When you hear about sports broadcasting, you are likely thinking of a famous sports announcer sitting in the booth and making your favorite call, like Chris Berman bellowing, ‘He - could - go- all - the - way!!!!’ While this is certainly an accurate portrayal, there is a lot more to sports broadcasting than most people initially think of; sports broadcasting includes not only the play-by-play announcing and color-commentating, but also anchoring sports news, conducting interviews with players and coaches, writing news and press material and participating in radio shows, among other things.
While a passion for sports is certainly a great starting point, getting into sports broadcasting is very competitive and can actually be quite difficult; there are numerous paths that people take to get into the profession, but here are a few considerations that may make it a bit easier.
Steps to Take in High School:
If you are in high school and are already starting your journey to Sports Broadcasting, then bravo! You have the opportunity to really set yourself up for a successful journey. Having the focus and drive at a young age to pursue this career is going to set you apart from your peers.
Summer Camp - This is an opportunity that many high schoolers might not even know about. Sports Broadcasting Career Camps for High Schoolers offers a focused, in-depth and hands-on experience in sports broadcasting. Students get a behind the scenes look at what a sports broadcasting career might look like.
Internships - Getting an internship is a great way to get a real life look at what the job entails. You have the opportunity to not only follow along but to practice the day to day tasks, while gaining experience that will be helpful later on in your journey.
Networking - This one is easier to do if you are putting yourself in the right situations, whether that’s camp, an internship, attending conferences, finding speakers or reaching out to someone through a mutual friend. Many high schoolers don’t realize that LinkedIn can be a great asset for them, even when their dream is to pursue something outside of a corporate or more traditional job.
Start Your Resume - Even if you feel like you don’t have a lot to put on your resume, don’t let that discourage you! You probably have a lot more than you realize and it can be a great way for you to prioritize different kinds of extracurricular activities to help fill in any gaps. Here are some more tips on how to write your first resume.
Become an Expert at Many Sports - This includes sports that you might not be as interested in. Because sports broadcasting is a tough field to get into, you don’t want to limit yourself to just one or two sports. Being flexible and well-rounded will benefit you in many ways, including broadening your scope of jobs you are qualified for, allowing you to better engage with all sporting fans and giving you more exposure to how sports broadcasters cover different sports.
Show Initiative - Getting into sports broadcasting is extremely competitive. If you want to stand out, you are going to need two things: a natural ability and lots of experience. In order to have both of these things, you will need to find as many opportunities to practice as you can. In the age of self-promotion, it could even be a good idea to start a podcast, youtube channel or another social media platform to demonstrate your knowledge of sports, ability to communicate well and convey ideas in real-time.
Engage in the Sports Community - It also helps to stay actively engaged in the sports community; not only will this help keep you up to date and knowledgeable, but may also lead to opportunities down the road. This can include going to games at your local high school, college, amateur, or professional leagues. If possible, try to meet players, coaches, referees and announcers; you never know what doors may open when you expand your network! In today’s world, this also means digital interaction as well; watching sports games and studying the broadcasters, but also following and interacting with athletes and broadcasters on social media.
Finding the Right College
Many students who aspire to get into sports broadcasting will get a bachelor's degree in something like Communications. If you are in high school and starting your journey into sports broadcasting, that’s great! You have the advantage of knowing what you want to pursue and you can then choose a college that offers the best major for your interests. If you know you want to go into sports broadcasting, it would be beneficial to look for a college that offers a more focused degree or concentration like Broadcast Journalism. You will gain valuable experience with classes like broadcast journalism, media writing and audio production. When looking for a college, do some research on if they have college radio or TV stations; keep your eye out for any experience you can find. Maybe you could get a job announcing your college’s games; while that would be ideal, even little tasks can help. For example, helping track stats, keep score, or doing marketing for the team could all provide valuable experience that will bolster your resume. Take every opportunity that comes your way, the more practice you have, the better.
Looking for Your First Broadcasting Job
If you want to get into sports broadcasting, know that while they are often difficult jobs to find, they are out there; it is sometimes easier to start at smaller stations and then work your way up to bigger audiences once you have honed your skills.
For play-by-play announcing, you really need to know the sport very well. You need to have a lot of practice and experience; reading about how to do it or practicing in a mirror is helpful, but only up to a certain point! If you want to be a play by play announcer, you may also have to work your way up by fulfilling other roles first, such as a sports news anchor, color commentator, or analyst.
It is important to understand all that sports broadcasting entails and how many different roles there are; it is more than just the play-by-play announcer that you hear when you watch a sports game on TV. It is important to understand the different role that different jobs play, especially because most play-by-play announcers have helped out and worked many of these other jobs on their way to making it big as an announcer.
About the Sports Broadcasting Career Camps
Play by Play has teamed up with JKCP to create a two-week immersive pre-college experience designed to shape the next generation of successful sports broadcasters. This is an amazing opportunity for high school students interested in sports broadcasting to train with top professional sportscasters and take their next step toward a career in radio and television.
Build your professional portfolio with:
- On-screen sports anchor videos.
- Sideline reporting videos like ESPN and Bleacher Report.
- Play by play broadcast recordings at professional sporting events.
- Your own sports talk radio and sports debate shows like ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption (PTI).
- Sports social media marketing and podcasting.