Why I Became a Play By Play Announcer
by Voice of Westside Mobile Media Trevor Beard
Ever since I was old enough to read (about age 3 or 4) I had wanted to read out loud growing up. Books, magazines, newspapers whatever I could get my hands on, I wanted to announce it. It didn't take long to figure out my path in life. When my brain had begun developing enough to really form solid memories, I began a photographic file of major events in Oregon history that occurred in my life time (beginning with Mount St Helens eruption, Rajneeshee group and others begun to paint mental pictures in my conscious, the way Van Gogh painted on canvas). Some learning disabilities early in life caused me some delayed speech abilities and I really did not start to really speak or be verbal until about age 2. People joked that my delayed speaking abilities caused me to "run at the mouth" and "try to make up for lost time" By the time I was about 10 years old I was talking to everyone I could about things I watched on the news or in pop culture almost to the point where people would get tired of hearing me talk. Being a social studies and geography buff, I would follow and share anything I watched on TV whether people cared or not, sometimes just to hear myself speak. Politics, sports, news, pop culture, it didn't matter. If I seen or heard about it, I had to tell other people about it too.
Fast forward to middle school. After a baseball career that ended in 3rd grade Pee Week due to a lack of playing time for fear of getting hit, I concentrated on basketball at age 12. Teaching myself how to shoot on a homemade hoop much the same way Larry Bird was self taught. Picturing myself with a chance to win at the buzzer with Oregon broadcast legends like Bill Schonely, Jerry Allen, and Darrel Aune (then Voice of the Oregon State Beavers) on the call. By the time I reached high school I felt I had a chance to play at the next level if I had a chance to develop my basketball skills over the summer but a family life that consisted of helping raise cattle and sheep, driving tractor and bucking hay on 80 acres north of Roseburg limited my basketball career to in-season only. By the time I reached my Senior year in 1994, David Inouye (my then Senior Careers advisor) told me something that summed it all up and pretty much set my career goals in place, "Do something you enjoy doing, and choose that for a career. If you do that your job will never feel like work" Shortly after that conversation I got to do a 10 minute phone interview about basic career based questions with Mr. Allen who was very gracious and understanding and I've considered him a mentor since.
The summer I graduated, my family moved to the Newport, Oregon area and I canvassed every radio station booth at the Lincoln County Fair harassing whoever I could to give me an opportunity, whether it paid or not. The Fall of 1994 as an 18 year old I got my first experience behind the mic with current Voice of Marshfield Matt Jarvis, who then owned AM 820 KORC in Waldport. Helping as a Volunteer Color Analyst helping with stats and carrying equipment getting about 10 minutes of air time per game on Waldport football and boys and girls basketball from 1994-1996. I went on two a couple other radio positions (most notably as a weekend on-air announcer at Yaquina Bay Communications, and KYTE FM 102.7) from 1999-2005. No play by play but still an opportunity to be around the field I loved. Although not specifically as a Play By Play Announcer, I still had a chance to be up close and personal with play by play as our stations were the sports center of the universe for that area. Newport Cubs, Oregon State Beavers, Toledo Boomers, Taft Tigers, and Oregon Ducks athletics were all carried by our stations. Through that my allegiance changed from Oregon to Oregon State. Being the son of an OSU alumnus, and working for one of the first OSU network affiliates during a historic season of OSU football, including the end of a generations long streak of below .500 seasons that ended with Dennis Erickson and included a 34-9 thrashing of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, I became a Beaver.
The summer of 2005 my time in Newport had come to an end due to some youthful mistakes I made. That, coupled with the birth of my son, saw my family move to Banks to be closer to my (then) wife's family, and what I thought would be better opportunity to get into broadcasting full-time. Fast forward to the Spring of 2014. After speaking with some of my contemporaries, and people I trained under growing up, the wheels were set in motion to start brainstorming to begin broadcasting Banks High School athletics. My first broadcast came in late August of 2015 at the Gladstone football jamboree. That first year I gave away free advertising to whoever wanted to have their businesses mentioned during broadcasts. I did not have a business name and my business was not licensed so I could not legally charge for commercials. July 2016, Westside Mobile Media was launched as an LLC to legally seek payed advertising partners that would help cover broadcasting costs. Since 2015, over 40,000 listeners (how we initially started out broadcasting online audio only through London based streaming audio platform Mixlr) and viewers (switching over to video streaming) in July 2019.
The internet has opened up a whole new world for budding entrepreneurs especially those serious about their own broadcasting careers. Gone are the days of needing to find someone to give you a chance at an "over the air" radio or television station. If no one does, or will, you can start your own, and there are plenty of networking groups on social media that will help anyone who wants to get started on their own. Current Voice of The Beavers Mike Parker, and former Portland Trailblazer Radio Voice Brian Wheeler have both personally told me the future of broadcasting is internet.
When I realized I would not be good enough to play in college or the pros, I found other ways to still be involved with sports, and it is the same for any athlete. Just because a point may come in your life where the game has passed your talent level by, it doesn't mean you have to give up the game. There are tons of other careers in sports besides just athletes. Coaches, officials, public address, play by play, statisticians, etc. The list goes on and on. Just because your playing days may be over, it does not mean your sports dreams have to.
If anyone has any questions about how to get started as an internet sportscaster, feel free to contact me. After doing this for 5 years, I consider myself to be sort of an internet sportscasting pioneer in Oregon as being one of only a handful of companies broadcasting high school sports online at that time. I like the feeling of being a new breed of broadcasters, and aways willing to help others do the same. If you have any questions about how to get started or would like to work with me, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, Trevor Beard or Westside Mobile Media on Facebook or @westmobilmedia on Twitter.