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

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