Youngstown State University’s Department of Communication has introduced a new sports-broadcasting education track to its 2014 fall semester. The new track is aimed at students who are interested in pursuing careers in the field of sports media.
Courses within the track have been in development for a number of years, and the track has recently been endorsed by the Ohio Board of Regents. The courses offer a hands-on learning experience in creating sports content for all media outputs, such as television, radio and the Internet.
Fred Owens, professor of communications, emphasized the program’s focus on sports content rather than focusing on audience analysis.
“It will involve going to games and creating content for television, radio and the web,” Owens said. “It differs from other sports media programs. This is not a study of an audience of sports; it’s an applied program in making content.”
Students will learn how to create content throughout the various courses in the track, including Sports Media Production, Broadcast Sports Writing and Producing, Broadcast Sports Performance, Cross Platform Sports Broadcasting and Sports Broadcasting Internship.
Students will be announcing games and setting up press conferences and interviews, as well as learning the technical aspects of broadcast, such as equipment management.
Owens said the decision to create the course was a result of the growing trend for universities to produce their own sports media.
“For example, [The University of] Florida, [The University of] Michigan, and Texas Christian [University] all have their own media staffs. It became clear that universities were going to create their own networks. It’s a growing industry,” Owens said.
Adam Earnheardt, communications chair, said the creation of the track occurred naturally through student demand.
“In short, students asked us to do this,” Earnheardt said. “We already have this amazing existing relationship with YSU athletics and sports information. Our students are deeply involved in the Horizon League productions, Penguin Football and more. It was the next natural step to take.”
Students who go through the new career track, but do not become sports broadcasters, can still benefit from the Bachelor of Arts degree, as it will feature all of the skills associated with other communication majors, while taking place in a sports media setting.
“Sports broadcasting is not only one of the fastest growing industries here in the U.S., but also worldwide,” Earnheardt said. “[After taking this track], students will be prepared to jump into just about any setting, from ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, to working a satellite truck for a sports teleproduction company.”
Earnheardt said students who are on the fence about the program can get involved by taking a sports field production course and working on Horizon League productions.