I first heard about the Bruce Beck Sports Broadcasting Camp when I went with the Bear Facts staff to the Byram Hills Journalism Conference last year.
The camp ran from July 23rd to the 27th and was located in New Rochelle at the Steiner Sports Memorabilia store. Ed Cohen (who calls radio play-by-play for the New York Knicks) assisted Beck in running the Rookie Camp (there’s a Rookie Camp as well as a Veteran Camp). The Veteran Camp was also run by Beck and MSG Varsity contributor, Mike Quick.
There were three keys to the industry that Beck impressed upon the campers throughout the week: preparation, attention to detail, and relationships. Across the week, we asked many of the guest speakers about the significance of relationships and how they mattered in the sports broadcasting business.
There were guests who worked in the industry from the New York metropolitan area. Some of these guests included: Mike Breen (MSG, ABC), Scott Braun (MLB Network, NHL Network), Kim Jones (NFL Network), and Gary Apple (SNY), among others. Usually after the guests spoke to the campers, there would be a couple of exercises held to simulate sports broadcasting situations. These exercises ranged from a mock press conference (with former college basketball coach, Fred Hill) to making reports for a pregame show (with Gary Apple), to describing a room as quickly and as effectively as possible (with Mike Breen). With each speaker who came to the camp, there was an exercise for us to practice as well as perform in front of the whole group.
In addition to learning from the many professionals in the field, we got to do an interview with one of three people: Sweeny Murti (journalist who primarily covers the Yankees, works for WFAN, SportsNet New York, and the New York Yankees Radio Network), Marty Lyons (Former NYJ Defensive Tackle, radio commentator for the Jets), and David Diehl (Former NYG Offensive Linemen, Broadcaster for NFL). I was a member of the group who got to interview Murti. This was an interesting and informative experience.
A second practice that we were able to engage in was to read from a teleprompter. This was challenging, as almost none of the campers had ever read from a teleprompter before. We were given seven different scripts to choose from and each of us got to try it twice. After each person went through the exercise, we were given feedback from a professional who would help us improve when the second time came around. The script that I chose was talking about Giancarlo Stanton’s Yankee debut last March. All of the 52 campers who went through this exercise improved on their second tries.
On Thursday, the group went to Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. We had the privilege of a tour of the 82,500 capacity stadium eight miles outside of NYC. Some of the places that the tour took us included the press box/lounge area, the New York Giants’ Legacy Club, the New York Jets’ Locker Room, as well as getting to go onto the field, itself. In the Jets’ Locker Room we got to experience what an NFL locker room looks like close up with the flood of media and reporters that crowd it after an NFL Game.
On the final day, we went to Yankee Stadium where we did play-by-plays at a Yankee game (that day they were scheduled to face the Kansas City Royals). We met up as a group at 4:00 PM EST at Gate 4; three hours before the scheduled start time to the game.
We then went on to proceed through the press gate. Prior to entering the stadium, everyone received a C.C. Sabathia Bobblehead, a circular sticker imprinted with the date and another with “PC” printed on it in white text on the navy background. We then took an elevator down beneath the stadium and walked into the Press Conference room (or “PC” for short). Each camper was given a New York Yankees 2018 Media Guide, along with two packets of game notes (one from each team). In the PC room, we did another mock press conference, this time, however, with Yankees General Manager, Brian Cashman.
Overall, attending this camp was one of the highlights of my summer. The skills that were taught were important and relevant. I got to meet people interested in the same field, and I made memories that I’ll have forever. Next summer I plan on attending the Veteran Camp where I will have the opportunity to build and take home an on-camera resume reel of various sports broadcasting interviews and commentaries.