Top tips on applying for big-time play-by-play jobs

2016 will be the best year in the past ten for big-time play-by-play jobs. The Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers have all hired new broadcasters.

play-by-play jobs

Applications are already being accepting for the University of Kansas position being vacated by the retiring Bob Davis. Starting today and over the coming weeks, four more DI schools will be using STAA to receive applications for their radio jobs.

How do you put your best foot forward when applying for these positions?

I have posed that question to the directors of broadcasting of NFL, NBA, MLB and major college teams.

Here are their top tips for your demo, resume, cover letter, and more:

Note: You will see that broadcasting directors sometimes have different ideas about what they want. There is always more than one way to do things. Ultimately, do what seems right for you.


Less is more.
I don’t need an entire game. I also want to hear the analyst, not just the mechanics of the play-by-play guy. I want to hear more than just screaming on a touchdown. Don’t just show me great highlights. I also want to hear how you work the analyst into the broadcast.”

Don’t put music under your highlights.
I can’t hear your highlights. This isn’t a music video.

The smart thing is to give me as much as you can and give me variety – highlights, an interview and at least one inning of play-by-play.
If you want to send a whole game, that is fine. If you make it far enough into the process, I’ll eventually listen to it. Not having enough on your demo can hurt you. Having too much cannot. I don’t have to listen to all of it.

Don’t post large audio files on FTP sites.
I received some of those and the links had expired by the time I went to access them. (FYI — most FTP sites keep links active for a short time, usually between three and seven days. Also, SoundCloud doesn’t put an expiration on links)

If your demo and resume isn’t online, you’re not keeping up with changes in the market.


Your resume speaks for you.
Anything more than a one-page resume is ridiculous. It usually works against you. That much detail means you are fibbing somewhere, or else why have you had so many jobs?

I want to see what you’ve done, in chronological order.
I want to see your education. Non-sports stuff is unimportant. Tweak the resume to fit the job. I don’t need notable achievements, awards or press clippings. Those things are just someone’s opinion. I can get online and read blogs if I want the opinions of others.

Cover Letters

This is the biggest thing, and it happens almost in every case:
Everybody, almost to a person, in their intro letters and emails and phone calls, tells me they are the absolute right person for the job. People just assume we are looking for a guy to do x-number of games. We wanted somebody to be an ambassador for team, the face of the team in the market.

The cover letter is more valuable than the resume.
It is the first impression. I like the English language. It says something about you. Resumes are very basic. Cover letters are like someone walking in for an interview and seeing how they are dressed. It isn’t even so much content as, “are you personable?”

Additional Tips

If you call me, spend three seconds asking a question or two.
For example, “What are you and what are you not looking for?” Tell me what you are looking for. Why are you looking for that? What doesn’t work for you?” Try to learn a little bit about what’s going on.

Don’t have five different people call me [on your behalf].
It gets to be a bit much, especially when one is a guy someone did high school football with.

Recommendations need to be well-placed and need to be key recommendations.
Be smart with email and phone call recommendations. Make it a couple of well placed ones. Don’t offer five or six recommendations from people I have never heard of.

Your talent is going to get you to the next round.
It isn’t about who made a call for you — not in the first round (of cuts). Recommendations can help in later rounds.

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