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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
I think it’s safe to say that we’re a few years separated from that time in the early 2000s when the coolest thing to say was “Hey man, check out my blog!” Seemingly everybody had one at that time, and blogs are seen as a model of online sharing that predates modern social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
But while the blog boom has passed, one important component of its rise still remains: anybody can make a website for absolutely nothing. It cost me exactly 0 cents to create Sportscaster Central through WordPress. It would cost you the same amount. Why should you make one though? I’ll get to that. Just remember it could make or break your sportscasting career…But anyway, about making a site!
Step one is arguably the most difficult of them all, and that’s just coming up with a name. “What’s in a name,” Shakespeare’s Juliet asks. Well, Juliet, everything is in a name.
Your site’s name is the first thing that people think of when they think about your site. It has to be juuuuust right. Not too long, maybe a bit humorous, but most of all a clear indication of your site’s ultimate purpose. Take Sportscaster Central for example. I chose it not to be funny but to evoke a certain idea. It’s a blog about sportscasting, and I hope to feature many types of content within its digital walls so that it becomes a central location, a “one-stop shop” of sorts, for those in the industry. Simple enough? It took me two hours to think of, and that’s just step one.
Once you register your domain name through WordPress, you have to pick a theme. The theme of your site dictates all aspects of its layout, everything from simple colors and font styles to how big your header image can be and how many columns you can include. Much like your name, your theme sets the tone for website. It is the boundaries within which you construct your online space. I deliberated over the theme of Sportscaster Central for a few more hours before finally choosing the “Twenty Sixteen” theme on WordPress. It can do all the important stuff a content-rich blog like mine must do, like have an easy-to-use menu and afford lots of space to showcase podcasts and videos. But subtly, it also does the little stuff well, like offering a social media bar at the foot of the page and incorporating header images of any size. That shot of Mike Krukow and Jon Miller is just too good not to use!
With a domain name and theme carefully selected, we’re starting to roll. The last big step is clarifying what your content will be and formatting how it’ll be shown on your site. For me, that first part was already determined. I went into this project wanting to write articles and create podcasts and videos about the sports broadcasting industry, but how I wanted them displayed was another hours-long mystery to solve. It requires some forethought during the theme-picking step so that your site can support the presentation you want, but ultimately your content must be presented in a way that’s conducive to the medium. If you want to create a photojournalism blog, you should probably first pick a theme that effectively showcases high-res pictures and, then, adjust that theme to suit your particular brand of photography.
I knew ahead of time I would produce various types of content, so I picked Twenty Sixteen with that in mind. From there, I arraigned all the pieces of that theme to tailor it for Sportscasting Central. The dark colors create a crisp and professional look, the header menu is easy to navigate, and the sidebar assists in locating the content featured on the left side of the page.
With all that done, I was set! My blog was fully prepared to accommodate content of all shapes and sizes. It took me hours and hours, but methodically advancing towards that end goal ensures that I won’t have to revisit the drawing board to change my themes or any other major detail. Think of it as the admittance fee for entering the blogosphere—putting in the hours to make it all look juuuuust right before showtime.
So there you have it, those are the major steps in creating a blog and some of my experiences creating this one. What was that? Why does your career hinge on a pesky blog? Oh yeah, almost forgot.
I’ll assume we’ve all applied to a sportscasting position before, so we all know the components of a complete application. Cover letter, resume, demo tape, writing samples, and on and on. Let’s say you’re applying for a lead MLB radio play-by-play job. That’s serious business—only 30 of those jobs exist!— so you’ll probably want to include all the awesome stuff you’ve produced throughout your career.
I’m sure the team will want a lot too, like perhaps a full game tape and a full coaches’ show and a series of interviews. All of those audio files take up lots of space, even in .mp3 format, so sending them to the team won’t be easy.
That problem is just one reason why you need a website. Now. Upload all those files to your sites, display them prominently alongside your resume and other work samples, and just like that you have a detailed online resume located at yourname.wordpress.com. And that’s just one good reason! Ever feel like writing about your experiences as a broadcaster? Ever want to interview someone and need a reason why? Want to build your brand as a talent? Your website can help you do all of those things. It gives you a space and a reason to write about what’s going on in sports and tape that interview. Plus, if you use your website as your online resume when applying to jobs, employers will surely check out all that other content you’ve created to see what it’s about. Put out a quality, compelling piece of content every so often, and that’s another feather in your cap. More importantly, it could buy you some separation from the pack in an overcrowded job market.
I hope I’ve provided you with plenty of reasons to go out and bolster your career prospects by making a blog. Hopefully, sharing some of my experience creating Sportscaster Central will help you glide through the creation stages of your own blog. If you do go out and make a site, let me see it! If you already have one, let me see that too! Drop your link in the comments section so I can check it out.
Welcome to Sportscaster Central, a blog about sportscasting made by a sportscaster! Here, you’ll find a wide assortment of multimedia content created to inform and educate the men and women who call the action live and break it down in the studio afterwards. From video demonstrations of prep techniques to podcasts and articles about critical issues in the industry, Sportscaster Central offers content suited for sports broadcasters at every level.
Above all, though, I created Sportscaster Central to serve as a venue for those in the sports media industry to learn from each other. While the sportscasting business is a private and tight-knit one, every broadcaster can point to people in the industry who have helped them along the way. Vin Scully had Red Barber. Marv Albert had Marty Glickman. Countless other stories of mentorships and “big breaks” follow.
I have learned already that many broadcasters—those much more experienced and talented than me, to be sure—are willing to lend a helping hand, so Sportscaster Central will encourage outside contributions of all sizes from the broadcasting community. Whether it’s some examples of your prep work or a spot on a podcast, I would love to have you involved!
Below are in-depth descriptions of the types of content I plan to regularly feature at Sportscaster Central. Let me know in the comments section if you have ideas for additional content you’d like to see. I hope see you around here often!
Rumblings & Ramblings: Simply put, Rumblings & Ramblings will be where I write about the sports media business. Professional and amateur American sports have become a multi-billion dollar industry, not the least because of the endless media coverage every team and athlete now garners. With the landscape of sports media rapidly changing, there is so much to discuss as overarching themes and issues start to emerge. I’d gladly welcome guest Rumbles & Rambles, too, so feel free to shoot me a line if you want to chime in.
The Sportscaster Central Podcast: On the podcast series, I plan to open up the conversation by talking shop with other sportscasters. We will share stories and talk about the industry that has provided all of us with many memorable experiences. I would love to have talent from all levels and mediums join me for a podcast, so reach out and I’ll get you on The Sportscaster Central Podcast.
Demo Videos: It doesn’t matter the sport or show. Every broadcaster has their own unique way of preparing themselves to do what they do best: talk. I’ll be using screencasts to showcase the ways that sportscasters go about prepping for the best job in the world. Because everybody has a different approach, I’d love to feature examples of your spotting charts or game boards. Send me over some pictures of your prep work, and I’ll feature them on my next video.