16 traits that predict sportscasting success

It is said that sports broadcasting employers need to listen to someone for just 30 seconds to decide if they like that person’s work. Similarly, I can tell within a few minutes of conversation if the person to whom I am speaking is cut out for a career in sports broadcasting.


Here are 16 traits that foretell sportscasting success:

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Do you feel stuck in your sportscasting career?

When I worked at XTRA Sports 690 in San Diego in the mid-90s, I felt like my career was in neutral. I felt stuck. Years later, I realized I wasn’t stuck. I just didn’t want to leave my hometown.

Is your sportscasting career really stuck?


Many sportscasters think they have been in the same place for longer than they want because they are the victims of circumstance.
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4 wrong reasons to become a sportscaster

Do you want to become a sportscaster? It’s a wonderful profession. I spent 15 years on the air myself. If you are going to become a sports broadcaster, though, make sure you’re getting into the business for the right reasons.


Here are four of the wrong reasons to become a sportscaster:

1. You want to be rich

Folks who are already working in the industry know the idea of getting rich in sports broadcasting is laughable. In sports broadcasting, if you earn your age, you are doing alright. If you want to have a family, your spouse is probably going to have to work.
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The best way to tell your boss that you are leaving

The next time you resign from a sports broadcasting job, how are you going to do it?

You can burn a bridge or build a relationship.


Understand this fact about submitting a resignation that is unique to broadcasters: When you give your notice, expect that your boss might tell you that you are immediately off the air.

Some bosses are paranoid about a departing talent saying bad things about the station on the air. Sounds unreasonable, I know, but it happens.
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The first five into the Sports Broadcasting Instructors Hall of Fame

Sports Broadcasting Instructor Hall of FameIf there were a Hall of Fame for college teachers of sports broadcasting, the following five standouts would make up the inaugural class:

They are listed in alphabetical order by last name.

  • Tom Hedrick (Kansas; retired)
  • Ed Ingles (Pictured; Hofstra; deceased)
  • Bill Mercer (North Texas; retired)
  • John Nicholson (Syracuse; retired)
  • Bill Roth (Virginia Tech)

Big honorable mention goes to Dave Hunziker at Oklahoma State.

If you were mentored by one of these all-time greats, please let us know in the comments section below.

Who do you nominate for the mythical next class of inductees? Again, please comment below.

Beware of sportscasting fools gold

Many years ago, I was the first talent hire for a group that was going to start a national cable TV network devoted totally to football. It was before even the NFL Network, ESPNU or any of the conference networks.

This startup network had huge plans. I hosted a weekly radio segment for them for three years because they convinced me that my big payday was coming. They sold their vision so convincingly that my wife and I bought stock in the company and encouraged our family and friends to do the same.


Three years later, in August 2003, the channel finally went on the air. Four months after that, they ran out of money and were off the air forever. Many of the producers, directors and talent were never paid in full for their services.
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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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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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