NEP’s Trio no longer handles crewing for CSN events

Despite forthcoming lost revenue from the NHL players’ lockout, Trio Video’s first six months under ownership by mobile TV giant NEP has gone smoothly.

“It’s helped out a lot,” said Gary Meagher, who stayed on with Trio co-founder Jack Walsh to provide stability of management as vice presidents for Chicago’s longtime leading remote-truck production company.

“NEP is a large company with a lot of resources. We’re thrilled to be a part of it. They had a tremendous engineering infrastructure. When something goes wrong, parts are sent overnight. Before, we’d have to call manufacturers, and the parts might not be in stock.”

Greater access to financial and technical resources from Pittsburgh-based NEP were the immediate benefits for Trio, headquartered in Ukrainian Village.

“Our finances were extremely tight,” Meagher said. “We were always in a struggle for money. Just this week, we got a production truck assigned from them. We now have five regular H­D trucks and two support trucks.”

Biggest change in the operating structure of Trio since being integrated into NEP is the company no longer handles the crewing of the trucks on Comcast SportsNet events with camera operators and most technicians.

Lombard-based Program Productions now handles that personnel aspect.

“Now we’re just in the truck business,” said Meagher.

That’s plenty good for CSN Chicago’s top producer, Jim Corno, Jr.

“That’s a pretty labor-intensive task,” said Corno. “It’s worked out well for all three companies (including Program Productions). The crewing is especially labor-intensive at times of year, with the overlaps of all four teams (Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks) in town. It becomes a pretty massive undertaking.

“For them, being a part of NEP allowed them to focus on their specialty. Otherwise, everything’s the same.  From Day One, we were promised we’d get the same service, and we have. NEP is a great company.”

Meagher also is getting an advanced degree in handling the give-and-take of business conferences.

“We have a lot more meetings,” he said. “We were a group of a couple of dozen people, and joined a company with 800-plus people, as far away as Hawaii and England.  A sales group has to have meetings. But our responsibility to our clients is virtually the same.”

Other NEP brands are Supershooters, NCP, Denali and Sweetwater.

George Castle is a longtime Chicago-based sportswriter, author and radio talk-show host.