Home working but different
A home working sports commentator? Adam Bates describes his life:
Your job sounds like a dream come true for a sports fan, Adam – how did you break into sports commentating?
I was fortunate in always being sure from the age of about 6 that I wanted to be a sports commentator so I set about achieving that goal pretty early. I entered and won an ‘Amateur Sports Reporter of the Year’ competition for my local radio station, BBC Radio Derby, and the prize was to report on a Derby County match (a massive privilege for a Rams fan). From there, it was a question of pestering them for work experience which became a regular thing and that eventually led to occasional freelance work.
When I left to study Broadcast Journalism at the University of Leeds, they then asked me to head back to the station every weekend to answer phones, drive the desk (press the important buttons), read sports bulletins…and the next thing I knew, I had become a commentator.
I’m now freelance in London, receiving commentary and other broadcasting work from two agencies.
How much home working is possible?
Since going completely freelance after leaving the BBC for more work freedom, I spend around two-thirds of my time home working, mostly preparing for matches. This has to be extremely thorough so if I’m to perform a Champions League commentary, for instance, I’ll spend an entire day (if not more) researching it.
Modern technology means I also produce and host a tennis podcast for Sky Sports from home, equipped with just a mic and Skype, which is downloaded by thousands of tennis fans.
Otherwise, home working means creating new demos, sending off CVs and other things that amount to self-promotion.
Do you travel a lot?
An advantage of my job is that you do get to see new places. Most weekends see me travelling around the country to cover a football match. Train fares can be shockingly expensive though which negates the financial value of doing the work in the first place to some extent, but it’s very enjoyable nevertheless.
I sometimes have the opportunity to travel abroad too. Recently, I was lucky enough to go to the Czech Republic to perform interviews and report for radio stations around the world for a Fed Cup tennis tie. This is something I’d love to do much more of, but opportunities are more rare, as you would expect.
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