Kynaa Randall, An ESPN
Thanks to Bert Sahlberg.
Kynna Randall never has to worry about those awkward
moments of silence when she meets someone new. The conversation –albeit
sometimes more in question-and-answer form – easily flows when people,
especially sports nuts, find out where she works.
For the past year, Kynna has worked for in Bristol,
Connecticut, about 20 miles south of the capital city of Hartford. While Bristol
is home to the American Clock and Watch Museum, it’s more widely known for being
the home of ESPN, where Randall works as a Graphics Systems Controller.
ESPN revolutionized sports on television when it debuted in
1979. The network is dedicated to broadcasting and producing sports-related
program 24 hours a day and now has eight sister channels (such as ESPN2 and ESPN
“Actually, one of the first questions people ask me is if I
get free tickets to games or if I have met any famous athletes,” Kynna says.
Unfortunately I will see them from the control room as they are on set, but
never usually in person. I do, however, see (former NFL coach and now a football
commentator) Herm Edwards quite often in the cafeteria, as well as the Baseball
Tonight or Sportscenter/News anchors.”
While she hasn’t met many sports figures, she does get some
nice perks at work. Disney is the parent company to ESPN and all Disney
employees receive free passes to Disney theme parks. Unfortunately for Kynna,
the nearest theme park is in Florida. She did, however, also receive free
tickets to the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York during the summer.
Kynna, who is from Culdesac, came to LCSC in the fall of
2005 to play volleyball and study Graphic Arts. Kynna was a four-year
letterwinner in volleyball and tennis at Culdesac and also had a 4.0 GPA.
She says sports has always been a part of her life, which
is why she was thrilled to receive an internship position at ESPN during the
summer of 2008. She says it was a great experience, and ESPN officials
apparently thought so to because they offered Kynna a job that fall when she was
back at LCSC for the 2008 Fall Semester.
“I was hired at ESPN last October so I finished up my last
few course online and graduated at the end of that fall semester,” Kynna says.
“I went from work to homework and back again for a few months. The Distance
Learning program at LCSC was great and the professors were so helpful. I had a
week where I was moving across the country and they allowed me to work ahead so
that I wouldn’t fall behind with the scheduled quizzes and all that.”
Originally she was hired for a one-year designer position
to work on custom graphics, short animations and various logo projects. Shortly
after returning to Lewiston to take part in graduation ceremonies last May, she
was hired full time by ESPN and moved into a different area of the Creative
“I am now cross-trained in the control room and have now
been doing what we call ‘playout,’ which basically means I listen to the
producers, directors, and assistant directors, and animate graphics on air as
they call for it.”
Kynna works four 10-hour shifts. A typical day for her is
arriving at work at 3 p.m. and working until the final sporting event for that
night is finished and all the press conferences have been covered. That can be
anywhere from 1-4 a.m.
“I work mainly in ESPNews now,
but will start on my Sportscenter training soon,” Kynna says. “I work with one
other Graphics Systems Controller and about 10 other people in a control room at
a time. ESPNews is live television all the time, so I have graphics for each
segment, as the directors or assistant directors tell me to, I animate the
graphics onto air. I also work directly with the designers in the CAGE for
custom graphics and requests. Eventually I will be helping cross train other
employees so that more of us are set to work in both the CAGE and the control
One of the fun projects she
recently worked on was the “Mort Goes to Camp” segment that featured on-air
personality Chris Mortensen visiting each NFL training camp and reporting on the
teams. The graphics for the report included a tour bus wrap design (see picture
with this story).
“I love the people that I work with, and I love sports, so
the combo is fantastic,” Kynna says of her job. “My favorite is NFL Sunday
because I am a huge football nut and I usually get to work on NFL Blitz which is
a live, unscripted show that is dedicated entirely to covering NFL games and
press conferences. How can you beat that?”
Kynna jokes that she’s given up on her dreams when she was
7 years old of someday being Mariah Carey. She says her goal now is to get
deeper into animation and eventually 3-D, and stay with Disney, which owns most
of ESPN, and work for Pixar.
“Right now I would love to gain more creative knowledge and
move up in the ranks of the Creative Services department of ESPN and become a
creative director or art director,” Kynna says, adding those positions work with
designers and animators to guide the art//style or overall look of graphics and
Kynna says she really enjoys her job and is grateful she
chose LCSC to prepare her for her career.
“My education prepared me for the position that I hold now
and I am grateful for every class and every professor – especially the Graphic
Arts//Printing Technology professors and advisors,” Kynna said. “There is no way
I would be where I am without their guidance and teaching.”
While at LCSC, Kynna designed the covers and did most of
the layout and design for two commencement programs, among other things.
“College was a great time for me; I have always loved
learning and am looking forward to getting my Master’s degree. My professors
were inspiring and my classmates always a lot of fun. I miss working at Campus
Print & Mail Services the most though. It was a fantastic job and I loved
working under Andy Tuschhoff – he taught me so much in such a short period of
Kynna says she loves the Fall, especially in the East with
all the bright colors. She says she takes hundreds of pictures wherever she goes
and regularly goes hiking or long walks. She also had a new roommate, a kitten,
who keeps her bus
“It still amazes me how much has happened in the last year
and how blessed I have been with the position at ESPN,” Kynna says. “I finally
feel settled into Connecticut and I just recently moved into a fantastic
apartment that I love--complete with my favorite Pixar posters as decoration. My
parents recently moved out here to be closer to both myself and my brother so it
is great to have the family close, especially with the holidays coming up.”
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