There are many jobs that include the word 'Producer' - studio, line, field, coordinating, and executive to name a few. For this exercise we'll stick with studio producers and field producers.
The studio producer is the creator and designer of a sportscast. Each sportscast has a certain allotment of time, it is the producers task to fill that time with compelling content. For a sports network like Fox Sports or ESPN, that time frame is usually 30 or 60 minutes. A local television sportscast ranges from 2-5 minutes.
Producers structure their sportscast into a 'rundown', which is an organized list of all the topics to be covered, the way they will look on air and the order they will appear in. Being a studio producer is not as easy as starting with the most important story and finishing with the least important story.
The art of being a producer is the ability to establish a smooth and interesting flow to a sportscast. Deciding how to group stories, how much time to allocate each and what to hold back so that the middle and the end of the sportscast are just as compelling as the beginning.
It truly is an art form.
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The tasks of a field producer are constantly changing, and rarely ever near a desk. It is the field producers that go to NFL practices with reporters, interview soccer stars and travel to the NBA All-Star festivities. That is why it is an attractive and competitive position.
Being a field producer is also a very creative position - able to go in depth and craft a story that is memorable. Field producers may work weeks or even months on an investigative report.
Technical expertise is important. The best field producers can help carry the technical load so the cameraman doesn't have to do all the set up work. Knowing how to mic someone up and help set up lights goes a long way. Athletes aren't always patient, field producers have to help get things set up so your subject isn't waiting too long.
One trick of television production is that many interviews that are conducted for feature stories don't even have the sports reporter present. The sports reporter will voice the audio tracks back at the studio and will give the story a 'face', but the soundbites used in the feature are often gathered by a field producer with a cameraman - you just never see them on camera.
The reason this is important is because a field producer has to be extremely knowledgeable and confident in asking questions. A field producer won't get the responses they hope for if they are timid or unsure.
You like to be in control, have a ridiculously strong memory for random sports facts and enjoy telling others what to do. Don't forget, there's NFL Football on Thanksgiving, NBA games on Christmas and Baseball on the 4th of July. You will work nights, weekends and holidays.
But you have a Sports Media Job come on!
You seek the thrill of 'being there'. Being in the locker room, being on the field of play, being at that moment... it gets you excited.