SBJ/July 2-8, 2012/In Depth

Youth Sports Network / Sports Broadcasting Academy

Headquarters: Orlando

What they do: Television and radio broadcast training for high-school-age students

Recent moves: Founded in November 2011; graduated first class in January

What’s next:
Partnering with more youth sports tournaments and television stations to provide a platform for graduates to practice their skills. Ambitions to start a regional or national youth sports television network.

A longtime college coach and academic administrator, Jamie (pronounced “hi-may”) Rivera sunk his retirement savings into starting the Youth Sports Network’s Sports Broadcasting Academy this past November.

Rivera, whose previous job was as an
admissions administrator for Southern Connecticut State University, said he developed the idea for a program for high-school-age sportscasters after watching ESPN one night.

“There are a lot of youth sports being played in the country, but those in front of the camera are always adults,” Rivera said. “Why isn’t there an ESPN-type show for kids?”

The YSN concept is to provide online courses for high-school-age students for both radio and television sports broadcasting. The faculty includes Matt Pinto, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s radio play-by-play announcer; former ESPN radio host Jon Chelesnik; and Root Sports broadcaster Rich Burk, among others.

The faculty teaches a 13-week course, which includes a two-hour weekly lecture in front of a webcam. The course addresses a range of topics, from writing broadcast copy and delivering “memorable speeches,” to the proper way to hold a microphone.

The goal is to attract students with an affinity for sports and to let them sample sports broadcasting and determine whether they want to pursue a career in the field.

The academy caps each classroom at 10 students a term, and the cost of tuition is $1,495.

Fred Dreier is a writer based in New York.

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