Two years into my first job, at KNGL-KBBE in McPherson, KS, I thought I was ready for bigger and better things, so I set out to put together a sports broadcasting demo. As it turned out, I could have flown to Jupiter in less time than it took me to choose the audio that I thought was going to get me the job following the legendary Cawood Ledford as voice of the Kentucky Wildcats.
I must have spent more than 20 hours reviewing football and basketball tapes from the most recent seasons. I would choose segments based upon great action, no verbal stumbles, clever word choices, “signature phrases” (I don’t recommend them, by the way) and smooth delivery. By smooth delivery, I mean I never got so confused or fell so far behind the action that my delivery was punctuated with odd pauses while I was trying to figure things out.
As it turns out, most of those things weren’t the same things employers were listening for on my sports broadcasting demo. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized something important.
Employers want to hear the fundamentals of time and score, ball location and description.
They also like storytelling — why does this game matter and which players and coaches are most important. You know — plots, subplots and character development.
Here’s the key to choosing samples for your sportscasting demo: choose from your most recent work.
Like it or not, it is representative of where you are in your sports broadcasting development. You are either executing the fundamentals or you’re not, and that isn’t going to change no matter how much time you spend reviewing your work. Your time will be better spent flying to Jupiter.