5 tips to ensure you are welcome in the locker room

When I was covering San Diego Chargers and San Diego State Aztecs football in the early 90s, I would escort a female reporter friend of mine into the locker rooms. She would hold my elbow, keep her head down, and ask me to lead her to the players she wanted to talk to. Whether it was for religious or personal beliefs, this was part of her locker room etiquette.

locker room

For the most part, the etiquette inside the locker room is the same as on the outside.Read More

Why getting fired can be great for your career

In 2003, wild fires raged throughout much of where I live in Southern California. I’ll always remember flying into the airport and seeing thousands of acres of red-orange flames and billowing black smoke stretching its fingers upwards toward the airplane. The land looked hopeless, like nothing would ever grow there again.

getting fired

Today, that same ground is full of young, strong, beautiful pine trees, colorful wildflowers and sagebrush. The land flourished following disaster.

Getting fired in sports broadcasting can be similar. I have seen countless broadcasters build their careers upon getting fired – always taking a step forward after what looked like a step back. Never despair if you lose your job.
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Good tips for great sideline reporting

Sideline reporters do not easily impress me. Many of them don’t provide anything that the guys in the booth can’t provide.

sideline reporting

However, two radio sideline reporters have stood out to me over the years for their ability to offer insights that can’t come from the booth – Jordan Moore at USC and Matt Walters of Kansas State. (Full disclosure – Matt has been a friend of mine for 26 years).

I spoke to Jordan and Matt about how they approach their jobs in a way that distinguishes themselves. They agree that they are responsible for bringing two things to the table.
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More proof of the virtues of major market employment

Imagine yourself getting a play-by-play job at the highest level of minor league baseball or hockey (Triple A and the AHL) without any experience broadcasting either sport. That is what happened when Craig Elsten was hired in 2015 as the voice of the AHL’s San Diego Gulls.

And you know what? Craig earned and deserved it.

san diego skyline

Full disclosure – I have known Craig since early in my own career, when he was an intern when I worked at XTRA Sports 690 in San Diego. Although he had never broadcast hockey, he had called football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. He has been a sports update anchor, reporter and talk show host. And he has done radio and TV.

And you know what else? After moving to San Diego for college, Craig never left.
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You might be closer to your sportscasting goals than you think

goalsRecently, I was asked if there was ever a point in my sports broadcasting career when I doubted myself.

Of course there was! Doesn’t every sportscaster experience that at least once? It wasn’t my ability I started to doubt as much as it was the chance that I was ever going to get where I wanted to go.

My goal was to go as far as I could in sports broadcasting. I didn’t care if it was play-by-play or sports talk show hosting. At the time I experienced my self-doubt in 1999, I had considerable experience in both.
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Veteran sportscasters: evolve or die

peyton-manningPeyton Manning played 17 seasons in the NFL. At age 39, he had to work even harder than when he was 29 just to stay in the league. No detail was too small for Manning to overlook.

Experience didn’t guarantee him employment.

As a veteran sportscaster, you have to take the Peyton Manning approach to your sportscasting career.

Having considerable experience doesn’t mean you no longer have to work hard in the job market.
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16 traits that predict sportscasting success

It is said that sports broadcasting employers need to listen to someone for just 30 seconds to decide if they like that person’s work. Similarly, I can tell within a few minutes of conversation if the person to whom I am speaking is cut out for a career in sports broadcasting.


Here are 16 traits that foretell sportscasting success:

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How to make the most of 3 job market frustrations

Anyone who has applied for sports broadcasting jobs has experienced some degree of frustration.

If it makes you feel any better, the things that annoy you are annoying to other people as well.

job market frustrations

Here are three common job market frustrations (and how to make the best of them):Read More

What divides great PBP voices from good ones?

Is your play-by-play career stuck on the 9th floor of a 10-story building? Maybe you aspire to a major college play-by-play job but you’ve plateaued at Division I-AA. Or maybe you’ve been in minor league baseball for 10 years yet never even interviewed for a Major League job.

nba energy

Your play-by-play might be missing the one thing that distinguishes the great voices from the very good ones:

NBA energy.
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The most memorable day in my sportscasting career

Photo by LobShots
Photo by LobShots

When Jeanne Zelasko called me one morning in October 1993, I felt like my big break had finally arrived.

Three months earlier, I had moved back to my hometown of San Diego after three years of entry-level radio in McPherson, KS. For the final two of those three years, I had been trying unsuccessfully to get on board at San Diego’s XTRA Sports 690 – just the second all-sports station in the country at that time.

Finally, I decided if I was going to get a job in San Diego, I had to live in San Diego. So I moved west, introduced myself to station PD Howard Freedman, and told him I was interested in future opportunities.
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