What I learned from ESPN's Dick Vitale
It's March, which means March Madness! And March Madness means that Dick Vitale is doing what he does best: announcing college basketball games.
It's no surprise that one of college basketball most recognized voice is that of ESPN's Dick Vitale. Vitale is a Hall Of Fame broadcaster and has been announcing college basketball games for ESPN since the 1979-1980 season.
His passion and enthusiasm has made him the most well known college basketball announcer today. With his trademark sayings, such as, "awesome baby" and "diaper dandies," fans everywhere tune in to listen to Vitale's thorough knowledge and spirited style of broadcasting.
When I interviewed him at ESPN The Weekend in Orlando recently, he gave me some helpful tips on what kids should do if they want to become sports broadcasters, too. His first tip was that you have to overcome the fear of the camera. To do this, ask your mom or dad to practice filming you on camera.
"I treat the camera like I'm talking to my buddies, my friends," Vitale said. "Make believe you're talking to all of your buddies."
He also suggested that kids watch some of their favorite people on television and study them. Take a microphone and practice auditioning by pretending to interview your favorite celebrity.
"Try to study the people they think the world of and take the microphone and shut the sound off. Into a tape recorder, tape themselves doing a game," Vitale said.
Preparation is also very important. There is short-term preparation and long-term preparation. Long-term preparation consists of all the information you gather before an interview. Short-term preparation is the work you do the day of an interview or telecast. Much goes into total preparation of announcing and interviewing. Dick Vitale makes sure to sit with coaches and Sports Information Directors at univeristies to get all of the necessary information.
"You don't go on TV and start talking without having knowledge to be able to give back to the people," Vitale said.
In order to acquire information, make sure to do research by using the Internet and other resources.
"Today there is so much information out there, because of the Internet," said Vitale.
Once you have your information, you have to sort it all out and find what you believe is good for a telecast or an article.
Vitale's talents and influences extend way beyond just game analyst. When he isn't busy telecasting or writing children books, he is very much involved in raising money for charitable events.
"I try to raise a lot of money for charities. My goal this year is to raise one million dollars for pediatric cancer to help kids battle cancer," Vitale said.
For more on Dick Vitale, visit dickvitaleonline.com.
And be sure to watch my interview with Dick Vitale on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps website!
Photo: Kid Reporter Topanga Sena with ESPN's Dick Vitale after their interview. (Courtesy Topanga Sena)
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK: Would you ever want to be a sports broadcaster like Dick Vitale? What sport would you like to cover as an announcer or journalist? Let us know in the comments below!