ESPN Crewing Supervisor Found Her Voice at WOUB

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Kim Kanner was first female to ever technical direct studio shows at the Super Bowl for ESPN


ATHENS, OH – When 33-year old Kim Kanner started volunteering at WOUB as a student in 2004, she wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do. She just knew she wanted to work on the production side of television.

“I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be a technical director or a director,” said Kanner. “But WOUB put me in a good position to try things out and learn.”

Kanner is now the crewing supervisor for the Remote Operations Department at ESPN and has been working at ESPN for 12 years. She oversees the staffing for five different sports: the NFL, MLB, college basketball, soccer and tennis. Her department won a 2018 Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Technical Team Remote for work they did at the U.S. Open.

Things have been challenging for Kanner and her team in recent months with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down sports. But she says they are working with the situation and adjusting.

“There were a lot of meetings and discussions over the past few months of how we would address and react to sports returning,” said Kanner. “We have always worked through the different sport seasons and the crews overlapping, but now we have even more of an overlap with everything trying to start up in the same season. Things continue to change daily and after a long three and a half months without sports, it’s exciting to see things starting to come back.”

Kanner believes that the freedom to try things out and take opportunities as they came at WOUB helped her find her voice and her direction.

“At WOUB, obviously you get that real-life experience. When I came in as a freshman, I jumped right in on Gridiron Glory and Newswatch,” said Kanner. “A batch of juniors and seniors were about to leave, and it put me in a spot to take advantage of opportunity. If I had not spoken up and said, ‘Give me a chance. I can do that,’ I would not be where I am today.”

Kanner’s confidence and willingness to learn and grow is what got her in the door at ESPN and promoted through the organization.

“A fellow former WOUBer gave my resumé reel to someone at ESPN. I came in as an operations technician. It was an entry level position working in the control room,” said Kanner. “Within the first nine months of being here, ESPN had a lot of turnover in technical directors. I would stay late, pick brains, read the manual and teach myself. I knew the basics from WOUB and my experience there, but I had to apply it to different equipment. The management team eventually took a chance on me.”

Before she knew it, Kanner was the first female to ever technical direct studio shows at the Super Bowl for ESPN.

“Early in my time at ESPN, I felt like I was one of the only women in the room. But that is changing, and I feel like the number of women in the sports television industry is growing,” said Kanner. “The opportunity is there for women, and it’s great to see.”

However, working in sports wasn’t something Kanner thought she would ever do.

“When I was at WOUB, I loved working on Newswatch. I loved the news. I was never a super die-hard sports fan,” said Kanner. “But when the opportunity to work sports came up at WOUB, I used that to my advantage. When I worked on news, I would get distracted because I was interested in the content. When I did sports, I wasn’t all that interested. So, I did my job well and was never distracted by the content on the screen.”

When big name athletes come to the ESPN studios for interviews, Kanner doesn’t get star struck. She is more in awe of the types of programs she’s been able to work on in her time at ESPN.

“I do get excited when I think about the places the job has taken me. I’ve worked numerous Super Bowls. It’s really been fun. The experience and connections I made at WOUB and Ohio University helped make it happen,” said Kanner. “No matter where you are, when you meet someone who worked at WOUB or went to Ohio University, you instantly connect. It’s a connection for life. You are all part of the WOUB/Ohio University family.”