BNM Summit
Saturday, July 20, 2024
Jim Cutler Voiceovers
BNM Summit
Ramsey Solutions


Apps You Shouldn’t Live Without In The Booth

You walk into the broadcast booth ready for another day of baseball. You put down your bag, reach in and pull out your pencils, pens, tape, scorebook and whatever other tools you use. There in front of you are reams of paper, that include game notes, stat packs, minor league reports and other information that is deemed useful for your broadcast. How do you make heads or tails out of it all? How do you organize it so that the important information is where you need it, when you need it? 

Image result for baseball broadcast booth

Organization is what it’s all about. Again, as I’ve said in previous writings, there is no one way to do things. It’s always up to the individual as to what works for him/her in that job. Often as with other things, these skills evolve over time.

- Advertisement -

Over the years, I’ve discovered that technology can be your friend. As intimidating as new things can be to veteran broadcasters, I truly believe that a computer or tablet can really save the day. Everything you could need, is in one place and can lighten your load a little too. Who wouldn’t want to carry a less heavy briefcase from city to city, am I right? 

I have discovered a few apps and programs that have helped me along the way. Full disclosure, I am not being paid or endorsing any of the following apps/programs, just letting you know what works for me. 

I generally use my iPad more than my computer during a broadcast, but do from time to time use both. I find that the tablet eliminates the need to bring certain things with me to the ballpark that before were necessary. 

The biggest and clunkiest things I used to carry were a team’s media guide. Some were spiral bound, some were not, but all were bulky and heavy in my bag.

Image result for major league baseball media guide

Now with a PDF reader (I use PDF Expert, which is an app that you’d need to purchase) I can download the guides and call them up on this app. It gives you a chance to also see all the pages, so thumbing from player to player is relatively easy.

I can have both team’s guides up at the same time, since the app has labeled tabs at the top. The program also allows you to annotate the pages. You can highlight or even write notes of your own. I do not miss carrying around those guides. 

Prep can also be a little easier with several apps that will sync information from either your phone or tablet to your computer. If I’m down in the dugout, taking notes on what the manager is saying on my phone, the information comes up to my computer and iPad. This way I have it right in front of me without having to transcribe or even email it to myself. It’s a nice convenience that saves me time in the preparation process I’ve developed. 

There are a couple of apps that I would recommend trying, one is OneNote from Microsoft. If you have an Apple Pencil, it will also allow you to write notes on the page as well. The other one is Evernote which does basically the same things as OneNote. It is a pay per month app (for more storage capacity), while OneNote is free (5GB). 

There are a couple of other word processing apps that also perform a sync from computer to tablet and vice versa. Microsoft Word and Pages both get the job done. They are also good for organizing notes and being able to know where things are within the app. 

For information during a game, including score updates, news surrounding other teams and to check mentions, I like Tweet Deck. For those not familiar with it, you can set up your Twitter account in 4 or 5 panes on the same screen. You can have your normal feed in one pane, notifications in another, mentions in a third and you can set up a search in the last one. I like to have this app running during a game so if there is news from another game, I can pass it along to my listeners. I am careful who I follow to make sure the information is credible. Twitter has become such an immediate source of news and has many benefits to broadcasters. 

Image result for tweetdeck

A great collaborative app is Slack. We’ve recently set up a Slack channel for the sharing of information between broadcasters and media relations with the White Sox. It’s tremendous to be able to get instant information that will enhance the broadcasts on radio and television. We share injury updates, minor league news and info and statistical information on players that can be relevant to our viewers/listeners.

For the more daring broadcaster, there is iScore, which is a scoring app that you can use right on your tablet. It is something I’ve tried a few times with varying results.

Image result for iscore app

The basic premise is interesting and it would allow me to leave my scorebook at home. With any technology there are limitations and iScore tries to make it easy to score a game quickly and accurately, working in substitutions and being able to actually look at a score sheet are a bit difficult to master. Time is critical of course while calling a game, but in this case I’m a bit of a dinosaur and prefer and writing it myself. It is worth a try though if you are feeling a bit daring. 

Hopefully these apps will make your life as a broadcaster a bit easier. Remember technology can be your friend!

Andy Masur
Andy Masur
Andy Masur is a columnist for BSM and works for WGN Radio as an anchor and play-by-play announcer. He also teaches broadcasting at the Illinois Media School. During his career he has called games for the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox. He can be found on Twitter @Andy_Masur1 or you can reach him by email at [email protected].

Popular Articles