The Pros and Cons of a Sports Broadcaster Career
As a sports broadcaster, you'll present live sporting events while also providing commentary and analysis. You might also interview athletes and team officials as part of pre- or postgame shows. To learn more about the pros and cons of a career as a sports broadcaster, just keep reading.
|Pros of a Sports Broadcaster Career|
|Job location flexibility*|
|Offers good amount of independence and autonomy*|
|Generally comfortable working conditions**|
|Technology advancements have made editing and recording material much easier**|
|Cons of a Sports Broadcaster Career|
|Sluggish job growth expected (zero percent for all television and radio announcers from 2012-2022)**|
|Moderate pay (average annual salary of about $44,030 as of May 2014)**|
|Meeting deadlines may cause stress*|
|Significant travel may be required*|
Sources: *O*Net Online, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Essential Career Information
Along with providing accurate descriptions and analysis of live sporting events, a sports broadcaster must also interview guests and plan programming content. They must also stay up to date with statistics and trends within the sport they cover. Your work as a sports broadcaster will likely involve promotion of a station or network's other programming, and you may also have to make promotional appearances at public or private events. You might also be involved in editing content for use in game previews or recaps.
If you work for a small radio or television station, your work as a sports broadcaster may involve producing advertisements and selling commercial time to advertisers. You might also be required to make public-service announcements and promote your station through social media. In larger media markets, you might moderate panel discussions or host forums while working as a sports broadcaster.
Salary Information and Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects below average job growth for radio and television announcers in the coming years, with overall employment not expected to grow at all from 2012-2022. Candidates with a degree in journalism or broadcasting and some experience at a radio or television station should have the best job prospects. As of May 2014, the BLS reported an average annual salary of about $44,030 for radio and television announcers in the United States.
While there aren't specific educational requirements for most sports broadcaster positions, a bachelor's degree in broadcasting or communications can help you to be more competitive for entry-level positions. Some hands-on experience with a college radio or television station can also be helpful for prospective broadcasters. If you don't have much announcing experience, a bachelor's degree should probably be seen as a minimal requirement.
You'll need good speaking skills to succeed as a sports broadcaster, and most colleges offer voice and diction courses to help you improve your vocal style and ability. Research skills and computer proficiency will also come in handy when preparing for broadcasts and putting together programming content. You'll also need to be able to write effectively in order to communicate with producers and other co-workers before and during broadcasts. Good people skills and a neat appearance are also important attributes to have for a sports broadcaster.
What Are Employers Looking For?
If you have some experience in broadcasting or announcing and you're willing to perform various tasks related to sports programming, you might find work in a variety of settings. Some job postings open as of November 2012 can give you an idea of the current job outlook for sports broadcasters:
- An internet broadcasting company based in Santa Monica, CA sought a broadcaster to cover live sporting events online. This position does not require experience but does call for a deep understanding of multiple sports and specific teams. You'll also be required to promote yourself through various social media outlets.
- A large radio station in St. Louis looked for a part-time sports talk host/reporter. This position requires major market sports-related broadcasting experience and advanced audio production skills. A significant amount of game reporting and/or broadcast newsroom experience is necessary.
- A television station in Oklahoma City wanted a sports producer/reporter to cover college and professional sports. You'll be responsible for shooting, editing and anchoring the station's Sunday night sports show, and you'll also produce content for online, mobile and social networking applications. The position requires two years of experience.
Standing Out in the Field
Although educational requirements can vary for sports broadcaster and announcer jobs, you can set yourself apart from other candidates by earning a bachelor's degree in communications or broadcasting. Developing your knowledge and expertise in a certain sport or a specific team might also be a good way to stand out. Because some positions require significant amounts of travel, being flexible in terms of job location and travel requirements may also help make you a more attractive candidate.
Hiring managers for radio and television stations often base their decisions on a candidate's on-air personality, so it can be helpful for you to develop your skills while working for a small station. Lower-level broadcasting experience can build your on-air confidence and allow you to be more conversational with your audience.
Alternate Career Options
If you'd like to work in a similar setting to sports broadcasting but focus more on the technical side of things, a career as a broadcast technician might be a good fit. These occupations basically involve operating and maintaining the electrical equipment for broadcasts of various kinds. Entry-level broadcast technician positions usually require a vocational training certificate in a related field. As of May 2014, the BLS reported an average annual salary of about $42,310 for broadcast technicians.
If maintaining an on-air presence is important to you, pursuing a career as a radio or television reporter or correspondent may be worth considering. You'll likely need a bachelor's degree in journalism or communications to become an on-air reporter or correspondent. The BLS reported an average annual salary of around $45,800 in May 2014 for reporters and correspondents.