“Is it really that hard? All you do is say what’s happening on the field? Anyone can do that.”
Anyone who has ever broadcasted a game has heard that. And anyone who has broadcasted a game knows that there’s so much more to it than that.
My broadcasting colleague and Twitter friend Melanie Newman, broadcaster for the Baltimore Orioles, expressed her own frustration with that sentiment in a tweet over the weekend:
People who think the only thing broadcasters do is show up to the games and speak… 🤦🏻♀️
I don’t speak for everyone, but those are still around 12 hour days from prep to product.
— Melanie Newman (@MelanieLynneN) October 17, 2020
Now, I don’t broadcast for a professional team, so I know her prep work far exceeds mine. One reason is that I have another full time job (which is like 3 jobs in one) that demands most of my time, so a lot of my prep is done on Sundays and after work hours.
However, I do take pride in the amount of prep I do and have always carried myself as if it were a professional broadcast.
I’ve had the opportunity to speak with several pros in the business. I’ve interviewed both Ole Miss’ David Kellum and Mississippi’s State’s Neil Price, the latter of which I’ve sat in the radio booth with during a game call (Thanks to the best engineer ever Ross Swanner).
I worked a TV broadcast spotting for Lyn Rollins, a broadcasting legend who is in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
And they all stress just how much research, prep, and other work it takes to make your broadcast stand out.
If I ever had an excuse to slack on the prep work, it was this past week.
We were finally back to a game week after having two weeks off due to COVID-19 protocols. So that meant prep work, recording with the 4 segments with the coach, producing the video broadcast and all that a normal game week entails.
In addition to that, the news reporter on two of our stations was on vacation, so I had to write, produce, and a record a newscast for all three station this week.
Plus we had live broadcasts for our campaign to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
So my week was already pretty hectic.
But to top it off, during this week’s game, the school would celebrate Senior Night and present the homecoming court.
Personally, I’m not a fan of the huge senior night ceremony. We didn’t do that when I was a senior.
In fact, if we had done it, I can picture an 18-year-old Breck actively voicing his position against it, but still participating anyway for the family.
But even though I have my issues with it, I know a number of people enjoy it. So all week long, I had felt the need to find a way to broadcast both of those events because of the limited ticket situations due to coronavirus. The idea that some grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members wouldn’t be able to partake in those festivities just didn’t sit well with me.
So I decided we would find a way to make it happen. Luckily, I happen to have A LOT of experience in running sound (thanks Dad), so I knew what all I needed to pull it off.
Thursday I went to the field and got it all set up and tested and it worked-ish. So, being the paranoid person that I am, I got to the field at 3:30 Friday to get it all set up again to make sure that it worked, and thankfully it did and it all sounded great during the broadcast.
When it was all said and done, I was awake from 3:30 am – 11:00 pm Friday, with 7 of those hours spent at the football field.
So that’s a look inside what a week looks like for the radio guy leading up to a broadcast.
I didn’t write this post to brag, but to just show what kind of work goes into the ballgames you watch and listen to week-in and week-out.
Mine is just a high school broadcast. You can’t even imagine the work that goes into those on the college and professional levels.
In conclusion, broadcasting is one of those jobs everyone thinks they can do. I foolishly thought that too before I started on this journey 8 years ago. But like most jobs, until you’ve actually done it, you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.
Highlights of the night:
- I was elated to see Cam Smith back at the game. He spent several weeks in the hospital battling complications with COVID-19. Prior to the game, I got to go down and speak to Cam and his dad George.
- I had fun as the stadium DJ again this week. I added a couple of Van Halen songs to the playlist as a tribute to the G.O.A.T. I also threw in some “Gloria” by Laura Branigan because it’s just a fun song.
- The punter on the other team was not on our roster, so I took to calling him William Perry. Shoutout to all the ’85 Bears fans.