The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The new sound of WJRH

Students take on sports broadcasting

WJRH, Lafayette’s student radio station, has been filling the airwaves with music and talk shows since 1946. Live sports broadcasting, however, is a new edition to its lineup.

Run predominantly by juniors Robby McKittrick and Jay Kasakove, the sports station is in its second semester covering all home football and basketball games.

For these two sports enthusiasts, their passion to get involved with WJRH stemmed from their connection with basketball, which they both played in high school.

“I grew up listening to Jay Bilas’ game analyses on ESPN during the NCAA college basketball tournament,” McKittrick said. “I feel like he inspired his listeners and, more importantly, educated them about the game of basketball itself.”

Kasakove agreed with McKittrick, adding, “Make Tirico, a play-by-play announcer for Monday Night Football, has really taught me a lot about my technique and methods during my own play-by-play.”

Good conversational skills, a powerful voice inflection and a good memory for facts and statistics are key to successfully captivating an audience, according to the broadcasters.

Their passion for sports broadcasting is not directed toward a potential career goal. Instead, it serves as a hobby. Before college, they never thought it was possible.

“As we grew up diligently watching ESPN, we never thought that we would ever be able to do something so fascinating, but here we are,” Kasakove said.   

During a typical day on the job, McKittrick and Kasakove are required to compose external research sheets, as well as review past game film for both Lafayette teams and their opponents.

“I usually make a sheet entailing the players’ names and numbers, statistics and game tendencies,” McKittrick said. “This is a helpful yet tedious way of memorizing the facts, but once I review the sheet a few times, the conversation flows pretty easily.”

Their basic knowledge and understanding of the game, as well as their incorporation of key football and basketball terms, makes the job much more perceptive.

“We grew up playing basketball and listening to ESPN commentary, like on Mike and Mike, so we are really adapted to this broadcasting environment,” Kasakove said.

Though both broadcasters are versed in the basic knowledge and etiquette of football and basketball play-by-play, they said that there are still challenges. Besides the possibilities of technical difficulties with microphones and voice projection, McKittrick and Kasakove recognized the nervous atmosphere that often comes with addressing the public.

In relation to the prospect of nervous jitters, they reflected upon their experience broadcasting the 2015 Patriot League Basketball championship game.

“The gymnasium was packed. I could barely hear my own thoughts while sitting courtside with the media department,” Kasakove said.

McKittrick added, “It was our first semester of broadcasting, so we were pretty new to the job. The energy was great, and I remember listening to the recap of our broadcast days later being able to hear everyone’s screams of excitement when they stormed the court after the win.”

McKittrick and Kasakove said that the Director of Athletic Communications and Promotions Scott Morse estimated around 400 listeners during last year’s Patriot League Championship broadcast. Broadcasting games is an incredible opportunity for these students to get closer to Lafayette’s athletic community, but it also allows them to get closely affiliated with revered alumni.

Lafayette graduate and ESPN’s sports broadcaster and journalist Beth Mowins was present for a Patriot League basketball game this past season.

“Having her next to us made me very nervous,” McKittrick said. “The key was just to relax and show her my capabilities.”

If students’ aspire to be like Mowins and want to give radio broadcasting a shot, WJRH just may be the way to go.

“[Mowins] is a huge proponent of students getting involved in the media department here, as well as WJRH, so anyone interested should definitely join our team,” Kasakove said.          

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