As the lead announcer for Virginia Tech’s football and men’s basketball teams, Bill Roth is not looking to relinquish his job.
Yet, by creating the athletics department’s student broadcaster internship, he’s enabled students to get a head start on breaking into the sports broadcasting industry and vying for a job like his.
“I was having breakfast in Miami with our athletics director Jim Weaver during Tech’s trip to the Orange Bowl and I mentioned to Jim that I thought there were many talented broadcasting students at Tech who were talented enough to help with some our Olympic sports broadcasts,” Roth said.
“I suggested there were young people on our campus that would be eager to gain valuable experience calling games, and doing so in a supervised and professional environment.”
Weaver was intrigued by the idea and in spring 2011 created the position of assistant director of broadcasting. This was not only to handle the play-by-play duties for the women’s basketball and baseball teams, but also to head up the new program.
Andrew Allegretta was soon hired from Charleston Southern University to assume the title, and he took charge of the program.
“One of the things we looked at for every candidate was someone who would really embrace working with young broadcasters, and (Andrew) is just that,” Roth said.
From its outset, the program has been aimed at giving a helping hand to aspiring broadcasters.
“One of the things about where Bill and I come from is we’re both people who have had others help us along the way, and we really want to return that favor,” Allegretta said.
Participants in the program get the opportunity to call games in sports like men’s and women’s soccer, wrestling, softball, volleyball, tennis, swimming and diving, all while receiving tutelage from Allegretta and Roth.
“For (the interns) it’s a really great experience to be able to practice TV play-by-play, and
then meet with me at least once a week or so to talk about it, learn about it and get better from it,” Allegretta said. “It’s really kind of a hands-on and get-into-the classroom kind of deal.”
Former Hokie long snapper Collin Carroll is one of the students who participates in the program, taking advantage of it to hone his broadcasting skills.
“The program has really taught me the importance of research while letting me be the host of these games and just tell stories,” Carroll said. “Andrew has been a huge help to me making my broadcast writing pleasing to the ear and natural, and it’s given me a great appreciation for the professionals.”
Besides helping them prepare for broadcasts, Allegretta also helps the interns by listening to and critiquing their broadcasts.
“It’s been extremely valuable to learn from people who want to see you succeed,” Carroll said. “Everyone sits down and listens and critiques your broadcasts, and that’s really conducive to growth.”
Kevin Burke is one participant who has already seen the benefits of his involvement in the program, as he was recently hired to call baseball games in Oregon.
“It’s my dream to call professional baseball, but I never would’ve gotten hired in Oregon without knowing Andrew and being involved in this position,” Burke said. “He led me to the right people to talk to and helped me build some great connections in the business.”
Allegretta noticed significant development in Burke’s abilities over the course of his time as a student broadcaster.