Drum Corps International
I want my DCI-TV

I want my DCI-TV

by Chris Weber


Blue Devils Drum Major Brian Howard is interviewed for
the 2007 World Championships Broadcast on ESPN2.
Are the 2010 World Championships going to be shown on PBS over Thanksgiving weekend? Watching used to be a Turkey Day tradition for me and my family every year! Bill S. – Manchester, New Hampshire Let's play this one with the ol' good news and bad news technique. Well maybe not bad news, let's call it good news and "not as great news" as not to spoil the delicious turkey and pumpkin pie that'll be sliding down our gullets this week. Enjoying success on PBS from 1974 to 2004 and then on the ESPN2 sports network from 2005-2007, DCI Executive Director Dan Acheson said in a release on DCI.org a few years back, "… as operating expenses continue to rise for the corps, we are forced to look at the core activities and needs of our organization. After exhausting every other option, we have decided that it is in the best interests of the member corps to reallocate the tremendous resources dedicated to the television program to sustain other initiatives that will ultimately improve our collective prospects." Starting with the "not as great news," unfortunately the considerable cost of producing and televising the event continues to be a deterrent to a broadcast. With a hefty price tag of roughly half a million dollars to do so, that savings can certainly help put a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches into the hands of corps members! Even several years off the air, believe it or not, this is a question we still get asked. The DCI World Championships became such a fixture over Thanksgiving weekend that many fans still wonder where it went. It makes sense. In a bygone era before VHS, CDs, DVDs and the Internet, the PBS broadcast was one of the first times since August drum corps fans would have a chance to see, hear and re-live the greatest performances from the previous summer. And with celebs like actress Rita Moreno, trumpet great Maynard Ferguson and sports broadcasting legend Curt Gowdy providing color commentary over the years, it's no wonder why those celebrated PBS broadcasts continue to live on in the hearts and minds of drum corps fans across the country.

Promotional photo from the 1980 DCI World Championships broadcast. Beyond the live broadcasts, it used to be at the
discrection of each PBS station if and when it would air the program, though Thanksgiving weekend was a typical date.
So how about that good news? Though no longer on TV, today DCI is bringing drum corps performances to fans in a variety of alternative ways. DVDs & Blu-ray: It's almost hard to believe that it's been more than 10 years now since the first DCI World Championship DVDs debuted in 2000. All 23 World Class performances from the 2010 Championship in Indianapolis are now available on DVD, with the top 12 corps coming out on High Definition Blu-ray disc very soon. The DCI Fan Network: DCI's online media platform continues to satisfy the "I want it now!" drum corps fans with live webcasts of events during the summer and on-demand playback of current and historical performances. If you live on the East Coast, remember even just a handful of years ago what it would take to see or hear anything about the West Coast corps prior to the middle of the summer? Now the only barrier to following along at home (or from virtually anywhere) is a high speed Internet connection. Check out how this family of fans has stayed connected with the Fan Network. Movie Theater Events: Since 2004, DCI has brought the World Championship Quarterfinals live to movie theaters across the country. In 2010, nearly 40,000 people attended the seventh annual "Big, Loud & Live" event in 475 movie theaters nationwide. And with DCI's annual "Countdown" cinema event in the works again for the spring, the popularity of drum corps at the movies continues to rise. So we hope that this Thanksgiving you're still able to keep up your own World Championships tradition. Fire up those DVD players (or dust off the VCR if anyone still has those broadcasts of yore on tape), gather the family around the big screen, and decide whether your dad or crazy Uncle Al will be best to throw out the one-liners ala DCI Hall of Fame broadcaster Michael Cesario in between corps performances. Then let's kickoff the countdown to the start of the summer of 2011 … It'll be a mere 205 days away for those keeping score at home!

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