A Lesson on Commentating…

Rob Nothman, Sports Broadcaster and Producer for over 25 years came to speak to the Journalism students of Coventry University.

The talk started with an introduction about commentating and about how it is an important part of radio. Rob told the audience that: “It’s about your audience.” And that audience is one of the most important things to think about when. It is vital that as a commentator, you think about who you are commentating for.

Written by Alex Maidment, Second Year Journalist

He then went on to how commentating is a vital thing to try and get into radio packages because commentary changes the pace of the package and: “It can really brighten things up.” Rob has covered sports events all around the world and described how he thinks: “It’s been the most wonderful way to earn a living.” Unlike how journalists might join the media industry today, Rob joined the BBC straight from school and gradually built his way up .

The Logistics of commentating:

Commentators can’t always be excitable; sometimes they have to be serious. There also needs to be a strong link about what is happening and what you’re saying, especially for radio sports reporting. Rob talked a bit about how important looking after your voice is. You have to drink a lot of water and you need to make sure you don’t strain your voice before you have to commentate.

He said how concentration is also key and obviously it is important that you can describe accurately what is going on, meaning you also need good observational skills. What Rob said was arguably one of the most vital things you need as a commentator, is a very good vocabulary.

During the talk, Rob used examples of different commenters in different sports to try and show what is good and bad technique. It doesn’t matter what you  commentate on, whether it is sport or otherwise, you have to be descriptive. That was one of the main points of the talk, and Rob summarised at the end by going over the key skills to be a commentator; it is important to remain impartial, be descriptive, have a good strong clear voice, good vocabulary, have passion and excitement.

To finish off, Rob then gave a couple of tips as to how you can practise commentating by muting the TV whilst a football game or something similar is on and record yourself describing the game.


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