Rapid Rise

How sports broadcasters have reached top jobs by age 30

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What not to do

If you’re trying to be a professional broadcaster, here’s a textbook case of what not to do:

It’s kind of an old story (2011), but still relevant.


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Others to watch

We’ve highlighted four prominent broadcasters in our young broadcaster of the week series. Now, here’s two others and where they might end up one day:

Ryan Ruocco

Currently a sports talk show host on WEPN 98.7 FM in New York City and a part-time Brooklyn Nets broadcaster, Ruocco could very well wind up as a replacement for Marv Albert as one of the lead voices of the NBA on national television. A 2008 Fordham University graduate, Ruocco has potential, especially with professional basketball, which seems to suit his personality and style.

Justin Kutcher

A graduate of Boston University, Kutcher has become a recognizable face on Fox Sports 1 calling college football and basketball as well as Major League Baseball. Kutcher is a quality pro who will only continue to get higher-profile (such as NFL) games.

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Here’s our young broadcaster of the week, Aaron Goldsmith, discussing how he self-critiques himself. Self-critiques are especially important for young broadcasters, because they are major way in which a broadcaster can get better. Just like being an athlete, broadcasters can go back and evaluate their previous performances in order to learn how to get better.

From my personal experience, I find myself to be my own toughest critic. I pick out every single flaw in my broadcasts- partially because I know what went wrong. I know when to expect the mistakes. I find it very easy to get down on myself when I do a self-critique, so in that way I dislike the concept. When I do a self-critique, I like to violate a common career tip by comparing myself to other broadcasters. That gives me a greater sense of satisfaction when examining my work.

As for Aaron’s comments regarding making lists of descriptors, I partake in the same practice. I have a binder marked “BINDER OF PLAY-BY-PLAY” with certain quotes and styles of other broadcasters that I enjoy.

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Lifestyle choices and alternate jobs

Our young broadcaster of the week is Aaron Goldsmith, the no. 2 radio voice of the Seattle Mariners. Goldsmith’s employment history serves as the perfect example of how reaching the top of the radio broadcasting field requires hard work in and out of the booth. Not to burst the bubble of any young broadcasters out there, but here’s the raw truth: unless you’re in one of the four major professional leagues or with a major (ESPN, FOX, CBS. NBC) network, you are not going to be able to make enough money as a broadcaster alone to survive.

In Minor League Baseball, for example, the radio voice often doubles as the director of media relations. This is a role which is its own position at the Major League level and at major colleges. This “day job” involves coordinating all interviews between team personnel and the local media, along with creating daily “game notes”- packs of statistics, tidbits, and other useful information that goes out to media, coaches and fans. The DoMR also is in charge of writing game recaps and maintaining their team’s website.

Other Minor League broadcasters and many college sports broadcasters work in their team’s sales department, trying to sell the advertising space both on their broadcasts and around the stadium as well as tickets for groups and individuals. This job is often a year-round job where a majority of the work is done in the offseason to prepare for the season ahead.

These two jobs are easy for broadcasters since they get hired for the “secondary” position at the same time they are hired to broadcast. For Aaron Goldsmith, among others, sometimes work has to be found outside of the team. Two “day jobs” he held while working his way up included professional dog walker and landscaper.

Needing a day job is just another factor to consider when deciding if this is the life you want to pursue.

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Young Broadcaster of the Week: Aaron Goldsmith

Our final young broadcaster of the week is Aaron Goldsmith. Goldsmith is the no. 2 radio voice of the Seattle Mariners, a position he was named to at age 29 in January 2013. In that role, he calls play-by-play of four innings per game on the Mariners radio network, and provides color commentary for the other five innings, teaming with longtime Seattle broadcaster Rick Rizzs. Additionally, Goldsmith has begun calling college football on SportsUSA Radio as well as college basketball on the Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports 1. He had the play-by-play call of the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Championship on Fox Sports 1 in March 2014, a rapid ascension for a broadcaster who formerly walked dogs as a way to earn extra income.

Goldsmith is a native of St. Louis, Mo. In college, he was not gung-ho on becoming a sports broadcaster. Instead, he earned a degree in history from Principia College in Elsah, Ill. It was not until after graduation when he started pursuing the idea of broadcasting at The Broadcast Center in St. Louis. His first baseball job came after 10 months at The Broadcast Center when he caught on with the Gateway Grizzlies of the independent Frontier League as their no. 2 broadcaster in 2007. From there, he was the lead broadcaster for the Bourne Braves of the amateur Cape Cod League in 2008, and even then he had to work a landscaping job to stay afloat- barely. Goldsmith’s first gig in affiliated baseball came in 2009 when he worked as a no. 2 broadcaster to Mike Antonellis in Portland, Me. with the AA Portland Sea Dogs, a Boston Red Sox affiliate. His stint in Portland was followed by a two-year stay in Frisco, Tex. with the Frisco RoughRiders, AA affiliate of the Texas Rangers. In that role, Goldsmith was the lead play-by-play broadcaster and Director of Media Relations. Like the other stops in Goldsmith’s career, Frisco was a brief stopover. After only two seasons (2010 and 2011) there, he was off to Pawtucket, R.I. and the Pawtucket Red Sox. The “PawSox” have a history of sending broadcasters on to the majors, and Goldsmith was no different. He was in Pawtucket a mere one season (2012) when he got the call to the big leagues from Seattle.

Here’s Goldsmith in the news:

Meet new Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith

Aaron Goldsmith