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Super Electrical Glitch

Dial Global resorted to landlines, cellphones during power outage

The Super Bowl power blackout that saw half of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans go dark early in the second half of yesterday’s game also slammed Dial Global Sport’s broadcast of the game into momentary darkness.

Dial Global, the exclusive network radio home of the Super Bowl, was knocked from the air for about 26 seconds before commercials resumed to roll from Dial Global headquarters in New York City, according to Howard Deneroff, executive producer of Dial Global Sports.

Deneroff was onsite producing the game day broadcast. He told Radio World that he quickly employed landline phones for booth announcers Kevin Harlan and Boomer Esiason to resume onsite reporting within minutes. “You really go from sports commentator to news reporter in those few seconds,” Deneroff said. “The game becomes insignificant. We had no idea if the whole city was out. We reported what we knew and what we had been told to that point, which was very limited.”

Dial Global uses an ISDN circuit for the game broadcast and has another ISDN circuit for backup along with an IP codec connection, but none were working without a power supply, he said.

After a short time of using the landlines, Dial Global officials realized that cellphone service was still working. That allowed other game analysts, including James Lofton, Jim Gray and Mark Malone, to join the others on air, Deneroff said. “It was hard since the announcers had no way of hearing each other. We were using voice cues of when to go live. It’s always an adrenaline rush when something like this happens. You go into survival mode,” Deneroff said.

Dial Global went back to normal broadcast operations just prior to when the game between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens resumed following the roughly 35-minute power outage.

Deneroff told RW that he and other Dial Global officials heard fire alarms going off “somewhere in the stadium” immediately following the conclusion of Beyonce’s halftime routine. He said he has no idea whether the incidents were connected.

Entergy, the local electric company, has said Beyonce’s show was not to blame and that the power outage resulted from a problem with one of two feeder lines that provide power to the stadium from an external substation. The control system automatically shut down power to the west side of the stadium when an abnormality was detected. 

Dial Global Sports’ coverage of Super Bowl XLVII was heard on some 700 stations plus SiriusXM Radio, company officials said.

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