Jeff Babl’s best days at work are UNK game days. The video production coordinator loves to entertain Loper nation with instant replays, hype videos, fan cams, special graphics and videos on the LoperVision screens inside the Health and Sports Center.
Babl started the role with UNK Athletics in 2021, but it wasn’t his first experience working behind the scenes at sporting events. He worked in the ticket office while studying broadcasting and sports administration at UNK and earned a bachelor’s degree in 2012. He continued to sell tickets a few hours a week until 2021.
The O’Neill native also worked in video production for all Tri-City Storm/Viaero Center events for more than a decade. Additionally, he spent six years as operations manager at Platte River Radio in Kearney, which includes ESPN Radio, Power 99 and The Breeze 94.5.
Ultimately, Babl wanted to return to his alma mater so he could take UNK’s video production to the “next level.”
Why did you choose this career path?
A job-shadowing program with the Rotary Club in my hometown exposed me to KBRX Radio and sports play by play. I instantly knew this was my career path. I came to UNK for the broadcasting program, and during my first television production class with Keith Terry, I switched gears from wanting to do radio broadcasting to television production.
What do you do as the video production coordinator?
I lead the broadcast and creative video teams, which includes student staff. I assign projects to them and assist with day-to-day videography projects and responsibilities. I identify stories that promote the UNK Athletics brand and cultivate fan engagement and affinity through effective storytelling. The fun part is the game day production of the video board and livestreaming at events.
I also post highlights and other clips to social media to promote games. There are a variety of other video projects I get tasked with, as well. We recently submitted one to the NCAA promoting our Loper Stars event in hopes of winning a Division II Award of Excellence for community outreach and engagement.
How do you help student workers develop their video skills?
Working with student workers can be a mixed bag; some have little to no video experience. So, a lot of training takes place early on to teach the basics of things like camera settings and broadcast terminology.
One thing that is great about UNK is the experiential learning, and I can be part of that. I give these students great responsibility and allow them to run the systems by themselves while I oversee them. The best way to learn production is to sometimes be thrown into the fire while I’m standing nearby with the fire extinguisher. I’ll give them honest and genuine feedback and allow them to bring their own perspectives of what we can do to constantly improve our game day production.
What’s the best part of your job?
I have a servant heart, so I enjoy working daily with our coaches, fans and especially the student-athletes to help tell their stories.
What do you love most about UNK?
It truly is one big family; everyone cares for each other. I owe a lot of my career success to professors like Keith Terry and Nita Unruh for pushing me to be my absolute best. Also, UNK is the perfect size where you can get a world-class education, meet new people every day and maintain friendships that will last a lifetime.
What hobbies do you have outside of work?
I enjoy any activities that my kids, Blakely, 7, and Emersen, 1, are doing. I also like exercising, especially running, reading, watching sports and playing video games. Many people probably see me running around the beautiful landmarks we have on campus.
Share a fun fact about yourself:
My youngest daughter was named by my firstborn, Blakely, after UNK volleyball player Emersen Cyza, her favorite volleyball player and an All-American. Her name was always being blasted throughout the sound system and Blakely loved the sound of the name.