Behind the mic. Behind a camera. Setting up streams and the behind-the-scenes pieces that go into on-air efforts.
Those facets of broadcast journalism and others are available to students who are taking part in a twice-weekly class at Frederick High School.
The student-run play-by-play effort broadcast some 30 home games in football, basketball and baseball on the internet. There weren’t any lice streams. The first effort at girls soccer was due to take place April 21. Athletic director Ty Gordon said the hope is to expand the program to cover road games next year. Faculty advisor Jake Marsing wants to add in-school newscasts, as well.
Before taking his teaching job at FHS (he teaches social studies), Marsing worked in sports radio in two markets, including Denver. He covered college football, the Denver Nuggets and the Denver Broncos.
“I’m teaching them based on what I learned,” Marsing said. “The rest is trial and error.”
Air time in all forms
For now, the focus is on sports, much to the delight of four members of the class, including Zach Wartner, who also pitches on the Warriors’ baseball team.
“I joined because it was based on sports,” Wartner said. “I’ve done color commentary so far. I like to talk. I like to talk to new people. I was nervous at first, but it’s become routine now. I even did play by play of a basketball game.”
Khloe Gould is not interested in being on the air. She’s more at home behind the scenes.
“I’ve loved the class from the first day,” said the FHS freshman. “I’ve learned a lot .. how to set up a broadcast, how to take it down, how to set up a tripod, how to set up a stream. It’s a top priority.”
Hayden Delier doesn’t want much to with the on-air piece either. But if it’s cameras, Delier is right there.
“On-mic? No,” he said. “I’m not super comfortable with it. I’ve learned to tell a story and to get different angles. Our basketball team had a pretty good season (it made the Final Four for the first time since 1956). We were able to add more depth to our story by not making it about interviews but about the team as a whole.”
Josh Bailey has done color commentary and play by play for basketball games this season.
“I was nervous, thinking I was speaking in front of thousands of people,” Bailey said. “But I thought I could do it.”
Wartner loves to talk sports.
“But now, I’ve seen there is a deeper part of the game than what’s on the surface,” he said. “It’s given me the idea to go in and look at more teams’ stats.”
“It’s easy to commit to this,” Gould said. “I really like the tekkya stuff, the bigger cameras. Games are a first priority.”
“I enjoy the camera work and the photography. I take a lot of pictures of our sports teams,” Delier said. “I run the live streams at the church I go to, so that translates to this well.”
Exposure to other announcers
Marisol said the class listened to audio recordings of several announcers, some of whom yell and scream and some of whom are quieter. One of the more frequent voices on those recordings is that of former Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully. He called Hank Aaron’s 715th career home run in 1974 – the record-breaker at the time – and then let the crowd roar for more than 90 seconds without saying a word.
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“If you get a good call of a play, it makes a more memorable broadcast,” Bailey said. “I called a game-winning play, and then I let the moment happen. I let the fans rush the court before I said anything else.”
All four want to continue in their respective areas of interest in broadcasting when that time comes. Delier was a bit more hesitant than the others.
“How do I get in? Is the creative side what people want?” Delier asked. “The more I get into it, the more I can see doing this and some cinematography.”
“I’d love to do something like this,” Gould said. “I want to get more in-depth with this, but I really enjoy it.”