Advice for broadcasting a new sport

In the last three years, I’ve been fortunate enough to pick up play-by-play for three brand new sports (volleyball, soccer and distance running – a half-marathon). I used different approaches for all three.
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Going backward to move forward

I started my first play-by-play job 25 years ago this week, and it was a move I don’t think many would make.

I started in the broadcasting business at the ripe old age of 19, having been given the “reigns” of producing a five-hour sports talk show at WBNS-AM, in Columbus, Ohio. At that time, the station did not own the broadcast rights to Ohio State football and basketball games, so I was basically flying blind trying to keep the show afloat against our chief rival, which at that time DID own the OSU rights.
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Is national title game broadcast prep different than normal?

About this time a year ago, I was wondering if I would get the chance to ever to call another game, much less a national title game.

When my situation in Columbus, Ohio, changed, I went searching for work, and was fortunate enough to land a freelance job calling Division II Ashland University men’s and women’s basketball. It was not the “glamour” gig that I had calling Ohio State games, but it was a good way to stay alive and kicking in the business. (Maybe another blog sometime)
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Training camp for PBP voices

Football teams at all levels are either underway with their football seasons, or about to embark on them. It’s time for them to get ready for their football seasons, and it’s also time for broadcasters to prepare for their play-by-play assignments.

pbp training camp

While you won’t have to physically work as hard as the football players do in training camp, there is some pre-season work that can be done to sharpen the minds of play-by-play broadcasters. I have begun my play-by-play training camp by doing some housekeeping, assembling my tools, and getting some practice reps before the season begins.

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Making Contacts In A Sportscaster’s World

You hear it time and time again: sports broadcasting is a “who-you-know” business, much like any profession in life. I’m willing to bet if you asked most sportscasters how they got their gig, they would tell you a story about their connections.

making contacts

That leads me to believe that when asking the question “how do I get that job?” you should first start with the question “how do I make the contacts necessary to get that job?

Creating a network of contacts is an inexact science…much like dating. Hear me out.
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Becoming a more versatile PBP broadcaster

I have always thought that old dogs could be taught new tricks, just as well as new dogs. The key to training both is cultivating the desire within them to learn the new tricks.

Yours truly, a relatively old play-by-play dog, learned some new tricks and had a lot of fun doing so during the recently-ended broadcast season at Washington University in St. Louis.

versatile-pbp

In the 2014-15 broadcasting season at Wash-U, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to call more games in men’s and women’s soccer, in men’s baseball, and I was given the PBP assignment of women’s softball for the first time. It is a compliment to be entrusted with adding those sports to a PBP list that began as being limited exclusively to football and men’s and women’s basketball.
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Sportscasting advice for college seniors

It’s that time of the year. College seniors interested in Sports Broadcasting are either getting ready to graduate and head off to their first post-college job in the business or they’re still grinding and trying to find that first job.

college-seniors

Either way, it’s always nice to receive emails from young broadcasters who are nearing graduation and are hungry to make an impact in the business. Reaching out for advice/feedback is always a good start when getting ready to begin your career.

Five years ago (May 2010) I was getting ready to head off to Fayetteville, North Carolina (14 hours away) and start my first post-college gig. Hopefully this advice can play a small part in helping out others in the same position.
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The myth of a sportscasting career path

A lot of young broadcasters, including myself, always wonder: what’s the best path to success? That phrase sounds like the title of a book in the $0.99 bin at Hastings.

Fresh out of college in 2006, I was fortunate to have a gig calling play-by-play for a Division I school at Texas State University, but I was wondering what it would take to get to a bigger D-1 program, to become the voice of an NBA/NFL team or to start calling College Football for ESPN.

career-path-myth

So, I did as much reading and research as I could. How did X voice of the X’s get that job? Well, let’s see…X got his degree at X school, worked at this news station in rural Iowa, became a sports anchor at Corpus Christi, starting doing freelance reporting for Fox Sports Southwest, and after 4 years doing that, was hired by the X’s.

Got it. I guess I need to apply for that job in Iowa.
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