Beedon takes unusual path to Motor City Rockers

Roger Beedon was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 1986. He played collegiately at Ohio State, then professionally for the Port Huron Border Cats of the CoHL/UHL. Roger’s son Brady, though, preferred football, basketball and baseball. “It may have also helped that my mom liked the warm gyms and the lower price tag on other sports too,” Brady jokes.

The senior Beedon’s hockey influence wasn’t completely lost on his son, though. Brady is one of the two new play-by-play voices for the Motor City Rockers.

Beedon credits his father for letting him forge his own path. “All the credit in the world to my dad. He never tried to force hockey on me and supported whatever sport I was trying at the time. Despite the fact that I never played hockey, I always would go to games with my dad, basically from birth (pictured).”

The Rockers opportunity arose in quite a roundabout way. They planned on being an expansion team for the 2020-21 FPHL season. Beedon interviewed for the broadcasting position and was told the job was his. The team, though, never got off the ground that season. Fast forward to this year, where Beedon picks up the story.

“I am just a fan at a Port Huron Prowlers game — another team in the FPHL — and I am introduced to the ownership group looking to revive the Rockers brand and take over. I spoke to them about the possibility of being a part of their broadcast team. I also formally applied when the posting came to me in an STAA Jobs Leads+ email.”

After what Beedon calls “a pretty informal process,” he ended up as a part of the broadcast team alongside Ben Szilagy.

Beedon joined STAA after graduating from Wayne State in 2020. “I found STAA through sheer luck of Googling and searching for job openings right out of college. STAA was the only place that seemed to have legit, relevant job leads,” he recalls. “It has also helped me polish my craft through the group critiques that are offered.”

Like his dad, Beedon was a standout athlete — a former fullback at Wayne State University in Detroit. While Beedon is new to Rockers hockey, he isn’t new to sportscasting. He’s the analyst on Wayne State football broadcasts and a fill-in for volleyball and women’s basketball. He also broadcasts St Clair County Community College volleyball, men’s & women’s basketball and high school football, basketball, baseball, and softball.

“I like to have a diverse skill set,” Beedon explains. “I don’t want to pigeon hole myself into just one or two sports, so the opportunity to resume doing professional hockey, and one close to home, was one I wanted to jump on.

“I hope this is not the last job opportunity I find through STAA.”

5 tips to take your play-by-play from good to great

Play-by-play broadcasters all have access to information about fundamentals – time and score, ball location, etc. What sets apart great broadcasters is discovering and implementing advice that isn’t available to the masses. A great way to do that is to ask industry pros to critique your work.

Many sportscasters have shared with me critiques they have received from some of the top play-by-play broadcasters in the industry. Today, I want to share them with you.

Here are 5 tips to take your play-by-play from good to great:
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Graf and his camera going to KNDU in Washington

David Graf aspired for a radio sports broadcasting career until he picked up a TV camera. “It’s still weird seeing myself on camera, but I love being behind the camera. Shooting sports videos and sharing highlight-worthy plays on television and social media is an unbelievable feeling,” he says.

Graf will be doing much of that as he joins KNDU in Kennewick, WA as a sports anchor/reporter. It’s the perfect position for a sports fan who is joined at the hip with his camera.

Achieving a goal

KNDU/KNDO is owned by Cowles Media. It’s a company for which Graf has long wanted to work. “I developed a relationship with the recruiter there and made it a point to check in regularly with him. When I saw there was this opening, I immediately reached out to him and asked if he thought I would be a good fit. He told me I’d be an excellent fit in the Tri Cities. I quickly sent my materials to the News Director [Stephanie Ashley]. I received an interview and took things from there.

Graf moves to the Pacific Northwest after nearly two years at KCWY/KGWN in Casper, WY. He is a 2019 graduate of the University of Wyoming.

Graf joined STAA this year upon the recommendation of Iowa Cubs Broadcaster Alex Cohen, an STAA member since 2011. “The first time I heard about STAA was when I interviewed Alex for a podcast series,” Graf recalls. “He mentioned all of the benefits that he’d received from STAA. I checked out the website more when I was searching for my new job, and I figured the worst that could happen by being a member was that I got a new job out of it.”

Job market changes

Fortunately for Graf, his tongue-in-cheek “worst thing that could happen” unfolded. He got the KNDU job, but not before making critical changes in his job market approach. “The resume and cover letter critiques from [STAA] radically changed my job search,” he states. “The tips and pointers showed immediate results. There wasn’t a job that I applied for after making those tweaks that I didn’t at least receive an interview for.”

He adds, “The one thing that was especially helpful in my job search was being flexible. I was flexible with my reel, resume, cover letter, etc. You have to be willing to change and adapt what you’re sending out into the world to try and grab people’s attention.”

Now Graf is moving to Washington State, a place where he’s long wanted to live. “I have many close friends and family that live only a few hours away from me as opposed to being pretty isolated as I’ve been living in Wyoming for the last couple of years. I’m also excited to cover high school and college sports and Minor League Baseball.”

Accompanying Graf to those events will, of course, be his camera. “When I first picked up a camera to shoot video, I didn’t have much of a clue. But now, it feels strange to be at a sporting event without one.”

What to do when your season is over

The best coaches and trainers know that how an athlete spends their off season is vital to preparing for a successful next season. If you use the time off to binge Netflix and eat donuts, you’re going to have problems when preseason begins.

off season

As a broadcaster, how you spend the slowest part of your year will either motivate you to achieve bigger goals or perpetuate a cycle of stagnation.
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Is ego holding you back?

A sportscaster friend of mine shared with me something that has turned around his career: honest self-evaluation.

ego-warning

More than reading books. More than attending seminars. More than studying other sportscasters, honest self-evaluation has done more than anything to impact this guy’s career.
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Top 20 sports broadcasting schools

It’s been five years since we published our list of the top five sports broadcasting schools in the U.S. It’s been nine years since our initial Top 20 ranking in 2013.

It’s time to update the list.

The list of top sports broadcasting schools has remained largely the same over the past decade. There are some new additions, and some schools have risen or fallen slightly. Still, though, largely the same.

Excellence is rooted in consistency.

Traits of top sports broadcasting schools:

1. Quality instruction

The best instructors are those who are, or have been, sports broadcasters.

2. Campus radio and/or TV stations

Having a place to get reps is mandatory. A perk of Big 10, SEC and ACC schools is being in conferences whose TV networks provide professional-quality broadcast opportunities for students.

3. Alumni involvement

The best schools have alumni who return to campus to mentor, teach, and help graduates get jobs.

Read our 2017 ranking of the Top 5 sports broadcasting schools for more tips on what to look for when choosing a good one.

The Top 20 sports broadcasting schools:

  1. Syracuse
  2. Arizona State
  3. Ball State
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Virginia Tech
  6. Indiana
  7. Ohio U.
  8. Missouri
  9. Oklahoma State
  10. Maryland
  11. St. Cloud State
  12. Penn State
  13. Bradley
  14. Northwestern
  15. Kansas
  16. Miami
  17. Hofstra
  18. Florida
  19. Ohio State
  20. Fordham

Honorable Mention top sports broadcasting schools

Schools are listed in alphabetical order.

  1. Emerson
  2. Gonzaga
  3. Iowa
  4. Ithaca
  5. Michigan State
  6. NAU
  7. Oregon
  8. TCU
  9. Washington State

A special note about Big Ten, SEC and ACC schools

Schools in the Big Ten, SEC and ACC are worth an additional look, regardless of their placement on our lists. The reason, as mentioned at the top of this page, is because of the relationships they have with their respective conference broadcast networks. Each of the three conferences streams broadcasts produced entirely by students, including the on-air talent.

The games are in big-time settings and the production quality is high. Everyone steps their game up and it looks great on a demo reel.

Since the webcasts reflect the quality of each school’s sports broadcasting curriculum, these schools generally provide excellent classroom instruction.

Schools with a sports broadcasting, sports communications or sports media major

These schools take the education of sports broadcasters seriously enough that they’ve created majors, or at least sports media concentrations, that are more specialized than a general broadcasting major.

Schools are listed in alphabetical order.

  1. Arizona State
  2. Austin Peay
  3. Belhaven
  4. Clemson
  5. Evansville
  6. Indiana
  7. Ithaca
  8. Marist
  9. Marshall
  10. Morehouse
  11. Nebraska
  12. Newman
  13. Oklahoma State
  14. South Carolina
  15. South Dakota
  16. Southeastern Louisiana
  17. Syracuse
  18. TCU
  19. Texas
  20. Waynesburg
  21. Western Illinois

Two more factors to consider when choosing a sports broadcasting school

Geography

You can’t put a price on happiness. Choose to live someplace you are going to enjoy.

Cost

Not every school is going to be in everyone’s budget. Don’t sweat it, though. Read on . . .

You can launch a successful sports broadcasting career from anywhere. Though a ton of sportscasters have graduated from Syracuse, their number is far surpassed by sportscasters who went elsewhere.

Your success will depend upon the degree to which you take advantage of the opportunities provided to you. If you are at a school where the quality of instruction is less, seek outside mentors. If you aren’t getting the reps you want, create your own opportunities doing webcasts of local high school and small college games.

Success will depend most upon the opportunities you create for yourself beyond the school curriculum, having mentors to critique your work and what you do with the opportunities you are given.

The most successful sportscasters are the most invested — the most disciplined and hard working.

I’m glad to help

We’ve advised hundreds of students — and parents of students — about what colleges might be best for them.

Do you have questions or comments?  Please leave them below. I enjoy helping!

Jon Chelesnik,
Owner, STAA

How to create more time in your day

I don’t have time.

How often do you say that to yourself about building your sportscasting career?

create time

  • I’d love to assemble a fabulous application for that job, but I don’t have time.
  • I’d love to freshen up my demo but I don’t have time.
  • I’d love to write a great cover letter but I don’t have time.
  • I’d love to self-critique my work but I don’t have time.
  • I’d love to study other sportscasters but I don’t have time.

168 hours in a week is a lot. “I don’t have time” really means “this isn’t a high enough priority for me.”
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Want To Be A Great Sportscaster? Watch The Clock

“A big issue I’ve had is finding time to prep and critique my broadcasting. What tips do you have for streamlining prep work?” – An STAA Member

desk-watch-the-clock

If you want to be good in radio, you have to prep one hour for each hour you are on the air. If you want to be great, the ratio should be two-to-one. This applies equally to play-by-play guys and talk show hosts.

But where do you find the time to be great?
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10 Actionable Tips To Help You Reach Your Career Goals

If change is worth making, it is worth making right away. There’s no reason to save it for a New Year’s resolution.

2015-goals

Here are 10 actionable tips to help you reach your career goals.

1. Build your team

We all have people we lean on at important times in our lives. Think about who those people are in your life, then use them to help you with important career decisions. It’s likely that not all of your team members will be in the sports broadcasting industry. My team includes my wife, dad and sister, Melodie who is part of our team at STAA, and a couple of friends in broadcasting with whom I have grown close over the years. The people who know you best will keep you moving in the right direction.
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This Vince Lombardi Quote Can Turn Around Your Sportscasting Career

Vince Lombardi said, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of knowledge. It is a lack of will.”

I hear excuses every day from sportscasters trying to justify why they are stuck.

  • “I don’t have time for the extra things to stand out in the job market.”
  • “I don’t have time for extra prep.”
  • “I don’t have time to self-critique.”
  • “I don’t know anyone who can review my work.”
  • “I can’t meet people because of where I live.”
  • “I can’t afford to attend that conference.”

Anyone letting excuses stop them doesn’t want success badly enough.

Remember again the words of Lombardi, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of knowledge. It is a lack of will.”