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A fire alarm was to blame for 10 minutes of beeping noises that could be heard during Sportsnet’s remote call of the Toronto Blue Jays-St. Louis Cardinals radio broadcast over the weekend.

Blue Jays voice Ben Wagner, who describes the action by watching TV screens when the team is on the road, paused briefly when the alarm started before resuming his call.

“We had a fire alarm at the studio,” Jason Jackson, Rogers Sports & Media’s senior manager of communications, said Monday in an email.

“It was a false alarm — all is OK,” he added.

It wasn’t immediately clear why staffers in the studio area did not leave the building when the alarm sounded on Saturday afternoon. Sportsnet declined requests to interview Wagner and broadcast/operations managers.

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Sportsnet returned to pandemic-style remote radio coverage for road games this season. The L.A. Angels are the only other MLB team that doesn’t have a flagship radio crew on the road and instead uses a remote setup.

Sportsnet has not publicly stated why it pulled back on road radio coverage this year. Interview requests with network brass were declined last February when the network unveiled its 2023 broadcast plans.

The network’s television crews are on site at all 162 games: 81 at Rogers Centre and 81 on the road.

COVID-19 concerns and travel restrictions meant remote broadcasting was the reality for many TV and radio crews when sports returned in the early days of the pandemic. The difference was usually noticeable but viewers and listeners had to accept it given the unusual circumstances.

Like most team broadcasters, the Blue Jays’ radio crew resumed regular travel last season. Wagner started the 2022 campaign with remote calls for road games before travelling again for most of the second half.

Interruptions with feeds from the stadium, power outages, or in this case — a fire alarm — are some of the risks associated with using a remote setup instead of providing on-site coverage.

Wagner has called Blue Jays games since 2018. Broadcasts are heard across the country on 14 Sportsnet Radio Network affiliates, including the flagship Fan590 all-sports station.

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Sportsnet is part of Rogers Sports & Media, a subsidiary of Rogers Communications Inc. The Toronto-based telecom giant also owns the Blue Jays and Rogers Centre.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2023.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press


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