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Sports Broacasting

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by bigmac, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. bigmac

    bigmac New Member

    So... I am at a crossroads here. I know I don't want to be a sportswriter any longer -- the hours are a killer, I hate how "passive" it is and it really wasn't the fun job I thought it would.

    However, I have started to dabble in radio the last few months. I kind of enjoy it; it definitely is more "fun" than writing, to me. And it is more like I am "performing" when, as a writer, I was just passive. So, maybe, since I will be performing I won't mind working nights and weekends, I don't really know.

    I have an option to go to law school in the fall, but would have to give that up to try broadcasting. I am 90% sure I will be able to serve as an intern radio guy for a minor league baseball team this summer, and am thinking of trying that.

    For any broadcasters out there... do the hours kill you, or is the job enough fun that it makes it OK?
  2. Liut

    Liut Well-Known Member

    Go to law school. You can always take a shot at radio down the road. FWIW, the pay is typically worse than newspapering. Depending on what type of work you're doing, yeah, the hours will grind you down. I'll be curious what others have to say. Good luck.
  3. the hours are "a killer," so you might want to be a lawyer?

    yeah, makes sense
  4. maumann

    maumann Active Member

    How good are you at selling ads? If you want to work as a broadcaster in the minor leagues, you're usually responsible for finding a radio station willing to trade/charge you for air time, then you'll have to find sponsors to pay for the air time PLUS whatever commission the team gives you.

    I played hooky from school in 1979 and drove to Lakeland to talk with Paul Carey and Ernie Harwell when they were still doing games on WJR. That was the advice they gave me then, and I'm guessing the situation's no different three decades later.

    It didn't deter me from a radio career, but it derailed my hopes of baseball play-by-play. I wound up working in radio news for a dozen years. I was at the Cape for Challenger in 1986. I was the first reporter on the scene of the Palm Bay Massacre. I was on the air 10 minutes after the Loma Prieta quake in 1989 with one of the few radio signals able to reach San Francisco. I filed for CBS, NPR, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. I worked up to 70 hours a week, delivering as many as 10 five-minute newscasts a day. And I never made $20,000 in a year.

    At 29, I was asked to be a panelist at the Radio-Television News Directors Association national convention in San Jose, and was stunned to realize I was considered "a veteran" at that point. Most everybody else had left the business for public relations jobs. Two years later, I was out of work because the boss found someone younger and cheaper.

    When the FCC deregulated radio in the early '90s, it sounded the death knell for radio news. Only a few all-news stations have enough money to support decent-sized staffs, and radio mergers have all but killed off staffs at smaller stations.

    I never did work full-time in radio again. At KFBK in Sacramento, I worked a Saturday night board shift until 2 a.m., slept under the conference room table for four hours, then anchored the Sunday morning news block. At WPTF in Raleigh, I made $7 an hour doing scoreboard cutaways for N.C. State games and re-airing Dr. Dean Edell programs before Mornings with Maury.

    I told my wife I'd quit the business if I was no longer having fun. That was the tipping point.

    But at that last job, I met a guy who loved cueing up reel-to-reels and running the board for $7 an hour, because he was doing it as a hobby. He worked full-time as a CPA.

    My advice? Go for it if that's what you really want to do. But if I was to do it over again, I'd minor in broadcasting, get a real job and do radio as a hobby instead.
  5. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    Go to law school.

    Radio makes newspaper job security look like the Pope's.
  6. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    Sports radio is mostly freelancing these days. So, go to law school. Broadcasting will be there.

    I'm a full-time teacher, part-time broadcaster, run my own show and love it. But I have to program, buy equipment, sell ads, and the like.
  7. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    Go to nursing school
  8. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    At least you won't have to spell if/when you're yammering on sports talk radio.
  9. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    What maumann said. I originally got into the media in my teens when I was hooked into a kids' program on a local radio station. Soon enough I branched out and started reporting for a sports talk show -- the host gave me a shot.

    I'm glad he did. I'm also glad that I got out. I was in radio in one form or another for seven years and never made a dime. At the end, I decided the lack of opportunities to do anything other than run the board or do a phoner on a game was not appealing to me.
  10. ringer

    ringer Member

    A lot of great reporters made their start in radio. It may even clean up you're writing because you'll be much more attuned to how it sounds. You'll also have to write tighter and be more economical with your words (that is, unless you have a call-in show or an hour-long deal)

    It's definitely worth a shot.

    On a side note, I have no idea how you can possibly consider writing and reporting "passive."
  11. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Why do you consider it performing? It's work. BTW, the hours are worse. In a small town, you probably have a "Coffee with the Coaches" show Saturday mornings.

    How solid is the law school option? Did you get in or just thinking about applying? Of course unless you scrapped by in college, you should get into law school somewhere.
  12. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    Go to law school and do radio pxp on the side. Forget talk radio. I have friends who have parlayed radio pxp gigs into TV pxp gigs.

    That said, even many of the top pxp guys are paid on a per game basis, year to year, which makes them freelancers. Well paid freelancers, but freelancers who can be replaced at a moment's notice.

    Tough field.
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