Today we are happy to bring you another incredible interview as we are happy to be joined by another Sports Talent Agency of America (www.staatalent.com) client in broadcaster Stu Paul.
Stu, How long have you been in broadcasting?
- I’ve been a sports announcer for 31 years. In addition to sports, I have also served as a newscaster and disc jockey early in my career, but it was mostly sports. I started in small stations in upstate New York and worked in New England for a while. Then I got to do minor league baseball, minor league hockey, CBA hoops as well as college and high school football in places like Eugene, Oregon, Roanoke, VA, Hagerstown, MD, Tulsa, OK., Davenport, IA, Utica, NY, Jacksonville, FL, San Antonio, TX, Nashville, TN and now in the Baltimore area in Maryland. Sometimes I would go back and forth between cities as in one part of the year, I would be doing baseball and another part of the year, I would be doing basketball and hockey. I didn’t really mind it a bit since I was doing what I loved to do. Only drawback was being away from NYC and my friends, relatives and family, but since I knew I could not start out in New York, I had to pay my dues elsewhere and man, has it been worth it!
- As soon as I learned that I was not going to be the next Mickey Mantle. I knew that I was not going to be a professional athlete once I became a teenager. I always enjoyed talking about sports and even my mom suggested that I should give it a try.
- I usually try to spend at least 2 to 3 hours in preparing for a broadcast. I try to surf the internet, checking out different team’s websites, newspaper websites as well as chatting with other broadcasters, coaches, managers and players to get as much input as I possibly can.
- Right now, I am currently broadcasting Delaware State Football and Basketball and have broadcast some high school and college baseball games locally in the State of Maryland. I had also broadcast professional baseball for more than 20 years, ranging from the Short Season Class A level to the Triple A level. I hope to get back into the pro game and hope to still get a shot at the major leagues.
Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting?
- That’s a great question. Growing up in New York City, I had the pleasure of listening to many great announcers. One of them happens to be Marv Albert, the longtime Knicks and Rangers radio voice, who also happened to attend the same high school as I did (Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, New York City). In addition, I enjoyed listening to Frank Messer, Bill White, Jerry Coleman and Phil RIzzuto on the Yankees broadcasts and Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson and Ralph Kiner on the Mets’ broadcasts. Another great announcer (who eventually became a friend of mine) was Merle Harmon, who broadcast the New York Jets football games in the 1960s and early 1970s. He broadcast on WABC Radio, albeit he was based in the Midwest. He had broadcast major league baseball for years (Kansas City Athletics, Milwuakee Braves and Brewers, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers) as well as college football and basketball and worked for the ABC, NBC and TVS Networks. Howard Cosell liked him on ABC-TV and hired Merle as the Jets’ voice without Harmon applying for the job himself. In all of his years with the Jets, he never lived in New York City. He would stay in a hotel and he would commute to and from NYC to cover the Jets. I wished he did baseball in New York City because he would have become a household name there. He did so in NYC with the Jets. Going back to Albert, he, too, became a giant in the industry as he eventually worked for NBC-TV, CBS-TV and also with TNT doing NFL football and NBA basketball and he is still great. His work ethic is second to none and I admired him and the others as well.
- I feel I have emulated Bob Murphy, the late Mets’ broadasting great because of his enthusiasm, positive outlook on the game and his knowledge and professionalism. I have sort of emulated Merle Harmon in football as well, but tried to be careful not to copy those guys at all. Of course, Albert in Basketball and hockey as well. Plus, Curt Gowdy on baseball.
You went to school in New York, you’ve worked in Texas and Nashville but are now back on the east coast, which part of the country has been your favorite to work in?
- Oh, definitely, the East Coast because I grew up there. I still have friends and relatives in New York City and the surrounding area and being on the East Coast, gives me the opportunity to catch up on long lost friends and relatives.
Which sport that you’ve called would you say is your favorite?
- No doubt, baseball. I love the daily grind every day and plus the challenge between the batter and the pitcher. The sport also gives me time to “fill” between pitches and gives me a chance to show my passion, knowledge and enthusiasm for the game.
You are inspiring to myself and young broadcasters everywhere to never give up. After your fall in 2011 you were told you weren’t being brought back by the Nashville Sounds, how did you find the strength to heal physically and mentally and move on to bigger and better things?
- Man, it wasn’t easy. Believe me. 2011 was the worst year of my entire life. The year before, my dad was diagnosed with dementia and when 2011 came along, it got worse. His behavior was so bad that my sister had to move him from an assistant independent living place to a hospice and he stayed there until he passed away last February. It took a toll on me financially as well as emotionally and mentally. Then I was feeling the pressures trying to accumulate more sales with the Sounds, then my car had a serious problem that cost a lot of money (LOL, still have the car and it’s running well), then my horrible accident when I slipped and fell down a flight of steps when exiting Prinicpal Park in Des Moines, Iowa on July 19, 2011 and was laid up in the hospital for 3 months. I spent 3 weeks in Des Moines’ Iowa Methodist Medical Center and then flown back to Nashville, where I went to Bethany Rehab and Health Center where I stayed for the duration of my recovery. Glad that workman’s comp covered everything! I had to undergo surgery on both legs and my shoulder. I ruptured the quad tendons in both legs and had a complete tear on my rotator cuff in my right shoulder. Fortunately, the surgeries went well and I went through physical therapy and have since recovered. I returned to work on October 31st, 2011–only to be fired 4 days later. I knew that the sales numbers were a factor, but honestly, after undergoing a traumatic experience like I did in the summer, I thought I would be given a chance. I was upset and disappointed, but that was the Sounds’ prerogative and I have moved on! They are now behind me and I now work for SFMSports.Net and getting the chance to do Delaware State Football and Hoops, which was a blast this past year. I also got to do the Cal Ripken World Series and some local baseball. I was NOT going to let “defeat” defeat me. After all, I’m a New Yorker and New Yorkers are tough. I said to myself that “you’re too good of a person and an announcer to let adversity stop you. You have gotten this far and I must keep going!” Going back to the accident that I had, I never went through anything as horriable as I did that fateful night in July, 2011. The staffs, doctors and nurses at both places where I recovered were wonderful to me and they helped make an unpleasant situation into a pleasant enough one. Gosh, looking back on that year it was “when it rains-it POURS!”. Nothing went right for me and I’m slowly but surely still picking up the pieces from 2011 and what I had to go through in dealing with my late father’s illness. I never ever want to go through that EVER AGAIN!
What advice would you give to someone trying to make a living in this business?
- I tell them to have faith in your abilities, but above all, be very patient and positive and persistent. It is not easy to land a job in this business, especially the first one. I advise everyone to grab a tape recorder (hopefully this time you can get past security on this) and practice broadcasting events at actual places. Critique your work and learn how to write. It is important. Practice reading aloud, too. Send out stuff to radio stations, minor league teams, colleges and be sure to network. The more you get to know people in this business, the better you are in landing a job. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get anything right away. If you have to start out doing news and disc jockey work like I did, do it. Learn all the aspects of the business if you can.
You can check out Stu’s STAA profile at http://staatalent.com/client/stu-paul/