LITTLE FALLS, NJ – Held for one week in the summer of each year, the Bruce Beck and Ian Eagle Sports Broadcasting Camp had the largest class of 90 attendees in its 13-year history. Located on the campus of Montclair State University, the camp ran from July 28-Aug. 1 at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center.
Open to both male and female campers who are 13 years and older, students learn about play-by-play, sports talk, game preparation, on-camera presentation, interviewing skills, and more. The week-long session concluded with campers doing play-by-play of a Somerset Patriots minor-league baseball game. With a live TV studio at the facility, students also have an opportunity to take a road trip to major sports and TV facilities in the area.
David Siroty, owner and founder of the camp, recruited professional sports broadcasters such as Bruce Beck, Ian Eagle and Dave Popkin over a decade ago to impart their knowledge to students. Beck is the lead sports anchor for WNBC-TV Channel 4 in New York and host of Rutgers University football and basketball coaches TV shows. Eagle has served as the television voice of the Brooklyn Nets on the YES Network, play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports’ coverage of the NFL, college basketball, tennis, boxing, track and more. Popkin, in his 11th year as camp director, also handles play-by-play for college sports on ESPN3, color commentary for Seton Hall basketball on radio, play-by-play for Northeast Conference Basketball Network on MSG and other regional sports networks, as well as, play-by-play for Buffalo Bisons baseball (AAA).
Over the week-long duration, students are exposed to sports broadcasters working in the business and given real world broadcasting experience along with immediate feedback from teachers, who are professional sports broadcasters. They have also been able to meet and dialogue with athletes and sportscasters such as Yogi Berra, Sam Rosen, Kenny Albert, Bob Lorenz, Chris Carrino, Matt Loughlin, Kevin Burkhardt, Tom Coughlin, Sparky Lyle, David Tyree, Tina Cervasio, and many others.
Harrison Malkin, an 11th grader from Basking Ridge, now in his 2nd year at camp says, “I was researching camps for broadcasting and found this camp. This is a great experience. This is the first time I’ve ever done a sports broadcast and a lot of things they taught me has brought me out of my comfort zone. I would like to do a combination of writing and broadcasting when I get older.”
In addition to exposure to professional athletes and sports broadcasters, students are taken on tours of facilities. Malkin added, “Touring MetLife stadium last year was awesome. We got to go into the pressbox and tour all different aspects of the stadium. When we were at the Giants facility, we also met one of their PR directors.”
Popkin explained that students usually return for multiple years of training. He said, “The first year group is more of a seminar setting. We have notable guest speakers and we do a lot of interactive activities with them. Sports talk, reading a teleprompter on camera, doing play by play, interviewing skills, and such.”
Some of the guest speakers this year included Kevin Burkhardt from Fox Sports and SNY, Kenny Albert from New York Rangers radio and Chris Carrino, who has been to the camp almost every year and is the voice of the NETS radio.
Popkin added, “The camp sold out this year for the first time. Our average enrollment has been about 75 kids.” Student ages range from 13 to 20.
Hands-on, day-to-day activities are coordinated by Popkin and Mike Quick. Quick of MSG Varsity, returns for his 12th year as the director of the Advanced Camp to teach students that return for a second or third year.
Quick said, “For kids who think this could be a lifelong calling, they’ll come up to the advanced class. The first year it’s more about listening to lectures. 30 kids this week who started out not knowing anything about what a sportscast is, are now putting sportscasts together. This is the first step on what they hope is a lifelong journey. ”
Having been a sportscaster for 27 years, Quick says that the highlight of his teaching career was a student named Anthony Bonelli. He added, “As much as he learned from me, I learned from him.” “They may not all go on to become sports broadcasters, but I promise, I’ll give these kids life skills. We’re teaching kids how to talk to one another and I also teach them the reality of the business.”
Justin Sweetwood,15, from Bridgewater is in his 4th year at the camp. He confidently said, “I’m a veteran. I’m going to set the all-time record next year and it’s going to be my 5th year. No one’s ever done it before, but it’s really the best camp out there. I did another sports broadcasting camp before here and it just suffers in comparison to this one.” Now 15 years old, Sweetwood has been coming to the camp since age 12. “I love sports and I love broadcasting. My parents always say do what you love and love what you do. It starts with Bruce, Ian, and Mike who all have established reputations and you can see Mike every night out on the field. They have great reputations and they do a great job with everybody.”
There are currently 4 girls in the original camp this year and 2 girls in advanced camp. Popkin said, “That’s usually down. We usually have more than that. A lot of the girls that we’ve had have been really good on camera and have been good writers, so it’s a natural fit for them.”
Julia Linger,17, a 12th grader from Cranford expressed that her brother came to the camp and now she is in her second year at the camp. She explained that she chose the camp because she wants to be a broadcaster and felt that she needed to familiarize herself with sports broadcasting before going to college. She said, “I want to be a broadcast journalist. Getting to go in front of the teleprompter was the coolest part about it and also being up close with the professionals who are currently out in the field is really awesome. You see a whole different side to them than what you see on TV.”
Many students have gone on to broadcast for colleges and professionally. Among the dozens of notable camp alumni, included are Scott Braun, an anchor on MLB Network, Tess Quinlan, a producer for USAToday Sports and Justin Schackil, an anchor for Sirius XM, WCBS880 and NBATV studio host.
Popkin concluded, “We are invested in students’ success. We keep in touch with most of our students. We have helped write recommendations for them to get into college or helped them to find a job in the business.”
For more information about the Bruce Beck & Ian Eagle Sports Broadcasting Camp, visit www.sportsbroadcastingcamp.com.