(December 1, 2014) Managing a freelance sports broadcasting career is an art unto itself. Freelancing is not a career style that is right for everyone, but when persistence is applied to the right strategy, it provides the freedom for rewarding opportunities. STAA member Danny Reed worked his contact list and succeeded in landing fill-in basketball play-by-play assignments with ESPN3 and Georgia Southern.
While many STAA members achieve success through months of working the job market, it can take much longer to see your efforts come to fruition. In Reed’s case, success in picking up both play-by-play assignments is the result playing the long game—building relationships and staying in contact.
“I’ve been emailing the ESPN contacts off and on for about four years and up until this week, I had only ever done one game, which was back in Dec. 2012. I truly believe that polite persistence and timing are absolutely vital. Don’t beat down their door, but don’t be a stranger…make sure they remember you. You never know when it will pay off. ”
Years of patience and diligence paid off when Reed submitted a well-timed offer to help.
“For ESPN3, my two main contacts through ESPN Regional are Chris Farrow and Stos Hall. I emailed Chris over a month ago regarding the Charleston Classic to see if they needed any assistance. He said that Stos was in charge of the event so he forwarded him my interest. I never heard anything from either, so the other day I casually emailed Stos in regards to that prior contact. He said they were fully staffed for the Classic but may need someone to do the NC State men’s basketball game on the 28th. I said I was available and he gave me the assignment. Later in the day, he emailed again asking if I could also do the ECU men’s basketball game on the 30th since I’d already be in the area.”
In a similar fashion, the Georgia Southern fill-in games came to Reed by way of an established relationship.
“For the Georgia Southern fill-in, I’ve been good friends with their play-by-play voice Chris Blair since I started with The Citadel. We talk about once a week on average. I went to GSU’s Homecoming this year to see their new stadium and amenities and we talked a little bit. He knew about my situation and has always been supportive. A few weeks back he gave me a ring saying that he would be in Dallas for Learfield’s GM meetings in mid-December and asked if I could fill in for two men’s basketball games.”
It is easy for sportscasters to become discouraged by weeks or months of unsuccessful job hunting. However, Reed’s story demonstrates the importance of long-term dedication.
“The popular phrase is ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease.’ I’d also say it’s important to check the tire pressure and the lug nuts. Exhaust your contact list, ask for references and critiques but be respectful, be professional and be patient. If you are committed, it will pay off.”
(Visit Danny’s STAA Talent Page).