Ben Anderson: Producer and Reporter for 1320 KFNZ
In a broad sense, how did you come into your job?
I received an internship as a broadcast assistant with David Locke, the radio play-by-play voice of the Utah Jazz. I had just graduated from the University of Utah's English Department, and was planning to return to the U to pursue my teaching degree when I happened on the opportunity to interview for the internship. When the internship ended after the basketball season, a new sports radio station was starting in Salt Lake, and through the connections I made during my internship, I set up an interview with the stations program director and was hired as an assistant producer and basketball blogger for the station.
Was there any specific course work that has directly helped you in your job? Indirectly?
Learning how to construct a close reading is the only reason I have my job, and that is something I never would have known how to do had I not attended the University of Utah. Sports writing is changing daily, and today's writers can't simply provide a broad overview of the games anymore. Using social media, where sports fans can find game recaps, statistical analysis, or even video of the games at any time online. Separating yourself from amateur writers who can make their content available to millions at any time means finding a voice, and I've done that by using the close reading skills I learned from my professors at the U. Accurate critical analysis is so important in sports writing, if I hadn't learned to separate the micro from the macro I'd be just another voice in the crowd.
What other skills or experiences did you need to learn to excel in your field? How did you learn them?
Communication is the most important part of my job, if I'm unable to relay information that I retrieve from interviews, or watching games, nobody at my radio station will succeed. My job is to take my experience as a reporter and analyst, and parlay what I see on the playing field to the radio listener, sometimes directly, and sometimes through other on-air talent, and I do that by being an effective communicator. Those skills were developed by writing, editing, and rewriting papers in college. Information has to be delivered quickly, and efficiently, no different than any writing assignment I received in college.
If you could redo your time spent at the U, what would you change? For instance your coursework, extracurricular, etc...
I wish I had spent more time at the University of Utah. I often tried to load up my class schedules, which limited the time I could commit to each course. There is so much to learn in the classroom, I should have embraced the day-to-day class attendance more warmly. I miss it now that it's behind me. Another thing I learned after I left school was that I just don't have the same amount of time to sit and read that I did in college. I took reading for granted while I was at the U, I'm always looking back at my syllabi to see which texts I can go back and look over more closely. I would also submit more writing samples to the on campus publications, or attend open mic reading nights. It's easy to be afraid of your own writing, and whether or not it's good enough, but when I left school I realized how few people there are that can express themselves with the written word, the University really makes you a better writer than you realize while you're at the school. Embrace your voice; you are going to school to develop it, might as well let those around you hear it.
Any more advice or information you would like to share with the department and the students?
Don't be afraid to vary your class choices, every course and every professor has something to offer that you might use later in your life. You'll never regret knowing more about the world than you did before you took a class. When you're in school, you are surrounded by intelligent, ambitious people, both students and professors, talk to them, you probably won't be surrounded by people like that again.
Ben Anderson is the host of the NBA Insiders Radio Show on 1320 KFAN in Salt Lake City, Utah. He covers the Utah Jazz for 1320 KFAN, and manages and edits the Insiders Blog on 1320kfan.com. In addition to his work as a show host, Ben is a producer for "The Drive", a daily sports radio show hosted by Tim Montemayor, and former University of Utah Football Captain Kyle Gunther.