The Stanly County native trains his ears on the best in the NFL and beyond
Professionals looking to capture the sights and sounds of the sports world often find themselves in the thick of the action.
A Stanly County native makes a living capturing sounds in the highest levels of professional sports in this country and beyond.
Chandler Harkey, son of Kent and Edna Lipe-Harkey of Albemarle, works for TA Films as location sound director and sound editor. Harkey has covered many Super Bowls, including Super Bowl LVII between Philadelphia and Kansas City.
Harkey began freelancing with the company about nine years ago. He and his friend, Tyler Adams, started the company. His first NFL job came when he covered a Carolina Panthers summer camp in Spartanburg, South Carolina when Ron Rivera was the team’s head coach.
That fall, the Panthers were featured on the Amazon Prime Video show “All or Nothing,” produced by NFL Films.
“(NFL Films) asked me if I wanted to work that season, so I basically worked with the Panthers all season,” Harkey said.
A communications graduate of Appalachian State in 2006, Harkey began working with the Mountaineers’ communications department, creating videos for the school’s website. He later served as director of video operations for the athletic department.
Harkey later took a similar position at Auburn University, producing school TV and web content for soccer and men’s basketball from 2012 to 2014.
He said he knew at a young age that video productions was an area he wanted to work in. Harkey said she often used a VHS camcorder on family vacations like camping trips.
“This gives me a chance to use my technical mind and work with my hands while going to great places,” Harkey said. “It’s great to be able to work with different organizations…to be able to get paid to see a lot of stuff that fans have always wanted to see but don’t get the chance to see.”
Being a sound mixer, Harkey said he’s usually paired with a cameraman in the field.
“Sometimes, (the camera person) might not always be aware of the show…so I always have to keep my head on a swivel,” Harkey said.
Along with the Super Bowls, Harkey covered the Masters golf tournament five times and one NBA All-Star game. He has covered sports across the country and abroad in New Zealand, England and Albania.
In the final NFL season, Harkey stood on the sidelines at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York with snow falling as the Buffalo Bills hosted the Cincinnati Bengals in the playoffs. He also knows how to deal with the outdoors in his work having played games on the famous frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
“Even if you have a job to do and you prepare the best you can, you just layer up and go do it,” Harkey said. “Sometimes, it makes the result so much better by knowing the things you went through to do it… when you do it right, the picture is pretty stellar.”
One of the best parts about his job, he said, is that it’s never the same.
“It might be similar, but it’s a different city, a different feature or story, a different tactic, a different way of doing something,” he said.
Harkey said it was hard to pinpoint the most colorful and likeable people she’s worked with. However, he said, he enjoyed working on music videos for country music singer Luke Combs, as well as spending time with former Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly and tight end Greg Olson.
Combs “couldn’t have been nicer to work with,” she said, adding “he was so down to earth.”
Kuechly, she said, “always made it a point to go around and shake everyone’s hand at the end of the day and thank them.”
While it’s physically demanding work, including lugging heavy equipment everywhere, Harkey said the job is satisfying.
“When you can put all the pieces together and tell a story that changes people’s lives, it’s worth it.”
About Carlo Curcio
Charles Curcio was the sports editor of Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has also written for numerous news and article shops. He was awarded NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He also won an award from Boone Newspapers and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.
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