(October 11, 2019) Pushing himself out of his comfort zone has helped lead Charlie Beattie to the biggest opportunity of his career: play-by-play broadcaster for University of Minnesota hockey on Fox Sports North.
Beattie is a St. Paul native and lifelong hockey fan. “It’s a sport I’ve loved since I was a kid, going to Gophers and North Stars games with my dad,” he grins.
Two fortuitous breaks led Beattie to his new job. The first came four years ago when Beattie’s boss put him in touch with a producer at Fox Sports North for an informal chat. “I wasn’t looking for a job at the time and I knew I wasn’t ready for anything they would have anyway, but it was great to get his feedback on the games I had been doing. I left that conversation with specific things to work on,” Beattie recalls.
That producer is still with FSN. When the University of Minnesota job opened, Beattie contacted him immediately. “We had traded maybe three emails in the years between that meeting and when I sent him my demo this summer, and seen each other maybe once, but he remembered me, knew what I had been up to in the interim. To his credit he got back to me right away.
“Who knows if that would have happened anyway, but it’s another example of getting to know people informally that has paid off for so many job-seekers,” says Beattie.
The second bit of serendipity that led Beattie to FSN occurred last March. Beattie was asked to fill-in on play-by-play less than 40 minutes before that start of a game at the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament. “I ended up with a broadcast I was really proud of out of an adverse scenario. That gave me some quality tape to send in when this job opened up in the summer.
“Without that series of breaks, I might not have even felt ready to submit my name for this.”
Building relationships with people like the FSN producer has not always been easy for Beattie. “I think it’s just my personality, to be honest,” he says. “I’ve always felt like I’m bothering people a little bit, and cold-calling strangers for me is a nightmare on par with public speaking.” He adds with a smile, “I still have to convince myself that play-by-play is not ACTUALLY public speaking.”
Beattie admits his hesitation to pick up the phone held him back earlier in his career. “It wasn’t until I started to fight through that hang-up that doors started to open for me. It’s never going to be second-nature, I’m sure, but it’s worth it, and it can make all the difference.”
Beattie is a sports broadcasting Renaissance man. His diverse resume includes coverage of football, basketball, baseball, hockey, lacrosse and soccer from high school to the pros. He has also contributed to broadcasts of the Masters, NFL and the Winter Olympics.
It is only in recent years that Beattie realized his favorite sport to cover is the one played on ice. “I had a lot of years where I wasn’t sure where to focus because I saw value in being versatile (still do) and I loved calling everything,” he says. “It took the last few years to realize that not only did the pace and energy of hockey suit my style, but it was also the only sport that, during the offseason, I couldn’t live without.”
Since coming to that realization, Beattie has jumped on every hockey opportunity he could get, even sideline reporting — something he had never done before — at the Minnesota High School Tournament last March.
Beattie is one of STAA’s longest-tenured members, having joined nearly 11 years ago. “In addition to the resources on the site, which are incredible, I think it’s the connectivity factor [that keeps me a member],” he says. “It’s easy to feel isolated in this business. STAA is a great way to stay in touch with this unique world of ours. Even when I was looking through jobs that maybe weren’t right for me, or applying for jobs I found on the site and maybe didn’t get, it was comforting to know that there is work out there, and something would come along eventually.”
That something is an FSN opportunity that fits perfectly in this stage of Beattie’s life. “I grew up here, love living here, and have great friends here. My wife is from here, and she has her dream job in the Twin Cities — she actually works at the University of Minnesota. Beyond that, my parents, sisters, and in-laws all live in Minnesota.”
It was family considerations that ultimately prompted Beattie to overcome his discomfort and call his FSN contact. “To be able to work here calling games for a storied hockey school and keep my three-year-old son close to his entire family, that will make anyone pick up the phone,” Beattie smiles.