Outside the hall, dozens of broadcast reporters and videographers set up for broadcast shots and, in the rear of the building, there is a sea of broadcast satellite trucks and trailers.
Jeff Alexander, a technician with College Cable of Nicholasville said his crews have laid 4,000 feet of fiber optic cable over the past three months to get ready to handle the technology needs of all 3,200 reporters, photographers, cameramen and technicians expected by Thursday.
He said the company had put in between 400 and 500 new cable drops “and thousands of feet of regular cable.”
But like those trying to get into the hall, Alexander said all his hard work doesn’t guarantee he’ll even be able to see the debate on television.
“We won’t get to see much of the debate at all,” Alexander said. “We’ll be too busy monitoring the system.”
Across the street in Sutcliffe Hall, reporters filed into the media hall a few at a time to find their seats and check to see the Internet and phone connections they purchased for the event operated properly.
Walking along the rows of tables — which will accommodate around 550 reporters — a visitor finds reserved spots for media from Japan and dozens of other foreign countries and hears conversations in Nordic languages.
They’ll all watch the debate on 50 or so flat-screen televisions set up throughout the room. Upstairs in the gymnasium normally reserved for the Centre Colonel basketball teams, dozens of curtained-off cubicles await broadcast crews in “spin alley.”
Following the debate Thursday, that will be the scene of those nationally broadcast interviews viewers are accustomed to taged after political events. Major political figures will stand under placards bearing their names, waiting for a yell from a network official seeking an interview.
Some national media were working and broadcasting from campus Wednesday.