When I was moving from Iowa to South Dakota for a radio job, I arranged to move into an apartment with a coworker, who was also starting at the same time. Prior to moving in together, we had a phone conversation getting to know each other, discussing who was bringing what furniture, who had extra dishes, and eventually we talked about who would pay what bills. We agreed on almost everything with one exception, his Direct TV subscription. I told him that I rarely watch TV and prefer to spend more time reading. We agreed that I would pay 25% of the bill, but I suspected that he didn’t really believe me and thought that I was trying to get one over on him.
Fast forward three years, and we had moved out of our old apartment in order to live with significant others. One night when we were out on the town for some wings and beers, he confessed, “You really did read more than you watched TV, I thought you were BS-ing me, but it was all legit.”
I’ve always had a passion for the written word. I believe that it’s a big reason why I’ve been able to build a career as a sportscaster. Reading has helped me develop an extensive vocabulary, build storytelling skills, and encouraged creativity and outside-the-box thinking. Unfortunately, due to time constraints and the fast pace of life, reading for pleasure is something I didn’t do as often as I should have over the last year. That’s why one of my goals for 2019 is to make reading daily a major priority.
I’ve written before about the value of reading fiction in the past. However, there is also great value in reading sportscasting books. Here are a few of my favorite industry books that have helped me improve my craft on air:
The Call of The Game-Gary Bender: This is my favorite book written on the sportscasting business. Bender writes it in a fashion where it doesn’t feel like a textbook. Instead, it combines instruction and advice with personal experience and stories from his long career. He also includes anecdotes from some of the industry’s best including John Madden, Bob Costas, and many more. It’s an instructional book that reads like a fast-paced biography. I highly recommend it.
The Art of Sportscasting-Tom Hedrick: This book is considered by many to be the industry standard, and I understand why. Author Tom Hedrick has as impressive a resume as anyone in the industry, having called Super Bowl I and spearheading one of the most prestigious broadcasting programs in the country at the University of Kansas. It thoroughly teaches just about every aspect of sportscasting that can be learned from a book. It also features advice from many of the industry’s biggest names. However, it’s a bit dry and is not as easy of a read as Bender’s book. That being said, it’s still necessary reading for anyone who wants to deepen their knowledge of the business.
Total Sportscasting-Marc Zumoff: This book is written by MarcZumoff, who is the TV voice of the Philadelphia 76ers. Zumofftakes a different approach to his book than the other two on the list. While the other two books focus almost solely on the role of the play-by-play broadcaster, Total Sportscasting dives deep into the roles of the producers, directors, and other key off-mic/camera jobs. This book also can be dry at times, but the information within helps to paint a complete wide angle picture of the entire sportscasting business. I highly recommend this book.
What are your favorite books regarding the sportscasting industry? Please share your picks in the comment section below.