FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Kickoff Broadcast Info, FIRST Updates Now, & Chairman's Award Feedback Forms

Jan 04, 2016 Written by Frank Merrick
Over the weekend I watched the final cut of the Kickoff broadcast that will be viewable on this Comcast web page on Saturday January 9th. I think it’s looking pretty good! For anyone interested in timing, the preliminary video material will start at 10:15 AM EST so you may verify connection/volume quality. The main portion of the broadcast will begin at 10:30 AM EST and will conclude with the reveal of the security code you’ll need to open the Game Manual file at about 11:10 AM EST. A short sponsor loop will then be played, and from about 11:15 AM EST to about 11:30 AM EST we will be playing the Field Tour Videos. The Field Tour Videos will be very helpful to you in understanding the details of the game field, and we strongly recommend you watch them, though they will be made available on our YouTube channel shortly after the Kickoff broadcast, so you don’t necessarily need to watch them immediately. Honestly, after you see this game, you may have a little trouble concentrating on those Field Tour Videos. But please watch them before you get too far in your strategy sessions.

The encrypted Game Manual will be available for you to download a few days before Kickoff, so all you’ll need to do is enter the security code you will learn at the end of the main portion of the broadcast to get going.


I’m going to be on Spotlight, a FIRST Updates Now production, at 8:30 PM EST Tuesday, January 5th. FIRST Updates Now is hosted by Tyler Olds from FRC Team 2826, Wave Robotics. You can tune in live or check out their their YouTube channel  to watch later. This is pretty much an AMA (hipsters tell me that stands for ‘Ask Me Anything’). While I’m willing to be asked any questions, I won’t be answering any questions dealing with confidential information, such as questions about the 2016 game. But most other questions are fine.

I really like these community-based webcasts. They’re a big part of FIRST Fandom and one of the reasons we have such a rich and engaging culture!

Chairman’s Award Feedback Forms

As we said before, written Chairman’s Feedback from Judges is returning this year. View the form we will be using. I want to thank our Hall of Fame team members, and especially Karthik Kanagasabapathy, for their help in reviewing and developing this form. I also want to thank our Chief Judge Advisors, Allen Bancroft and Cindy Stong, for finding a way to make this work, and Tim Huffman from our Volunteer Resources Department for coordinating the activity necessary for getting this in place.

As noted on the form, feedback is not automatic. It must be requested by the team at the start of the Chairman’s Award interview by handing in the form with Team Number and Name filled out. In prior years, when written feedback was completed on every team, Judges have reported several instances of teams not picking up their feedback forms at the end of events. While some of these instances may have been communications problems, there was a sense that some teams just weren’t interested in feedback, and this led to wasted effort on behalf of Judges who already had a great deal to get done in a very short time. I personally hope every team submitting for Chairman’s Award will want feedback this year, but to get it you will need to ask.

Only a few days until Kickoff! I’m totally pumped!


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How about "Any team wishing to receive a Judge’s Critique is responsible for filling out the top portion of this form and providing it to the Judges at the beginning of their Chairman’s Award interview"?

Good morning Frank.  I was just curious to know if there were plans to also stream the broadcast via NASA TV (as done historically), or if COMCAST is the sole provider. 

As a sponsor, we are proud to host the students at our facility each season for a team oriented kickoff.  However, I have learned recently that certain streaming sites are blocked by our IT organization (including the COMCAST stream).  While I have submitted a request to have this channel opened, I wanted to confirm if the NASA TV option would still be available to teams (just in case). 

Thanks to you, the support staff at FIRST HQ, and all the sponsors for their continued support of this STEM initiative!

Best regards,


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