Today we’re back and talking about secondary skills. It’s been over a month since Sportscaster Life saw some new content posted. A website that has prided itself on producing regular, weekly content dropped off substantially through late February and into March and the reasoning is a great message and lesson learned about sportscasting.
Since the last post, the following has occured to me: I earned my first full time position in sports broadcasting after 6 years on a game-by-game basis while juggling another full time job, my team purchased and installed a new 232 sqft LED video board at our home arena and made me responsible for the content and finally my team is enjoying its most successful playoff run since 2012. Combine those three things with some personal elements and it’s been a hectic last month. However, this whole situation has taught me one very valuable lesson in sports broadcasting…
…it’s no longer a bonus to have secondary skills, it’s ESSENTIAL.
But what are ‘secondary skills’? And why can’t sports broadcasters just show up and call games like the network pros?
Secondary skills are things that aren’t necessarily related directly to broadcasting, but make you a more valuable asset to your team, school or station. They’re things like video and audio editing, web content production, social media management, writing and more. They are things that you can do to enhance the profile of not only yourself as a broadcast professional, but your team, school or station as well.
I’ll use my situation as an example. I’ve spent six of the last seven years with a Junior hockey team in British Columbia, Canada. For those years, I was paid on a game by game basis, and while I was considered part of the staff, I was told there simply wasn’t a budget to bring me on full time. However that all changed with the team, along with the local government allocated money to purchase and install a LED video board in our arena. Now they needed someone to not only advise on the project, but be responsible for running the board, producing content and training others to operate the equipment.
That’s where my secondary skills came into play. My technical background, my former career as a television news director, my ability to edit and produce videos all meant that I now had the opportunity to pitch a full time job to my team, a proposal they accepted. While my job description is wide reaching, the main focus on it is in digital content creation. In addition to broadcasting games, I’m responsible for making sure that the LED board runs seamlessly every night and that we have new and exciting content to run during games. Everything from video features to crowd prompts to game graphics…that’s all on my shoulders.
So what is the lesson for other sports broadcasters looking develop their careers? Develop secondary skills. Learn how to produce video content, learn how to podcast, learn how to write effectively, learn how to be more than just a voice on a microphone. These skills allow you so many more options than just broadcasting and make you indispensable to your employer and more attractive to potential bosses.