Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Prepping for Broadcast and Game Day Duties (Zach Bigley: Broadcaster)

If you ask any broadcaster what the most important part of a broadcaster’s job is, they most likely say research. That is the most important thing for me before a game and it takes most of my prep time. 

              Many broadcasters do it differently, but I learned from Ryan Rouillard (former broadcaster for the Victoria HarborCats and Yakima Valley Pippins, now Ranger’s Double-A Broadcaster) that the best way to do it is by chart. I go through each and every player on a team’s roster and look up information for them. This can be simple, such as stats from the previous season as well as where they are from and stuff like that, to the in-depth stories that everyone loves. These can be obtained through thorough research and/or by interviewing them or someone close to them. For every team that the Sweets play, I spend anywhere from 5-8 hours researching the team’s players and then an extra hour or so researching coaches, team history and home-town fun facts/stories. This makes the broadcast a lot more interesting for the listeners and for me as well!

              As for game-day prep, it is a little more manageable in terms of time. At home, it all begins with a trip to the Sweets Shoppe in downtown Walla Walla at 9:00am, where I work in the back office to put out the Borleske Bulletin, our game program for fans at the games. That does not take long, but it must be emailed to our print shop by 11:00. With a little extra time, I will hang out at the office and finalize some things on my chart, but mostly just relax. From there, I pick up the copies of the Bulletin by 1:00 and make my way over to the stadium. 

              I am a little different than some broadcaster in the fact that I like to be at the ballpark SUPER early. For a 7:00pm game, I will usually get there anywhere from 2-3:00pm. That way, I can fill out my scorebook, chat with players and coaches and take in the sounds and feels of the park without having to rush. I love being around the game and being emerged in the atmosphere that a ballpark provides. After I do my pre-game video interview, I upload it to youtube and begin game prep. This is the most fun part for me. I can take my time to fill certain stats in and fun facts into my score book for certain players and circumstances. From there, I am usually ready to broadcast about 10 minutes before I go on the air. With a five-minute pre-game show, it doesn’t leave me much time to talk about the Sweets and what they need to do, so I fit as much in as I can. Then, my favorite part of the day: first pitch.

              After the game is over, I interview a player or coach and pack up my broadcast equipment. The long night ahead then ensues. It is about 10:30pm by the time I get home and I won’t eat until after I have finished all my post-game duties. These include a recap on the website and sent to the press, the post-game interview uploaded, my “highlight of the night” that I post to soundcloud, updating any game notes for the next day and continuing prep for the upcoming series. It is usually anywhere from 12:00am-2:00am until I get any food in my stomach and then I finally get to catch up on the MLB plays and scores from the day. I try to find time to keep up on my Mariners. 

              Not much sleep, a lot of work, but I could not be happier. There is no better feeling than feeling prepared to do a broadcast and putting out my best effort every night for the listeners. Everything I do is for my listeners and to make their experience the best one possible. If a hectic day all culminates to that, then I have done my job.

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