I spent more than six months as sports intern at WBAL. It was an opportunity which grew out of an interview with Keith Mills. Mr. Mills allowed me to interview for a separate college assignment. As a result of that connection, he agreed to permit me to intern at the radio station. My internship supervisor at CCBC, Professor Jennifer Kafka Smith, outlined the qualifications.
My internship at WBAL Radio was once a week; it was a time of learning my craft under the tutelage of Mr. Mills and Pete Gilbert on the sports radio show titled, “Ravens Saturday Huddle”. This was a one hour radio show that allowed listeners to share their views on the Baltimore Ravens and the other 31 NFL teams. There were three key elements which I found to be very beneficial during my internship: Opportunity, Preparation, and Communication.
Just getting the opportunity to work with Keith Mills and Pete Gilbert was a great learning experience. I was working with professionals that are very passionate about what they do – talking about sports and interacting with other football fans. Seeing how well they would answer the questions of various callers with great detail and explanation allowed me to see that short and concise answers didn’t cut it all the time. A lot of thought would go into answering the questions on a variety of topics including, expectations for the upcoming season, and NFL prospects for the NFL Draft, mini-camp, and player contracts. Also, Mr. Mills and Mr. Gilbert taught me how to cut and make sound bites. One of my sound bites featured some of the top players in the Baltimore Ravens such as Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, and Joe Flacco. The process of recording videos and getting them in at a certain time frame to fit the show was very crucial to making a good sound bite. Cutting the audio to a certain time frame was something that I picked up on early. Most of my sound bites lasted from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Preparation helped me progress in my readiness for the show. One of the main things I did to better prepare myself for the show was looking up various sports websites to gather information for the show. There were times when I arrived at the radio station an hour early to type my stories for the show, checking Baltimoreravens.com and NFL.com for the latest sports information and I helped generate a couple of topics for the show. On a weekly basis, I was assigned the task of gathering statistics and team news on players around the league. For example, I gathered statistics on the top producing Quarterbacks in the NFL today including reigning Super Bowl Champion Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Matt Cassel, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. For these Quarterbacks, I got their win-loss record, completed passes, passing yards, touchdowns and interceptions thrown, and completion percentage and the college they attended. For example, Quarterbacks Drew Brees and Tom Brady made NFL history for breaking Dan Marino’s single-season passing yards record of 5,084 yards. (Brees 5,476; Brady 5,235). I gathered these statistics by using the profootballreference.com, which is responsible for holding notable statistics on NFL players.
Communication was very important to the success of this internship. As the weeks went by for my internship, I was reminded by Professor Kafka Smith to log my hours and keep a journal of my experiences during my internship to update her in my weekly progress. Mr. Mills was available to assist me with my questions on how to properly operate the Adobe Audition software program, the program I used to cut and make sound bites for the show.
Having this internship helped me to learn the ropes of the career field that I want to pursue: talking sports on the radio, hearing what the fans have to say, and voicing my opinions on sports topics. I walked away from this internship very humbled and thankful that I was able to have this opportunity to learn from Keith Mills and Pete Gilbert.
by Tim Tooten, Jr.
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