It is becoming increasingly rare to find full-time work doing just play-by-play, TV anchoring and reporting or sports talk show hosting. You have to do more. If you can’t, or are unwilling, you will die.
These 9 skills will help keep you relevant in the sportscasting industry:
1. Social Media
It’s not enough to know how to post to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The content you share must be compelling.
2. Video Basics
Video is rapidly becoming the preferred way to consume online content. You’ll give yourself a huge edge in the job market if you can be comfortable on camera and learn how to frame, shoot and edit great content.
Atop your list should be learning how to do Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
3. Website Management & Coding
At the least, you’ll need to be able to upload and edit content on your employer’s website. In the bigger picture, you should have your own website featuring your demo and resume to employers. WordPress, Squarespace and Wix provide templates that make it fairly easy even for the tech unsavvy to build a website.
Learning basic HTML and CSS will also serve you well. There are plenty of websites that will teach you to code for free. Check this list for some of the best.
4. Media Relations
Creating press releases, game notes, recaps and stat packs is the largest part of most play-by-play jobs in minor league sports. Also for many NCAA Division II and III gigs.
Knowing audio and video editing software, graphic design and other programs gives you a large advantage in the sportscasting job market. Learn programs like Audio Vault, Audacity, Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, Audition, Final Cut Pro, News Edit, and Quark.
YouTube is a great place to learn and a quick Google search will turn up even more free tutorials.
The best way to show employers you know how to blog is to do it. Keeping a blog about your segment of the sportscasting industry showcases that skill to employers and increases your relevance in the business.
7. Basic Design Principles
Simply knowing how to film and edit a video or create a graphic in Illustrator won’t be enough to set you apart in today’s job market. Understanding basic design principles like balance, space, and color will help you create better videos, graphics for social media, and websites.
If you can sell, you’ll always have a job in sports broadcasting. The best place to learn how to sell is at the bookstore. Thousands of books about sales have been published but only the best make it into bookstores. (The challenge today is finding a book store). You can get a head start with these tips from a fellow sportscaster.
Shade cameras, run cameras, run replay, do graphics, etc. Having the knowledge of how positions in the truck/studio/control room work helps when you are in front of the camera. You understand the roles of your support team and how to make their jobs easier. And the crew respects you more when they know you’ve been behind the scenes with them.
The sportscasting industry is always changing. You must be, too.