How to be a radio sports broadcaster

Veteran sports broadcaster Andrew McKenna describes his route into sports radio, and the skills and attributes needed to succeed on the sports desk.

Veteran sports news editor Andrew McKenna has worked for talkSPORT radio since 2000, presenting daily sports bulletins and reporting on weekend football and rugby matches. Andrew graduated in 1995 with a degree in Sports Studies, and began his broadcasting career at BBC Radio Nottingham where he presented bulletins, reported on live sport and helped out with production. Here, he gives his advice on how to make it as a radio sports broadcaster.

Get experience
Approach all the media employers you can find and get as much experience as possible. This could also be as a volunteer on community radio. Try to get a variety of expertise across TV, radio, online broadcasting, and make sure you are up to speed on the different forms of social media. The more strings you have to your bow, the more likely it is that an employer will think of your name when a shift needs filling.

“The beauty of sports broadcasting is that anything can happen.”– Andrew McKenna

Stay flexible
Stay on top of breaking news across TV, radio and online. Twitter is a fantastic resource to get up-to-the-minute sports updates. It’s good to have an idea of how you’re going to structure a bulletin, but don’t be afraid to rip up your script and change everything at the last minute if an exciting piece of news suddenly emerges.

Delivery is key
It’s a cliché, but a true one – sports radio is about painting a picture with words. Ensure your descriptions are vivid but concise. Practise reading your scripts over and over, and make sure your delivery is clear. Get a stopwatch and time yourself – you might have 50 seconds to sum up an hour’s ice hockey game.

Be realistic
A prime position on a major radio station is unlikely to fall in your lap. You might get lucky, but it’s more likely that you will simply have to plug away for a long time. Don’t be disheartened – getting in to any media role takes time and effort. For Andrew, you need to keep your eye on the goal (pun very much intended) and keep working hard.

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