Journalism pupil making a reputation for himself with sports activities discuss present
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.— Though Penn State sophomore Zach Gershman admires the skilled athletes making highlights on the sphere, he finds essentially the most inspiration from the legends within the broadcast sales space.
Gershman is a broadcast journalism main within the Donald P. Bellisario School of Communications who has already constructed himself a strong sports activities discuss resume. He has the voice, the supply and the opinions of a seasoned sports activities pundit. Extra importantly, he has a present.
Gershman has interviewed greater than 25 sports activities personalities on his YouTube collection “ZachOnSports,” together with broadcasters, executives and coaches. The present dates again to 2014 when he invited Philadelphia comic Joe Conklin to be his first visitor.
“At first, I used my cuteness as a device, as a result of not many individuals are going to have the ability to say no to a 12 12 months outdated,” Gershman stated. “I instructed (Conklin) I used to be an enormous fan and that he would get to be the primary individual I interview.”
Conklin accepted. Gershman can be from Philadelphia (“really from Philadelphia, not exterior of Philadelphia,” he’ll have you realize) and he and his dad would take heed to the comic on 94WIP radio on the way in which into college.
“He was the nicest man,” Gershman stated. “He got here to my Jewish center college and I interviewed him there. He began cracking jokes. …They weren’t kosher.”
Since then, Gershman has interviewed Corridor of Fame broadcaster Bob Costas, ESPN reporter Tom Rinaldi, Tremendous Bowl champion Brent Celek and lots of different well-known names within the trade.
Earlier this 12 months, with many sports activities leagues shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gershman, like a lot of his company, was homebound. He may interview them from their kitchens and dwelling rooms by way of Zoom.
“I used to be presupposed to have a job in Minnesota this summer season, however as soon as the pandemic hit, it was canceled,” he stated. “I knew I couldn’t sit on my butt and never do something. When folks ask me what I did when the pandemic hit, I didn’t wish to say that I discovered methods to play Fortnite.”
Happily, “ZachOnSports” was already properly established. Gershman used his state of affairs as a chance to achieve out and join with potential interviewees. He says the “cuteness issue” doesn’t work anymore, so he depends on constructing relationships, cold-calling and exhibiting potential company that he places within the work to conduct strong interviews.
“When folks ask me what I did when the pandemic hit, I didn’t wish to say that I discovered methods to play Fortnite.”
— Zach Gershman, broadcast journalism main within the Bellisario School of Communications
Gershman stated he goes into interviews with ready questions, however to make it nice he employs a tactic that ESPN’s John Buccigross shared at a digital occasion final semester hosted by the John Curley Middle for Sports activities Journalism.
“You possibly can discuss very well. You possibly can be a very good speaker. You possibly can have the voice of God,” Gershman stated echoing Buccigross. “However should you don’t hear, you’re not going to be excellent at this.”
Gershman stated listening, improvisation and being conversational are all key attributes that he seeks to enhance with every interview.
“No person desires to see a robotic,” he stated.
Gershman takes the function of interviewer severely. He spends a variety of time researching and making ready for every dialog. He defines a profitable interview as asking a visitor questions they’ve by no means heard earlier than and getting them to suppose slightly in a different way.
Gershman is a sportscaster historian, too. He drops legendary names like Marty Glickman, Adrian Wojnarowski and Vin Scully like most sports activities followers point out Johnny Unitas, Lebron James and Joe Montana.
“I really like the historical past behind sports activities broadcasting,” he stated. “All my historical past papers again in highschool have been all sports activities broadcasting or sports activities tv primarily based. I clearly love the sports activities as properly however working with people who find themselves within the enterprise offers me a way of what it’s like and what it means to the world.”
“I keep in mind asking my dad if his radio was damaged, as a result of it by no means left that channel.”
Gershman stated he’s recognized a handful of mentors, however his father, who used to work in advertising and marketing for sports activities radio, is his primary inspiration. It was these rides to high school along with his dad that sparked his curiosity in sportscasting.
“It was at all times 94WIP with Angelo Cataldi and the morning workforce,” Gershman stated. “I keep in mind asking my dad if his radio was damaged, as a result of it by no means left that channel.”
Gershman was 8 years outdated and thought sports activities discuss was boring. He most popular rides to and from college along with his mom who performed music. However then one thing occurred in Philadelphia that modified all that. The Phillies made the World Collection.
“That’s what actually introduced me into sports activities,” he stated. “And in Philadelphia, we’re very obsessed with sports activities, and I wished a spot to speak about Philadelphia sports activities.”
Together with his mother holding poster boards and counting down “3-2-1…motion,” “ZachOnSports” was born. It began as recaps of sporting occasions and opinions on video games however transitioned to an interview present as Gershman honed his craft. Right this moment, it’s a full-fledged collection with huge identify interviews and swag — together with shirts, banners and COVID-19 masks.
“I’m excited to see the present develop,” he stated. “I take a variety of satisfaction within the present. It’s develop into my child.”