Three traits universities value when hiring a play-by-play voice

This month, arguably the best major college play-by-play opening of the past six years will be posted on the STAA job forum.

Elite broadcasting ability will certainly be a prerequisite for the position. However, there are other personal and professional characteristics that universities look for when hiring the voice of their athletic program.

Three traits that universities value when hiring a play-by-play voice

Here are some of the intangibles that universities value when hiring a broadcaster:


You are going to be the face of the team on the air and in the community. Likability, approachability and an even keeled demeanor are important.

When you are out in public your mic is still “on” — even though you aren’t broadcasting over the air. You can’t be grumpy when a fan approaches you in the grocery store wanting to talk about the football team.

Other folks who have to like you include:

  • Coaches. Guys have been fired because they didn’t get along with a head coach.
  • Administrators. It’s always good to get along with the person who signs your check.
  • Boosters. They often carry more weight than even athletic directors.
  • Fans. As an ambassador of the program, you are going to be speaking at Lions and Kiwanis Clubs, schools, pep rallies and other community events.


This is much more about moral conduct and common sense than it is about age.

I’ve seen play-by-play guys get in trouble for being too honest about the home team, hanging out with players, not knowing their place on the airplane or bus, getting drunk in public, and conducting themselves in ways in which their wives would not approve.

Again, you are representing the university on and off the air.


Every minute that you are on the air or in the community, you are selling the athletic program. You are selling the program to advertisers, ticket-buyers, other fans and even recruits.

It’s easy to be enthusiastic about winning programs. Great play-by-play employees, though, make lesser programs sound fabulous.

Likeability, maturity and enthusiasm — what each of these traits come back to is trust. Can the university trust you to be a representative of the bigger picture? Make sure the answer is yes.

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