MVP Sports Channel

A Week in the life of a sports broadcaster

So… you want to be a sports broadcaster. Everybody is a sports fan and have heard the guys on the web casts and radio and television and it is just not that hard, is it? You will probably have to start at the bottom and work your way up or maybe you only want to do local stuff and get your feet wet and see if you like it. I am here to help you with all of that.

First off you need to get a job. I don’t mean get a job in broadcasting I mean a real job, one that pays well and hopefully will give you a lot of time off to chase this “voice” thing. Because if you are getting into broadcasting to make a living, well, good luck to you. Get back to me and let me know how that turns out.

I made up my mind I was going to do radio when I was ten years old. Now being somewhat naïve I had no idea how to go about it, but I knew what I wanted. Not being much of an athlete, or any of one, I still managed to find my way around the events. I was a statistician, a manager, a gopher and anything else I could to be part of the action. I did this not with the broadcasting goal in mind, but because I loved it. I did not study the games that I now cover because I didn’t have to. I breathed basketball and football and baseball.

I did call in reports on basketball games for radio starting when I was a junior in high school. That was my first on air experience. I took journalism and writing courses in high school and majored in communications in college. I took the required testing and acquired an FCC permit along the way. You don’t even have to have one of those now. Think of it like working at McDonald’s these days. You do not have to have the ability to count, only to push buttons.

I got a part time job as a disc jockey while still in college and worked there as well as two other jobs until I got married. You could choose the music and ad lib and banter and inform just like a real person. These days one gets to baby sit a computer if you are even in the studio because everything is canned.

I stayed away from the broadcasting for ten years or so before I got pulled back in. I made some inquiries and was lucky enough to find a gig doing part time work in football. That led to full seasons in the three major high school sports of my generation. I have also covered track meets and cross country meets and soccer and softball. And thirty years later I am still at it. ESPN is not going to call and that’s okay. In a state of four and a half million people maybe a couple of hundred get to do what I do. I have covered all three schools in Pulaski County during my career. I spent seven years covering Somerset and then four out of five following Southwestern and the rest at Pulaski County. And as I told a coach a while back it is more fun to cover a winner but I get paid whether you win or not. If you want a cheerleader listen to someone else. I grew up listening to Cawood Ledford and Marty Brennaman. You knew who they were pulling for but professionalism came first and that is what I still try to accomplish.

Now it may sound easy, or not, that is for you to decide. Let me tell you how I go about it and seeing as how it is coming up let’s use football. My season starts in July at practice. I go a couple of times a week to learn personnel and check for new formations and talk to the head coach AND assistants. I ask a lot of questions, probably enough to be annoying. But when the season starts I know Pulaski County.

Once the games begin my week starts on Sunday afternoons with research on the upcoming opponent. I look at schedules and results and personnel. I will check online for newspaper accounts and info. On Monday I go to practice and get a feel for what PC is looking to accomplish and how. I check with coaches and get starters and more info on the opponent. I will watch the JV game if there is one local. I go home and type up line up sheets with names, numbers, heights, weights, and class for the opponents and update PC’s for changes and injuries, etc. If I have time I will get on the internet and watch film of previous games.

On Wednesdays I get together with Coach Hines and we will spend some time talking about the upcoming game and the district and such. Then we will do an interview for air before the game on Friday. I usually take Thursdays and recharge by either watching a freshman game or catching a college game on TV. On Fridays the media folks usually get together for lunch and discuss all of the local games for the week.

Game day for me usually begins around 2 pm with locating and checking equipment and spending a little down time thinking. If it is after 4:30 for a 7:30 kickoff and I am not at the field then something is amiss. After everything is set up I talk to coaches, players, administrators, other radio folks while trying to get my mind in the game. We generally go on the air a little before seven and the game is the easy part of my week if I’ve done my homework. You won’t hear me say number 22 of the opposition is doing a good job tonight. If I don’t know his name I haven’t done justice to the listeners and as I mentioned before you won’t hear me exclaim, “Run, Scotty, run,” on the air. Not my job. After the game I go home and enter the offensive stats into a computer program and send copies to coaches and media. I usually get finished around one o’clock.

Saturdays I take off and watch college football and then start the process over again.

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