The Sportscasters Club Radio Show

3 Ways You Should Emulate Mike Breen

February 23, 2020 Rick Schultz Episode 7
The Sportscasters Club Radio Show
3 Ways You Should Emulate Mike Breen
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The Sportscasters Club Radio Show
3 Ways You Should Emulate Mike Breen
Feb 23, 2020 Episode 7
Rick Schultz

If you are an aspiring (or established) sports broadcaster, there are 3 ways you should emulate Mike Breen. After all, he was just inducted in the basketball Hall of Fame. So really, why wouldn't you want to learn from what he does...and do THAT?
We outline 3 distinct things Breen does to be a world-class sports broadcaster. And as a bonus, we tell a special story that let's you see what kind of person Mike Breen is as well.

Much more - including our sports broadcasting books, our 7-hour online course and tons of free articles and sportscasting tips at SportscastersClub.com

Also, join our free Facebook group - search for the "Sportscasters Club Community"

Thanks for listening! (and for subscribing, liking, sharing, etc, etc, etc)

Show Notes Transcript

If you are an aspiring (or established) sports broadcaster, there are 3 ways you should emulate Mike Breen. After all, he was just inducted in the basketball Hall of Fame. So really, why wouldn't you want to learn from what he does...and do THAT?
We outline 3 distinct things Breen does to be a world-class sports broadcaster. And as a bonus, we tell a special story that let's you see what kind of person Mike Breen is as well.

Much more - including our sports broadcasting books, our 7-hour online course and tons of free articles and sportscasting tips at SportscastersClub.com

Also, join our free Facebook group - search for the "Sportscasters Club Community"

Thanks for listening! (and for subscribing, liking, sharing, etc, etc, etc)

spk_0:   0:00
a great day for broadcasting. Mike Breen was just elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. There are three things that he does that you should do, too. We're gonna tell you those three things and tell you why you need to incorporate them immediately into your broadcasting.

spk_2:   0:32
Welcome to the Sportscasters Club radio show, where it's all about becoming a better sportscaster on a better sports fan. And now your host, a man who began his sportscasting career by sleeping on hotel floors during road dribs. Rick sh OTs Welcome to the Sportscasters Club online radio show. As I mentioned in the opening. A Great Time for Broadcasting to celebrate. Mike Breen, who was recently elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame Very well deserving, might bring the longtime voice of the New York

spk_0:   1:15
Knickerbockers and the voice of the N B A. You hear him everywhere you see him on N B. A finals and throughout the season, just a wonderful broadcaster of Fordham University product, A New Yorker through and through, and a terrific broadcaster. Whether you're talking about radio or TV, we're gonna talk about some of the things that make Mike Breen a wonderful broadcaster And then I'm gonna share a personal story with you that really gets to the heart of why Mike Breen is, is so well respected as a broadcaster but also as a person and as a professional in this business. So that's coming up later in the program, and then we'll touch on your questions are answers. We've got a great question from, Ah, young listener, high school student, an aspiring sportscaster. And so we're gonna answer that question later as well. But today's program three ways. You should emulate Mike Breen. There are so many ways you should emulate might bring the broadcaster, and we're gonna touch on three big ones. Three things you should do as a broadcaster to enhance your game, to become better. Three things that you should see that he does on television and that he did on radio as well. And these are things that will make you immediately better as a professional, you'll be able to improve immediately if you do these three things that Mike Breen does so well. So we're gonna touch on those three and then I'm gonna tell you the special story that I had almost 30 years ago regarding Mike Breen and all that is coming up in just a minute.

spk_1:   2:55
When you're done with this episode, or even if you want to open your browser now, you can go deeper and learn the secrets of sports broadcasting. Search our full list of books at sportscasters club dot com, available from Amazon and Kindle paperback and audible format.

spk_2:   3:17
All right, welcome back to the Sportscasters Club online radio show. I'm Rick Shults. Today's topic. Three ways. You should emulate Mike

spk_0:   3:24
Breen. Let's get right to it. The first way that you should emulate Mike Breen something he has done so well over his career is his versatility. He's extremely versatile. Think about what he's done in his career, the three big spots that he's been in number one, anchoring sports in the morning on the Imus in the morning radio show in New York City and nationwide number two as radio voice of the New York Knicks and number three as television voice of the Knicks and the N B. A three distinct roles that he has performed superbly. Let's start with anchoring. One of the great things about Mike Breen is he? He brought a personality to it, and he was able to fit into the I Miss in the morning radio show, which was very irreverent. Very. It was a morning radio show. People called him a shock jock. I'll I grew up listening to Don Imus, and a lot of the reason why was Mike Breen. I loved his sports cast. There were humorous. They were engaging. They had a ton of personality and they were fun. They were just fun and funny. And Mike Breen did that so well, then, as a New York Knick listener growing up, I wasn't necessarily a Knick fan, although I did grow up in the New York media market. I was in Indiana Pacer fan as I followed Rik Smits in college and then to the N B A with the Indiana Pacers. That's how that happened. But I grew up listening to the Knicks and watching the Knicks, and Mike Breen did such a great job on radio painting that word picture. He was able to describe the action and stay right on top of every pass. Every dribble. He was always in control and never got excitable. He was always in control of his emotions in control of his words. And it was as he was speaking, even though the action was happening so quickly and on radio, he did just a fine job. I think there's a great correlation with Mike Breen on radio and Gary Cohen, who did Mets radio for so long in New York City. But bring was a fantastic radio play by play guy and then moving on to television. It's different. We've talked about that in previous episodes about the difference between radio and TV on television. You do not need to paint that word picture because your viewer can see it. You're there to complement what the viewer can already see and you're their toe. The compliment. Fill in the gaps, identify what your viewers seeing and then also to work with the team, whether it be producers, directors, analysts, reporters. You're there to be somewhat of a traffic cop, getting all that working in unison. But Mike Breen has done all three aspects tremendously well, whether it was anchoring radio play by play and TV play by play, and that's why the first thing you should do as a broadcaster, if you want to get better, is emulate Mike Breen in terms of his versatility. Number two. I mentioned it just a minute ago. One of the really great things that stands out about Mike Brains work on radio and TV when calling basketball games, whether it be the N b a. A final Siri's for a regular season New York Knickerbockers matchup is his ability to work with a color analyst. Any time you see Mike Breen working with the color analyst, you get the feeling that he is trying to elevate them to share their expertise. And he does that so well. That is much of our job as a play by play broadcaster. When working with an analyst to get them involved, get them to share their insight, their experience, their thoughts because most of the time it's a former player you're gonna be working with and someone who has a deep understanding and knowledge of the game, the sport. What's going on on the court in this case, and Mike Breen has done that so well, getting the color analyst involved watching those broadcasts with Mike Breen or listening and listening to Breen and Walt Frazier just so much fun or watching Mike Breen and John and race to Fordham. Guys talk about basketball and Marine would always find a way to ask and race a question or point out what he's seeing on the court and get an DRAYS to jump in and and take it to another level. So just so good at working with an analyst, whether it be Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, I mentioned Fraser and and Race and all the other so excellent job I might bring getting his analyst involved because that ultimately gives the listener or the viewer more information more, more depth, more insight into what's going on. And Mike Breen does that so well, it wasn't about him. It was about the game. It was about what his analysts could add as well. And Marine was so perfect at setting up his partner or partners for that role. So that's number two and number three. The third thing you should do to emulate Mike Breen is have a sense of humor. He always kept it light and still does definitely on the morning show with I miss he always that was his role to keep it light, to tell sports in a different way to make it fun, make it interesting. And as a teenage boy growing up in New York and listening, it was a kind of sense of humor that I could really relate to. It was fun. It was sometimes irreverent, although, you know, Breen never went too far over that line. I don't think I don't think, as far as I recall, but he always found a different way to to throw something in there to make you laugh. I remember one morning he was reading some hockey scores, and he mentioned the Anaheim Mighty Ducks had ah, winning goal or something are winning game. And then he mentioned Pete Pan with the winning goal for Anaheim, and it was just kind of a fun way to give that Disney touch and he just kind of read through it and moved on. But I caught it, and that was just part of greens humor. And he was able to banter back and forth with those guys because he was very knowledgeable on many topics. He was able to banter, whether it be any of the major sports, the events, but also if it was pop culture or anything going on in the news that they would ask him about, and they would sometimes get on him and and sometimes go back and forth with him. But he was able to take it and dish it out, and he fit in perfectly with that program. So a sense of humor was great, and Breen has done that throughout his career. I mean, it's it's we always talk about as a broadcaster that you don't want to be the main attraction nobody's tuned into. Here you are to see you. They're tuned in to see the game. But at the same time, you want to be a light hearted presence that's enhancing rather than detracting from a viewer or listeners enjoyment of the game. For example, If I turn on the TV and I've got a broadcaster that just never shuts up, it gets annoying, just as if you're sitting at a game next to a friend and they never shut up. That gets annoying as well. Same thing with a broadcaster. Meanwhile, if you're sitting next to someone and every once in a while, they have a light hearted comment. It adds to your enjoyment of the game, and that's what Mike Breen does so well, whether it's bantering with his color analyst, going back when forth with Clyde Frazier about something, or whether it's just pointing out something you're seeing on the court on your screen. That maybe is is funny or lighthearted. Humorous. But it's always about the game, never about the broadcaster. And that's why Mike Greene's humor fits in perfectly with what he's doing right now and why he's been so successful at it. So those are three things that you can do right now, and you should do. If you're a broadcaster looking too improve and get better and proceed with your career, you should do those three things to emulate Mike Breen. You should work on your versatility. You should focus on your ability to work with your analyst, and you should always have a sense of humor because it's fun. It's sports people. They're tuned in to be entertained. They want to have a good time, and you can bring that and add that to your broadcast as well. When we come back, I'll tell a quick story, a personal story about Mike Breen, and it'll give you a little insight into what he's like as a person and what he's meant as a professional in this industry.

spk_1:   12:17
If you're enjoying the show, check out our seven hour online sports broadcasting course. We cover play by play, talk show, hosting television and much more. Visit Sportscasters club dot com and click on online sportscasting glass.

spk_2:   12:41
All right, welcome back to the Sportscasters Club online

spk_0:   12:44
radio show. I Am Rick Schultz. We're talking today about Mike Brain being elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame, and it made me think of a story way back in the mid 19 nineties. Ah, personal story regarding me and Mike Breen and I was in junior college before I proceeded to go to Fordham University and then graduate from Fordham. And this is back in 1990 1994 the winter of 94. So probably January or something. And as part of a project at Community college, what we had to do was think about our career goals and then interview someone in that field and then write about it. So it was basically a project. What do you want to do with your life? Go find someone out there that's doing it. Talk to them interview them and then put together what you learned a great project. I really I think I as it turns out, I got a lot out of it. So I sat down and thought this was This was kind of the point of my early broadcasting career. It was I just gotten on the air doing sports and news for a local country station. And that's how I got my start not getting paid, but getting up at 5 a.m. To do newscasts in the morning and then in the afternoon after school and then broadcasting a talk show on the weekends. And so I thought of some people who could I reach out to. That is broadcasting that I want to learn from. And as I mentioned, I had listened to I miss in the morning every morning with Mike Breen. I listened to his Knickerbocker broadcasts, so I wrote a letter to Mike Breen, a W. F. A N in New York City, introducing myself, telling him I aspired to be a sportscaster someday. Did he have any advice that he could pass along couple weeks, go by, come home from school one day, and this was back when you still had answering machines. And if you're if you're too young to know what an answering machine is, Google it. But it was this cool little device that sat on the counter or on the wall next to your telephone. It was an actual little cassette that recorded a message that someone left you when they called. We didn't have voicemail on a cell phone back then. It was an actual tape. Anyway, I get home from school one day and there's a message blinking on the machine. So I pressed the button and lo and behold, it's Mike Breen and a introduces himself. Says he's calling for May said. He got my letter and he loved to share some thoughts and talk with me about it. Why don't I give him a call back and set up a time to come visit him down A W f A N. That I I almost fell over because I had never talked to Mike Breen before in my life. I had sent him a letter, and actually, it was two weeks later. I probably wasn't even thinking about it at that moment, and I don't think I ever understood or or expected to hear back necessarily. So there was Mike Breen was on my answering machine. Long story short, I call him back. He invites my father and I down to New York City to meet with him a W f a m. And this was in the day when Mike Breen was doing the I Miss in the morning sportscasts at 5 a.m. During the morning show, 5 to 10 and he was also broadcasting on the radio for the New York Knicks. So one thing that I always thought about with Mike Breen was, How did you manage that with no sleep? I mean, just working a job or two. It's tough enough but to have that kind of schedule where you're working crack of dawn on the radio and you're working late into the night with the Knicks and often traveling. I don't know how he did it, but I found time to invite us down. We went down, sat with them in an office a W F a N, and he spent an hour discussing the industry, the pros and cons, suggestions on how to improve how Thio advance in my career. We talked about Fordham University, which I eventually attended, graduated and then went back to become the sports director at WFUV Radio at Fordham. So he was a huge influence, and it all started at that meeting with Mike Breen, A W F A n. And as I think about it now, 25 almost 30 years later, I wonder how much sleep he had that night. I mean, with his schedule so crazy like it was, he found time to sit there and talked as if that was it, the main meeting he had all week. He couldn't have been more hospitable. He couldn't have been nicer and more helpful. A sw far is my career, and he gave us that time during during his busy time of his year, and so that tells you all you need to know about Mike Breen. I thought Chris Carlin story was great, the one that he tweeted out this week, saying that when Mike Breen, for years and years when he's not using his own tickets at Nick games and his tickets are good ones down close to the court, he'll go up to the rafters and he'll find, you know, a father and son that are way up top at a Knick game and Hill. He'll go over and tap him on the shoulder and say, Hey, would you like to come use my tickets and sit down by the court for this game? I mean, that's the kind of stuff that Mike Breen does that mean you'll never see a more humble professional who's don't done so much good for aspiring sportscasters not only as an example, but but what he's done. As I mentioned for me personally and WFUV sports at Fordham University is built on in large part Mike Breen and others, but he is a huge reason why it's the premier destination for sportscasters in all of the country. You can say Syracuse to find that that's Syracuse is awesome as well. But Mike Breen has been so involved and helped make WFUV what it is and students not only there but around the country. Home Ah, great debt of gratitude for what he's done in the example he has set for aspiring sportscaster. So Mike Breen, congratulations on being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Well deserved. Your career has been ah, model for what a sportscaster and a person in this profession should be. So congratulations, well deserved. And we look forward to many, many more years of of you calling Nick games and you calling the action on the N B A Finals. We come back time for question and answer.

spk_1:   19:46
If you love this radio show, please hit the subscribe button. And don't forget to share like and leave reviews. Your friends will thank you and they'll think you're super cool. Now it's time for the best part of our show. Your questions are answers. To ask a question for the program, send an email to questions at sportscasters

spk_2:   20:10
club dot com. Welcome back to the Sportscasters Club online radio show Rick Shults With You, and today's question comes from

spk_0:   20:23
Tommy in Dayton, Ohio. Tommy, I'm gonna read part of your question. Thank you for e mailing in two questions at sportscasters club dot com. Tommy says I am a 15 year old high school student and I am considering sports broadcasting as a career. What should I major? Ah, major in in college? Great question, Tommy. I spent a lot of time answering that question, whether when I was teaching at Fordham University. When I was teaching for years prior to that at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting and at Maris College, I would get asked that question. And I have always felt that there are really two avenues. I think the the real world experience you get is by far more important than whatever major is on your diploma. When you look at your transcript, you see your major, you see the classes, you took the credits, all that. That's fine. But what perspective employers care about is what real world experience you have and how good are you at it? Are you, uh, Are you? Ah ah, professional sports caster that's improving and providing value every time you turn on the microphone. That's what they care about. And a lot of times, the way you get that experience early on in your career and the way you build those relationships, it's just by being out there doing it, it's by networking with people. It's by showing that you're hungry. You're enthusiastic. You want to get some experience and making making opportunities for yourself. That's where you build the rial bones of a career, so I think you can certainly be successful at a school in the middle of nowhere at a community college at a state school, while at the same time getting real world experience. You don't have to goto a prestigious institution that's gonna break the bank and put you in debt for decades just so you could be a sportscaster. In fact, I would in most cases advise against that because you can do it and you can go out and get the experience. And that's thing that's gonna be important. So what would I major in? I think it's very much like an athlete where it's never a bad thing to have a backup. I majored in communications at Fordham University. Had I had it to do over again, I probably would major in business because, you know, having that firm foundation in business certainly would have helped me as I've progressed into coaching and teaching and and all the business sides of my career. But it's not a detriment at all to the sportscasting career that I built a cz well, and none of the sportscasting career I built was based on the communications classes. I took it for him. I mean, I took some really good ones with professors like John Cirillo, the former PR PR boss for the New York Knicks. He's still teaching there today. Fantastic course. It was a real world course, and that's that's what made it so good. But it wasn't necessarily because I majored in communications, that I was able to go out and broadcast professional baseball and basketball in college basketball. It was because I went out and made those opportunities aside from my schooling, so that would be my answer. You can go anywhere. The real world experience is the most important thing. That second side I mentioned, You know, the second option is to go to a place like a Fordham or Ah Ah, Syracuse, where you've got that built in network. But the reason those places air so strong it's because the two things number one, the experience you get the real world experience particularly afford him in New York City. When you're covering the Yankees, Mets Knicks, you name it, but also the people you're surrounded with, the network that you're ingrained in. If you go to Syracuse in your an up and coming sportscaster, you're gonna be locked into that network and you're going to get huge benefit from that. Same with Fordham and same with many of the other awesome institutions around the country. So there's that aspect, too. And that's why I'm not going to say that to negative because it's a It's a huge positive to be. I mean, you go to Fordham and you're automatically at the place where Spiro, Adidas and Connell, McShane and Tony Reality, Mike Breen, Michael Kay, Jack Curry and I could go on and on and on. Problem is, I start naming names, and then there's for everyone I mentioned there's 100 I left out. You know, Ryan Rouco is a guy that is one of the young stars of broadcasting that not too long ago was that Fordham University. So I really can't start naming names, but you get my point. The fact that your major is really not important and I would I would, I would urge most aspiring sportscaster is to think of something like business English, something else as a major, because your career is not going to be. You know, no one's gonna look att at your where you went to school and say, Oh, you majored in in English or business rather than communications. I was going to hire you as the play by play announcer for the Phoenix Suns. But now I'm not gonna have nothing to do with it. If you're a solid broadcaster and you've built your network and you're well respected and you're great at what you do and you get a couple of lucky breaks and you've built ah, network of people to recommend you, then you've got a great shot to be the broadcaster for the Phoenix Suns. It's not gonna have anything to do with that class you sat in on Thursday nights. You know about radio in the history of radio. That stuff is great to learn, but it's not gonna be the building block of your career. So I hope that answers your question. Tommy. Feel free to shoot any other questions you have to us at questions at sportscasters club dot com.

spk_1:   26:44
Is this the year you want to learn all you can about a sports broadcasting courier? Visit our website sportscasters club dot com for articles, tips, advice and a ton of free resource is

spk_0:   26:55
our final moments together here on the Sportscasters Club online radio show. We close this episode out, and just to recap today we talked about three ways. You should emulate Mike Breen. You should be a versatile broadcaster. You should take pride in your ability to work with your analyst, and you should have a sense

spk_2:   27:17
of humor. Three things Mike Breen does well, and hopefully you can do them well as you progress in your career. Great episode today a lot of fun. We shared some information, answered a question, and we hope to see you again next time again. This is Rick Shults on The Sportscasters Club online radio show. A lot of great resource is at sports casters club dot com and until next time. So long. Thanks for listening to The Sportscasters Club radio show at sportscasters club dot com. Don't forget to subscribe, so you will never miss an episode. And thanks for liking sharing, boasting reviews and spreading the word