As high school sports begin this Fall, the Indiana Broadcasters Association has put together a list of Best Practices for broadcasters to help provide the best coverage of their local teams. With input from broadcasters across the state, the IBA has nine points of emphasis for the 2021 school year.
Indiana Broadcasters Association “Covering Local Sports” Best Practices
- Reach out to all athletic directors at the schools your station(s) cover and ask for meetings before the season to share your schedule. Explain that the schedule is subject to change based on records (marquee matchups) and other factors but sharing in advance of the season allows the schools to get an understanding of how many games you plan to cover and establish a relationship.
- A few days before the game, remind the athletic director that you will be covering a game. For example, if you are covering a game Friday night, make sure to remind the school no later than by Noon on Monday, preferably in writing and with a confirmed response to eliminate any confusion or misunderstanding when you arrive.
- Call all “visiting” schools (ones your stations don’t typically cover) well in advance of a game (a week if possible, no less than five days) you are covering at their venue. Share details about how many of your staff will planning to attend the game, the technology you are bringing, and where the broadcast can be heard. This is also the opportunity confirm the availability of telephone lines (including specific numbers) or Internet connections (and IP addresses if needed).
- Ask athletic directors if your station has access to the press box and if not, where will your staff be allowed to set up in case you need to bring a table of your own. Request only the number of press box seats that are needed for the broadcast crew and equipment. Be willing to stand if needed as some press boxes have very limited space. Avoid having any non-essential broadcast personnel in the press box.
- Also, ask the AD who the best person (coach, assistant coach, athletic secretary, etc.) is to contact to receive information for announcer preparation such as rosters, lineups, and statistics. Other questions to ask include: Is there media parking? Is there a press gate to sign in or pick up media credentials? How early can broadcasters arrive?When will coaches be available for interviews before and/or after the game?
- It’s recommended that you bring your own mobile broadband, WiFi, or hot spot device as part of your equipment infrastructure. Doing so allows you to be flexible and self-sustaining in a press box. Don’t assume that telephone or network connections will be available.
- Per the standards of the IHSAA, avoid using cell phone microphone audio. Broadcasters are expected to use professional microphones and technology to transmit the highest quality and fidelity possible.
- Ask athletic directors what else broadcasters can do for them to promote their schools. They appreciate any time we take that information to air. Such as: “We just had a swimmer make the state finals for the first time in 20 years for our school”. They pay attention to this.
- The IBA provided a “How Radio Stations Can Get into Video Streaming” webinar to outline details on best practices. Watch here: