How to Become a Sportscaster
A sportscaster on television or on the radio is responsible for providing pregame analysis, play-by-play commentary, and post-game analysis of games, as well as interviewing athletes. Sportscasters often travel around the nation to cover a team’s games. If you have an interest in both sports and journalism, you may be interested in considering a career as a sportscaster. Although sportscasting is a competitive field, you can prepare yourself by learning about and participating in the field during high school and college.
Preparing in High School
Decide what area of sports and broadcasting you want to pursue.Although you may change your mind in the future, or end up working in a different field based on job availability, it will still be valuable to have a clear professional goal for yourself.
- For example, you can specialize in covering baseball, basketball, soccer, football, or volleyball games.
- You should also consider if you prefer work in television, radio, or internet-based broadcasting.
Take high-school courses in journalism.These courses will have the most practical value to your future as a sportscaster. Journalism courses will prepare you to speak comfortably on radio and television, and will help you develop research and interview skills that are integral to working as a sportscaster.
- Also take any courses related to television broadcasting. Although journalism is the field most closely related to sportscasting, learning about broadcasting will also help you master the technical aspects of TV sportscasting.
Start getting experience as early as possible.Even in high school, you can begin gathering valuable sportscasting experience outside of your journalism classes.This will help you become a more competitive job candidate later in life, and will help you gain confidence. For example:
- Practice calling games as much as you can. Sit in the stands during any sporting events you can find, and record yourself using a tape recorder or your phone.
- Look for opportunities to participate in student-run radio broadcasting programs.
- Contact local radio or television stations and see if they need an intern or assistant.
Stay involved in sports.Although journalism classes and sportscasting practice are important, you should also continue playing sports of your choice, and should stay involved in the athletic community.
- If you’re going to work as a sportscaster, you should be passionate about sports—remaining athletically active is the best way to maintain that passion and will give you an understanding of how the games work—which is what you will announce and analyze as a professional sportscaster.
- Playing one or more sports will also allow you to form contacts and network within an athletic community.
Watch as many games as you can and pay special attention to the sportscasting.The best way to develop your own sportscasting abilities is to watch and listen to professional sportscasters.If you have the time, watch and listen to games at both the college and professional levels. Notice things like:
- How sportscasters speak, including vocal inflections.
- The kinds of information they include about individual players and entire teams.
- The ways sportscasters narrate events on the field to form a cohesive, interesting game narrative.
Studying for Sportscasting in College
Research the schools you’re interested in attending.Pay attention especially to their journalism and sports broadcasting programs. You can choose a school with a strong journalism program or, for example, sports journalism or broadcast journalism programs.
- Also consider choosing a college or university with journalism-related majors such as communications, mass media, or English.
Plan to study journalism, broadcasting, or television production.Sportscaster internships will be most interested in hiring an individual with a four-year degree related to the field of journalism or broadcasting, as these majors ground you in reporting and engaging with media.
Study and play sports in some capacity.Even if you’re not at college to become a professional athlete, you should still stay involved in sports and the athletic community. You’ll receive a deeper understanding of how sports work at a high level, and be able to better analyze games both on and off the field.
- If there’s a sports-related minor—for example, a Sports Studies program—consider pursuing that option.
Start a student-run broadcasting program.While many broadcasting programs exist, it may be hard for college students or recent graduates to break into these markets. Start talking to the Media or Radio departments at your university, and see if they allow students to start their own shows.
- If that is not an option, try starting your own broadcasting platform, such as a YouTube channel or a podcast.
Look for a sports broadcast internship opportunity.This is even more important in college than it was in high school, as an internship will allow you to gain practical experience outside of an academic setting and give you time to study the craft of sportscasting.
- An internship is typically required to gain practical experience. You can obtain an internship on your own or with the help of your academic advisor.
- Generally, internships are for one quarter or semester (depending on your university) or for a summer.
- Although internships may pay, they are typically only for college credit.
Hone and perfect your broadcasting skills.Broadcasting is a challenging responsibility; it calls for specialized skills that cannot be developed in other fields or lines of work.A job as a sportscaster requires an individual with charisma, who can think on their feet and is capable of both announcing specific plays, while also synthesizing information about players and teams with the overall narrative of a sports game.
- Build a demo tape with the help of your adviser or a sports broadcast professional. The demo tape should be audio or video clips of work done during your internship or college television broadcasts.
- Join college and professional journalism and sports broadcast journalism organizations or groups. Joining such an organization will allow you to network with other sports journalists.
- Some colleges (and even high schools) also record student sportscasting, and then upload the videos to stream from the college’s athletics page online. If your college doesn’t record and upload student broadcasting, check with someone in Athletics to see if they’ll consider recording student sportscasting.
Generating Experience and Work Qualifications
Develop your networking skills and acquire connections with sportscasting professionals.Once you have finished your college degree and are beginning to look for work as a professional sportscaster, your network of professional contacts will prove invaluable.These contacts will be able to help you and mentor you through the job-search process, and can introduce you to further references and contacts.
- Make sure that your references and contacts know you personally; cultivate personal relationships, not just face recognition.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for letters of reference or other forms of personal recommendation for internship programs or jobs.
Learn the sportscasting and sports broadcasting industries.Like any professional industry, the sports broadcasting world can be difficult to break into. However, professional contacts will be essential to your own success as an upcoming sportscaster. Network and make contacts however you can.Consider avenues like:
- Mentoring groups specifically designed to help upcoming sportscasters.
- Sportscasting school, which will help you hone your craft and meet others with the ambition to become a sportscaster.
- Working in television fields related to sports broadcasting.
- Imitating the career paths of successful sports broadcasters.
Start in a small market and work your way up.It’s very unlikely that you’ll land a sportscaster job at a large TV station in a major metropolitan area right out of college. Plan to find a starting job in a smaller market, and use that as an opportunity to improve your network of contacts and your skills as a sportscaster.
Find a job inside of a radio or television station.This will provide on-the-job training and let you build up a solid network of professional contacts. Even if you must start out with a low-level job, or one that does not allow you airtime initially, the job will still be valuable as long as it is in the field of sports broadcasting.
- Closely observe other sportscasters. You can gather a wealth of information from professional sportscasters: interview them, learn from their mannerisms and speech in front of the camera, and learn from them as mentors.
- Work up from a sports reporter to a sportscaster. Many sportscasters start out providing on-the-field game coverage as sports reporters, and occasionally pick up opportunities for sportscasting work at their TV or radio station.This is a common way to work your way up in the field.
QuestionWhat is the salary range for this type of job?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMedian pay for a sportscaster is about ,000. The lowest-paid 10% earn less than ,000, while the highest-paid 10% earn over ,000.Thanks!
QuestionWhat college is the best for a sportscaster job?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you're planning to study broadcast journalism, check out USC, Boston University, or the University of Georgia. Other universities are given here: http://colleges.startclass.com/d/o/Broadcast-Journalism.Thanks!
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