Sports commentary for radio

Mike Costello is a sports correspondent and commentator for BBC Radio 5 live. He talks about the skills needed to be a radio sports commentator whilst covering the world title boxing match between Carl Froch and Yusaf Mack for 5 live.

For radio sports commentary it's important not only to convey information about the match but to relate the atmosphere to the audience and tell them about where you are and what’s happening around you.

"The challenge is to have brought that across to the audience so that everybody listening said, ‘Wow – I wish I was there’."  – Mike Costello

Mike explains the need for preparation before the match, studying the fighters and making comparisons between them that you can then relate to the listeners. Although he does bring in notes these are more of a comfort blanket as glancing down during a boxing match could mean missing that single punch which could end the match.

Mike emphasises that a commentator shouldn't walk into the arena too early otherwise you risk the adrenaline wearing off and getting tired too early. He talks about the equipment he uses including his headphones and monitor.

Pundits are there to provide their point of view and build on the commentary. Mike talks about his relationship with his boxing pundits Steve Bunce and Ritchie Woodall and their need to be concise with their points as they only have 60 seconds to talk between rounds.

His tip for aspiring commentators is that commentating is a profession that requires practice, in the same way athletes practice for their sport.