My Unique Opportunity To Right A Wrong

Joe Fisher, voice of the Commodores
Joe Fisher

Sometimes life offers cool second chances. One of them came for me this week.

In 1989, during my senior year at K-State (The Princeton of the Plains, you know), I spent spring break in Nashville, TN. A mentor had offered to introduce me to several people in the local sports broadcasting industry. One of them was a TV sportscaster named Joe Fisher.

Joe was awesome. He welcomed me to the station, showed me around, and visited with me in his office. He shared advice and patiently answered my questions. He even offered to critique my play-by-play, so I sent him a tape after I returned to school and he gave me a thorough evaluation. I still have his notes. (I was stunned that he didn’t think I was ready to be the voice of the Lakers). In fact, one tip that he offered is something I’ve shared with hundreds of basketball broadcasters since: be clear about which team has the ball.

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18 Things I Wish I Had Known At 22

An aging pro athlete once said, “Now that I’m old enough to know everything, I’m too old to use it.” Here are some things I have learned over the years that younger readers might still be able to use:

  1. You don’t know what you don’t know.
  2. Networking is the fastest way to build a career.
  3. Be clear about which team has the ball on a play-by-play broadcast.
  4. Good play-by-play is a story, not a narrative.
  5. The same people you meet on the way up are the same ones you’ll see on the way down.
  6. Employers notice attention to detail.
  7. Team players generally go farther, faster.
  8. What’s good for my station is also good for me.
  9. Landing a full-time radio sportscasting job in a major market is HARD.
  10. Play-by-play is largely a part-time industry.
  11. Entry-level sportscasting jobs really DO pay as little as my mentors had warned me.
  12. I thought I knew everything, but I really knew nothing.
  13. Programming small market stations is vastly different than programming in large markets.
  14. Hot chicks weren’t attracted to my $18,000 a year salary.
  15. Being Howard Stern in McPherson, KS ticks off the local listeners.
  16. Winning in the job market requires following up your applications.
  17. Talent alone is not enough for making it to sports broadcasting’s big time.
  18. You’ll forget the frustrations of your first job and one day remember only the great stuff!

What do you wish you’d known at 22? Please leave your answer in the comments section below.

5 Bonus Basketball Play-by-Play Tips To Help Make You A Star

Once you have the seven fundamentals of basketball play-by-play down cold, these five bonus tips will help make you a star!

1. Be clear about which team has the ball

This is the most common mistake in basketball play-by-play. There are a lot of changes of possession in basketball. You can’t count on all of your listeners knowing which team has it based only upon the names of the players.

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7 Great Basketball Play-by-Play Tips

Basketball play-by-play isn’t rocket science. Broadcasting the sport is often easier than playing it.

With these seven simple tips, providing all-star caliber basketball play-by-play will be even easier.

1. Time and Score

New listeners don’t want to wait. Give it at least every 90 seconds. Pick an end of the floor and give the time and score every time the ball goes to that end. Or do it every time your team takes possession.

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7 Personality Traits of Sportscasters Who Go Far

clipboard with an empty career personality test page

Watching my wife has shaped parts of my personality. For example, my wife is always patient and calm when talking to a customer service person, no matter how frustrated she might be.

My wife is inquisitive. When she wants to know the answer to something, she doesn’t just wonder about it. She looks it up in the moment.

Patience and inquisitiveness are traits I’ve learned from my wife.

There are also common personality traits of sports broadcasters who go far in the industry.

Here are seven of them.

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This Vince Lombardi Quote Can Turn Around Your Sportscasting Career

Vince Lombardi said, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of knowledge. It is a lack of will.”

I hear excuses every day from sportscasters trying to justify why they are stuck.

  • “I don’t have time for the extra things to stand out in the job market.”
  • “I don’t have time for extra prep.”
  • “I don’t have time to self-critique.”
  • “I don’t know anyone who can review my work.”
  • “I can’t meet people because of where I live.”
  • “I can’t afford to attend that conference.”

Anyone letting excuses stop them doesn’t want success badly enough.

Remember again the words of Lombardi, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of knowledge. It is a lack of will.”

How To Apply The Classic Personal Growth Book “Think And Grow Rich” To Your Sportscasting Career

Jim Rome once said on his radio show that his dad made him read Napoleon Hill’s classic personal growth book “Think and Grow Rich.” Rome said every dad made his kid read it.

I thought to myself, “Not every dad, because I’ve never even heard of the book!”

Still, I figured if Rome read the book and he’s doing okay, then I would read it, too.Read More