Screaming The Big Plays? Here’s How to Fix It

When I was the play-by-play voice for the old Anaheim Piranhas of the Arena Football League, I had a conversation with my dad. He said, “Jon, I listened to your broadcast last night.”

I prepared myself for a bunch of compliments and superlatives.

Instead, Pop blindsided me.

He said, “You scream on your touchdown calls.”
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How To Improve Your On-Camera Performance

My senior year at the Princeton of the Plains, Kansas State University, I took a storytelling class from a wonderful women named Charlotte McFarland. The purpose was to develop spontaneity and on camera performance.

The local cable TV station filmed our class doing our final storytelling performances of the semester. When I watched my segment air one week later, my first thought was, “You sure are a handsome guy Jon.” My second thought was, “Love the pink paisley shirt.” My third thought was, “Dude, you have no camera presence. You look nervous, you look scared, you look reserved and you’re mumbling.” So, I went about trying to fix those things.

I don’t know that I’ve improved much, but here are some top tips for improving your on camera performance.
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Sportscasting Career Advice: Always Arrive Early

When I was in my first job in McPherson, KS, I did football play-by-play for a small NAIA school, Bethany College. One October afternoon, the Swedes had a game up the road in Salina at Kansas Wesleyan. As was my habit, I arrived at the stadium two hours early. I liked taking my time to set-up my broadcast location, review my notes, record my pre-game coaches interview, then relax before going on the air. Today, though, was different.

When I plugged in my phone jack (yes – we broadcast using telephone land lines back in the day), I heard the last thing a broadcaster ever wants to hear in that situation.
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The Most Valuable Lesson I learned In My Sportscasting Career

One of the students in a sports broadcasting class I taught at Palomar College in San Diego was a kid named Jordan Carruth. Jordan stayed in touch after he graduated. He would call to ask how things were going and update me on his career. He would get me San Diego State basketball tickets through his job at a local radio station. He kept in contact.

Ten years after graduating, Jordan ended up coming to work for STAA.
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Tips for Marketing Your Sportscasting Job Application

calendar with date circled for follow up

An STAA member called me to vent about the job market. He’s been a small and mid-market sportscaster for more than a decade but has struggled to earn bigger opportunities. I asked him what he’s doing to follow-up his applications. His answer stunned me. In short, he said he doesn’t follow-up – that is ability should speak for itself and that he didn’t feel he should have to “brown nose” anyone for the sake of getting a job.

Wow! My jaw nearly cracked when it hit the floor.
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4 Ways To Instantly Increase Your Sports Talk Radio Ratings

On the day of the first time I presented the Jim Nantz Award at the National Sports Media Association Awards Banquet, I went for a swim in the hotel pool. It was two hours before the banquet started. When I emerged from the water, my eyes were on fire. I looked in the mirror and they were bloodshot from the chlorine. “My goodness,” I thought. “I’m attending this banquet for the first time and everybody is going to think I’m on something.”

I needed instant results.
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7 ‘sugar in the sauce’ Baseball Broadcasting Tips

It once came up in conversation with my friend Tom Boman that I was in charge of making dinner for my family that night. He said, “Oh, what are you making?” I replied, “Probably spaghetti. It’s usually that or some variation of chicken and rice.” He then offered a tip. “Add a little bit of sugar in the sauce,” he suggested.

I hadn’t thought of that. I added the sugar and the sauce was wonderful.

Here are seven “sugar in the sauce” tips for baseball broadcasters — things you maybe haven’t thought of yet.
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Networking with Sportscasters at the Next Level

A friend of mine is the best relationship builder I have met in sports broadcasting.

When CBS came to his town to telecast a PGA Tour event, he went to the production truck. Not only did he meet Jim Nantz, he also met one of the executive producers in charge of hiring talent.

When he visited a nearby big city, he introduced himself to the athletic director at a local university, and what do you know, he ended up getting play-by-play opportunities for the school.

When he wanted to meet the hiring executives at the Big 10 Network, he told them he was going to be in Chicago where they’re headquartered and asked if he could stop by. They said yes.

Here are some top tips for networking with sportscasters at the next level.
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Top Tips For Landing Your First Sportscasting Job

When I graduated from the Princeton of the Plains, Kansas State University, I thought I was going to immediately get a sportscasting job.

Nope.

It took seven months. I interviewed in person in Grand Island, NE and El Centro, CA and did a phone interview in Clay Center, KS. I finally got a job in the small town of McPherson, KS.

I wish I would have known then what I know now.
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9 Ways A Kiss Will Make Your Personal Website Rock

I had a mentor in college who lived in Nashville, TN named Bob Sanders. Bob was big in the Nashville entertainment industry. He introduced me to local sportscasters Hope Hines and Joe Fisher. He even introduced me to Barbara Mandrell. That was pretty cool.

Maybe the most important thing Bob taught me was KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.

Here are nine ways that a KISS will make your personal website rock.
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