This is the hidden killer in the sportscasting job market

A hidden killer in the job market is attitude. A bad one regularly keeps talented sportscasters from getting great jobs.

frustration

I call attitude a hidden killer because most people aren’t aware that their frustrations are evident to employers.

Here are three quick examples I have seen over the years:
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This is the truest test of your play-by-play ability

storytelling

A frustrated young play-by-play broadcaster told me that his ability would shine through if only he were provided sufficient resources – statistics, biographical information on players, etc.

I told him that I couldn’t disagree with him more.

Standout athletes excel even under adverse circumstances. Talented play-by-play broadcasters do the same thing.

Working high school and other games where background information is unavailable will reveal your ability as a play-by-play broadcaster. If you are going to execute an engaging broadcast, you are going to have to rely upon the two most basic fundamentals: storytelling and description.

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Consider This Before Your Critics Get Under Your Skin

mobile phone

I couldn’t have worked in sports broadcasting today. My skin is too thin.

Even if 99% of the Internet comments about my talk show or my play-by-play were great, I would dwell on the 1% that wasn’t. I would dwell on it to the point that I would consider tweaking what I was doing to appease the 1%.

Big mistake. Don’t be me. Be realistic. Be mentally strong.
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Considering Family When Planning Your Next Career Move

When I was a senior in college, one of my sports broadcasting mentors told me to stay single as long as I could. He said the frequent moves and minimal pay weren’t conducive to a good marriage. He also said that marriage wasn’t conducive to a good sports broadcasting career. It can limit your freedom to go where the jobs are.

career and family

Planning your next career move is totally different when you are married, especially if you have kids. You are no longer making decisions unilaterally. You no longer have the freedom to go wherever you want. “What does this move do for my career” suddenly becomes a secondary consideration.

Married sports broadcasters have a totally new set of considerations:

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Off-the-Shelf Questions For Your Postgame Interviews

interview

When I was on ESPN Radio, I used to hate when my producer Jason McBride would pop into my headset and say, “We have so-and-so on from the baseball game. They just won 3-1.”

Great. What am I supposed to ask the guy? I didn’t see the game – I was on the air!

Tired of getting caught unprepared, I put together some standard, off-the-shelf questions. Most of them aren’t very insightful, but at least they can get the interview started. From there, you can spontaneously ask more thoughtful questions based upon the answers you receive.
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6 Common Cover Letter Mistakes

Each month, I probably read at least 30 cover letters from sportscasters looking for jobs.

cover-letter-mistakes

Here are a handful of common mistakes that people are making.

1. Copy and paste

Other than changing the name of the school, some people sent the exact same letter for MSU as they sent for Clemson.

2. Not stating your reason for interest

State in your opening paragraph what is it about that school that is attractive to you. Be sure to make it about them, not about you. Writing, “This would be a good opportunity for me because….” is hurting your letter, not helping.

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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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