Author: Peter Johnson
Know the audience, be professional and get everyone’s names right. That’s all students need to do to get a start commentating on live broadcasts of Occidental sporting events, according to Associate Director of Athletics and Sports Information Director Michael Wells.
“I’m excited about providing a platform for students to practice a really fun thing that a lot of people that like sports want to try at some point,” Wells said.
Wells said a group of three students, Owen Hill* (junior), Keenan Leary (sophomore) and Jamison Hayward (junior), who all commentate on Occidental sports broadcasts through the athletics department, are in the process of creating a new club dedicated to broadcasting. Wells will play a supportive role for the club, but said it was a student-driven initiative.
Hill, Leary and Hayward currently cover a range of sports including soccer, volleyball and basketball, though outside broadcasters cover football games.
They are currently in the process of writing a constitution for their club, to be approved by the Office of Student Life.
Plans for potential club activities could include general broadcasting and color commentary workshops. Color commentary is a specific aspect of broadcasting that deals with more technical details of a sport, such as the ways in which certain plays are executed.
According to Hayward, the club is the next step in expanding broadcasting at Occidental, and with greater participation, all athletics could be covered.
The club’s future leaves open the possibility of expansion beyond the club itself as well, establishing broader offerings in sports media, such as a class centered around sports journalism.
“I do think there’s an appetite for sports journalism, sports media and broadcasting on campus,” Wells said. “If it could become a club or class, it would be one of the more gratifying parts about working at Occidental, to teach and mentor these students that are excited to do this stuff.”
Hayward said broadcasting is an outlet for his passion for sports.
“I have always loved sports and wanted to be more involved in Oxy sports” Hayward said. “I currently play rugby here, and we don’t have a broadcaster, and I would love for our sport to be broadcasted. Moreover, it’s a lot of fun to provide commentary on games, and most importantly, I am able to watch more Oxy sports and provide my analysis.”
Leary said he hopes the club will increase student activity and interest in sports on campus.
“We’re just trying to increase the visibility of athletes and sports on campus and also fuel our own passions for taking part in commentating,” Leary said.
Leary said his passion for broadcasting motivated him to take up the activity at Occidental.
“I was kind of thrown into the fire right away, and I think the best way is to watch one of us three do a game for a little bit, which is what I did initially,” Leary said. “I just watched Owen and Jamison do a half a soccer game.”
Wells said that for the vast majority of students who end up involved in broadcasting, it will never extend into a profession. Instead, he described it as a passion.
According to Leary, the club could potentially create a new campus community.
“So much of broadcasting is chemistry,” Leary said. “It’s not so much knowing what to say, it’s being able to work together and provide a commentary that’s unique.”
Currently there are no scheduled events for the club. The next step following approval will be to build up club membership.
*Hill is a Weekly staffer.
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