Rob Stone is one of the truly great people in soccer. A consummate professional on the air, and a super cool cat in person. We have known Rob for quite while and have been supporters of what he does and the career that he has made for himself. In fact, he was one of the very people I ever interviewed for any story on soccer. He was as accommodating then as he is years later now that we are friends.
In this installment of “Lessons I’ve Learned”, Rob shares some nuggets of information that he has learned over the years in the course of his broadcasting career. For any budding sports broadcaster, now would be a good time to pay attention.
What is one piece of advice that you were told when starting out in broadcasting that has helped guide you in your career?
I started out behind the scenes but got to work on a nighlty basis with some of the all time great Sportscenter anchors. By watching them work, handle themselves, attend to details, I pulled a great deal of insight away on how to do things properly in this business. As I transtioned to my on camera work, I made it a priority to record everything I did, and imeediately go back and watch it alone-sort of a self scouting session. I took away alot of good moments, and pitched plenty of cringe worthy efforts as well.
What is one moment on a live broadcast that went badly that sticks out in your mind and how did you adjust to it?
In local TV bad things happen regularly to on air folks. We had one director in Albany, GA, Wes, who when under stress, would dip the entire show to black..not a good thing, particularly when you are in the middle of a sportscast that you are nailing. I learned that there is nobody you trust more than yourself (hopefully), and teamwork is wonderful, but sometimes, you need to be fully and personally responsible for your success and failures.
Any lessons you have learned about getting players to open up in an interview?
Don’t come off as an antagonistic presence. Warm them up, put them at ease, and smile.
Any routines you go through before a live broadcast?
On crazy early mornings I actually have to ‘warm up’ my voice with some exercises…normally its lots of water and a hint of caffeine to keep you up. I pay attention to what the guys say in rehersal, as sometimes they deviate from the ‘script’ and would prefer another route..also it gives me ammo for later in the show if we have to improvize.