The man behind the mic

Kevin Wandra's picture

May, you might have seen me at a local high school sporting event jotting down notes, snapping pictures and shooting video.

I recently added another duty to my list: broadcasting.

The Citizen paired up with J and J Video Productions starting in December last year, and now our newspaper website features complete video recordings of local basketball games in the “The Citizen TV” and “The Citizen Videos” sections.

Those video recordings feature yours truly doing color commentary.

Working as a sports broadcaster has been a fun and interesting experience.

My colleague Michael Boylan and I have been doing “The Citizen Sports Blitz” since the start of football season last year, so I’m accustomed to having my comments on various topics recorded. But doing color commentary has been somewhat different, especially knowing that I’m now on TV; the games we have recorded have been shown on Comcast’s local channel as well.

My goal during each broadcast has been to provide insightful comments and, I hate to admit this, not screw up.

It’s easy to pronounce a player’s name incorrectly or say something you wish you could immediately take back. Knowing that those few screw-ups will be available for our local viewers to hear is embarrassing, but, hey, it’s part of the learning process.

Many people have no clue as to what I’m doing with a microphone in my hands at games. Some people give me odd looks; others couldn’t care less and say “What’s up, Wandra?” even when I’m broadcasting.

Let me make a few things clear. I’m not holding a microphone because I’m about to pull a Jay-Z and bust out a freestyle rap. (I could take it back to my Jersey roots, though, and do just that. And, no, I wouldn’t sound like Vanilla Ice or Marky Mark.)

Also, as much as I enjoy meeting new people and talking to some long-term acquaintances at games, once I have a microphone in my hands, I cannot talk to anybody. Now, if I don’t have a microphone in my hands, feel free to approach me, and then we could discuss any topic you would like — the NFL, Jessica Alba’s pregnancy, the upcoming Batman movie, Bruce Springsteen’s latest album and Italian restaurants.

One of the best aspects of my latest endeavor has been working with two true professionals, Jan Horne and Joey Gaspierik.

Horne, the owner of J and J Video Productions, has patiently guided me through the process of dealing with the highs and lows of working as a sports broadcaster. If I do something incorrectly, she’ll kindly let me know instead of beating me over the head with my own microphone.

Gaspierik, a student at Whitewater High School, does play-by-play work for each broadcast. He is a future star in the sports broadcasting business; I expect him to one day work for ESPN or one of the major networks. (Hey Joe: When you’re big-time, please hook me up with some NFL or Yankees tickets.)

When I first heard Gaspierik on a broadcast he did with Mike, I asked Mike, “Does he have any experience?” Mike’s reply: “Nope.”

Gaspierik sounds as though he’s done play-by-play for years.

Though I know I won’t become a legend in the sports broadcasting business — you have nothing to worry about, John Madden, Al Michaels and Marv Albert — I take pleasure in what I do.

Now, excuse me, but I have to work on my latest freestyle rap.

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