3 strategies for when you can’t see jersey numbers

Years ago, I broadcast a high school football game in the worst conditions imaginable for a broadcaster.

Dense, impossible-to-see-through fog.

At kickoff, the fog was hanging threateningly low over the field. By the second half, I couldn’t see fans sitting five rows in front of the press box, much less the field or even the sidelines.
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Three tips for play-by-play broadcast prep on short notice

When the Washington State University baseball team traveled to San Diego years ago, a family obligation prevented their broadcaster from making the trip. Two days before the series opener, I was asked to fill-in.

I was torn. A chance to do DI baseball was exhilarating. On the flip side, I worried about my ability to do my best with so little time to prepare.

Here are three tips for preparing for a play-by-play broadcast on short notice.
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Why are DII play-by-play jobs so hard to find?

Have you ever lost your car keys? You know they are somewhere in the house, yet you can’t find them.

Finding NCAA Division II play-by-play jobs can be similarly frustrating.

Aspiring NFL and major college play-by-play broadcasters often see DII as a step towards their goal. Finding those jobs, though, is hard.
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What’s better to wear on TV – coat and tie or polo?

In 2003, I was doing play-by-play and sideline reporting for a startup TV network called The Football Network. It was all football all the time, before the NFL Network.

The first several broadcasts we did we wore coats and ties. About a month later, management gave us polo shirts with the company logo and asked us to wear them for our next broadcast. Ironically, the game was in my hometown of San Diego.
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Don’t let this prompt you to change your broadcasting style

A college football broadcaster was in his second season with a new university. Message board trolls were complaining that he wasn’t enough of a homer on his broadcasts.

“The guy I replaced was not good with the fundamentals of play-by-play,” he said. “He was a big time homer who could complain about the officials and act like the game was a funeral if the team was losing. You could go 20 minutes without knowing the time and score, or even which teams were playing.”

School officials were pleased with the new broadcaster. Still he wondered, “Do I keep doing my thing and hope people get used to it, or should I be more clear that I root, root, root for the home team?”
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Doing this less will immediately make your broadcasts better

No good. No good. No good.

This is a phrase that many play-by-play broadcasters use repeatedly on a missed shot in basketball. “Over to” is another that you will often hear when the ball is passed between players.

pbp vocab

Varying your PBP vocabulary is important for all broadcasters. It makes for a more entertaining and intelligent broadcast.
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