Archive for May, 2013

I hope that you’ve been enjoying all of the great interviews we’ve been able to bring you here on PBP Stories so far, because we’ve got another one for you today in the voice of the Dallas Cowboys Brad Sham. Growing up I was (and still am) a HUGE Dallas fan, so being able to get to interview the voice of America’s Team and a man I have the utmost respect for in Mr. Sham is a true honor for me. Mr. Sham will be one of the guest speakers at the STAA Sportscasting Seminar that is taking place in Salisbury, North Carolina on Monday, June 10th.

Brad Sham

How long have you been in broadcasting?

The first broadcasting work I ever did was as a sophomore in high school on my school radio station, doing a football scoreboard show. So I guess I started in 1963. The first professional work I did for money would have been for a commercial radio station while I was in college, probably 1969.

When did you know that it was what you wanted to do?

Before I ever did it. I was in high school. I realized the announcers went to all the games. I knew I wanted to do that.
How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?

Depends on what it is. For a Cowboys game, there’s some every day. Interviews and stats review of all games on Monday, watching tape of the next opponent starts Tuesday, internet research every day. There’s a few hours of work every day. Some days more than others.

What sports do you currently broadcast?

Varies year to year, but the last couple it’s been pro football, college football and college basketball. 

Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting?

I was a Chicago kid, so my first hero was Jack Brickhouse, who did the Cubs and White Sox TV and the Bears radio, among other things. And I always admired the smoothness and versatility of Jack Buck, and becoming friends with him before he died was a huge thrill. Frank Glieber and Verne Lundquist were role models and teachers while I worked with them starting in the mid 70s. And certainly Pat Summerall, whom I was lucky enough to call friend. And I look up to Vin Scully with no hope of ever being anything like him.

Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way?


There’s no one I emulate, because I think we have to be ourselves. But I listen to everyone to try to get tips. The Rangers’ voice, Eric Nadel, is a good friend. If every radio play by play person in every sport could pay attention to detail and relate it as effortlessly and seamlessly as Eric makes it sound, the industry would be a lot better.

In 1977 you started with the Cowboys and spent 7 seasons alongside the legendary Verne Lundquist, how did that come about and what was that like for a young broadcaster?

I started with Cowboys’ broadcasts in the middle of the 1976 season. Wikipedia has it wrong. I worked with Verne 8 years. I was hired to work at KRLD in Dallas, and working on the Cowboys broadcasts with Verne and occasionally Frank Glieber and Bob Lilly was one of several duties I had. It was an enormous break and I tried to learn from Verne every time I sat next to him. We’re still great friends today.

Which sport that you’ve called would you say is your favorite?

I got into the business to become a baseball broadcaster. The first sport I did play by play was basketball. And at this point I’ve done more football than anything, and I’m more identified with it. But I don’t know if any of them is a favorite.

What do you enjoy most about broadcasting games for a living?

There’s no one thing. I’m just passionate about the whole process. I love the preparation and the challenge of the live broadcast. There’s nothing about the job I don’t love.

I read a piece on ESPN Dallas after the passing of Pat Summerall where you said  “
Professionally, he should have been the model for every television play-by-play person”, how big of an influence was he on your career?

When I do anything on television, I still see his face and hear his voice. What Pat did on tv doesn’t translate to what anyone does on radio, but on tv, a lot. And the way he carried himself and the person he was is something I try to emulate every day.

I’m sure that there have been many in your illustrious career, but are there any memorable stories from the booth you can share with us that stick out to you?

There have been a lot. One of the first that comes to mind is being part of the only game John Madden ever did on radio. Cowboys-Raiders preseason the year Aikman retired. Babe was doing tv and Rich Dalrymple, the Cowboys’ p-r man, got John to do it. John will tell you today it was one of the most fun days he’s had in broadcasting.

What do you make of catchphrases and gimmicks used by younger broadcasters to get noticed nowadays?

Hate ’em. I’m a big believer in letting the game come to you. They don’t work for me.

What advice would you give to someone trying to make a living in this business?

You need to love it. You need to work harder than everyone and don’t be primarily concerned with the money. And know that YOU control your attitude. No one else does. Don’t obsess over what you can’t control and worry about what you can. Be honest.

Be sure to follow Mr. Sham on twitter @Boys_Vox and get registered for the STAA One Day Ticket to Sportscasting Success if you have yet to do so.
Until next time, have a great day and an even better tomorrow.

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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 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!
When did you know that it was what you wanted to do?
  • 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.
How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?

  • 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.

 

What sports do you currently broadcast?
  • 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.

 

 Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way?
  • 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/

Welcome to another entry to our ongoing blog of Play by play stories, we are lucky to have been joined today by the PBP voice of the Powell River Kings as well as the editor of The Broadcaster Hub (www.thebroadcasterhub.com) Alex Rawnsley:
alex

Alex, How long have you been in broadcasting?

The upcoming season will be my 5th year broadcasting, and my 3rd season with the Powell River Kings in the BCHL. I began doing regular hockey games in 2010/2011 with the Cariboo Cougars in the British Columbia Major Midget League. The team made the league final that year, but got swept by North West.
Prior to that I worked for a season with the Prince George Fury, a now defunct indoor soccer franchise. I got to travel across Canada and into the North-West United States with the team.
When did you know that it was what you wanted to do?
Being born in Australia, it would be hard to say I’ve known all my life I wanted to be a hockey announcer. I’ve known most of my life that I wanted to do something in sports. Originally it was the player and team management side, the business aspect of this industry, but in 2003 I fell in love with broadcasting, worked and went to school for the technical and production side of the television industry, and then transitioned into play-by-play from there.

I think I knew this is what I wanted to do when I was with the Cougars during the 10/11 season. Every spare moment I had was put into prep, or web site stuff, or anything related to the team. I figured that if I was working this hard when I wasn’t getting paid, and I still liked it, then I could be onto something.
How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?
It’s constant. I don’t sit down and say ‘ok I’m going to prep for 2 hours.’ I consider my morning blog reading prep, any chats I have with other announcers is prep. In terms of sitting down, pouring over numbers and getting my paperwork ready, I’d say about 2-3 hours. The bulk of my time is spent reading reports and blogs, talking with players and coaches from both teams, and having nice anecdotes to work into the show, as opposed to just numbers.

What sports do you currently broadcast?
I currently only cover hockey, however I would love to branch out a little. I did an international baseball tournament in Prince George in 2011 and that was a lot of fun. I’m not really a baseball ‘fan’, but had a blast calling games, because the pace of the game really allowed you to tell stories. I’ve been asked to do roller derby too, and will do that this summer.

Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting?
Directly related to hockey, guys like Jim Hughson and Doc Emrick are the two guys I look to and say ‘ok, that’s what to do’. I try not to copy anyone, but have taken methods and phrases from a variety of different announcers, even ones I work with. I am also huge fans of both Richie Benaud and Bruce McAvaney, two Australian announcers. Richie is the Vin Scully of Australian cricket, and a true master of the artform. McAvaney is a talented network announcer who covers multiple sports, ranging from track and field to Australian Rules Football.

Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way?

I don’t think so. I don’t look at a game and say “oh I have to copy that”. If I came out and starting poaching “Holy Mackinaw” and “Great Save (goaltender)”, then I think it would come off as corny. The thing I take most from other announcers are vocab…ways to describe different areas of the playing surface. Perhaps it’s an ordinary term I haven’t thought of, that really works. What is your favorite on air story you can share with us?

One of my favourite coaches interviews happened late into my 1st season in the BCHL. For his sake, I won’t mention who it was, but it was before the game and I was chatting to the other team’s head coach for my pre-game show. The Coach and I had a good repore, and often spoke more off air than we did on.
During the interview, he was trying to eat a mandarin orange. While I would ask a question, he would eat a piece, and while he was answering a question, he would peel the next one. The only catch was he kept dropping that next piece, and every time he did, he’d give me a look as if to say “I can’t believe I just did that.”
We were getting to the end of the interview, and by this time, there are 2-3 pieces of orange at his feet. He had tried to pick them up while I asked a question, but they were slippery. I didn’t see it happen at the time, but also during the interview, a piece of orange pulp had jumped up and was sitting on his eyebrow. I noticed it during my last question, but kept a straight face.
He answered the question, with the pulp on his eyebrow. In closing, I finished the interview with “Thanks (Name), and there’s a piece of orange on your eye brow”. We both just paused and he burst out laughing. He gave me a look, again as if to say “I can’t believe that happened” and we had a good chat about it after. I cut out the final line for air, but that remains one of my favourite interviews I’ve done.

You’ve recently started your own broadcasting resource website, could you tell us a little bit about that?
Shameless plug….The Broadcaster Hub (http://www.thebroadcasterhub.com/) is a resource web site for sports broadcasters. It features both original content, as well as links to other places on the web with information and resources specific to the play-by-play industry.

I was constantly trying to find this information, and then when I did find it, I’d often lose it and have to seek it out again. I design my own web sites on the side, including an online portfolio for myself, so I felt I had the skills to build this site. It’s started off well, the response has been very positive, and I’m excited to see it grow with both original and linked content.
Be sure to check out http://www.thebroadcastinghub.com as it is a very valuable resource for any play by play guy, and follow Alex on twitter @alexrawnsley