It’s the number one, most asked, most requested question that comes with the most complicated, most non-descript, most sought after answer…….”how do I become a play-by-play announcer?”
A while back I shared my story of how I got into sports broadcasting, but it’s a unique tale as are countless others out there. But what makes sports broadcasting so fascinating is that there is no one golden path to success. Unlike other fields there isn’t a golden ticket or a specific set of steps. If you want to be a lawyer; go to law school. If you want to be a doctor; go to medical school. Despite universities and colleges having sports broadcasting programs, it’s by far a requirement for a successful career as a play-by-play announcer.
The folks over at WorkInSports.com have a great set of resources available to Sports Broadcasters, and one includes a top five list of steps from veteran announcer Doug McLeod, who shared some of his best tips from a 35+ year career in hockey. It’s a great list for someone looking to break into the business but not knowing where to start.
Breaking into play-by-play announcing seems to be the most daunting of all career choices. It’s easy to become focused on the big sports and the big names and think, ‘I can’t beat that’. Well, that’s true, right now you can’t (just being honest). Guys like Vin Scully, Kevin Harlan, Jim Nantz and Mike Tirico have been refining their craft for years; studying, practicing, researching, learning from mistakes, taking advice from mentors.
You can’t match them now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get there. Stop thinking about the NFL on Sunday and start thinking about minor league baseball, small college football, internet broadcasts, Olympic sports and a host of other play-by-play opportunities and you’ll begin to realize there is a starting point for you out there.
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