With the cancellation or postponement of games, sportscasters nationwide are being challenged economically and emotionally for the foreseeable future because they’re losing opportunities to do what they love in covering sports.
As we all begin to grapple with the impact of COVID-19 in our lives, we invited members of the sports broadcasting community to share stories, feelings, frustrations, and strategies for staying positive.
The result was an encouraging 2-hour conversation with sportscasters from around the country. In this post we’re sharing some of the key takeaways, plus the audio and video replay of the community chat.
Help For Those Who Work in Sports Broadcasting
Sportscaster David Saltzman is organizing a GoFundMe fundraiser to support sports broadcasters in need. Contribute or find out more here.
When discussion turned to addressing the challenges of unexpected free time and producing content in a world with no athletic events, the consensus was to treat this time as an opportunity.
“I think this is the time where you do truly test yourself as an entertainer if you’re a talk show host, and that was a lot of what we did today. I had Armen Williams tell me recently, who is a PD in Houston, that the best sports talk shows are a sitcom,” KMAN Sports Director John Kurtz explained. “Everybody has their role and you’re able to be entertaining no matter what the content is and that’s really the attitude I tried to take into what we did today, and what we’re going to do moving forward. It’s all uncharted territory.”
KCRG-TV9’s Aaron Scheinblum issued a call to action for all sportscasters, industry veterans and college students alike, “This is our responsibility now, all of us can be storytellers.”
“This is an incredible opportunity for us in the sports world to tell a story, and there are so many ways you can attack it. It could be something as simple as a Little League team that can’t practice right now. It can be something like an umpire that doesn’t know what they’re going to do. There are so many ways to tell a news story in a sports lens,” Scheinblum said.
Here are some suggestions from the conference for staying productive and positive, and ideas for content creation in the coming months.
Ideas for staying productive
- Self-critique past work
- Trade tapes with friends for critiques
- Study other broadcasters
- Practice by using online video
- Work on your demo
- Mail thank you cards to folks who have helped you professionally and personally
- Develop skills like multi-media journalism, digital content creation, media relations, press release writing, etc
- Earn money by substitute teaching. The barriers for entry are quite low in many states
- Earn money assisting in media relations for police and sheriff’s departments, chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus and other offices. Your journalism skills are transferable.
Ideas for content creation & staying healthy
- Produce digital content featuring local athletes, coaches, referees, etc who are now sidelined
- Seek motivation daily from sources like books, podcasts, YouTube and blogs
- Join Toastmasters to hone your speaking and storytelling skills.
- Work on your health. Diet and exercise.