Barry Swain - How to be a Football Commentator

How do you become a football commentator?

There aren't any qualifications as such, but what is very important is that you have a clear voice worthy of the broadcasting industry and you are confident when faced with the prospect of talking live to thousands of people. An excellent knowledge of football or whatever sport you are commentating on is also vitally important.

What are the first steps in becoming a football commentator?

Sometimes it is being in the right place at the right time, but first and foremost the important thing is to get some priceless work experience under your belt. Getting through the door at a local radio station or a hospital radio station is a good way forward, even if it is just making the tea. One day there just might be an opportunity to go on air and that might just be the lucky break you need. In the meantime get your voice out there, broadcasters are more interested in what your voice sounds like and how you stand up in a live broadcast environment. They won't give a damn about GCSEs and degrees. Experience is also pivotal in moving forward in this industry. The first rung of the ladder is the toughest one.

How do you establish yourself as a commentator?

The more relevant work on your CV the better. The more experience the better. Having plenty of recorded samples of your work also works in your favour as any prospective employer will want to hear plenty of you before they make a decision about you.

Is it possible to become a commentator overnight?

Commentary work is out there but there are plenty of experienced commentators that are vying for that work. Start off by just getting your voice heard. You won't jump straight into commentary work unless you are very fortunate. However you could make your own openings. Start volunteering to commentate for your local non-league side who might use the commentary on their website. Produce podcasts and explore audio and how to record it so you are able to produce demos and showreels easily in the future.

What equipment is required to be a commentator?

Any commentator at a football stadium would need an ISDN codec to enable them to broadcast high quality. This kit is £1,500 upwards but some broadcasters provide them. Then you need audio recording equipment (MP3 recorder or mini disc recorder) for post match interviews. Then there are headsets, microphones. It is an expensive hobby.

Keen on becoming a football commentator? Barry runs a programme of Football Commentary Workshops, which provides aspiring commentators with the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of commentating on live football. As part of this course, participants will also have the chance to hear invaluable advice and tips from experienced commentators who have worked their way up to becoming recognised.

Football / Soccer by D O L F I available by CC BY-NC 2.0.