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The Women's Sports Alliance


Thriving on Radio and Live Commentary

Exclusively for our Advancement Zone community, our trusted radio and commentary expert, Mark Church - BBC Commentator and Radio Producer - shares his tips and tricks on how female athletes can thrive on live radio and in match commentary.

Mark Church

What are your top tips for an athlete to thrive on live radio?

Be Yourself

Always be yourself. Don’t try to be anybody else. Take tips and styles from other broadcasters but make sure you are delivering your commentary as you and in the same way you might explain to a friend what is happening.

Do Your Prep

You will be asked to go on the radio because you are an expert in the field and the subject. Have some stats up your sleeve and some scent that will help your explanation.Before the interview, ask what sort of questions might be fired at you and try to be available at the time a radio station wants you.

Nerves Are Good

Being nervous is a good thing. Just remember that you have earned the right to be sat where you are. The radio station or TV programme believe in you, otherwise you wouldn't have been given the opportunity. You are the expert and the listeners will likely know a lot less than you do in whatever you are there to talk about.

What are your top tips for an athlete to thrive on live commentary?

Know Your Stats In preparation for commentary work, know your stats. How you collate and note key statistics is up to you but make sure you feel comfortable going into the game. As an example, quick stats to note are:

last five results, team for last game, position in league table, results against team or individual or any career milestones that team or individual players are about to reach. Whatever stats you note, make sure they are readable and easy to access.

Use Social Media

All the different social media channels will give you access to information you need. Every sport person and club have their own social media platforms and you can find out lots of relevant information from them for either on air interview or live commentary.

Enjoy The Experience

Have fun and be enthusiastic. You are painting a picture for the listener and your enthusiasm will come over to them. Be engaged because if you are not engaged then I can guarantee the listener will not be.

How and when can a female athlete find radio and commentating opportunities?

There are plenty of opportunities out there to get on air. Radio stations are always looking for crew to come on air and talk about their particular sport. Commentaries are always looking for summarisers to provide analysis during a game.

Many people have got their opportunity by asking current commentators whether they could join them for a game. Don’t be afraid to ask and say you are available. And use social media to express opinions because many journalists use Social Media platforms to generate stories. Whatever field you are an expert, you can guarantee there will be a radio station that wants to talk to you. You need to let them know you are there. Personally, I have helped many sports people forge a career in radio. And it all started with the question, “ Do you need anybody on air with you “ or “Can I see what you do?”

How should an athlete best prepare herself for live radio or commentary appearances?

As I said earlier, you are an expert in your field. Sports producers are always looking for new voices to add to their output.

Make yourself available and be willing to go the extra mile because once you get on air you will be asked on again.

I always say we expect the players to prepare for a game, so we should prepare in the same way for a commentary or a live interview. If you are asked to go into the studio, arrive early and try and build a repour the presenter before you are live on air. If you are doing the interview via phone or zoom, find somewhere quiet and be ready for the call ten minutes before your allotted time.

What do Producers look for when considering which athletes to feature on their radio show?

It is a competitive industry, but real-life experience of the sport is gold dust. If you already have that, let people know you are available because otherwise they might not consider you.

The media is a wonderful industry to be involved in. And don’t forget that pen and a spare piece of paper!


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