Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Sportscasting Advice To College Students
First off, I love this business. It's tough and grueling with long hours (like many professions) and it's competitive as heck. "So you think you want to be a sportscaster?" is a question that a lot of veterans in the business will ask a youngster when they first talk about getting into it. I never discourage someone from going into sportscasting, but I'll be straight up honest with them when they ask me questions. Be ready for rejection, because it happens to everyone. Don't expect to be good when you start (no one is). If you don't have drive, thick skin and a strong work ethic, forget about it.
The key to succeeding in the business starts in college. Now more than ever, college students need to graduate from college with a strong resume. It doesn't have to be loaded with on-air work, but it must be loaded with real world experience. That coupled with strong references and the willingness to start anywhere in the country will serve you well. When I was in college, all I thought about was how I could put myself in a position to succeed when I left Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Every job I worked in college was in the radio or TV business. I worked long hours for little or no pay and somehow, someway managed to get by. I lived off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and GT Cola (seriously..my friends still get a kick out of that) but I knew that all my work would pay off. If you aren't getting real world experience and building your resume in college, your career will be over before it even begins in sports broadcasting. I mentor a young high school broadcaster who visits GCS Ballpark twice a summer and watches me do my work. He travels in all the way from Springfield, IL and reminds me of myself at a young age. He has amazing drive..he has goals and dreams..he gets it. He's building a strong resume in HIGH SCHOOl folks..before he even gets to college. I constantly remind him that when he gets to college he is going to be way ahead of pretty much everyone. Don't get behind..start early. If you can't find a job anywhere..get a recorder, sit in the stands at high school games and broadcast mock games. Many have done it, heck I did it. In college I hadn't called a bball game in a year so I sat in the top row of the bleachers @ Edwardsville High School and called games on Friday night's I was off work. Go the extra mile to enhance your career.
Tom Dehner Feature
Have goals and dreams. Be ambitious..don't let people tell you that you can't do something. Don't change your goals until they are no longer attainable. My goals are something I think about every day. I have a goal to be in a certain position when I'm 26 and I won't stop until I get there. Dream big. Yes, this business is difficult and competitive, but with dedication and hard work, you can achieve anything.
Enjoy the ride. To me, it's one of the hardest things to do. I've heard a lot of good advice from veterans in the business recently about enjoying the ride. I'm blessed to be where I am today in this business. I've caught a lot of great breaks..no question. I'm one of the people who rarely will sit back and try to take it all in and enjoy the moments as they come. My eyes are always set on the future and what my next step will be. While that's fine, I've started to try and enjoy the moment a little more as of late. These are moments you will never get back.
Random thoughts from a 24-year-old sportscaster to college students who are getting into this crazy but incredible business. One thing I can assure you..if you were meant to do this, when you are calling games it will never feel like work. Preparation, hard work and dedication: three words to live by.