A Hollywood Semester Internship with ESPN

April 3, 2012

By Zach Kessee '12

It all started with a "why not try it" phone call.

Three months later, I walked in to ESPN Radio Los Angeles for my orientation as an intern. I introduced myself to the five other interns and my boss, David Singer, who interviewed me during the process. Throughout orientation, I learned my main responsibility during the internship would be screening listener phone calls during the weekly shows.

I had no idea what this internship would evolve into.

After two weeks spent learning the process of screening phone calls and getting to know everyone who worked in the studio, I found myself getting more responsibility.

Before I knew it, I was cutting and cleaning up guest interviews. "Cutting" is the process of isolating important parts of the interview into 20 second or less sound bites. "Cleaning up" makes the clip sound better by taking out lengthy pauses and "um-s and uh-s."

After becoming familiar with the editing software, I learned how to edit and log Lakers games. This was by far the most rewarding, but most difficult thing I learned this semester. The action of editing and logging isn't hard, but learning the pace and becoming fast is extremely difficult.

Time is a crucial aspect of this industry because everything needs to be updated by the minute. During games, an employee and I watch it on TV while listening to the radio play-by-play. We record the announcer's calls and pull key plays and good sound bites.

It becomes difficult because we are editing the sound bites during the game, trying to listen for more key plays/good calls and updating the log simultaneously, while trying to be fast at it. One mistake and you can easily fall behind. After the game, we record and edit all player and coach interviews too.

This process takes about 4-5 hours total, but feels like one hour because you are constantly doing something. After doing three or four Lakers games, I felt confident to do a game by myself.

David Singer, my boss, notified all of the interns in February that we had the choice to cover a Lakers practice, LA Kings game or a Clippers game and learn the reporting side of the business.

This past week, I attended a Clippers game with Beto Duran, an ESPN Radio LA reporter, and learned how to cover a game. Duran showed me the process of covering the game while introducing me to many great contacts of his, including former Bradley University graduate and Los Angeles Clippers TV play-by-play announcer, Ralph Lawler '61.

We got to sit courtside, in the media area, during the game because Beto needed to call into the nightly ESPN Radio show with game updates. After the game, we went into the Clipper's locker room to interview Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. When we finished with the interviews, we went back the ESPN Radio studio and edited the audio.

This internship has been an amazing experience and I'm excited to see what my final month brings. I've met great contacts and gained valuable experience while studying and working in Los Angeles. I believe both of these will prove to be extremely helpful in the future.

This once in a lifetime experience wouldn't have been possible without Bradley University's "Hollywood Semester".