Education

Sports Broadcasting Is Good Call for YSU

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The sports broadcasting program at Youngstown State University, launched three years ago, is not only drawing new investment, but is on its way to producing new talent as well.

Two students spent the summer as interns with ESPN Radio-affiliates in Cleveland and Nashville. A third landed a six-month stint at the SEC Network in Charlotte, N.C., says Amy Crawford, interim chairwoman of YSU’s department of communications.

“Media is changing so much, and there’s so much demand for content when it comes to sports,” Crawford says.

The program, begun in the fall of 2014, today consists of eight courses and this semester welcomes its first full-time professor, Guy Harrison, dedicated solely to sports media.

The program boasts some 50 declared majors, Crawford says. “It’s based on the fundamentals of telecom studies with all of the general education requirements, but with a focus on sports,” she says.

The latest enhancement is scheduled to make its debut in the fall of 2018, when construction of the new Don Constantini Multimedia Center is scheduled for completion.

“It’s still in the planning stage, but it should go out for bids shortly,” Crawford says.

The Constantini Center – named to recognize a $1 million gift from Don Constantini, founder of Falcon Transport and Comprehensive Logistics Co. in Austintown – will be a working laboratory and production studio atop the eastern stands at Stambaugh Stadium and overlook Beede Field.

“It will be a space that we can use for a lab, classroom and a production facility,” Crawford says. “It is also used year-round.”

Through the program, Crawford says, students can get a well-rounded, hands-on education by producing sports live such as diving, golf and soccer that will be streamed on ESPN3.

There already is a weekly highlight show – Penguin Rundown – a program developed, produced, written and hosted by telecommunications students. It focuses on YSU athletics.

A third aspect of the program is requiring every student to complete an internship.

“We encourage students to look at larger markets outside the area,” Crawford says, so they get an understanding of the nature of the business and all that’s involved.

“This is the program I wish I had when I was working on my bachelor’s,” says Guy Harrison, newly hired instructor of telecommunications studies in sports broadcasting.

Harrison, who is completing his doctorate at Arizona State University, says this region is a fertile area for a sports broadcasting program because of its residents’ enthusiasm for local team sports and its proximity to the Pittsburgh and Cleveland markets.

“It’s hands-on work specific to sports broadcasting, and that will position the students well, especially in this region,” Harrison says.

“There’s a lot of potential. The Constantini Center is going to be a big draw for both students and faculty,” he adds.

Among the courses Harrison teaches is a broadcast sports performance class, where students are taught how to comport themselves on the air, he says.

“It gives them the opportunity to do play-by-play and color commentary in class,” he says. “It’s low-pressure recording, but it’s good practice.”

More important, students in the sports broadcasting program can develop skill sets easily transferrable to other areas in telecommunications, Crawford says.

For example, for every radio or television announcer, there are 20 jobs on the other side of the camera or microphone in production, research, and management.

“We want them to realize all of the opportunities out there,” Crawford says.

“We’ve found that students that have a minor in entrepreneurship are better positioned to what comes next.”

Pictured: Amy Crawford, interim chairwoman of YSU’s department of communications, says the program results from greater demand for sports content.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.