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Up in the Sky: Humble masters the bird’s-eye view


Ryan Humble, who manages drone operations for ESPN, prepares for a drone shoot in Hawaii. During his senior year at NMSU, Humble interned at ESPN, which resulted in a full-time position after graduation.

You can describe the work ethic of Ryan Humble ’11 in one word initiative. Each step along the way, his can-do attitude has springboarded him from one career level to the next with various roles in media including film and video, editing and live sports broadcasting.

Humble is the eye in the sky managing drone operations for ESPN. He has developed and refined the use of the company’s 22-camera-equipped drones to create dazzling video flyovers for sporting events and other programs across Disney platforms.

“I have worked with ESPN and Disney for 11 years now,” Humble says. “I was an intern 12 years ago, and I worked in the studio and control room there. I worked on all of our studio shows and games and events in a lot of different roles throughout the studio operations group.”

Humble graduated with a degree in film from the Creative Media Institute. His internship with ESPN grew out of his work with AggieVision, which produces NMSU sports programming under the management of KRWG Public Media.

“I started with AggieVision when I was a sophomore at NMSU,” Humble says. “I started as a camera operator and then eventually was their technical director for basketball, football, baseball, softball, all the sports that AggieVision broadcasts.”

In his senior year at NMSU, Humble participated in an internship at ESPN. 

“It was not a ‘get the coffee’ type of internship,” he says. “You’re making live TV for millions of people to see so they want people with experience, who’ve gotten that experience throughout college.”

ESPN hired Humble shortly after graduation. Humble credits Glen Cerny, retired KRWG general manager, with forging those connections with ESPN.

“AggieVision and KRWG are proven degree-to-work pipelines,” says Adrian Velarde ’93, KRWG general manager. “Students regularly find jobs at local, regional and even national media organizations like ESPN and NBC News. The skills they acquire with us help open those doors.”

After working with ESPN for several years, Humble started experimenting with drone video on the weekends, acquiring the expertise to receive a commercial license. He now shares that expertise.

Humble was able to create a team to support different games on ESPN, events and other broadcasts at Walt Disney World and other Disney properties around the country. He sees a future welcoming college interns to learn the complex process of drone video operations, which are becoming increasingly more integral to many media companies.