Posts Tagged ‘STAA’

jkj

John Kelly Jr. is currently the TV voice of Men’s and Women’s Basketball for the US Merchant Marine Academy.

He is currently entering his third year on the call for US Merchant Marine Basketball Academy at Kings Point, New York.

John Kelly Jr. also is a freelance broadcaster for the NJ Spartans of the Major League Football and does voiceovers for Star Cast Productions for their HS Hockey Team’s Highlight tapes.

John Kelly Jr used to do Television Play By Play for MSG Varsity Network in New York for High School Hockey, Football, Basketball, Lacrosse, and Volleyball. Before that he did Play by Play for Marauder Radio Network for St. Peter’s Prep Football, Basketball, and Hockey from 2009 until 2013.

How long have you been in broadcasting and how did you get your start?

I have been in Broadcasting for 6 years since I graduated Fordham University WFUV in 2009,

My start was at Fordham University and I am grateful for that. With very little broadcast experience prior to Fordham and also being a Transfer student I was at a disadvantage at getting on the air early on. My Mentor, Bob Ahrens is very well respected in NY sports market. He preferred to give freshman on-air experience first because he had more time to work with them.

That did not discourage me at all. I began my career at WFUV as an engineer on the One on One sports show Saturdays at 1pm. I also covered the NY Dragons of the Arena Football League. I got to follow them all the way to Philadelphia and used each and every beat report to improve my pacing, sound, and storytelling.

Finally, I saw a WFUV email for Updates needed on a Fordham Football Game. Of Course I responded and said ill fill in. I performed well on those Updates and gave my mentor enough confidence to do them again for their afternoon sports show every Saturday at 1.

After delivering on updates in the fall I was offered color for Fordham Football vs. Bucknell. That was my first live broadcast over FM radio. I will admit I was nervous and excited. I was Excited because I knew how to stop the Triple Option which Bucknell Ran and Nervous because I wanted Bob to trust me down the road for future broadcasts. He did and that led to future opportunities as a co-host on one on one and for the 2009 NFL Draft.

My first broadcast went fine and the game was entertaining despite Fordham fell in OT. After that the doors opened for me to fill in. During my time Ryan Ruocco of ESPN had left and a lot of other major talents focused on Play by Play and left their other duties open.

This allowed me to fill in as a beat reporter for the Devils, Knicks, Giants, The Barclays, and for the NY Liberty’s outdoor game at Arthur Ashe Stadium.  I also was the beat reporter my Senior Year for the New York Islanders and got to cover Spring Training with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

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

When I was in High School I knew I wanted to be a sportscaster. Indirectly I have called games just for the sake of it. Whether it was calling my Saturday Soccer games instead of playing defense to calling my NCAA Video games I knew I wanted to do this for a living.

I grew up with many famous calls on College Football Saturdays from listening to Tony Roberts do Notre Dame Football to Keith Jackson’s “Hello Heisman” to Brent Musberger’s “Holy Buckeye”. The ability to dramatize the situation at hand in my opinion is what makes a great broadcaster and I wanted to master that moment and be a part of it.

What sports do you currently broadcast?

I currently broadcast Basketball for the US Merchant Marine Academy on Web stream. I have do football internet radio games for the NJ Spartans. I also call Hockey games for HS teams highlight reels.

I have also broadcasted internet radio Football and Basketball for St. Peter’s Prep and rivals. I have also done TV play by play for HS Volleyball and Lacrosse during my time at MSG Varsity.

Who do you look up to in broadcasting?

My broadcasting Idol is the famous Doc Emrick of NBC. I grew up with him as a diehard Devil fan in New Jersey. I love him the most because of his energy. He brings the heat which I want on hockey broadcasts.

Hearing him say phrases like “SCORE!!!” and “HIT THE POST WITH THE SHOT!!” with his high pitched voice always fired me up. His preparation beyond the game for players and his recall of other levels of hockey is outstanding. Sometimes I cannot believe he knows the two AHL teams for the current teams he is broadcasting. He is the major reason why hockey is one of favorite sports to broadcast.

Is there anyone you emulate or have borrowed from to shape your own style?

There are 5 guys that I have emulated and have borrowed from to enhance my Football, Basketball, and Hockey Play by Play.

For me I am extremely technical coming from Fordham where Marty Glickman and my mentor Bob Ahrens emphasized description and score and time on radio. I am a high energy guy but at Fordham so I wanted to find guys that could incorporate it with play by play radio description.

So for Football radio play by play I emulated Bob Papa the radio voice of the New York Giants. His directional play by play for passes and runs and the way he sets up of the play is a tactic I continue to use today.

For Basketball Play by Play on radio Ryan Ruocco of ESPN Radio is an outstanding talent and saved me on how to call basketball on radio. His description of the right wing, right glass, middle red paint, and right to left and the jersey descriptions were outstanding. When it comes to score and time Ryan is great at giving it right after a basket is made. I continue to listen to him and emulate him on every call.

For Hockey Play by Play energy Doc Emrick has always been someone I have emulated since I was little. When it comes to Hockey on TV I want my audience to be on the edge of their seat. He has taught me the tactic of pausing after a player shoots. It has helped my calls sound cleaner. I emulate how he controls his energy too which is something I try to work on. I also try to sprinkle little tidbits like him about players. It could be something about their home town, family, or off the ice accomplishments.

Still, Kenny Albert, radio of voice of the New York Rangers, saved my hockey play by play life by providing me the structure to call it right on the radio.

His use of the “left and right wing”, “Across the Ranger Line”, “Near and Far Corner”, “Left and Right Point” is all I listen to with hockey play by play. The directional changes he does are outstanding like “Staahl behind the Ranger net, Rangers going right to left”. Since hockey is such a fast game I continuously listen to Kenny to make sure I am doing it right.

Also Kenny’s anticipation on radio is outstanding for a fast paced game. His phrase like “Gaborik over the Capital Line on right wing to the circle” allows you to paint the picture for the listener without getting your tongue twisted focusing always saying right or left circle all the time.

Kenny is also excellent at inserting recaps into his call by saying “Devil and Flyers tied at 2 all four goals scored on special teams”.

When it comes to describing the crowd and setting the scene I have emulated Vin Scully over the years. His descriptions of the crowd on their feet and their emotions during a baseball game are outstanding. He also is great a letting the crowd noise fill in a major moment like he did on his call of Henry Aaron’s record breaking homerun.

You’ve done both radio and TV broadcasts in your career, is there one you prefer over the other?

I prefer Radio Broadcasts because I enjoy painting the picture for the listener and it was the play by play I learned exclusively while I was at Fordham. With Radio the Play by Play Guy controls the game and it’s his job to set the scene to the listener when the game is on the line.

I do enjoy television and am not knocking it at all. However, for a television broadcast to be successful there are so many crucial elements to make it look and sound good to captivate your audience. Also, it is a true team effort all around.

Unlike Radio, your audience can see the play on their televisions. So your director and the guys in the truck need to be on the same page in order to get the proper shots to create that excitement for your viewers. As a play by play guy you are weaving more storylines into your call since your analyst has more control and constantly looking at your monitor to either talk about a graphic or talk about a player or coach or person on screen.

At the Merchant Marine Academy I actually mute my Microphone so I have enough time to set up the graphic or allow my one camera guy to focus in on a player. In the big leagues the truck does that for you.

At the end of the day with Radio my focus is the call on the field, court, or ice. And every dead ball setting up the promo.

How many hours do you spend preparing for one game?

I am a stickler on Preparation from the colors of the jerseys and numbers to the up to date stats of every player. It is crucial for me to know these things so I can think of them day in and day out before the broadcast.

For Merchant Basketball depending on how many games are in a week I spend upwards 6 to 7 hours a night getting starters, stats, facts, information on the conference, and crucial storylines relevant to each and every broadcast.

The Merchant Marine’s sometimes have three games in a week with a Doubleheader on Saturdays. I’ll actually write out the starters out for the doubleheaders the previous weekend in sharpie colors and leave it blank. Then make a copy of those blank starters in case their stats change later. I do this every time I have three or more games in a week so I can allow that 6 to 7 hours prepping for the game.

For Football it starts on Monday and until the night before the game sometimes since I mostly did high school I would prepare close to ten to twelve hours between getting rosters, starters, stats, and finally putting them to paper.

I prep for NJ Spartan games almost for 4 days before the game.

Preparation is key to being your best on every single broadcast.

Where is your favorite place to call a game?

METLIFE STADIUM for a NJ High School Football Championships. You can really see the field well for Football and be able as a radio guy able to describe the play better. You have all that space for your notes, crowd mike, and mixer like you don’t get in NJ HS press boxes.

I have also called some amazing State title games there like Old Tappan and Wayne Hills in 2011 and PC and Bergen Catholic in 2012. Of Course when I worked for Marauder Radio Network I did St. Peter’s Prep’s 2013 State Title game and another one of theirs freelance in 2014.

The ability to view that gorgeous press area and the acoustics from 2,000 to 5,000 people cheering in a stadium built for 80,000 plus is exhilarating.

What is your favorite on air story you can share?

My first year with Marauder Radio Network 2010 with broadcast friend and collegespun.com writer Matt Hladik. St. Peter’s Prep Basketball played Oak Hill a major Basketball powerhouse that had 4 D-I players on their team including former Kentucky player Doron Lamb. No one gave St. Peter’s Prep a chance and they were able to upset Head Coach Steve Smith and Oak Hill.

The best part about this broadcast was because television timeouts from the first game took so long the scheduled 8pm broadcast was bumped to 10pm.

I was raw as a play by play guy back then and had a rough first half call. The second half call though was a lot better and got better as the game got competitive. Doron Lamb had 49 points and Prep’s Guard and former Xavier Player had 33 points watching them duke it out was unreal.

The final call was amazing and I set up score and time and description perfectly.

To be with Matt as the clock stuck 1 am and see St. Peter’s stop the final inbound is a memory I will never forget.

What advice could you offer to aspiring broadcasters or those just starting out?

Well my advice to aspiring broadcasters and ones starting is can be summed up in two parts. Those two parts are from a professional level and an emotional level.

From a professional level you need to constantly be working on your craft and improving yourself broadcast after broadcast. In two weeks I will be practicing basketball play by play and hockey play by play in my apartment to prepare myself for this season. I have my tape recorder out already and I will be listening for two months to make sure I am recapping, score and time, following the ball, sprinkling in stats and storylines when it matters.

For young people and aspiring broadcasters out there you need to be practicing all the time. Your reps are what matters and that is what I am telling you above. I am at over 100 broadcasts now and I am still trying to improve. I wasn’t settled in or even close to it at broadcast number 30. Focus on knowing the players, getting acclimated with the speed of the game, score and time, recap, and description if on the radio. Also, I did Marauder Radio Network unpaid to improve. Sometimes, that is the best way to get exposure, build a reseme, and obtain contacts. Marauder Radio Hockey tapes got me the job at MSG Varsity.

For each rep to count make sure your broadcasts are in a professional environment. If you are doing High School or College Games make sure the conference has a website and the coach is cool with giving you starters and stats. Rich Hansen at St. Peter’s Prep, SIDS Sean Ihauz and Joe Guster at USMMA, and the NJ Spartans are excellent at doing these very things. As a young or aspiring broadcaster every rep is key to improving so make sure your audience you broadcast is on the same page with you in that area

Every game matters and crappy pregame info will harm your call. Also, avoid broadcast environments that will waste that preparation time you’ve done or harm your chances to improve as a broadcaster.

When I was in the HS lots of people offered me games that I had to turn down because they had no idea how to get stats, shoot the camera, and get press space. One former professor I had in grad school at Fairleigh Dickinson who I won’t mention really ruined my calls by doing these same things. If people don’t want to express the same professionalism as you then you need to avoid them.

Reach out to other broadcasters to critique your tapes. Fordham gave me the luxury of having Seattle Mariners voice Dave Sims’s email. Make sure your emails aren’t all about you. Dave Sims helped me a lot with improving. Also Manhattan and USMMA Football Broadcaster Jaden Daly critiqued me and liked me enough to refer me for the USMMA Basketball job I have now. Professional input helps.

Even if one guy doesn’t talk to you keep reaching out on twitter or facebook to talk with them.

From an emotional standpoint stay positive and keep at it. There are ups and downs but if you stay positive, do a good job, and show people your true talent you will get opportunities. Also, have fun because broadcasting games is an awesome time and if you get paid to do it consider yourself extremely lucky.

Be sure to follow John and the Merchant Marines all year round on twitter: John Kelly Jr Twitter

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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.

One of the greatest joys for me in doing these interviews is getting to interview young broadcasters like I had the opportunity to talk to today in Brendan Gulick. Brendan is the voice of NCAA DII Southeastern Oklahoma State University Savage Storm Athletics. and can be followed on twitter @brendangulick22

ImageHow long have you been in broadcasting? You played baseball in high school at St. Ignatius in the Cleveland area, what made you decide to give it up and pursue calling games? When did you know it was what you wanted to do?

This fall will conclude my sixth year behind the mic. I called my first game as a junior at Saint Ignatius when they opened the 2007 basketball season. I had always called the video games I played as a kid and I’ve been passionate about athletics (especially baseball) for as long as I can remember. I knew I wanted to work in sports some day, and as I got older and became increasingly good at communicating with people, I decided to try play-by-play. I started a broadcasting club as a junior in high school and it really took off; in fact, it has continued over the last five years to give other guys opportunities to pursue this in college too. From the moment I did my first game, I knew it was something I wanted to do.

I was a very serious baseball player in high school and many of my teammates (as well as guys I played against) played DI college ball or are currently in minor league organizations. I had always aspired to play baseball  in college too, but when I visited JCU, things changed a little bit. Essentially, I chose to attend John Carroll because I could get on air right away. Originally, I was fairly set on going to Ohio University after I was admitted to the Scripps School of Journalism, but I knew that there had to be hundreds of other kids who wanted to do what I wanted to do. At JCU, Sports Information Director Chris Wenzler and WJCU GM Mark Krieger told me I could get on the air immediately. I moved on campus freshman year on a Wednesday and called our first football game the following Saturday afternoon.

How did it work out that you got the PBP gig at JCU as a freshman?

There were only a handful of other people who wanted to broadcast the games at JCU, which gave me a chance to get involved right away. I worked for both the radio station and the Sports Information Department and had chances to call games through both outlets, as well as call games on SportsTime Ohio (a cable network owned by the Cleveland Indians that reaches 45 million homes nationwide). The highlight of my freshman year came in the spring when our basketball team made the NCAA Tournament and I traveled with them to Guilford College in North Carolina to call both tournament games. It really didn’t take me long to know I made the right choice on where to go to school.

How did calling games at John Carroll in college help you get your first job with the Rockford Aviators straight out of college? What advice do you have for young broadcasters just starting out?

The most important thing about broadcasting at John Carroll was the number of reps I got on air. In my opinion, when you’re trying to start a career, it’s all about reps. No matter where you are, no matter what teams you’re covering, no matter if you’re paid or unpaid, you need to call games over and over and over again if you want to get better – and along with that, you absolutely have to listen to yourself. I also put a emphasis on networking during my time in school. I was guided toward Rockford through STAA and through Mahoning Valley Scrappers’ voice Tim Pozsgai, who had a good relationship with Jacob Wise in Rockford. Thanks to the nearly 200 games I called in college, I was ready for a chance to make the jump to pro ball. I continued to work hard and look for the right opportunity to land my first full-time job and when this opening at Texoma Broadcasting in Durant, Oklahoma became available, I immediately recognized it as what I wanted. I have been laser-focused on what I wanted in a first full-time job since the beginning of my senior year at John Carroll and I was patient enough for it to come to fruition. I’m really excited to begin calling D II football at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in three weeks.

You got to accompany the Blue Streaks to Ireland and call a blowout win, how great of an experience was that for you?

That trip was the trip of a lifetime. John Carroll traveled to Dublin last year during Labor Day weekend to play in the Global Ireland Football Tournament (GIFT), a tournament that featured 12 teams (10 high schools and our game). Double-header games were played at three different sites throughout Dublin thanks to a Texas-based organization called Global Football. John Carroll opened the season against St. Norbert’s College from DePere, WI (Midwest Conference) and won the game, 40-3, at Donnybrook Stadium (a historic rugby venue in the city). As someone of Irish decent, being able to travel for five days to Ireland was that much more meaningful. And to top it all off, I was able to share the trip with my parents, aunt and uncle too! We saw the cliffs of Moher on the west coast, drove across country to Dublin and stayed in the city of Dublin from Wednesday morning until Sunday night. We saw the Notre Dame vs. US Naval Academy game on Saturday (we played on Friday). I spent almost two full days touring the city with my family and with the team. Dublin is full of history! I can’t believe it’s been a year since we were there. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I think about that trip almost every day.

How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?

It really depends on the sport. If you consider all of the hours I spent getting ready for a John Carroll game last fall, I was pretty close to 22 hours per week. Between going to practice, watching film, working in Sports Information to write media game notes, making my boards, conducting interviews and getting all of the production ready in the radio station (I was the Sports Director last year at WJCU), it was an awful lot of work. But honestly, it never felt like work because there is nothing else I would rather be doing. I really didn’t take a day off; on Sunday’s, I would cut some highlights and listen to the broadcast in our studio to critique myself. Since basketball and baseball games occurred more frequently, I couldn’t spend quite as much time preparing. I ended up spending close to 12 hours of prep-time on those games. I realize that’s a lot of time to spend getting ready for a broadcast, but I really wanted to make sure that I went into the broadcast knowing everything there was to know about the game…and if I didn’t know something that suddenly came up, I needed to be organized enough to know how and where to find it.

 What sports do you currently broadcast and which is your favorite?

I called football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, baseball and softball while I was in school. I think football, basketball and baseball are my favorites. Honestly, they are all so different from each other and they have their own unique challenges; I really enjoy doing all three the of them. By the time one season is over, the next one begins almost immediately. That’s part of the reason why I am so excited to begin my professional career (post-Aviators) in collegiate athletics. I have a natural schedule built in and I don’t have to worry about where I am going to call each sport, each season.

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

On a national platform, Jim Nantz and Bob Costas have always been my two favorites sportscasters. I was fortunate to have grown up in Cleveland as well – listening to Tom Hamilton call Indians games, Joe Tait call Cavaliers games and Jim Donovan call Browns games … I felt spoiled! Those guys are all very good and I really miss listening to Joe since his retirement. If I could call one game with any color commentator, I think it would be really fun to call the Rose Bowl with Kirk Herbstreit – he is my favorite color commentator on a national level.

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

I have tried to develop my own style, but at the same time, I am also of the opinion that everything has already been “said.” It’s virutally impossible to say something and be the first to do it. I prefer to use a more conversational style than an “announcer’s style”. I aim to be “easy on the ears”, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get excited when it’s necessary. I strive to develop a personal connection with a listener. I don’t want someone to listen and feel like I’m talking to an audience … I want each person to feel that it’s just me and him/her.

One of the biggest things that a lot of broadcasters talk about it getting that “break”, what would you say yours was?

My first big break came a couple of weeks ago, actually. This job with Texoma Broadcasting was offered to someone else. I don’t know who it was and I probably never will. I don’t know why he chose to go a different direction, but I sure am thankful he did!

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

Earlier this summer, Jacob Wise and I were calling an Aviators game that wasn’t exactly going Rockford’s way. When I checked my twitter handle, <i>every single tweet</i> either mentioned or hash-tagged “Sharknado.” I had no idea what that was, and I was really thrown for a loop for another reason. Before the start of every game I broadcast, I always pick a couple of words to challenge my vocabulary – this is something I take fairly seriously, so when one of our producers told me before the game that I should incorporate “Sharknado”, I just laughed it off. I thought he was trying to stump me and making fun of my challenge. Imagine my confusion when I checked Twitter! After a routine ground out, and with Rockford trailing 15-4, I said on air, “Jacob, I know this has absolutely nothing to do with our game, but what in the world is Sharknado??” Over the course of the next ten minutes, while never missing a pitch, we discovered how the Sci-fi movie swept the nation that night! It was some of the most hilarious “radio” I had ever been a part of. So what’s the lesson? As a broadcaster, you have to be an informed person! Clearly, while I was relateable by talking about something on air that the whole country seemed to care about, I was clearly uninformed!

If there is anything else or any stories you really want to share please feel free to do so.

I was very proud to be recognized by STAA the last two years in its annual collegiate All-American Sportscasting Competition. As a junior, I finished 13th in the country and I placed 10th as a senior. Both times, I was the top-ranked collegiate sportscaster from Ohio and I ranked in the top three in both years among students from NCAA DIII schools. It was such a blessing to share that honor with everyone at John Carroll University. JCU will always hold a very special place in my heart and I look forward to representing the Blue Streaks wherever my career takes me!

Thanks again Brendan for being such a great interview. Congratulations on all of your success and best of luck in the future.

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.

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.

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