion design to her background is appealing. 

“It gives me new ways to improve my skills,” she said. “This gives me more tools I can give to clients and tell them, ‘I know how to do this.’” 

This year’s production uses seven cameras — six on the course and one for the commentators. The MRC builds a control room in the River Vista Boathouse near the Douglas Street Bridge. Setup for the production begins Thursday with a final check on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. The MRC is experimenting with wireless transmitters for the cameras to cut down on the cable needed. 

KEYN radio’s Dave Wilson and former Shocker rower Lisa Burns will describe the action. Three students, five MRC staff members and several volunteers make up the production crew. 

“It’s kind of a grassroots thing,” said Curt Rierson, MRC creative manager. “The students are getting both pre-production and live-production experience. This is like a workshop for the students, where they can employ what they learn.” 

The American Collegiate Rowing Association Championship, NCAA Rowing Championship and major regattas, such as the Dad Vail Regatta in New Jersey, are streamed with superb production values. It is rare, Cupp said, for smaller regattas hosted by a university to offer a live stream. 

“Each year we’ve learned something,” he said. “I watch everybody’s live stream. Our quality, our commentating, our camera angles — the things that we do are as good or better than anybody else.” 

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