Before They Were Educators: Gabe Nucci

The Olympic Games, the Super Bowl, the World Series. What do all of these have in common? They’re all events that Assistant Professor of Broadcasting Gabe Nucci has contributed to and thrived in.

Born in snowy Rochester, N.Y., Nucci spent most of his childhood in sunny Miami, Fla. An amateur musician from a young age, he aspired to work in the recording studio with professional musicians. However, after entering Florida State University and then transferring to the University of Maryland, Nucci found that his dream would have to be tweaked due to a shortage of good degree programs.

For that reason, he started studying radio in college, eventually transferring into the television industry and completing freelance work with the Canadian Broadcasting Company in Washington, D.C. during the first Gulf War. Nucci would graduate with a degree equivalent to a B.A. in Communications.

Fresh out of college, Nucci went to work for a company that did translations of training materials and ran the video department byhimself, requiring him to oversee the video production of foreign language training programs. He also found that he would grow as a person in the company.

“At one point I actually got to hire and manage someone in the video department but then had to fire them soon after,” said Nucci, recalling the bittersweet experience. “It was a learning experience in both management and task priority. I was in a small company, leading my own department, and was accountable to everyone around me. I learned so much.”

After leaving the small time company, Nucci became involved with a higher-end video editing facility in the early 90’s, which was driven by big time productions like The Discovery Channel and National Geographic. He would continue working as an editor up until 2000, after over a decade of national credits and achievements, when he decided to retire from editing.

“I was simply burned out. I had edited from the small time to the big time and had done it all. I was ready for a change,” reminisces Nucci, calling back on old memories.

Nucci moved to Boston, where he met his wife and worked local television, covering mostly local sports but also larger broadcasts such as games of the Boston Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins.

Nucci’s prowess as a video editor, technical manager, and television production engineer made him a sought after commodity and was soon working on broadcasts of the Indianapolis 500, the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece, and most recently the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

While he may have missed the simplicity of documentaries, Nucci found comfort in the big-time broadcasts.

On the contrasting natures of documentary work and live television: “When I was doing documentaries I would edit a piece and think it was complete, but then more changes were called for. To contrast that, live television is done when the night ends and no further changes are made. I liked that about live television.”

Nucci often found himself crawling under a truck in the rain during the Olympics or the Super Bowl and think back to eating sushi in a dry room editing some film for a documentary. However, sushi never made up for the experiences that those big-time broadcasts brought him.

“I got to see the world and meet many people who I now call my friends. I have visited every Canadian province and every U.S. state except Arkansas and Hawaii. I have also travelled to Latin America, Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, China,” said Nucci, lacking the amount of fingers to count the countries he has visited.

Despite the glitz and glamour of a broadcasting career that brought him many challenges, a marriage, and an Emmy for his work with NBC at the 2008 Olympics, Nucci heard the classroom calling.

“I had worked with Harris Broadcast and Sony Broadcast in the early 90’s as a trainer for the new equipment, so I did have some teaching experiences,” said Nucci, speaking about his arrival to Western in 2010.

Finding comfort in the mountains after many years in Boston was a relief for Nucci, who is also still learning the art of teaching in a university setting.

“I am always up front with students to let them know that I am still learning as a teacher. I have always kept my nose to grindstone and have had patience for my long-term goals. The same goes for my teaching career,” admits Nucci, who is still young in the teaching profession but remains a veteran in the world of broadcasting.

“I still freelance in the summer with my friends. That gives me good insight into the industry so that I can keep my students up-to-date about internships and experience opportunities.”

Some of Nucci’s students are currently applying with NBC to work on the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. If chosen, the students will be working on tasks such as logging sporting events or editing video for the Internet. In his relatively short time at Western, Nucci has found joy seeing his students thrive in the industry he once made a career out of.

“Some of the best times I’ve had so far is seeing my former students succeed and accomplish their goals,” said Nucci, imparting that he is always open to speak with his students and that making himself available to them is very important to him.

While Nucci may have decided that rolling around in the mud under production trucks is no longer his “thing,” Nucci has decided that prepping the new breed of video editors and production engineers for a competitive and thrilling industry like television is important to him. The possibility of a few Emmy invitations from former students doesn’t hurt either.