- September 17, 2014
For Kevin Larson, the work, itself, always has been the reward.
Throughout a career in television that dates back to 1983, when he was a student at the University of Florida, Larson has had some pretty unique gigs. He was the news director for a local television station, directed commercials for a time and, later, did professional sports contract work with the Orlando Magic and the Tampa Bay Rays, among others.
Most recently, since 1996, he has worked on the digital graphics side within golf telecasts and, if anything, the travel was his reward — jetting off to Britain to work on-location for The Open or to Rio de Janeiro for last summer’s Olympics.
It was never about winning an award.
Still, when an award came earlier this year in the form of an Emmy for his role as part of the NBC/Golf Channel remote team covering golf at the Rio Games — well, that wasn’t too bad, either.
“It was really cool,” Larson said, adding the award is heavier than it looks on television. “This is the first time I’ve been on one of those (award-winning) crews, and so that’s a special feeling to know that I got there. It’s really cool, and it’s kind of embarrassing — all the fuss.”
Even before he learned he and the team he was a part of would be recognized with the industry’s highest honor, Larson — who lives in Ocoee with his wife, Brenda, and their two sons, Ben and Sam — felt the Rio experience was one of the high points of his career.
“It was awesome to be a part of that,” Larson said. “I had not been to that part of the world, and it was neat seeing all these athletes and seeing something that big come together.”
For Larson, one of the biggest thrills of the experience actually came while he was off the clock.
“I was waiting for a bus, and (Hall of Fame golfer) Gary Player walked up and waited at the bus stop with us and regaled us with stories for 45 minutes,” he said. “The things you would run into (in Rio) were just other-world.”
Larson, who works for Golf Channel on what he describes as a seasonal arrangement, in addition to other contract work, said he has focused on golf for the past two decades because of the challenge it creates. His work predominantly involves generating and updating the information one sees when a telecast cuts from one golfer to another — the golfer’s name, the par of the hole he is playing and the number of yards, among other information.
“Golf is particularly challenging, because there are 54 balls in play — there’s 18 ‘fields’ and it’s unique that way,” Larson said.
Larson presented the Emmy trophy as part of a show-and-tell at Foundation Academy, where his boys attend school. There, wide-eyed Lower School students had plenty of questions about what he did to earn the award — and how they, too, could one day work in television.
Perhaps that was the best part, after all.
“The kids think it’s the cat’s meow,” Larson said.