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Opinion

Sports broadcasting provides career opportunities for undecided students

Brandon Jones

Published September 26th, 2013

Preparing for a broadcast can be as hard or as simple as you make it.

As a member of the sports broadcasting team for the campus radio station, WRFW, I am part of a team that does its best to broadcast as many sporting events each year as possible, while finding a steady balance between the number of men’s and women’s sports presented.

When I know that I’m broadcasting a game, an excitement level hardly describable comes upon me. I prepare my notes, find statistics, interview coaches and learn the proper pronunciation of names. These are just a few of the things that go into a successful sports broadcast. I once heard someone say that in order to succeed, you must first fail. This rings true when it comes to broadcasting sporting events.

Something I had to learn very quickly was that you have to operate under the assumption that everyone is depending upon you to tell them the ebb and flow of a game. Being as descriptive as possible in order to tell where a play on the field is happening or pinpoint where that 20 foot jump shot was taken from. I struggled to grasp these concepts as I was getting my broadcasting feet underneath me.

Now I can admit that these are still things that I struggle with. Not all of this comes easy to me, nor should it. This is a career and a profession which takes an incredible amount of work and passion to succeed. You get what you put you into it.

Take for example, Chris Liermann, the sports director for WRFW. A man who spends countless hours a week preparing broadcasts, organizing schedules, conducting interviews and then broadcasting games. His broadcasts are exceptional because of the time and effort that he puts into it.

If sports broadcasting is something you are thinking about as a possible career, consider this: there are thousands of people out there all thinking the exact same thing. What do you have to do then to separate yourself from the heard? Well, for starters, you can take everything I have said from above and put it into a context that you see fit, then you can take the next step.

Find someone who you love to listen to. Your favorite local play-by-play of your favorite sports team. For some it may be Paul Allen of the Twin Cities radio station KFAN. His passion for the team that he announces is obvious when he airs a game. His preparation is superb and knowledge of the game is excellent.

So consider Allen, what do you like about him, what don’t you? Listen to other broadcasters and hear what they do right in your eyes. Things that make you want to listen to them call the game even when you could be watching it on TV.

This is a good, albeit brief, starting point for a sports broadcaster. However, this career path can lead you to a job where you will feel like you never have to “work” a day in your life. Use these tips to evaluate yourself, and your own career options should broadcasting not be in your future. Look at the work of others, and try not to only be as good as them, but better. Be an innovator, a game changer, someone that people will someday look at and say, “Now that guy is the example of perfection.”

Brandon Jones is a senior journalism major minoring in political science. Sports means the world to him. The sound of a ball cracking against a bat, a ref blowing his whistle: It all means the same thing for him -- happiness. We all have our thing, his is sports.

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