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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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!

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.

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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!

We Welcome You Inside Sportscaster Central…

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.

Credit: WHN/Associated Features, Inc.
Marty Glickman and Marv Albert. Credit: WHN/Associated Features, Inc.

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!

–Dominick Savino

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Dominick Savino, Founder of Sportscaster Central.

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.