Story by Jonathan Singh
Photo, courtesy of Fox Sports
Photo, courtesy of Fox Sports
SYRACUSE N.Y. -- From a youngster imitating play-by-play in a tape recorder, to a man broadcasting games for the biggest networks in all of sports, Kenny Albert has successfully climbed the ladder. Becoming one of sports most versatile broadcasters in the indusrtry.
Albert’s dream started at a young age, as the Long Island native started calling play-by-play for sporting events in high school. Determined to become a professional sports broadcaster, he called over one hundred games before entering a college classroom. Albert, a graduate of New York University (NYU) participated in hands-on work with the school's radio station.
With practice, and patience, Albert succeeded, as he eventually made his way to the professional level. He now broadcasts for all four major sports (MLB,NFL,NBA,NHL.) Albert focuses on staying up to date with the latest of all teams, with a great focus on preparation.
“With the four sports, I’m very fortunate to be involved in all four at different extents. I’ve worked for Fox since 1994, which is when they got the rights to the NFL, then adding baseball a couple years later. With MSG I do hockey, I do radio for the Rangers, but I also fill in for some Knick games, so again, very lucky to be involved in all four.”
The grateful Albert has worked in live sports media for over twenty-years. He has called some of the world’s biggest sporting events. The Olympics Games, playoff football and baseball, and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, to name a few.
The award-winning, veteran sportscaster believes that an aspiring broadcaster can succeed in this competitive field. Albert emphasizes that there are more opportunities now then there once were. With hands-on work in high school, college, and throughout internships, a young sportscaster has the facilities and equipment to utilize their talents.
“Practice makes perfect, the more you do, the better you are going to get.”
Albert has put in countless hours throughout his prolific career. The television and radio broadcasts speak for itself, as the fairness and accuracy of his commentary has led him to becoming one of sports most popular broadcasters. As Albert continues throughout his career, he will always remember where it started, as he continues to climb the ladder.
For the full audio interview click HERE
Q: How and what made you start this journey?
A: Right so obviously I was always around it like you said with three family members in the business so at a young at I always wanted to be a sportscaster. As a youngster I remember just calling a lot of games into a tape recorder off the TV, and it’s really the only thing I wanted to do. I did some writing as well; I did some sports writing in high school and college but really focused on the play-by-play. First thing, I got really lucky in high school; I grew up on Long Island in Port Washington. When I was in high school in tenth grade, like I said I worked for the high school paper and the town paper so I covered a lot of the basketball games and the football games, so I knew the coached athletic director etcetera. When I was in tenth grade a very small cable station out of Great Neck, Cox Cable, came to my school to film a girls basketball game. No accouncers just video, a couple of cameras so the athletic director of my school introduced me to the producer, and I volunteer, and I said do you need an announcer for the game and he said sure, I put the microphone onto my shirt, did that game for them then I got his phone number after the game and I wound up after high school, tenth, eleventh, twelfth grade, doing play-by-play for all these games and so many different sports and it was really invaluable experiences because I felt like I was three years ahead of anyone else that wanted to do it but would have the opportunity until college. I probably called one hundred games, basketball, baseball, football, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, you name it anything. So that was a tremendous experience. So I went to NYU, I went to school at NYU. One of the advantages, and there are so many great school out there for broadcasting, Syracuse right at the top of the list, Hofstra, Fordham, in the New York Area, Northwestern, Maryland Penn State. For me personally back in the mid 80’s when I was looking at colleges NYU doesn’t have a huge sports program, they have a division three basketball team. The great thing about it, at a small program like that, in a big city, there were only about five or six of us every year that were interested in doing sports on the radio, we got the opportunity right from the start.
Q: News 12 and News 12 Varsity, there all over the high school games now, your not really seeing a student run broadcast anymore….
A: Well the other side of that, is I tell the kids, there are so many more opportunities now because many colleges with the internet, which didn’t exists when I was in college, they do so many different sports and it gives students such a great opportunity, if its one of the major sports or one of the less popular sports, you could really do every game of every sport on the internet if you wanted to. From that aspect there are so many more opportunities once you hit college.
Q: Going back to the four major sports, you broadcast NHL, MLB, NBA, and NFL. Obviously all these sports require a great amount of preparation, reading newspapers, magazines, on social media, trying to get all the stats you can before hand trying to prepare your self for a broadcast. But at out all four sports, what sport do you think requires the most prep?
A: Well first of all I’m glad you mentioned newspapers because I’m old school, but I still get actually real newspapers delivered because I think there so valuable. With the four sports I’m very fortunate to be involved in all four at different extents, I’ve worked for Fox since 1994, which is when they got the rights to the NFL, then getting baseball a little bit later, then with MSG, I do radio the Rangers, but then I also fill in on some Knick games so, again very luck to be involved in all four. As far as the preparation, and I get this all the time, first of all I think the preparation is the number one thing I learned growing up and in school and that’s the most important thing as far as doing play-by-play. The most preparation is football. We cover mostly NFC on FOX so we have the chance to see most of the teams; it makes it harder when you don’t see for a long time.
Q: With your play-by-play style with Hockey how does it differ from the other sports?
A: It is the fastest of all the four sports. To me hockey is the easiest because I’ve been doing it for so long, to me its just, calling the action, its 60 minutes, the clocks in action for 60 minutes. I recommend the more experience you can get. Every game you get better.
Q: As I wrap things up here I just wanted to thank you for taking time out of your day to speak with me, I’m a huge fan of your.