Demo Video No. 02–Baseball Broadcasting Scorecards

With pro baseball already underway and summer collegiate ball right around the corner, this demo video will help you call your best baseball this summer! The quality of a broadcast is invariably a direct result of the amount of prep work the broadcasters involved put into the broadcast. With that in mind, I take a look at two different types of scorecards—one basic, the other more advanced—and discuss not only their layout but also how to best utilize them in setting yourself up for a great baseball call.

The first scorecard I bring up is a basic card from the Sportscasters’ Talent Agency of America website.

A basic scorecard downloaded from the STAA website. For the first few baseball broadcasts of my career, I used this scorecard to prep beforehand and keep score during the game.

STAA is an invaluable resource and well-regarded agency for young and old sportscasters alike, and this card is great for broadcasters just getting into the business. Here is a link to the download file for it. It’s not flashy and includes all the necessary components, but it leaves marginal room for notes. A helpful trick to add extra space is expanding the document from Letter to Legal size, giving broadcasters an extra couple inches of room right on the card to add notes before the game. Even still, this format isn’t the best, and it requires you to print out (and organize) two separate scorecards so that both teams playing in the game are accounted for.

The other scorecard I examine is one designed for TV and radio broadcasters in Bob Carpenter’s Baseball Scorebook.

A scan of a completed scorecard in Bob Carpenter’s Baseball Scorebook. This comes from a Rutgers-Penn State baseball game I called on BTN Plus on 4/23/16.

Carpenter, the current Washington Nationals play-by-play broadcaster on MASN, has created the sportscasting industry standard with this scorebook and hundreds of pro, minor league, and college broadcasters across the country use his book every season. I’m proudly one of them. Like I mention in the video, this scorebook (or some personally-crafted variation) is a necessity for any broadcaster who seriously wants to call baseball games for a living. In addition to all the essentials that the basic scorecard contains, the Carpenter scorecard has so many extra features, from detailed record charts and standings columns to 15 innings of baseball and fielding and umpire alignments. And, of course, there’s lots of space for notes throughout the entire card. Being able to pour all the diverse categories and types of info you need for a baseball broadcast onto a single scorecard is the sum reason why Bob Carpenter’s Baseball Scorebook is so popular among sportscasters.

Whatever scorecard you end up using for your next baseball card, my one word of advice would be to prep until you don’t think you can prep any further. This holds true in all genres and forms of broadcasting—especially here considering baseball’s slow pace—but you cannot fake the prep work once you’re on the air. So how do you prep? Let me know what scorecard you use in the comments below? If it’s something different than the two I discussed, include screenshots so we can compare!

Demo Video No. 01–ePortfolios and Personal Websites

Sportscaster Central’s first demo video is up! I talk about ePortfolios, or personal websites that professionals make to showcase their work online, and use some examples to provide ideas and tips and what to do (and not to do) when making yours. In the current sportscasting job market, creating your own website is a must. It serves as a one-stop shop for potential employers who want to see the diverse things you do: play-by-play, writing, social media, and everything in between.

In the video, I examine the ePortfolio of Alex Rawnsley, a Canadian minor-league hockey broadcaster. His website is a near-perfect model for what a sportscaster’s own site should look like, with all the right content and info contained in it. I also take a look through the ePortfolio of Kekai Kotaki, a concept artist who’s done work for many popular video games. I use Kekai’s site as an alternate example, and I point out some things that he does differently–for better or worse–than Alex. Check out the video for my 5 favorite aspects of Alex’s site, some things Kekai’s website does very well, and great tips to keep in mind when making your ePortfolio.

Also, for those curious, I made the demo video (as I’ll make all of my videos) using Screencast-o-Matic, a freemium software that enables users to record video of their screens and through their webcam. The free version allows for up to 15 minutes of recording at a time, and the video quality is pretty solid. I also used Adobe Premiere, an industry-standard video editor, to edit the different segments of the video together. If–or, should I say, when–you create your own personal website, you can use it as a platform to create your own content! Whether it’s blogging about hot topics or creating videos about the sportscasting business like I do here, creating unique content on your site is a good way to add an extra touch and try to get a leg up in a crowded job market.

I hope you enjoy this first demo video, and I’m certain there’s some great tips in there that’ll help you make or improve your own ePortfolio. If you have any additional ideas about website-making, drop a comment below, and thanks for visiting Sportscaster Central!

Reblogging Eat Clean Eat Green’s Podcast

Hey guys! In addition to the video I produced about social media and best practices for working online, I’ve collaborated with two blogs–Eat Clean Eat Green and Easy Bites–to further promote and drive traffic to the Rutgers Future Scholars Program. Here I’ve reblogged the content produced by Eat Clean Eat Green, which is a podcast detailing some different vegan meals for the Scholars to make when in a hurry.

Eat Clean Eat Green advocates vegeterian and vegan lifestyles that are free from preservatives and protect the saftey and well-being of animals. In the podcast, Eat Clean Eat Green editor Danielle Bocchino keeps with a Mexican theme and walks Scholars through the cooking process for a making a salad, soup, and full dinner. The first recipe is for a Mexican chopped salad with peppers and a chipotle dressing. Next, Danielle lays out the steps for cooking up a split pea and quinoa soup, which is especially good for cold days. Finally, she goes through the process for cooking vegetarian stuffed peppers, which are hearty enough to enjoy for dinner. By offering a variety of different recipes, Danielle is sure that there’s a meal that every Scholar will love in her podcast!

Remember to head over to the Rutgers Future Scholars website, where there’s more info on the program we’ve focused our collaborative campaign on. Also, you can find details on how to donate and get involved. The RFS Program has guided over 1,800 kids to success in school, so I strongly encourage you to donate or become a Mentor to a child. Feel free to also check out the additional content that Sportscaster Central and Easy Bites have produced to help the Scholars excel throughout high school and into college.

Thank you so much for your support of the Rutgers Future Scholars and our collaborative campaign, and I hope you enjoy our content!


Social Media Education with the Rutgers Future Scholars

Hey guys! Easy Bites, Eat Clean Eat Green, and I are hard at work producing our collaborative campaign to raise interest and drive traffic to the Rutgers Future Scholars Program. For my part in the project, I’ve produced a video on a topic that both the Future Scholars themselves and sportscasters should check out: social media. Because the RFS Program was created to help students acquire all the knowledge and skills they need to excel in high school and into college, I decided to address some best practices when interacting on social media so that the Scholars know how to stay safe and smart online. With America’s youngest generation making their first footprints into digital spaces, I decided that a primer on social media will help them put their best foot forward online.

I talk first about how the Scholars can protect their accounts. I delve into the correct privacy settings they should have for their profiles and how to use the block and report features on various platforms. Then, I talk more broadly about the dos and don’ts on what to say on social media, a topic that Scholars and sportscasters alike should be knowledgeable in. Finally, I wrap up with the number one lesson that anybody—young, old, small, or tall—who even turns on a computer should know: how to secure your password. In the wake of Laremy Tunsil’s dramatic fall in the 2016 NFL Draft, this is another area that the Scholars and sportscasters alike should be sharp in.

So whether you’re a Scholar, a sportscaster, or just interested in social media, please check out my video! Remember to also head over to the Rutgers Future Scholars website, where there’s more info on the program and details on how to donate and get involved. The RFS Program has helped over 1,800 kids achieve success in high school and go on to college, so I strongly encourage you to donate or become a Mentor to a child. Also, feel free to check out my collaborators’ blogs. Easy Bites and Eat Clean Eat Green have both produced great content providing food lessons and tips that will help the Scholars stay healthy and fueled up throughout high school and their busy lives in college.

Thank you so much for your support of the Rutgers Future Scholars and our collaborative campaign, and I hope you enjoy our content!

Some Exciting News!

bannertop2Hey everyone! It’s Dominick again, the founder and editor of Sportscaster Central. I’m really excited to announce that, for the next couple weeks, I will be teaming up with Easy Bites and Eat Clean Eat Green to publish a collaborative campaign! Because all of our sites address some form of education, we plan to produce a series of podcasts and screencasts that will provide lessons, reviews, and information about the incredible Rutgers Future Scholars Program. The RFS Program works with underprivileged, high-achieving students in four New Jersey cities (New Brunswick, Piscataway, Newark, and Camdem) to educate them and provide them with enrichment programs throughout high school.

Here at Sportscaster Central, we’ll be creating a video on social media education, a topic that is as valuable to a sportscaster as it is to a young high school student venturing onto Twitter for the first time. We’ll also be republishing some great guest posts by our partners, who will be producing additional content targeted towards the incredible young kids in the RFS Program. Our ultimate goal is to raise donations for the program and to encourage people to sign up and be a mentor for a Future Scholar. So, stay tuned to Sportscaster Central, Easy Bites, and Eat Clean Eat Green as our campaign unfolds, and visit the Rutgers Future Scholars Program to learn about all the awesome things the next leaders of our country are doing!

Sportscaster Central Podcast Series Teaser

STOP THE PRESSES. The headline is correct: The Sportscaster Central Podcast Series is nearly underway! I have a great group of sportscasters lined up, each of whom has a unique position in the industry and a good story to tell. In the meanwhile, I’ve created this 1-minute teaser so that you can get a sense of what the podcast series is—and what I’d like it to become.

I had a lot of fun building the audio clip, mainly because this is what I do. I’ve been a radio broadcaster since my first time in front of a microphone, and TV stations have been wary of allowing my face on their screens ever since (that was a joke, I hope).

As a bit of background regarding how I created the teaser, I used my pre-recorded voiceover and a free beat I found on Free Music Archive, an essential site for anybody considering making a podcast. The site has thousands of free songs that are archived in the public domain or Creative Commons-licensed. There is certainly a beat or song there that you can incorporate in your podcast’s intro and end that will give it a much more professional sound. I then edited the two audio tracks together in Audacity, another free, essential tool for sportscasters looking to make their no-budget podcast sound every bit like The Bill Simmons Podcast.

Bill Simmons
Bill Simmons, everybody’s favorite ex-ESPNer. Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision, via Associated Press

Surprisingly or not, Audacity stands up pretty well to “real deal” audio editing software that will cost you hundred of dollars. Programs like Adobe Audition and Sound Forge do offer more editing features and tend to have a more intuitive layout, but the basics of combining tracks and adjusting volumes are all packed together in Audacity. With the teaser slapped together, I was able to upload it to the Sportscaster Central Soundcloud page and embed that track into this post for you to hear. Simple as that!

As I have with all of my initial postings, I will mention that acquiring audio editing skills and creating a podcast are both great ways to continue to differentiate yourself in the job market. Most radio jobs, especially entry-level positions, will demand that you edit the audio packages you produce, so learning the basics through Audacity is a great start. Who knows, your next encounter with audio editing could come with different software in a “real-world” job setting. Similarly, it’s also easier than ever to create a podcast, especially considering every laptop and headphone set comes with a built-in mic. Use Free Music Archive and Audacity to create a strong product around your voice, and your no-budget podcast can instantly become resume material.

I hope you enjoyed listening to the teaser, and I hope you’re even more excited to get to the podcasts! I know I’ve having fun putting them together. Expect to see the first installment of The Sportscaster Central Podcast Series go up in the coming days. Until then, are there any podcast series you already listen to regularly? Have your own podcast? Let me know in the comments section below!

Creating My Header Image and a Note on Technical Skills

To me, it’s the perfect image. It’s a snapshot of life in the baseball broadcast booth, blessed with its breathtaking perch above the stadium and cluttered by papers and wires and pens strewn all about. It’s two of the most loved MLB broadcasters—seriously, the most loved—doing their enviable jobs, Mike Krukow flipping a ball to himself as Jon Miller points out something of importance to his partner. If a picture tells 1,000 words, this one talks about the long-standing relationship every baseball fan has with their broadcasters as they transport the fan to the ballpark and have intimate, 1-on-1 conversations with millions of people all at once.

And that’s why I chose it as the featured photo in the Sportscaster Central header image. Every sportscaster who grew up in love with a baseball team can tell stories about their team’s broadcasters. Now, all those young boys and girls have grown up and want to be those sportscasters. This blog was created with those people in mind, and (much like the blog’s name and theme) its header image sets the tone for that ultimate objective.

Don’t get me wrong, though, mashing up a header image without a basic knowledge of photo editing is quite a challenge. I had never done as much as open up Photoshop prior to constructing that image, so I was going in blind. Thankfully the free, online photo editor Pixlr offers many of the same tools that Photoshop includes, and the website also features an easy-to-use interface that assists beginners learning on the fly.

Pixlr and Penguins
Pixlr’s easy-to-use interface, plus some happy penguins. Credit: LiveDrive

While I was still a novice with no previous experience, Pixlr’s clear layout allowed me to overcome my early struggles applying the right tools so that I could end up with a quality header.

Pair that photo of Krukow and Miller with a clipart image of a headset, add a branding touch with the “SC” lettering, include some cool filters, and there you go! A guy with no photo editing skills creates a quality product and learns some valuable basic skills in the process. Now that I have learned how to use Pixlr, I’m confident I can tell an employer that I have a very basic grasp of how to edit a photo for broadcast or social media distribution.

And that’s not a fact I take lightly, either. Amassing as much technical and editing skill as possible is invaluable for media talent at all levels and all disciplines. Look no further than every small-market TV sportscaster. I’m sure they’d all be willing to tell you just how many hats they’ve been forced to wear due to budget cuts. Your sports anchor may serve as the broadcaster, videographer, editor, and graphic designer for his department all at once. At minor league and college play-by-play gigs, too, broadcasters are now commonly called upon to bring some web design or editing prowess to the table, adding more to the job description than just on-air responsibilities.

So I encourage you, learn as much about as many editing programs as possible. I had no idea how to edit a photo before I created this header, and now Pixlr has given me a basic understanding of photo editing. Who knows, your editing skills might just help you land a job one day!

Have your job prospects gotten a boost from the editing and technical skills you can offer an employer? Let me know in the comments below!