Posts Tagged ‘basketball’

Over the course of my journey in broadcasting I’ve gotten the chance to meet and work with some true professionals and great people. Today’s interview here on PBP Stories fits both of those categories as well as anyone can, Justin Barrientos. I got the opportunity to work with Justin back in March for a week during the NCCAA National Championships in Winona Lake, Indiana as well as to learn from someone I have come to greatly admire in this crazy field. You can follow and interact with Justin on twitter here: https://twitter.com/HBCsportsPBP.

Justin Barrientos

Justin Barrientos

How long have you been in broadcasting?
I will actually be celebrating 20 years in broadcasting in July!
The summer that I graduated from High School, I knew that I wanted to get into radio, so I went around to all the stations in Winona (there were 3 at that time), and just looked to see if there were any part time slots open at any of them.  Looking back, it was a kind of gutsy move on my part.  I didn’t have a demo, or any real experience.  One of the stations blew me off, one took my contact information, and said to check back, but one station (KHME-FM) actually had me fill out an application, and said that they didn’t have anything open at that time, but if something opened up, they would be in contact with me.

I checked back almost every week with KHME to see if there was anything there, and “no” was always the answer.  Then, about 2 weeks or so later, they called me in, had me record a little demo, and hired me as a fill-in/weekend announcer, and I was on my way.  I worked at that Lite FM station for 4 years.  When I was a Senior in College, the station was sold to a larger media group from Chicago.  Cuts were made, people left, and my role was reduced, and when I graduated from College, I left and moved to one of the other stations in Winona that had blown me off when I was just out of High School, and joined them (KAGE-AM/FM).
I was hired by KAGE-AM, a Country station, to do the mid-day shift, and the first day I was on the air was a little bit of a disater.  I had to run the board for the show “Party Line” where people called in and tried to sell things they didn’t want anymore, on the air.  I dropped some calls, left mics on, and it just didn’t go well.  The rest of my shift that day went well, but the person who was the Morning DJ on the FM station, a Hot AC station, quit, and they asked me to take that over instead.  I did that for about 8 months, and seemed to battle the owners almost every day.  Some of it was them, but some was me thinking I knew more than I did ( I was only 22 at the time), but it just wasn’t the right place for me at that time.
I will say, I am very glad I worked there, because I learned a lot about myself, and what I needed to do to stay in broadcasting.  It was also there that I got my first taste of sports broadcasting, as I called High School baseball and softball, College softball and Amateur baseball for their sister station, KWNO-AM in 1999.
It was also there, that one of the owners paid me a huge compliment.  I was out covering a High School Baseball game, and the owner was in the control room, overheard the game, and mentioned to the board op, “I didn’t know the (Minnesota) Twins were on today.”  The op said, “They’re not, that’s Justin doing a game.”  The owner then said, “Wow, that really sounds like a Pro broadcast!”
I left there, and in 2000, I joined Hiawatha Broadband Communications to work on a local TV newscast, anchored by the news anchor I worked with at KHME, and that job eventually morphed into sports broadcasting.  I called my first game for them in 2001, and have been there since.

 

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Justin (middle) on color for the NCCAA basketball championships with Matt Digby (left) and Michael Hirn (camera right)

When did you know it was what you wanted to do?
Very early on.  I listened to as much radio as I could when I was younger, because I thought that was what I was always going to do.  TV was never something that I thought about doing.  I listened to radio countdown shows, and sports broadcasts, and always thought I was going to be the next Dick Clark or Casey Kasem!

How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?
It varies on the sport I’m doing, and how many games I have each week.  I will e-mail coaches for stats and information after their last game before ours, I’ll go over that information or Game Notes, if it’s a College broadcast and do my boards.  On game day, I get there as early as I can, get set up, go over all of my notes again, then run down during warm-ups to chat with the coaches again, make sure I have name pronunciations right, check if there are any number changes, or changes in the roster, and make sure I have the correct starting lineups.

What sports do you currently broadcast?
Currently, I do football, soccer, basketball, hockey, and I’ll get into baseball again this summer!  I also announce parades during the summer, I’ve started to do some PA for soccer, basketball and softball.  While at HBC, I’ve also called some volleyball, danceline competitions, and I did an MMA event!
The MMA was really out of nowhere.  The promoter contacted us to see if that was something twe wanted to try, and he asked for me to do the play-by-play as a condition of us doing the event.  That was a little strange, because I had never done a fight before, and didn’t really follow the sport,  But, he knew me from other sports I had done, and just thought I would be a fit.  It worked because I had a good color announcer.  He was a former fighter, and really did a good job of explaining things.
Same thing with our danceline broadcasts.  We had 2 former dancers as color announcers, and I just played the role of someone who was new to the sport, because I was, and just asked them questions during the breaks in dances, trying to get as much information about the sport as I could in the broadcast.

Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting?
We had some great local announcers that I looked up to.  Wayne Valentine was one.  He was the newsman I worked with at KHME, and followed over to HBC.  He taught me a lot, and is a legend in Winona.  Nationally, it ranges from people who did music shows, like Dick Clark, Casey Kasem, Scott Shannon, Bob Worthington and Shadoe Stevens, to those that I listened to doing sports – Herb Carneal, the late Twins announcer, John Gordon (former Twins Announcer), Vin Scully, Gary Thorne, Doc Emerick, Kevin Harlan (he did Timberwolves radio the first few years, and I listened to as many of those games as I could!), Bob Kurtz, John Miller, Bob Costas, and many many more that I know I’m forgetting.
Brad Nessler is another, not only
because he is a great announcer, but he is from St. Charles, MN, which is about 20 miles away from my hometown of Winona, MN.

Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way?
I really don’t try to emulate anyone, because I don’t want to be an imitation of anyone else.  I want to be me on the air, and I try to have a conversational style that sounds like the way I would talk to my best friend off air.

What is your favorite on air story you can share with us?
I’ve had the great opportunity to call games for the High School I graduated from (Cotter), and the College I graduated from (Winona State University).
In 2006, I did a girls basketball game for Cotter against long-time arch rivals, Rochester Lourdes.  In my basketball and baseball playing days, that was always the game you looked for on the schedule and circled.  You could lose every other game, but if you beat Lourdes, you would be happy.  Cotter Girls Basketball hadn’t had that feeling in a long time.  Going into that game, the Ramblers had lost 47 consecutive games to Lourdes, dating back to the 80’s.  That night, though, everything came together, and Cotter won.  It was a little hard to keep from being a “homer” because that game meant so much to Cotter, and me personally, because it was my school!  The crowd stormed the court after the win, and it was unlike any high school game I had ever done.  I was told later that someone had recorded the game, and they played the end at an all-school assembly the next day, with my call at the end turned up loud!
For Winona State, they are a National Powerhouse in NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball.  I’ve covered them since 2001, and they really took off in 2006.  They won the National Championship that year, but as a TV station, we could only broadcast up to the Sweet Sixteen round, then the National media took over.  We did a Sweet Sixteen broadcast the next year, and they lost the National title game to Barton in the last seconds.  In 2008, again, they tore things up, and we did another Sweet Sixteen broadcast.  This one was simulcast on HBC and FOX Sports North, so our broadcast was seen in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas!  WSU would go on to win the National title again, making it 2 National titles in 3 years.
As cool as that was to be a part of, we had a moment in 2009 with the WSU Women’s team that was more personal.  WSU had not been very strong in Women’s basketball, but they put together a great 2008-2009 season, and hosted a conference playoff game for the first time in school history.  They were the Number 2 seed that year, and needed Number 1 Minnesota State to lose, in order to host the rest of the tournament.  After their game was done, we stayed on the air as long as we could, to see if we could get a final on the Minnesota State game.  Some Winona State players started to huddle around our broadcast area, looking at our live stats to see if they would host, and when it was a final, they started celebrating right around us on the air, making us feel like part of the team!
Justin broadcasting Winona State Warriors football.

Justin broadcasting Winona State Warriors football.

What advice do you have for young broadcasters just starting out?
Do whatever you can do to get your foot in the door.  Do PA announcing, if you can.  Hang around radio and TV stations (within reason!) to try to talk to some of the people doing the job you want to do some day.  Do internships – you never know where that will lead you!
If there is anything else or any stories you really want to share please feel free to do so.
HBC was hired in 2007 to be the first TV home of the La Crosse Loggers baseball team, in the Northwoods League.  They arranged for us to have guests during the games, and we had great conversations with Dick Raddatz, Jr, the President of the League.  We also got to talk with Dominic Latkovski, who is in the suit for the BirdZerk, when they came to La Crosse to be entertainment during a Loggers game.  But, the interview that I’ll remember forever during that season was when Bob Brenly did a couple of innings with us.  His son, Michael was on the team, and it was neat to not only talk to a former Major League player, manager and broadcaster, but it was cool to see the game through his eyes as he was watching his son play.  We actually talked to him twice during that season.
Also, just a bit of self-promotion – I have been nominated for 2 Regional Emmy Awards with the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  I was nominated for Sports Play-By-Play in 2009, and a game I did in 2011 was nominated for Best Sporting Event/Game, Live/Unedited.
For the 2009 nomination, I was up against Anthony LaPanta from FOX Sports North, and Tom Hanneman, who did the Minnesota Timberwolves broadcasts for FOX Sports North.  He actually called me after the nominations came out, to congratulate me for my nomination, as I was a first-timer.  He ended up winning that year, but I just thought it was neat that he would call me!
Thanks again for reading another edition of Play by Play Stories. If you know someone you’d love to see interviewed please let them now they can contact me on twitter @michaelhirnpbp

 

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Another great broadcasting interview with Dave Collins has been blessed upon us here at PBP Stories for you to check out below. Be sure to follow Dave and his adventures in radio on twitter at @DMCbroadcasting.
davecollins
How long have you been in broadcasting?
I started my radio broadcasting career after graduating from The University of Colorado in 2004.  I’m about to begin my 10th year at KSID Radio in Sidney this October.
When did you know it was what you wanted to do?
I’ve always known that I wanted a career in sports and as I got older and watched more and more games on TV, I really began to consider play-by-play and sportscasting as a career.  

How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?
It depends on the game, but preparation is absolutely vital to the success of a game broadcast.  My current job includes news, sports, afternoon DJ work, voice production and maintaining content on our station website along with game preparation and play-by-play so I simply fit in as much as possible, including nights and weekends.  Several hours go in to each football game, less for basketball, volleyball and baseball but it helps once you’ve seen a team before to focus on the details that help push a broadcast from good to great.  If I were in a situation where PxP was my only major assignment I’d treat it like a full-time job in terms of preparation leading up to the broadcast.

What sports do you currently broadcast?
High school football, basketball, volleyball and baseball (American Legion Baseball)

You’re closing in on 1,000 career broadcasts and have been honored with quite a few  awards, how do you put those in perspective when you look at your career?

Being honored and recognized is a nice validation of the hard work and time that goes in to making a quality broadcast happen.  Even more important to me though is having my PxP peers at the college level give me feedback – positive and negative – so that I can continue to become better at the craft.  The most endearing comments I’ve received come from Colorado Buffaloes broadcaster Larry Zimmer who was a professor of mine at CU and remains a friend to this day.  I grew up in Denver listening to his work with the Broncos and Buffs and he was always my hero in the business.  Having him be proud of my work and support my play-by-play is easily among the greatest achievements in my lifetime.  Also, I get so much more satisfaction out of a parent, fan or student-athlete coming up to me and saying they enjoyed the call, or telling me their “grandparents were listening tonight in Arizona on the Internet stream.”  Knowing that I’m in a position to bring some happiness and enjoyment to others’ lives through game broadcasts is extremely satisfying.
Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting?
In addition to Zimmer, other voices that I admire in the business include Gene Deckerhoff of Florida State, Dave Koehn of Virginia, Greg Sharpe of Nebraska, Vin Scully of the Dodgers and Jerry Howarth of the Blue Jays.  Brad Nessler is an outstanding TV PxP guy.  I simply love listening to games across satellite radio when I travel and am always listening for new phrasing and descriptive words to add to my vocabulary for Nebraska high school broadcasts.

I saw on your website (www.davecollinsbroadcasting.com ) that you must have a 12 oz can of chilled red bull before a broadcast, why redbull?
There’s something about that chilled, crisp, sweet taste of a Red Bull delighting my taste buds and invigorating my mind as I go through final preparations!  I’m sure it’s partly a mental thing where I “feel” more alert and extra sharp having a Red Bull before a broadcast, and if so, that’s fine with me.  I just love the taste and refreshment, but it truly does make me feel more alert and sharp with the game call.

Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way?
I don’t ever try to emulate a broadcaster.  I think it’s important for each PxP guy to be his own broadcaster and develop his own style.  It’s always good to listen to others and pick up on phrasing or descriptors, but I would never want to “copy” someone else’s sound directly.
What is your favorite on air story you can share with us?

With around 800 games you’d think there are a ton of great stories to share but it’s funny how hard it can be to think of one that is above the rest.  I guess I can say there have been some interesting game nights on the air, unforgettable finishes, some surprises and some hilarious moments around the rest of the traditional, normal broadcasts.  I think that’s what also makes this job so fun, is that you don’t really know exactly what you’re going to have happen on live radio or see in a game when you show up at the event.  It’s an adventure in problem solving very quickly at times!

What advice do you have for young broadcasters just starting out?
Make sure you are committed.  I’ve been doing radio for almost a decade and success in this business doesn’t come working from only 8-5.  It’s a unique industry that requires a lot of dedication, patience, organization, ambition and energy in addition to talent.  As long as you love it, you’ll be fine and will have success.  It’s kind of like sports in that so many people want to be on TV or radio, especially in sports, so you need to be ready to sacrifice certain things in life to pursue lofty dreams in this business.  You need to be prepared to have clear career and life goals, know what it will take to meet them and determine if broadcasting will get you there.
Thank you again to Dave for providing another wonderful interview and best of luck as you head towards your 1000th broadcast.

Today I am honored to share with you an interview with a young broadcaster who is celebrating a birthday today in STAA client Lee W. Mowen. Check out Lee’s STAA profile as he is a rising star to keep an eye on in the world of broadcasting: http://staatalent.com/client/lee-mowen as well as his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thelwm

Lee W. Mowen

How long have you been in broadcasting?
I’ve been broadcasting since my freshman year at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, back in late 2006. One of the first things I did while in college was step into the college radio station to get information on how to join. In my honest opinion, that’s one of the smartest things I did while at Wright State. The Wright State Raiders would be the first team(s) I would cover. Since graduating, I’ve been the voice of a pair of hockey teams, two semi-pro basketball teams, and a summer collegiate baseball team, not to mention a small college in Southwest Ohio, an Australian Footy team in Cincinnati, and several high school games with an internet station. I’ve had a lot of great opportunities too, especially becoming a Public Address Announcer for the University of Dayton Flyers and a couple of All-Star games in Columbus.

When did you know that it was what you wanted to do?
I actually remember wanting to be a broadcaster when I was a little kid. I always thought being an anchor on the newscasts was where I’d be. It took me less than one year of college to figure out being a sportscaster is what I really wanted to become. I have always wanted to be a part of broadcasting in some capacity.

How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?
For me, it varies with how much information I can find. I always spend at least a few hours to seek out information on each team. I’ll print out my information and skim important numbers and points a day or so before the game. On the day of the game, I will arrive a few hours before and highlight what I feel will be important talking points. The amount of time and stats I find varies on who or what I’m broadcasting, honestly.

What sports do you currently broadcast?
I’m now in my second season with the Richmond RiverRats, a summer collegiate league team that use wooden bats. It’s a great organization with terrific people and McBride Stadium is quite a treat to broadcast in. I’m also looking forward to returning to broadcast Dayton Demonz hockey this upcoming season. Some sports I’ve done in the past include volleyball, soccer, football, basketball, baseball, softball, hockey, and Australian-Rules Football. I’m always open into broadcasting more sports, including trying out tennis, golf, lacrosse, roller derby, Ultimate Frisbee, racing, swimming, or any other sport.

What’s your favorite sport to broadcast?

That’s a tough question, because I love broadcasting anything. As long as I broadcast for the rest of my life, I’m not too picky on what sport it is. I will say why I like the sports I’ve called, though. I love baseball because of the relaxed atmosphere, I like basketball and hockey because of the pace of both sports, and I like football and soccer because of the pace changes where anything can happen in a second.

Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting?
Let me answer this question first by saying who I always will look up to, and that would be my parents. They have always believed in me and they also have encouraged me to keep pursuing my dream. In the world of broadcasting, I always looked up to Jim Baldridge, who is a former news anchor at WHIO (which is Dayton, Ohio’s CBS affiliate.) Something that always stuck with me was Baldridge’s love of anchoring and bringing the news to the viewing area. That’s something that I hope always shows during one of my broadcasts. In the world of sports broadcasting, I look up to everyone that makes sportscasting their career. I always want to learn about my passion each and every day. I learn every time I tune into a broadcast.


Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way?
I try to not emulate anyone else, as I call what I see in my view. When I call a game, I want to be as descriptive as possible. I want to bring people a front-row seat when I’m live, which is something I hope I’ve improved on since my first broadcast. I will say that I do take tips and advice from other broadcasters. I’m always looking to improve on my broadcasts, so I learn how other sportscasters tick and what makes a broadcast successful.


What is your favorite on air story you can share with us?
I tell you, I’ve been very blessed with all the opportunities broadcasting. From having a referee screaming profanities during a live interview to getting a chance to broadcast at a minor league ballpark, I’ve got a lot of great stories. One of my favorite stories is when the Sports Information Director, Greg, gave me my Bob Carpenter’s Scorebook. It was my first year as the Sports Director at Wright State’s radio station, and Greg saw how hard I was working to make it a success. I’ve almost filled out the entire book in four years, but it’s been a memento of someone believing in me. I can’t thank the SID enough for that book and for helping me out during college.

On-air, I think my favorite stories have to be at getting the opportunity to broadcast at the schools I went to for elementary, middle, and high school, as well as broadcasting at my alma mater for the visiting team all in the same year. I don’t know how many people listened in from those areas or if any of my friends tuned in that day I returned to Wright State as a visiting broadcaster, but it made me smile just realizing I have had an amazing chance to come back home if you will.

Thank you so much for doing this, it is much appreciated.

Thank you for the interview, Michael! I’m appreciative of the chance to be on your website, and I hope people found it interesting. As I wrap this interview up, I’d like to thank everyone who’s followed and befriended me throughout the years. I’d like to thank people who have given me constructive criticism and I’d like to thank people who have believed in me after all these years. For your friendship, I say thank you.

If anyone is interested in networking with me, just give me a follow on Twitter at @theleewmowen.

You’re a class act, Michael. Hopefully we can broadcast together again sometime.

Today’s interview brings us the words and wisdom of Chuck Cooperstein, the radio PBP voice of the Dallas Mavericks. Mr. Cooperstein is in his eighth season as the radio play-by-play voice of the Mavericks on ESPN 103.3 FM. Cooperstein has been a regular on the Dallas/Fort Worth sports scene since 1984 and has been an anchor on ESPN 103.3 FM since the station’s inception in 2001. He also co-hosts the “Coop and Nate” show with former Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl guard Nate Newton on weekday afternoons.

How long have you been in broadcasting?


If you take it back to college at the University of Florida (where we had, and still have, a fully commercial radio operation) 34 years.


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

Pretty much from the time I was 15 and I knew I wasn’t going to grow to be 7 feet tall, and knew my golf skills were not going to make me the next Jack Nicklaus. But I loved sports and knew how to talk.


What is your favorite sport to call and why?


I love basketball because of its intimacy, even if now, in many NBA arenas, we’re no longer broadcasting from the floor. I’ve been exposed more to basketball than any other sport and thus feel more comfortable with it. But I love the challenge of football because you are so much farther away, there are so many more moving parts, and the game is longer so you need to keep your focus that much longer. I find I can do four basketball games in a day and not feel as wiped out as I do at the end of a football game.



How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?


It’s really hard to say because I feel like the prep never stops. Even after producing my game notes/spotting charts, You’re always reading, always looking for something that you can add into the broadcast.



What sports do you currently broadcast?

I broadcast the NBA as the voice of the Mavericks, and also work some NFL and College Football for Dial Global.



Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting? Growing up in New York, I was a Marv Albert guy. Any one of us who is now in the business, of my age, who grew up listening to Marv will tell you that. His passion and emotion was what it was (and still is) all about. But I was a Jets fan and I loved Merle Harmon, and I was a Mets fan and loved Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy too. As far as today, I’m a huge Dick Enberg and Mike Emrick fan for their passion and the way they use the language. Dan Shulman is just so smooth, Brad Sham, the voice of the Cowboys (And the man who brought me to Dallas in 1984) taught me the art of preparation, and Kevin Calabro, and my TV counterpart with the Mavericks, Mark Followill have baritones that I would just KILL for.



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


I would like to think that I take enough from everyone and make it my own style. But the bottom line for me is to bring passion, emotion, and enthusiasm to every game. If I’m not going to sound excited about the game then why would anyone take the time to listen to me? The biggest criticism I get is that I can get as excited about a play in the first two minutes of the game as I can about a game winning shot. But what if that play is simply otherworldly, and is the best play of the entire game? You don’t know what is going to follow, so you have to be in the moment.

You’ve gotten to call an NBA finals, what was that experience like?


It was the highlight of my career. I highly recommend it . Seriously, to watch someone like Dirk Nowitzki, who had been so unfairly criticized, rise to an even higher level than he had already achieved to win a championship was amazing. And really, for a bunch of guys, who had achieved a lot in their careers, to be able to cap all of it with a championship was wonderful. And then to be able to ride in the parade with 250,000 people lining the streets, and co-emcee the rally at the American Airlines Center with 20,000 people just delirious weigh joy. No, it does NOT get better than that.

What advice do you have for young broadcasters trying to make it in the industry?


1. Get out and meet as many people as you can. This is a “Who you know” business. You never know where your next opportunity will come from.

2. Be willing to be critical of yourself. People may tell you were great. Only you will really know if it’s true. Listen to yourself. Frankly, its something I hate to do because we never sound the way we think we sound but it’s something I HAVE to do. There are folks like Vin Scully, who may have had the perfect broadcast, that is something I have yet to achieve.


3. Be prepared to be disappointed. You can do the best job in the world, but it might not matter because your future is always in the hands of someone else. But that leads back to the first point. When one door closes, inevitably, if you’ve handled your business right, another door opens.




What is your favorite on air story you can share with us?


Too many to count, but recently, my favorite was when we had Delonte West on our post game show in Orlando. The broadcast location in their new building is the highest in the NBA, and the broadcast drop was on the floor. He put the headset on, but couldn’t find us. We were waving down to him and finally after about 45 seconds, after answering our first question, he spotted us, and as only he could do say “What the &$%$ are you doing up there?” Fortunately, there was a delay on the broadcast, so it never made it on the air, but suffice to say the rest of the interview was a total scream.

Make sure to follow Chuck on twitter @coopmavs
Dave APUS Aug 2012
Today I am honored again to bring you a great interview. I had a chance to speak to NSAA Executive Director and Wake Forest football analyst Dave Goren. Dave and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association  and STAA are co-hosting a huge Awards Weekend that will take place from June 8-10th in Salisbury, North Carolina and will feature ESPN personality Dick Vitale as well as New York Times bestselling author Mitch Albolm. For more information on the weekend please check out their link at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e71ltn6h848ebde1&llr=bcbdrvdab
You can follow Dave on twitter @NSSA_DaveGoren
How long have you been in broadcasting?  Started in college in 1977… so 36 years (YIKES!).


When did you know that it was what you wanted to do? 
From the time I was in high school.


How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast? 
Now, my only broadcasting is as analyst for Wake Forest football during the fall, and a weekly radio sports commentary.  For football, I start by attending spring and then pre-season practices, and probably do between an hour and two preparing for the game each week.  For the commentaries, it’s a matter of coming up with an idea, and then getting the writing to flow.  It is also usually an hour to two-hour process.
 
In my tv days, preparation for anchoring usually began with reading the morning newspaper cover-to-cover (not just sports).  I would typically be in sometime between 2 and 3pm for the 6pm sportscast.  I would try to get the 11pm sportscast laid out before I left for dinner or for covering a game.  Depending on whether there was a game to cover, I would be back by 8:45 to start preps for the 11.


What sports do you currently broadcast? 
Radio analyst for Wake Forest University football on the Wake Forest/IMG Sports Network.  Occasionally freelance ofr others, including ACC Digital Network.


Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting? 
I grew up about 40 miles outside of Boston, so I listened to all of the Boston guys – Ken Coleman, Ned Martin doing the Red Sox; Johnny Most with the Celtics; Don Earle and then Bob Wilson with the Bruins; Gil Santos with the Patriots.  Then, there were the local tv guys, such as Don Gillis.  All of them were institutions in New England and helped us as fans form that lifelong connection to the teams they covered.
 
Nationally, I was a big fan of Curt Gowdy – such a distinctive voice.  Same with Charlie Jones and Jim Simpson on the AFL games on NBC.  Dick Enberg and Marv Albert doing college basketball in the late 60s and early 70s.  Ray Scott, the incomparable Vin Scully.  Then, there were some of the more underrated guys, such as Frank Glieber on CBS.  Lindsey Nelson, Chris Schenkel, Jim McKay, Jack Whitaker.  All great with their use of language.
 
Later on, Al Michaels became, in my opinion, the gold standard for play-by-play.


Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way? 
I’m sure I’ve taken a little bit from each of the people I mentioned, but I have always just tried to be me. 

What advice do you have for young broadcasters trying to make it in the industry?    
As I stated above, be yourself.  Prepare diligently, write often (the more you do it, the better you’ll become), practice frequently (even if you’re using a hairbrush as a microphone).  Stay away from shtick — gimmicks can work for a time, but eventually people get tired of them.  Develop relationships with people in the industry, whether they can be directly beneficial to you or not.  Always be willing to help others – even if it is not beneficial to you.


What is your favorite on air story you can share with us? 
There are a handful of stories that I seem to focus on:
·       I covered Wake Forest football as a tv reporter for 18 seasons, most of them losing season, until they broke through and won the ACC Championship in 2006.  I remember walking out of Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, after they had beaten Georgia Tech, saying to myself, “Wake Forest just won the ACC Championship.”  In a business where we overuse the word unbelievable, for me, it truly was.
·       A high school football player had been paralyzed from the chest down after a car accident.  The story we did with him, on his willful determination to walk again was very powerful, both in words and pictures.  A good photographer can help make a story great.  If you have a good relationship with your photographer, you can almost know what the other is thinking, and what that person wants.  Great teamwork, makes great tv.
·       Did a story on a young hockey player who had a neuroblastoma, an often fatal cancer.  We did a follow-up with him a year or so later, on Thanksgiving night, after he had been cured.  And the emotion, especially from his dad, was gripping.
·       In my last year in tv, it was opening night for high school football.  We were live at 5 and 6pm from tailgating in the parking lot.  As I was walking into the game, a mother and father of a player stopped me and introduced themselves as the presidents of that school’s booster club.  We had a nice informal chat and then I went into the game.  At halftime, I took the first half video and went back to start editing the highlights.  During the second half, my photographer called and said the game was delayed by a serious injury.  It was the son of the people I had met walking into the game.  He died two days later.  We showed only still frames of the player from the game (the actual hit that caused his death could not be seen on video) in our stories over the weekend. 
 
On Tuesday of the following week, I received a call from a friend of mine who was also a friend of the family’s.  They had seen the still photos and wanted to know if they could possibly get one to display at their son’s funeral.  I called our art director and asked if he could make it happen.  He had seven photos of the boy ready for me when I got to the station.  My friend picked them up and delivered them to the family.  During the 5pm news that day, my phone rang.  It was father, sobbing, saying, “Thank you so much for doing this.”  I could barely respond.  Can you imagine the father of a 15-year-old boy who has just died, picking up the phone to say “thank you?”  As sad as that story was, that simple gesture probably meant more to me than anything I covered in 24 years in local tv sports.

If there is anything else you’d like to include or add please feel free to do so as I’m sure the readers would love read it. 
Being in sports media can be a wonderful way to earn a living, travelling all over to cover some of the biggest sporting events on earth.  Just be mindful of the tradeoffs you will make.  Because most events happen at nights and on weekends, that is when you will be working.  Have a best friend who’s getting married during a local tv “sweeps” month?  Sorry, you can’t be in the wedding.  You want to go hang out with your friends on a Friday or Saturday night?  Sorry, not til 11:45 or later.  Married and your wife wants to go out to dinner with another couple?  Good luck with that.  Married, with kids?  Good luck spending much time with them at night.
 
I’ve been fortunate the last four-plus years, no longer having to cover daily sports, to be able to spend quality time with my family, while my two boys are still young enough to be living at home.  I wouldn’t trade my career for anything, but it sure has been gratifying to watch them grow from kids to young men.

Thanks for joining us for another edition of PBP Stories. Today we are fortunate enough to talk to New Mexico State University radio/tv play by play voice Jay Sanderson. Check Jay out on twitter: twitter.com/sanderson_nmsu
Jay Sanderson

How long have you been in broadcasting?

I got my start in broadcasting when I was 17 years old.  During my junior year in high school at Douglass High School (a small rural high school in Kansas), a friend and I joked that we should get our own TV sports show.  We watched sports on TV together all the time, and that was when SportsCenter became what it is with Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann.  We thought it would be cool.  Over time, it evolved from a joke to something we decided to pursue.

The city of Douglass had its own local cable access channel that played rotating graphics with community announcements.  There was no video element.  Matt and I called city hall, got on the agenda for the next city council meeting and made a presentation asking for an hour each week on the city channel.  Much to our surprise, they said yes.

After the meeting, we said “ok, now what?”  We had no camera, no editing equipment and absolutely no clue how to make a TV show.  Fortunately, the principal of the high school, who had minored in journalism while he was in college, also had an interest in broadcasting.  When he got word of what we had accomplished, he called us to his office, told us the school would purchase all of the necessary equipment and create a TV broadcasting program.  The principal taught the class for the remainder of the school year, and we all just kind of learned as we went.  The next year, the school offered the class to all students, brought in an alumnus, who was the weekend anchor at one of the Wichita TV stations to teach the class.  He was there 2 hours a day, taught the class and then went back to work.

Looking back on it, it is an unbelievable stroke of good fortune for all of those things to happen for us, and I’m so glad it did.  I fell in love with the work and knew I had found what I wanted to do with my life.

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

I had some idea at a young age that I was into broadcasting.  My grandmother loves to tell the story of how during one of the games of the 1985 World Series – Kansas City vs. St. Louis – my family and I are ALL die hard Royals fans, which is very hard to be! – I sat in front of the TV and called play-by-play of the game.  She says that I had no idea anyone was hearing me, so much so my grandfather muted the TV and listened to my call.  While, I think some of the stroy has evolved over the years, especially now that I’m actually in the business, I don’t doubt that I did it.  I have always paid attention to what the announcers said during games and how they said it.  I think the broadcasters of my youth shaped me and what I wanted to become.

How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?

The preparation time, obviously, depends on the sport.  For football, I’ll spend an exorbitant amount of time getting ready.  25+ hours at a minimum and usually a lot more.  There’s just so much information available for football and there are so many different layers to the game as well as the calling of the game, that it’s so vital to be prepared.  Growing up, Kevin Harlan was the voice of the Kansas City Chiefs, the team I grew up loving.  He is so good and it was such a treat to listen to him.  He’s ultimately prepared for games.  Now Mitch Holthus is the voice of the Chiefs.  I’ve been lucky enough to learn from Mitch in a one-on-one setting and I’ve seen how he preps for football.  I follow their model and spend a lot of time doing little things, like watching video of the next opponent to get a feel for what they do and who the key players are.  Video study helps a lot.  So football is incredibly involved.

For basketball, I probably spend 8-12 hours in preparation.  Again, I look at film whenever I can and then I pour through the game notes, talk with SIDs, coaches, and other broadcasters.  I look for stories.  It’s so easy to just throw stat after stat after stat during a basketball game, but I’d much rather tell a story.  Shooting percentages mean nothing, unless there’s a story to be told.  For example, it means nothing that a player shoots 42 percent from the field.  However, if he is a senior shooting 42 percent, and during his junior year he shot 17 percent, now that tells a story.  So I look for a good story or two for each player in the game.  I also look for story lines to develop for each team.  You may not get any of them in, at least you may not remember you did, but if you take the time to develop some stories, and lock them in your brain, they’ll subconsciously come out during your call without even realizing it.  That’s why prep is so important.

Baseball is similar, especially from the storytelling perspective.  For me, preparing for baseball is similar for basketball, although, I don’t spend quite as much time in game prep, because the nature if the game is that it’s every day.  You’re going to remember things about your team more readily day by day over the course of the season.  The most of my prep comes before the first game of a series to get myself familiarized with the opponent.

What sports do you currently broadcast?

Right now, I call volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball all on TV.  I’m also our fill-in for football.

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

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have some outstanding mentors in broadcasting.  My main influence is the man who taught our high school class, Jim Kobbe.  Jim was a TV anchor and reporter who did some play-by-play on the side, and is unquestionably the best writer I’ve ever worked with.  It will be very difficult to find someone who is ever a better writer than he.  Jim is no longer in the business, but I still visit with him and get his feedback about my work.

As I mentioned, I have also been blessed to live in markets that broadcast professional sports with some outstanding play-by-play men.  The Kansas City Royals have been called for 45 years by Denny Matthews, a Ford C. Frick Honoree in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  His insight, knowledge and style of calling baseball is underrated nationally.  He, in my opinion, is second only to Vin Scully in terms of ability to call a baseball game and make you feel like you’re there.

Kevin Harlan and Mitch Holthus have been the voices of the Kansas City Chiefs in my generation, and there aren’t many football people better than those two.  Of course, Harlan has gone on to national prominence, and Holthus is as knowledgeable about the game of football, from an Xs and Os standpoint as you’ll ever hear, but yet, that doesn’t get in the way of a call.  He is also great on TV basketball calls and is working for ESPN in the Big 12 during football’s off season.

How did the New Mexico gig come about?

It came out of nowhere.  I was on my way to a high school football game last September when I got an e-mail from Jon Chelesnik and the Sportscasters Talent Agency of America (STAA – staatalent.com) telling me of the opening.  Because I was getting ready for a game, I didnt think much about it at the time.  After the game was over, however, I got home, reread the e-mail and sent in my application.  In my head, I told myself, “well, I’ll just throw my hat in the ring and see what happens.”  I hit send, the e-mail went out and I really didn’t think too much about it.  I was stunned when I received a phone call the following Wednesday asking to schedule telephone interviews.  I interviewed with two different people, they went well, and I got a follow up phone call the next day to offer me the job.  So I went from not thinking about it much on a Friday to having a division-I job the following Thursday.  It all happened much faster than I ever imagined it would, but I guess it was just meant to be.

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

I don’t know if there’s any one person I try to emulate. I got to where I am by calling a game from my perspective.  I dont want to be Vin Scully, I don’t want to be Al Michaels.  I want to be me.  I listen to a lot of different announcers as I travel around and I try to identify what I like about their call and what I’m not so wild about.  If I think there’s something they do with their call, I may try to add it to a call of a game on occasion to see how I like it, but those times are rare.  I’ve learned traits and characteristics from those I consider great – like the description of Kevin Harlan.  I strive for that kind of description, but I don’t try to be him.

What is your favorite on air story you can share with us?

Asking what a favorite on-air moment is like asking ‘what is your favorite breath of air.’  I feel like God put me on this earth to be a broadcaster, and I enjoy every single second I get to do this for a living.  That doesn’t just include the time actually on the air.  That’s the cherry on top, so to speak.  I love the prep, I love learning about people, I love getting to tell their stories.  I love the wins, I love the losses. I love everything about my profession. Being an announcer is a visceral experience for me.  I love it deep down to my core, every bit of it.

Thanks for joining us for another interview with a great broadcaster and friend of mine based out of Chicago, Illinois by the name of Brian Snow. Brian is the creator of http://www.isnetamerica.com and does a wonderful job of bringing you coverage of tomorrow’s athletes today. Check him out on twitter @BigSnowman40.

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How long have you been in broadcasting? 17 years

When did you know that it was what you wanted to do? Since I was about 10 or 11

How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast? About four hours per game day

What sports do you currently broadcast? Baseball, basketball, football, volleyball

Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting? Jim Durham, Vin Scully, Jack Buck, Wayne Larrivee, John Rooney

Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way? Depends on the sport.  When it comes to basketball, it’s Jim Durham.  His description of the scene and knowledge of the game and players involved are impeccable and the excitement he emits was amazing.  For baseball, it’s a combination of Jack Buck, Vin Scully, and John Rooney.  Same reasons as Jim Durham, but because it’s baseball, in their own way they can all tell a story effectively and keep the fans engaged.  Wayne Larrivee and Kevin Harlan do the job for me for football.  Painting the picture, keeping the fans involved and getting the fans up to date in case they missed the beginning of the broadcast is wonderful.

What is your favorite on air story you can share with us?  Last year with Marist High School boys basketball.  They gave me two miracle finishes and both of them went viral.  Since then I have been dubbed with the phrase “It ain’t midnight yet y’all!”  The phrase just came out because the setting was perfect.  Bogan was one of the big dogs in the tournament and the #4 team in the Chicago area and Marist was the giant slayer.  I just kept thinking of the Cinderella references that Brent Musberger used when calling Boise State’s upset of #3 Virginia Tech in college football in 2010 when he said “Cinderella lives ladies and gentlemen!”  The rest is history

If there is anything else or any stories you really want to share please feel free to do so.  DON’T EVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS!!!  Yeah I would like to be making more money doing this, but the kids and the clients that broadcast with me and my organization make it go for me.  I have learned so much about how to run an effective business doing my sportscasting and also how to keep my broadcasts old school effective.  The haters are going to hate, the detractors are going to do what they do and all the people that are on the outside looking in are going to give you their opinion.  If it is what your heart wants then tell the other folks that you are sorry and that you have to follow your heart.  Follow your heart and pursue your dreams with a dogged passion that NO ONE ELSE CAN duplicate!  It’s your dream…you must protect it…cultivate it….make it grow into a reality.