Drum Corps International
Feedback from PBS broadcast: We're listening

Feedback from PBS broadcast: We're listening

by Drum Corps International

The feedback is in, both positive and negative, from the PBS broadcast that began airing around the United States during Labor Day weekend.The format of this year's PBS program changed from past years. Rather than present a live broadcast of the finals competition, which is what has aired in years past, a decision was made that the program would center on the entire drum corps experience. Specifically, the program followed the drum corps trials and tribulations of three different members of three different corps. The program also featured excerpts, not entire performances, from the top-scoring corps."It is important for Drum Corps International to tell more of the story of how these incredible young people get to the magnificence they display during their final performance rather than just show the performance alone without explanation. And, with significant research conducted this past winter into the world of television we concluded the new format might be more appealing to a non-drum corps audience," Acheson said prior to the broadcast.Typical of the positive feedback was this e-mail note from Phil Marshall. "Without any doubt, this year's DCI telecast on PBS was the best that this die-hard DCI fan has ever seen. I have been watching (and rewatching 1000 times) each DCI telecast since 1986. Never before has the DCI telecast team captured the spirit of the drum corps activity for a general audience so effectively. The videography, the narrative, and the behind-the-scenes stories combined to create a captivating 90 minutes of great entertainment. I didn't even mind that the shows weren't shown in their entirety (although it would've been good to be clear with the audience that this is the case). Young people seeing the activity for the first time got enough to capture their hearts, the uninitiated audience got good entertainment, and if DCI fans didn't get enough of the shows they can always order the CDs and DVDs (which, of course, I will be doing)."Richard Maher e-mailed a different take on the broadcast. "As a life-long DCI fan I was very disappointed in the broadcast. You should show at least the top 6 corps full program instead of putting in all the fluff about drum corps life. Some of that is fine but you did too much and it took away from the most important part, the show," Maher wrote.Tom Corkhill, whose e-mail said he was "celebrating 48 years in drum corps," responded extremely positively to the broadcast format. "I would like to say that I really enjoyed the PBS broadcast of the finals in Madison. It was very well done and I enjoyed the personal segments on corps members (it reminded me of the background info they show at the Olympics on the different athletes and what they must go through to get to where they are). I think that this type of broadcast will reach out to more people not presently involved in drum corps and will get more youth involved. I was glad to see more corps shows even though it was only a portion of it then to see just the top five. Thanks to all who made it possible," Corkhill said. Ronald Fye offered up some constructive criticism. "I thought of a suggestion that could build on this year's presentation. First, create an approach that PBS would air an hour that follows a Division I, II and III corps. Select a member from each corps, and follow them in the process of winter camp season to finals. With the idea of how a corps evolves and what the members endure as they excel for the best performance that they can achieve as a corp. Follow that interview session with live coverage of championships of Division 1. When possible, present a caption of the title winners from Division II and III."Viewer LaMon Zipperer likewise e-mailed some suggestions. "I would have much rather seen the top four or five top corps live on finals night rather than this hour-and-twenty minute infomercial for drum corps. I know that the activity needs to draw new talent all the time, but the best way to sell drum corps is for them to see the top corps shows unedited and live."Finally, Terry Mcaviney gave the PBS broadcast a glowing review. "I watched the DCI's on Saturday night (I attended the show in Madison) so I was really looking forward to the PBS broadcast. I felt it was the best EVER. The sound quality, the camera views were wonderful. The broadcast kept me and my 8 guests glued to the TV as it held our interest, throughout the little under 3 hours. A great job done and the added stories about the history of Drum Corp and the stories of current members made this years broadcast something to remember. Thank you so much and keep up the great work."