Good morning, afternoon and evening! My name is Michael Ventola, a minor league radio broadcaster and media relations director for the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League. I would like to thank Rick for allowing me to write to all of his readers in hoping I can share some knowledge to those trying to break into the business and/or trying to learn something new !
Allow me to give you a brief background of myself just so you have an idea where I’m coming from. I’m a New Jersey born, Pennsylvania raised guy living in Easton, Pennsylvania for sixth months of the year (when I’m not in Southern Illinois working for the Miners), where I graduated high school. I graduated from Immaculata University, which is located outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a degree in Communications in 2010. I’m entering my fifth season in minor league baseball, second as a lead broadcaster. I spent prior years working for the Augusta GreenJackets of the South Atlantic League, the Reading Phillies of the Eastern League and the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs of the International League.
If there is anything I learned in my short years as a broadcaster are two things that every broadcaster needs to be successful. Now, I have not reached the level of success that I’m looking for but I can’t push away the accomplishments I have made. I’ve been a part of some exciting seasons the past few years that I will most certainly take to the grave with me.
Now, the first thing that is key to doing your job correctly is preparation. One thing I have learned from my mentors who broadcast on the Double-A and Triple-A level, is that it doesn’t matter how great of a voice of you have because if you don’t know what you’re talking about, you won’t sound good either way. In minor league baseball, a lot of broadcasters are media relations directors and have other tasks as well. A lot of broadcasters make sales calls and help out in other departments. How do they find time to prepare? Well believe it or not, they have to make time. Whether that’s earlier in the day or even during lunch, as broadcasters we have to find time to prepare to make sure we deliver a good broadcast each night. That’s making sure you find time to talk with coaches and players, attend batting practice as much as you can. Make sure you pop in the clubhouse to see how the players are doing from time to time. When you’re on the road, it’s the perfect time to talk with guys because it’s who you will be with for that three to six day stretch. The more knowledge you gain, the better off you’ll be.
Once you bring in all that information, then you have to decipher what will be used and what won’t be used. That was one of my biggest hurdles in the beginning. The more you’re on air and the more you continue to call games, it’s then you will be able to adjust accordingly. Its one thing to read stats and throw out numbers, but it’s another thing to share a few stories about the players and coaches. Fans do want to hear the numbers, but don’t be afraid to share a story from time to time. Remember, you are the liaison between the team and the fans. Give them something so they’ll be coming back each night.
Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of Mike's Keys For Sportscasting Success!
Follow Mike on Twitter! @VentingDaily
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