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Sports Announcer


Description

From the early days of radio sports broadcasting until the present television medium, people have watched and listened to games and reacted with various emotions. Depending on the event, the sportscaster's tone of voice rises and falls creating a great deal of excitement for viewers. Sports announcers also provide information and commentary on a sporting event, during intermissions and after the game. These announcers are found on stations like ESPN and network channels.

What makes a great announcer is one who can both tell the play-by-play story accurately and at the same time be excited and reflect the significance of the event that just occurred. Also, it is very obvious that most famous sports announcers have a true love for sports or the particular game in which they comment on. Sportscasters prepare their stories on computer terminals, working from material gathered from wire services and adding their own information. Some announcers host sports programs that feature interviews with sports figures or review recent or upcoming sporting events. On all-sports stations, sports announcers provide reports and broadcasts at regular intervals during the day and evening, which may be pre-recorded or broadcast live.

Usually, a typical game will have a two sportscasters -- one who does the announcing and one who works as the color commentator. Before a game, the sports announcers must brush up on their knowledge of players, their names and some background information on how they have been playing, including prior injuries. This includes the players from the opposite team. Some make notes that they can refer to, to prevent any dead airtime. In larger stations, there is often a spotter who calls out the players' names through a headset to the announcer.

Some sports announcers work for television stations and report on the general sports news from each day. They perform the same functions as general announcers, however most of these announcers have some sort of connection to the sporting world. Those working in the commentating and interviewing side of sportscasting will convene during intermissions and talk about the game, how star players are playing, discuss statistics and information they gathered, in a general recap for viewers that might have missed parts of the game. After the game, these same sports announcers will rush to the floor or to the locker room to interview both the winners and the losers. This can be very exciting when the games are playoffs or finals. Interviewing a World Series champion or NBA championship winner would be very emotional and exciting.
 
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
$17,620
 
Median Salary:
$30,510
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
$69,450

  Interests and Skills  
Besides the obvious -- being a lover of sports or "the number one sports fan" -- sports announcers must have an excellent memory and a strong audio voice. They must be able to concentrate for a few hours at a time (during a game) and be knowledgeable about what they are saying. Sports announcers should also have good enunciation but use the sport lingo as well. Announcers usually exude confidence, have the ability to ad lib and provide interesting commentary

Sports announcers should be enthusiastic, and have the ability to relate to an audience. They should have a natural curiosity about the sporting world and when looking for work, be a bit aggressive. The industry is very cutthroat and jobs are hard to come by, therefore sports announcers must have clear set goals and go for them.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Announce sports highlights and notable sports news from a studio
  • Attend press conferences to gather sports information
  • Cover live sporting events
  • Excite listeners by making the game into an exciting event
  • Broadcast live play-by-play commentary
  • Interview players, coaches and owners for comments and reactions
  • Sports announcers who broadcast live for a television or radio stations, doing play-by-play commentary usually work when a game is being played. Those employed on a regular basis for a network may be required to travel around North America to cover all games being broadcast. They also work doing separate interviews with players and coaches. Those working more as newscaster-sportscasters work during news-hour shifts or during other scheduled shifts. The hours may be strange but they are never more than standard. Those new to the business usually work the less desirable shifts or cover low-profile games. They get to move to better time-slots once they gain experience. Many games are held in the evening and on weekends.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Sports announcers are primarily employed by radio and television stations and networks and by commercial firms that produce advertisements for radio or television. They may work for both amateur and professional sporting leagues and in the public and private sectors.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Sports announcers with experience can become famous celebrities. They usually find work by marketing themselves through audition tapes and personal interviews. Other areas that sports announcers can move into are other broadcasting specialities such as music, weather or interviewing. Various sports announcers move between stations and develop significant followings.

Sports announcers may also become programming directors, station managers, actors, news directors or executives with broadcasting companies. Some sports announcers freelance as masters of ceremonies for special functions, or record commercials on a contract basis.
 

  Educational Paths  
Although there is no standard educational route for becoming a sports announcer, most broadcasters have a journalism, communications, physical education or broadcasting degree from a university or college. Some stations also hire former successful athletes, who do not have any sort of training, but instead a playing knowledge of the game.

A good idea is to volunteer at high school, college or local radio or television stations. Here one can watch and learn with hands-on experience. It is very important to be knowledgeable about sports or a particular sport, therefore playing the game is a good way to be an expert. Finally, practice is crucial for play-by-play commentators. Experts suggest going to a little league game or a high school or college game and practice calling the action. Or turn off the television sound and commentate at home. The only way to become an expert in this area is by practicing. Eventually, it will start to come naturally.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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