Is your sportscasting resume carrying fluff?

Years ago I played a night of pickup basketball with Danny Ainge. He was the best player on the floor even though he had been retired for decades.

Unfortunately, just because I once played ball with Danny Ainge doesn’t make me an NBA-caliber player.

Many sportscasters regularly make that same kind of inference on their resume. Here’s the problem:
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Three traits universities value when hiring a play-by-play voice

A major college play-by-play job will open in most years.

Elite broadcasting ability is certainly a prerequisite for the positions. However, there are other personal and professional characteristics that universities look for when hiring the voice of their athletic program.

Three traits that universities value when hiring a play-by-play voice

Here are some of the intangibles that universities value when hiring a broadcaster:
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3 essential college classes for sportscasters

My sophomore year at Kansas State University (the Princeton of the Plains – Go Cats!), I enrolled in a fundamentals of acting class. A girl I liked had enrolled and I thought it would be an easy elective. The girl dumped me after one date and the class was much harder than I expected. Looking back, though, it was one of the most important classes I took at KSU.

3-college-classes for sportscasters

In college, it is easy to dismiss your electives and focus on the obvious classes that you are sure will help your future career as a sports broadcaster. However, there are a few classes you should not overlook. These classes may push you outside of your comfort zone, but the benefits will have a lasting impact on your sportscasting career.

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When having your play-by-play on SportsCenter is bad

I once received a call from a college senior who was interested in pursuing a play-by-play career. He told me his name and where he attended college. Then he was quick to add, “I am the guy who was on SportsCenter recently with my call of that dramatic game-winning play.”


Uhhh…dude. Don’t brag about it. You made SportsCenter’s Top 10 not because your call was good, but because you screamed so loud and so long that you sounded like a caricature of a sports broadcaster.

Screaming is not good play-by-play.
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Want your sportscasting to be noticed? Be Dan Cohen

dan cohenOne of my pet peeves in sports broadcasting is TV anchors doing a themed sportscast in an attempt to boost their careers by going viral on the Internet.

Yes, a sportscast featuring 30 famous movie references is clever and entertaining, but it’s also a cheap publicity grab.

Truly great sportscasters are clever and entertaining every time they turn on the mike.

This now brings me to Dan Cohen.

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Have you been lucky to experience this in sportscasting?

Do you remember the iconic video of Michael Jordan versus Portland in the NBA Finals? He couldn’t miss a shot. After drilling yet another bucket, he retreated to the defensive end of the floor with his palms up to the ceiling and a look of bemusement on his face as if to say, “This is amazing even by my standards. I can’t believe it either!”

MJ was in the zone.

As a sportscaster, have you ever been in the zone? What did it feel like?

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When you put your foot in your mouth like this, you lose

Last week, I wrote about the Number One Way to Blow a Telephone Job Interview. Today, I share more examples from employers about how NOT to nail the job interview.


When I was a kid, I used to receive a magazine called Highlights. If you are at least 30, you probably remember seeing it in the waiting room at your pediatrician’s office.

Highlights had a feature titled Goofus and Gallant. Goofus was always doing stuff the wrong way, Gallant was doing it the right way. Today’s “yes, this really happened” story is about Goofus and Gallant in the sports broadcasting job market. The examples come from another broadcasting executive.
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The number one way to blow a telephone job interview

Often, the best advice I share on the STAA blog is straight from sports broadcasting employers. In this case, it is about the telephone job interview.


The number one way to blow a phone interview is to not be prepared.

The following comments are from a minor league baseball executive who vented to me about his recent experience in filling a broadcasting position.
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Top tips for sports talk hosts to create inside sources

There is a sports talk host in San Diego who I love listening to because I know he is connected with the local teams. When he shares opinions, especially about the Padres, I love to read between the lines, knowing there is a good chance that what he is passing off as opinion or observation is actually information he got from an inside source.

photo credit: sandrafdzh via photopin cc
Make it a point to attend practice regularly
Photo credit: sandrafdzh via photopin cc

Most hosts don’t have such insight because most hosts don’t make the effort to develop inside contacts. It’s hard to do because it takes time that many hosts aren’t willing to invest.

Here are four top tips for building insider relationships with the teams that you cover:
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Want To Be A Great Sportscaster? Watch The Clock

“A big issue I’ve had is finding time to prep and critique my broadcasting. What tips do you have for streamlining prep work?” – An STAA Member


If you want to be good in radio, you have to prep one hour for each hour you are on the air. If you want to be great, the ratio should be two-to-one. This applies equally to play-by-play guys and talk show hosts.

But where do you find the time to be great?
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