How do you handle the national anthem?

Not long ago, a minor league baseball broadcaster started working for a new team. For as long as anyone could remember, the team had traditionally broadcast the pre-game national anthem. The new broadcaster’s practice, though, had always been to break for commercials during the anthem.

The station left the decision up to him. He asked my advice. Here is what I replied…

I tend to side with you. I used to go to break during the anthem. Ultimately, it’s a small thing not worth rocking the boat over. Airing the anthem does not compromise the quality of your broadcast.

When I took my first job in McPherson, KS, I moved the daily school lunch menu and obituaries out of my news block. To me, coming from San Diego, including that info in the news block sounded small town/small market. I wanted my broadcasts to sound big time.

The kickback was immediate and loud. I quickly reverted to what my audience was used to.

Not airing the anthem after many years of doing so will tick off more of your audience than you expect. Besides, it’s never a mistake to err on the side of patriotism.

That brings me to some questions for you. What do you do with the national anthem on your broadcasts? What other factors should be considered when deciding whether to air then anthem in your pregame? I will be grateful if you will please leave your answers below. I promise to read all of them.