When former local radio play-by-play broadcaster Willie Gavett asked longtime WABI-TV general manager George Gonyar for advice before doing his first game, Gonyar said, “just tell them what you see.”
Great advice. This means if you are working with an analyst, it is their job to do comment on the game.
Another great piece of advice came from legendary play-by-play man, George Hale, who told me before my first game as an analyst, “make sure you pronounce the players names correctly.”
This means do your homework before the game and find out the correct pronunciation if you are unsure of it.
Viewers and listeners can expect some highs and lows from local broadcasters in the upcoming high school basketball tournament, which begins on Friday, Feb. 14.
Having worked many tourney games for Bangor-based WABI TV and radio as an analyst, I always appreciated the play-by-play people who just called what they saw as it made my job easier.
They would ask what I thought of a situation, whether it was about the game, the players, the officials, or the coaches strategy.
One thing that still doesn’t occur often enough today is that play-by-play announcers need to give the score after every point is scored. It is very frustrating to listeners, especially if they are just tuning into the game, to go minutes without knowing the score or the time remaining in the game.
TV broadcasting is harder than radio as viewers can see if you have made a mistake in doing the commentary. TV replays can be embarrassing if you get it wrong and then have everyone see and hear it again.
For basketball games on the radio, listeners like to know which way teams are going on the court, so they can picture it in their minds, especially if they have been in the facility. They also like to know what type of defenses and offenses teams are using.
It is a plus when the broadcasters use the correct basketball terms and know the rules.
When dealing with officials calls, it is OK to criticize some obvious bad calls. You are telling listeners and viewers about high-school age players who commit a violation, miss a shot or make a turnover, so the same standard should be followed for the officials, who are paid to do the games. Conversely, it doesn’t hurt to let listeners and viewers know when good calls are made.
The more basketball experience broadcasters have as a former player, coach or official, the easier it is, especially for the analyst, to give the game’s strategy.
A good example of this is if a team is pressing, what type of pressure is it: zone or man-to-man? Is it full-, three-quarter, or half-court pressure? If it is zone what type of zone pressure is it?
The more information the analyst can give to their audience, the more they will feel they are at the game and this makes their experience more enjoyable.
Doing a game by yourself is one of the toughest things to do in broadcasting. The broadcaster has to do play-by-play, commentary and stats UMaine broadcasters Jim Churchill, Ron Lisnet and Don Shields do a great job when they are in this situation. They are part of a good group of local broadcasters who are on par with some of their big-time college counterparts.