Early in the spring of 2020, members of the Drake Broadcasting System began to come up with the perfect plan for Relays Productions. Luc Pham is the President of DBS, the organization that oversees “The Dog” streaming radio station and student-focused video productions. Pham was excited to leave his mark on these productions. He had a variety of planned packages that would showcase the student excitement and community effort that goes into Relays week.
“Some of the ideas we had such as the comedy skits and live productions were going to be some of the funniest ideas we’ve had yet,” Pham said.
By the middle of March, the semester began to look different.
Students were sent home for the remainder of the spring semester. The Drake Relays were cancelled, as were Pham’s plans.
“Not having the live broadcast was a real bummer, it’s a tradition DBS does for relays every year,” Pham said. “So many students get involved in these productions, it’s a large part of the Relays student experience.”
This year, the Relays are back on, in a modified version. DBS will be back too, also modified.
The DBS team has a handful of different plans to make Relays feel the same as in previous years.
“We had planned some live productions for last year and a few prerecorded skits for a broadcast, which is tradition,” said Pham. “It’s a bummer we aren’t going to have the opportunity to put through with all the ideas we had last year, but we are doing the best we can with what we’ve got.”
Rachel Wente is the Vice President of DBS and an associate producer on this year’s Relays production. Wente expressed equal disappointment that the productions from last year were missed out on, but has great excitement for this year’s production.
“This year’s style of production definitely has a more Saturday Night Live aspect to it,” Wente said. “There’s sections talking about conspiracy theories about Relays, highlighting Adam Fogg, the difference between a regular Drake student and then an athlete involved in Relays. It’s a whole bunch of funny small skits.”
Wente said that although she is excited for what is planned so far, she is disappointed that some of the other productions can’t be as student-involved as they were before.
In previous years, students were able to be heavily involved in the production of the Beautiful Bulldog Contest. It allowed students to get experience being out doing live shoots, as well as editing and reporting.
“A lot of the skits this year will mainly feature the members on the exec team, when previously we would have been each in charge of a different skit with many people working on a team. But for COVID precautious, we are going the safer route of less people,” said Wente.
Each year, DBS is a way students can get involved in the Relays spirit. They can host their own show during the season or be part of the video skits other students have. Some of the ideas from last year involved students interviewing athletes and doing a comedy night show. The most popular has been the spin on the Drake bus called “The Drunk Bus”.
The video production side of DBS is not the only thing affected by this modified version of Relays.
“With the radio station and Relays lots of people had their shows beforehand,” said Savanna Bous, program director of “The Dog” radio. “But people focused it mainly towards who the artist was and activities, radio people got involved with the audio board when it came to the productions.”
Bous said that DBS has used this time away from normal activities to rebrand their content and how that will show with the Relays production.
“COVID allows a pivoting point to DBS as a whole from hard news to more comedy and what people want to see, beginning with the skits for this year’s production,” Bous said.
The curiosity to see how organizations such as DBS will present themselves at the next Spring relays has become a large curiosity. While DBS members who have had years of in person relays expierence have graduated, will the next relays offer a different perspective?