The thing that is sort of interesting about this specialized profession is that 98 percent of the broadcasts consumed are viewed on TV; yet if play-by-play is your objective, the job market is the opposite.
Indeed precious few TV play-by-play jobs exist, most new caster get their start and build much (if not all their career) within the grand ole medium; radio!
The following 5-important facts for recent graduates looking to break into this competitive industry.
5. Keep Your Expenses Down
It is a known fact, sportscasting is a labor of love. If making a lot of money is your objective, a new profession may be in order. A good rule of thumb for pay as a broadcaster is about 10k a year for every decade you've been alive. So 20k+ while in your 20s, 30k+ while in your 30s etc.
4. Enjoy a Nomadic Lifestyle
Speaking from personal experience, in the 5-years I spent as a professional broadcaster between my years in college and three years after, I lived in 4-different places. You go where the jobs are. For me that was Goshen NY, Oswego NY, Martinsville VA and Salamanca NY. Not exactly bucket list locales, but towns like those are where you find jobs when starting out.
3. Get Really Good at Selling
most jobs you get will require you to sell in one form or fashion. Whether you're working the ticket office as a minor-league baseball announcer, the alumni relations phone line working in a sports information office, or pounding the pavement chasing small-town radio advertisers for their ad spend, almost all entry-level jobs include sales. Furthermore, in most of these cases, you're not evaluated by your Vin Scully baritone, but rather by your Frank Bettger hustle and grind in the field. For those who don't know Bettger read his story here. I'd also suggest picking up a copy of his book here or at the local library. It's a sad reality, but if you can't sell, you likely won't get the reps you need to get good enough on-air to get where you don't have to sell.
2. Learn to Love Reading & Studying
Seasoned broadcast veterans will nod in agreement on this, but for rookies and those just learning about the field this may come as a surprise. Most of the work done in a broadcast, is done hours and sometimes days before the on-air light illuminates. If you're a play-by-play guy calling basketball for example, you will likely spend at least 2-5 hours per game in prep work if you're new and want to sound good. Football probably more. On the sports talk side reading everything you can get your hands on (and not just sports) is the single best way to seamlessly mix in references, analogies and historical context examples into the fabric of your sports dialogue. Those abilities are what define a personality and keep you from being just another "host."
1. Stay Active and Keep Outside Hobbies
This is without a doubt the most important tip I can give any up-and-coming broadcaster. It's a grind. Moving, being away from family, working 12-18 hour days or more, making less than minimum wage per hour; it all wears on you. This is why maintaining your physical health by regular exercise and continuing to engage regularly in hobbies is so vital. Keep yourself vital and mentally engaged and you will have a chance at success. Fail to do these things, and you will likely fizzle out before you get started. I for example enjoy the sport of basketball and playing poker. While I was in Virginia nearly 13-hours away from friends and family, I made sure to play basketball 2-4 times per week and play poker normally once a week. This despite my crazy work schedule. Find what you're passionate about, and make time for it.