By Samantha Kleinman
Manager of Player Engagement
Want to achieve success in the broadcasting industry? Then it’s important to heed Gerry Matalon’s advice to “be credible, be likable, BE YOURSELF” (Gerry is the Sr. Coordinating Producer of On-Air Talent Development for ESPN, a good person to be getting advice from!). These nuggets of wisdom were everywhere at the six annual Broadcast Boot Camp, which was bigger and better than ever. 19 current and former players were in attendance, including 9-year NFL veteran Kris Jenkins, Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson, and former New England Patriot Troy Brown; and three Broadcast Boot Camp graduates – Adam Archuleta, John Fina, and Micheal Young – returned for additional training. The participants’ experience ranged from full-time broadcasting jobs to broadcasting rookies, but everyone felt the pressure when seated in front of the camera – when asked if they were nervous filming their first studio shot, every hand in the room shot up. Participants learned from some of the most accomplished sports broadcasters in the industry, and a highlight for everyone was the “Next Steps” panel discussion.
The panelists – James Brown (CBS), Quentin Carter (Big Ten Network), John Entz (FOX), Howard Katz (NFL), and Gerry Matalon – provided participants with their valuable insight on what next steps they should take to achieve their desired career in the industry. The panel emphasized that aspiring broadcasters should take what they do seriously, but shouldn’t take themselves too seriously. Showing that you have personality and enjoy being in front of the camera or behind the microphone is key! Perhaps one of the most important takeaways from the panel was that participants should take advantage of every possible opportunity to get in front of the camera. There are no “small opportunities” when you’re first trying to break into broadcasting, so whether you’re covering a local high-school team or volunteering at a local radio station, grab the bull by the horns! These opportunities may not come on your desired schedule, but it’s important to be patient and persistent. When the opportunities do arise you need to be able to take them, even if they may take some time away from family and personal activities. Howard Katz stressed that, although it is important for aspiring broadcasters to work with their producers to maintain a good work/life balance, during a broadcaster’s first couple of years in the industry he will need to put in the time and may not have the leverage to negotiate his schedule. James Brown likened a broadcaster’s schedule to that of an NFL player – during the season you’re at the facility and on the road, during the offseason you have more time to spend with family.
You could see the motivation of the group, as everyone took notes and asked insightful questions throughout the four-day Boot Camp. When former NFL Head Coach and broadcaster Dick Vermeil addressed the group, he advised them that “the only thing you have control over is your own preparation.” Participants took a huge step towards preparing for success by attending the Boot Camp, and we’re already seeing their hard work pay off. As a result of their performance at the program, you’ll be able to see and hear four of our participants on-air this season. NFL fans in the UK can keep an eye out for Troy Brown and former Green Bay Packer Mark Tauscher as they broadcast a weekend of games for our UK broadcasting partner; and listen for Nate Burleson and Denver Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen when they serve as guest hosts on SiriusXM NFL Radio!