Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sportscasting Advice to College Students: Part II

Picture of me calling a game in Fayetteville, N.C. right after college
Hello all!  Nearly everything I write on here is regarding places I broadcast for..mainly Gateway Grizzlies related.  But every once in a while I'll throw in something else.  About a month ago I had a post that featured advice to college sportscasting students.  It received a lot more attention than I expected (mainly through twitter) and I love talking about the business so I thought why not issue a follow up?  So here it goes...just how competitive is this business? 

This week I finished up judging play-by-play entries for the Broadcaster's Education Association.  They have a broadcast competition for college students and I began as a judge last year and continued this year.  I enjoy of my favorites things to do is to take a listen to a college students demo and try to help them improve through critique.  This competition is one of many available to college students now a days.

I'm one of 10 or so broadcast professionals critiquing the demos..they were solid last year..and this year, I was amazed at the talent in this competition.  There were about 5 demos in particular that I really enjoyed, but nearly every entry was solid.   Many of the students were from Marshall, Ball State and Rowan University..three Universities that are known for their outstanding broadcasting students.  The future in this business is extremely bright. 

Next week I'm heading back to SIUE to speak to one of their radio classes that is taught by my former boss in college at the campus radio station.  Question is, how do you talk to them, without completely scaring them away?  As many know, I'm passionate about the business.  I've seen many college students throw away their broadcasting careers before they even begin, because they don't do anything or do just enough to get by.  If you are just doing the bare minimum to get by, you aren't going to have success..period.  In order to be at the industry standard, you better be going above and beyond.  In order to be one of the people that makes it, you better have an unbelievable drive and desire 'to make it.' 

It seems like this business gets more competitive/better every year because of the resources available to these students in college and the amount of on-air time they 'should' be getting.  This certainly doesn't mean they are all taking advantage of it (far from it), but nearly every University has a campus radio station in which students can get their feet wet and make their mistakes before they venture out into the 'real world.'

I hate seeing people throw away a great opportunity.  If you're an aspiring sportscaster in college, you better be busting your tail to get better every day and take advantage of all the resources available to you.  Wear out the teleprompter in the production studio, wear out the tape recorder at the local high school/college gyms and look to make contacts with every possible person you can think of in the business.  If you don't???  Well, good luck.  If you go to Northwestern, get to know their Voice Dave Eanet..if you go to SIUE, pick the brain and have the Voice of the Cougars Joe Pott listen to your tapes.  If you're a student at Mizzou, then you sure as heck better introduce yourself to Tigers Voice Mike Kelley and see if he will help you in your career.  Making connections and networking is vital in this business.

Joe was one of the guys who took me under his wing and taught me the art of play-by-play when I was in college.  I've also reached out to an insane amount of College/NBA/MLB/NFL play-by-play voices to see if they will listen to my tapes and give me a critique.  Through this, I've been able to garner a lot of contacts in this business and I have a large amount of guys who I stay in contact with on a monthly basis.  Sure it takes time, but it's certainly worth it!

The talent around the nation is phenomenal at the college broadcasting level...remember, THESE are the people that you will be competing with when you enter the job market.  Syracuse, Northwestern and Fordham are renowned for churning out talented sportscasters every year, but that doesn't mean you can't be successful if you don't go to one of those schools.  If there are resources available to you, if you have the drive/dedication to be successful, then you can be just that.

Doing all of these things right doesn't guarantee success, but at least you can say you gave it your all.  If you don't go after it hard in college, talent won't bail you out after college.  Do you really want to be successful?  Do you have the motiviation/drive/dedication to make it?

Once again, just my thoughts on how to get it done in this business when you are in college.  After all, I was in that position just two years ago.  

    -Adam Young

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