Jobs for the Games 

Olympic Broadcasting Services hiring 2,000 people, 50 in Whistler

Looking for a job during the Olympics, but not sure you have enough experience? Not to worry, because the Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) wants to hear from you.

The Vancouver division of OBS will be holding a job fair at MY Millennium Place tonight (Aug. 7) for people to check out the positions waiting to be filled between January 2010 and March 2010.

Those jobs include audio assistants, camera assistants, drivers and commentary systems operators, and OBS is looking to hire 30 people for those positions in Whistler.

How much experience do you need? Not much, according to Nalini McIntosh, head of human resources for Olympic Broadcasting Services Vancouver.

“We have a variety of jobs, we have everything from a venue technical manager to a driver that’s required,” she said in an interview with Pique . “We’re looking to hire as many local people as we can to fill those positions. I mean, having the local people is ideal because you folks understand and know Whistler very well.”

Television coverage of the Olympic Games is extraordinarily difficult without OBS. Individual media outlets, networks and other providers don’t install their own cameras and crews at Olympic events, but have the OBS do it for them.

Their “unbiased” coverage of the Games is then transmitted to rights holders such as CTV, Canada’s official Olympic broadcaster for the 2010 Games, and NBC, which will broadcast the games in the United States. Media rights holders are provided with facilities and services at Olympic venues, as well as broadcast centres in Whistler and Vancouver.

It’s at those centres where the magic happens — media outlets receive OBS footage and are permitted to “edit and do with it what they may,” according to McIntosh.

“It’s always been done that way,” she said. “They take the feed and they do with it what they may in terms of highlighting their athletes and they provide their own commentary, and they do their own features and such.”

Becoming a rights holder is an expensive process — CTV, along with Rogers Communications, has won the rights to be Canada’s official Olympic broadcaster for the 2010 Olympic Games. It is thus the only one that will receive OBS services.

CTV acquired the rights in a bidding war that saw them shell out a total $153 million for the 2010 and 2012 broadcasts — $90 million for the 2010 Games alone.

There will be two central broadcast centres during the Games, the Whistler Broadcast and Press Centre, which will be located at the Telus Conference Centre, and the Main Media Centre in Vancouver, which will be located in the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre and house the International Broadcast Centre (IBC).

The IBC will be a “city of its own” according to McIntosh, who said OBSV is expecting 10,000 media to be working there during the Games.

“There’s retail facilities there for them to eat, there’ll be a small medical clinic from my understanding,” she said. “Then there’ll be probably laundry, drycleaning facilities, and then there’s also, which is the most important part, their master control room for the television production, and it gives them the ability to edit and cut and feed whatever it is that they want.”

Staffing these facilities is the task at hand for OBSV. The organization is looking to hire a total 2,000 people, who will then be split between all the different venues, as well as the IBC and the Whistler Broadcast and Press Centre.

McIntosh said OBSV has closed in on 20 people in Whistler, but is still looking for 30 more. All positions are paid at “competitive” salaries, though she isn’t yet sure of the range. She encourages anyone with a good work record in the Whistler area to apply for them.

“You’re so service-oriented here in Whistler so we know that most of the candidates we have talked to have been coming with really strong service backgrounds and that’s what we’re looking for,” McIntosh said.

“People that are mature, have lots of energy, you know, are excited about the Games coming.”

The job fair takes place from noon to 3 p.m. at MY Millennium Place. Job postings are also available at www.obsv.ca.

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