Producing Success: Briana Carr's Rise in Television Production
The production of a successful live television show takes a lot of preparation and planning before the cameras can start rolling. As the pregame, postgame, and halftime producer for the Utah Jazz NBA team in Salt Lake City, Briana C. Carr (BA ’12) makes it look like a breeze, but landing her dream job wasn’t as easy as you’d think. Growing up in the small farm town of Weiser, Idaho, Carr knew from a young age that she had big dreams for the future. “I just grew up being a big fish in a little sea,” she says. “I really think the go-getter in me came from my mom just telling me to never be too good for anyone or any job and just put it all out there,” she says.
Once at BYU, Carr was accepted to the Communications program and continued working towards her ideal sports producer job. Carr’s efforts began to pay off when she landed an incredible internship in New York. “I just remember having a very surreal moment when I got a call from one of my professors telling me I got in,” she says. “He said, ‘You didn't just get in anywhere, you're one of two BYU students who have been accepted as an intern for Dateline NBC.’”
Although not directly related to her preferred field of sports news, working with Dateline turned out to be a valuable experience for Carr. While there, she had the opportunity to work on several big stories including the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton as well as the death of Osama Bin Laden. Some of the stories she worked on were shocking and difficult to process, but Carr didn’t let that stop her from doing her job the best she could. “It's not easy,” she says. “Sometimes you see things that you don't want to see, but it's your job to convey what's truly going on in the world for what you're in charge of.”
Upon returning to Provo, Carr promptly emailed the vice president of Jazz Broadcasting, Travis Henderson, asking if she could job shadow him. He informed her that while they didn’t accept interns, she was welcome to come to some games and watch him work. “Soon enough, I was driving up to Salt Lake from Provo and going to Jazz games and sitting in the television production truck, either watching him and job shadowing him or he'd put me to work,” Carr says. “I'd be a runner when ESPN or TNT would come into town. . . I got to meet Reggie Miller and Cheryl Miller and lots of big names in basketball.”
Carr’s persistence paid off, and she was able to get her foot in the door and make some important connections that would later lead her to her first big job as a production assistant for FOX Sports in Los Angeles, California. Although Carr learned a lot from her time at Dateline, she knows sports news is where she belongs. Producing shows for sports is stressful and fast-paced, but Carr is grateful for the atmosphere that’s generally lighter in comparison with breaking news. “Even if you lose, people are still alive and it's still just a sport,” she says. “Sometimes when you're in news, it can get really depressing when you heart-breaking news every day and it's always that. Sports is definitely a lot easier in that sense.”
After her time at FOX Sports, Carr’s career continued to advance when she became the senior morning producer for Idaho’s KTVB in March 2013 and then for Utah’s KSL in June 2015. The experiences and connections that had helped form her career to this point led her to her dream job with the Utah Jazz. She received a call from Jeremy Castro, head of Jazz Productions, one day while working at KSL. “He says, ‘Hey, we just lost our pregame, postgame, and half-time producer and your name is at the top of the list. Everybody wants you here, so let's make it happen.’ In a matter of a week, we made it happen. I was putting in my two-week resignation for KSL and moving across the street to the Vivint Smart Home Arena. It’s just felt like home ever since because it felt like this is where I was meant to be all along.”
Although Carr feels at home with her job at Jazz Productions, she still reflects back to her time at BYU and the influence it has on her family and career.
“I’m understanding now that BYU prepared me to be a go-getter, but it also prepared me to put God and family first. It instilled those moral values that have been crucial so many times at various moments while I’ve been working.”
Carr’s biggest hope is that more and more BYU alumni will become part of the television industry, making their voices heard and influencing the world for the better. “We need people in this industry,” she says. “We need people in news. We need people in sports. We need other alumni in those areas because we do make a difference.”