To many, sports broadcasting represents a dream job rather than a professional goal. The idea of watching athletic events in person and free of charge is wonderful enough on its own. Narrating the events so others can share in the glory of the moment is almost asking for too much. Despite what you may believe, however, you can find work in sports broadcasting. Here are six tips to aid you in your goal of becoming the next famous announcer.
Practice What You Preach
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Even if you lack skill in the sports that interest you, make sure to participate in them anyway. If you lack the coordination to play a difficult sport such as baseball, at least find a way to become a part of the game. Be a referee or a manager, for example.
Similarly, if you are too slow to play basketball or football, don’t worry about it. Many people are. Find ways to contribute and listen carefully to what the coaches and players say during the games. You will learn the story underscoring the event, the most key component in becoming a great announcer.
Tell a Tale
Get in the habit of watching broadcasts of your favorite broadcasters. Also, listen to the calls for some of the greatest games ever played. Note how the announcers assigned to these games punctuate the action while adding their own style to the proceedings. Some sports reporters, such as Al Michaels are more understated, letting the action speak for itself, while others, such as Dick Vitale, become a part of the show.
Determine the style that feels most natural to you. Then record some games and mute the volume. Practice how you would tell the story if you were the one in charge of commentary. Be sure to perform at live speed, though. Training at a slower speed with do-overs will cause more harm than good.
Learn What They Teach
Very few people become broadcasters without the proper amount of education and training. Even accomplished professional athletes must earn degrees in sports management programs to become announcers. You should research the best sports management programs in the country, such as the one at Adelphi University.
Take a lot of classes that focus on broadcasting and search for opportunities to commentate for local events in the area. Every event for which you perform announcing duties is one where you enhance your profile. Plus, you can network with people who may have friends working within the industry.
Become an Intern
The worst part about interning is the pay. Since the average salary for a sports announcer is $59,000, you should think of these unpaid gigs as an investment in your future. You will hone your craft in professional settings, and you will again have the ability to make important contacts in the broadcast industry.
One of the unheralded keys to getting a sports broadcasting job is selling you. You will have to do better than trying to talk your way into interviews, though. Most companies will expect you to provide clips of your best work. Fortunately, this step is much easier in the digital era.
Bring along a voice recorder or download recording software for your smartphone. Tape yourself calling the games, and then edit the best moments into a single quality offering. You can also achieve the same goal via YouTube. Either record yourself via a selfie stick or ask a friend to record you while broadcast live events. Select your favorite moments to build a highlight that you can post on the internet. You never know who may watch it and become interested in hiring you.
Understand Who Is Hiring
You may dream of working for ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports. Understand that ESPN receives hundreds of job applications each time it posts a job. You are mathematically unlikely to earn such a position until you have built a strong body of work. Try to find fewer competitive niches while you earn your stripes. Consider small colleges and high-profile high schools, as these are good places to build your reputation in a controlled setting.
Gaining a job in sports broadcasting is easier than you may believe. As long as you follow the steps above and understand that persistence is crucial to attaining any dream job, you should succeed.