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Lights, camera, audio

Posted June 8, 2016
Photo and Story by Allison York, Reprinted from InterCom
Mark Slice in the main control room at Williams Brice Stadium where all SEC network shows are played.

Whether you’ve been a Gamecocks fan for five minutes or 25 years, you probably know a little something about the football team’s tradition of entering Williams-Brice Stadium to the near-deafening sound of "2001." That this Carolina tradition works successfully is thanks, in part, to School of Journalism and Mass Communications graduate Mark Slice, the associate director of live operations and engineering for USC athletics. When it comes time for kickoff each week, Slice waits for the call from the marketing team in the press box, and somewhere deep inside Williams-Brice, under the bleachers full of 82,000 people, the technical director cues up the tune and the thundering response tells him his job has been accomplished successfully again.

Slice is a professional in audio engineering. For him, it’s not necessarily about how good our teams look skill-wise, but he’s always on top of making sure they sound good on camera, which he says he learned from USC’s broadcast program. "The skills I gained in college gave me the background I needed to go out and find real-world situations where I could apply what I learned," he says. Slice graduated in 1987, and took several freelance jobs while working with public broadcaster SC ETV. 

"Working with ETV gave me the chance to learn the ins and outs of video, audio, recording, and making them all work together. At the same time, having a few freelance opportunities gave me exposure to duties that I could apply at ETV, so it worked out."

In July of 2014, while working at ETV, Slice got a call from USC Athletics when it was decided that Williams-Brice Stadium would house a live production office for the brand new SEC Network. The creation of this new network brought him back to his Alma mater, working for the athletics department.

Whether USC is winning national championships in baseball or going 3-9 in football, Slice says that while his job focuses on sports, his motivation comes from elsewhere. He’s a man’s man and loves a good football or basketball game as much as anyone, but the feeling of going out to USC’s many athletic facilities and taking cameras, cables, light kits, etc., to set up your show one piece at a time is the best part of his job. According to Slice, there is nothing better than going to Williams-Brice for Saturday football or Founders Park for a mid-week baseball game, and building everything yourself and watching everything fall into place. He says, "Those moments where you aren’t confined to a studio, and you’re live on location and have to build your own studio from top to bottom — that’s what I love."

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