Here We Are, Tasmanian Tigers and All: One Broadcaster’s Journey (Blog #2)

BY TYLER BRADFIELD | Graduate Assistant of Ball State Sports Link

I promise, we’ll get around to explaining the Tasmanian Tigers title. There’s a story behind it.  If you missed Blog #1, here it is.

Spring 2009, I caught my first break at my high school radio station all because of a three-ring binder… Yes, a three-ring binder.  But first, let’s back up.

Advice from My Father

15327306_10211680889401246_514378939018233346_nMy father taught me two things growing up (well… he taught me more than two things, but these two have always stuck with me).

One, everything happens for a distinct reason even if at the time it makes no logical sense at all.

Two, always be respectful and nice to everyone, especially people in authority.

Life has a weird way of intertwining lives and paths. You can’t predict who you’ll cross paths with down the line. A simple interaction in a high school finance class may determine your entire character for a very influential person years later (…a lot more to come on that story somewhere down the line. Remember me saying my father is all about me upholding a positive public image? Yeah, that played out pretty big one time.)

Both of these lessons unfolded at several different junctures in my life.

In 2006, my father had a job offer that would have moved us to Iowa City, Iowa. He was all in and ready to sign his name. More money was on the table, he would be moving back to his home state of Iowa. There is better wildlife and recreation there for him to enjoy.

None of that appealed to me. I feared abandoning my friends and this small town of Pendleton. It was all I knew and loved.

Right after school ended in 2006, we drove out to Iowa City to house hunt. We had a house picked out and everything. We were all set. Dad just had to turn in his resignation letter and sign his new contract.

After a big discussion between my parents, my Dad — out of left field — said there was something holding him back. No explanation as to why he felt that way. Just his instinct told him we should stay. So he turned down the offer.

Two years later when enrolling for high school classes, I needed to fill one more spot on my schedule. It came down to an engineering elective or a beginning broadcasting class. My father recommend I take the “beginning broadcasting class.”

WHAT? Keep in mind, I had no desire to pursue a career in sports broadcasting. The concept was a foreign thought at this point in my life. Besides, as I explained in the first blog, I had full intentions of following in my father’s footsteps and becoming an engineer.

My Dad knew of my interest in pursing engineering and he recommended a broadcasting class over the engineering class? Explain that one to me. It made zero sense at the time.

That recommendation was just as mind boggling as him turning down the Iowa City offer. Long story short, we stayed in Indiana and I signed up for the broadcasting class.

Had we moved to Iowa City or had I took the engineering class (both logical choices), I probably would have never picked up a microphone or called a single game in my life. I would have never attended Ball State, never won an Emmy at 22, never been named a Jim Nantz All-American.

I would have never pissed off Chris Berman at Super Bowl Media Day as a high school senior. I would have never lost 50 lbs in three months to improve my on-camera appearance. I more than likely would have never been three hours late on my second day of my internship at RadioNOW, with the morning show hosts calling me live on the air to wake me up. (Strange way to wake up, at least I provided them with two hours of content by being late that day.)

And I most definitely would have never rode around Ferguson, Missouri in a tow truck with a man recently released from federal prison for trafficking cocaine chasing a potential feature story. (Yes, we’ll get to that trust me).

But most importantly, I would have never met a single person in these blogs. My life right now would look totally different. Maybe that is what was his gut instinct was back in 2006? Who knows?

Remember, everything happens for a reason according to Mike Bradfield.

The Worst On-Air Debut in the History of On-Air Debuts

My parents were back home listening to the game on our home radio and recording it on a cassette tape.

So let’s jump ahead to Dec. 2, 2008. I told you I had the worst on-air debut in the history of on-air debuts. Well here it is.

I’m a shy, 14-year-old, high school freshman riding in the passenger seat of my radio teacher’s Jeep Grand Cherokee on the way to Westfield High School. With me being extremely shy, you can imagine how that car ride and conversation went. Not to mention, we were on our way to broadcast the Pendleton game that night, my first ever broadcast on the air.

Again, “How in the hell did I get here?

The broadcast was going to air on WEEM, the same station I grew up listening to the Coach Buck postgame interviews (see first blog if you’re confused). So, needless to say, I was nervous, and not super focused on the car ride conversation between my radio teacher and I.

My radio teacher at the time was a man in his late 20s. Not a very tall man, but I always described him as confident. He graduated from Pendleton in the late 90s and went to Indiana State to study broadcasting. His name was Chad Smith, or as I referred to him “Mr. Smith.”

At the time, I barely knew Mr. Smith.  Six years later I was refusing drinks offers while DJ-ing his wedding reception (Yeah, we’ll get to that too).

He briefed me on the car ride to Westfield how the format of the broadcast would work. He would handle the play-by-play, and I was going to serve as the color analyst. All in all, I wasn’t going to have to talk as much as him which, made me feel slightly less nervous about this whole situation.

Pendleton started three freshmen classmates of mine that year and a fourth freshman came off the bench as the sixth man.

Mr. Smith informed me, he was going to start the pre-game show by asking about the large portion of playing time these four classmates were seeing as freshmen.

Perfect, I got this!

I’ve grown up playing basketball with — and against — these guys for years. Surely, I can formulate a decent and somewhat coherent thought about their playing time. For the remainder of the trip, I practiced what I was going to say in my head amidst the lulls of conversation.

We arrived in Westfield and set up for the broadcast. The teams came out for warm ups, the station’s intro music started to play in our headsets and away we went.

“You’re live,” said the board-operator. Mr. Smith starts the broadcast with his commanding, confident, authoritative voice.

“Live from Westfield High School this is Arabian Basketball on the Voice of the Arabians.”

Wow, this is pretty cool. We are actually on the air. This is actually happening. All those Sunday afternoons sitting in front of the TV calling Colts games to Mam and Pap on the landline telephone, and now here we are doing the real thing over the radio. I didn’t belong here.

But, I couldn’t get caught up in that right now, we were now live and at any moment Mr. Smith could ask me the playing time question. So I had to focus and be ready.

Mr. Smith continued his opening spiel and then introduced me.

“Making his on-air debut and calling his first game, Tyler Bradfield.”

He could have called me Tyler Bradford in that moment, it wouldn’t have mattered to me. I was too nervous to care.

“So Tyler, you’re a classmate of these freshmen, are you shocked at all by their large amount of playing time?”

Moment of truth. Here we go. With this big, goofy looking, black headset that I’m sure looked so awkward on my head, I start to open my mouth and push out my first words on a sports broadcast.

“No, I’m not shocked. They’ve been playing basketball at a high level all their lives, and to see them play, and start at the varsity level as freshmen is really no surprise. It’s actually pretty cool to see their hard work pay off with this early success. Plus they have contributed well through the first few games.”

Mr. Smith picked it right back up and continued to talk. Phew… I made it… Good start. We are on our feet. I’m thinking to myself, “yes, I did it! I didn’t sound like too big of an idiot.” I’m replaying my words and every pause and inflection in those four sentences back through my head. Only a few stumbles, but I think it came out coherently.

With positive thoughts churning I somewhat started to internally bask at the job I had done. My parents were back home listening to the game on our home radio and recording it on a cassette tape. I’m thinking how proud they had to be listening to their son on the radio. (Yes, its 2008 and they are still recording things on cassette tapes. I told you in the first blog, we didn’t get cable TV until middle school either.)

While this is all rolling through my head, Mr. Smith is still over there talking. I’m not listening to a damn word he’s saying at all because I was too busy reviewing my performance like an art museum goer lavishing over a painting. Meanwhile, like a knife cutting through thin air, something grabs my attention, I refocus back in to hear Mr. Smith complete a thought.


I whipped my head his direction. He had paused, swiveled his head and glanced out of the corner of his eye toward to me. He wasn’t talking, and neither was I.

He was now looking straight at me waiting for me to start talking and answer his question. However, I’m clueless because I don’t know what his question even was. I wasn’t listening to a word he said, and don’t have a clue as to where to even begin. I was caught dead in my track.  About five years of awkward dead air goes over the airwaves as I stare at him.


I realized that I spent all that time thinking about what I had said, and not listening to a thing he had said, and now here we sit… frozen… with dead air.

So I open my mouth to break the silence and the only thing that comes out was a long drawn out, “Yeaaaaahhhhh…” It borderline sounded like a confused yawn.

“SERIOUSLY TYLER?” I think to myself. What an idiot.

Mr. Smith just smiled and laughed. He picked it back up, and sent it to break. I apologized to him during the break. Talk about awkward.

It wasn’t until I went home and played it back on the cassette tape that I realized Mr. Smith had asked how the inexperienced freshmen were relying upon the leadership of upperclassmen Nathan Hendershot and Michael Maxwell?

Yeaaaaaaahhhh… Talk about the worst on-air debut in the history of on-air debuts.  And that’s how all this got started.

I learned right out the gate, listening is imperative. Listen to what the other person is saying; rather than reflecting on what you had said or formulating thoughts for what you’re about to say.

I quickly figured out you have to be able to think on your feet in this business. It is just part of it. But, ultimately, it’s just a conversation. Sometimes I still have to remind myself of that to this day.

Beginning Broadcasting and “WNKR in the Morning”

Mr. Petrey, his son (Jon), and I in 2015...
Mr. Petrey, his son (Jon), and I in 2015…

I passed beginning broadcasting a few months prior to my on-air debut at Westfield. Back then the high school was set up on trimesters. I had beginning broadcasting class during 7th period, the last class of the day, first trimester of freshman year. The class met in the windowless classroom on the first floor of the high school next to the radio station. Our other radio teacher, Mr. Petrey taught the class.

The radio station at the time consisted of two teachers. Jered Petrey served as the station’s General Manager and taught the beginning broadcasting class. Mr. Smith was the Assistant General Manager and oversaw all of the station’s underwriting and sports broadcasts (sorry guys if I over simplified those job titles).

Both were in their late twenties to early thirties during my time at WEEM. Back then, I viewed them as teachers, now I view them more as older brothers to share a phone call or a beer with when I’m back in town or needing advice.

However, no matter how many beers we drink or how many phone calls we make, it is still awkward for me to call either of them by their first name. I think it will always be that way. Both Mr. Petrey and Mr. Smith have since moved on since I left WEEM in 2012.

My beginning broadcasting class was the first class Mr. Petrey ever taught. He had worked at the radio station for a couple years, but never taught in the classroom. I still to this day, don’t know how he stuck with it after our class. Talk about a rough start.

During the first week of class, a disinterested girl in the back row raised her hand and asked to leave.

A concerned Mr. Petrey asked, “Why?” She bluntly fired back, “because I’m bored.”

Talk about bold. I guess that’s one way to just come right out and say how you really feel.

“Yeah, feel free to go to the office.”

I guess that sounded more appealing to her than learning about the history of radio. Without hesitation she stood up and left.

For our final projects we had to create a radio station and present it to the class. A witty childhood friend of mine, Sam, named his radio station WNKR (which of course was pronounced ‘Wank-er”).

Sam went on to explain to the class during his final presentation in a very serious tone the station’s premier DJ shows would be called “Wanker in the morning, Wanker in the afternoon, and of course Wanker at night.”

Imagine how difficult it was as an immature 14-year-old to not laugh during that presentation. Talk about impossible. Thanks, Sam.

My best friend, Rick was also in my beginning broadcasting class. That and a one-day hunter’s safety course were the only classes we ever took together in high school.

I only signed up for the hunter’s safety course to make my Dad happy that I was perhaps taking some interest in the outdoors. Rick and I both passed with several laughs along the way.

I was always a slightly better student than Rick. I feared the consequences of my Dad finding out I received a bad grade on a report card too much to be a bad student. Rick, on the other hand, once accepted a detention in order to leave class early to be the first in the lunch line on chicken bowl day. (Those of you who went to Pendleton or know Rick understand, I’m sure.)

The top three students from beginning broadcasting at the end of the trimester were afforded the chance to read the news live over the air during 7th hour. The top three students ended up being a kid named Beau Przytulski (remember him, a ton more to come on Beau throughout the series), a girl whose name escapes me and myself.

So the day came for me to read the news live on the air. I ventured into the station where I met a senior named Nick Isabell. Nick was the top DJ at the station and the station’s program director. Talk about talented. I knew of Nick, but Nick had zero clues as to who I was.

I’m sure I asked him a thousand questions leading up to the newscast. The top of the hour hit, my mic went on and the newscast went over the air. For a first timer it sounded fine, I thought (at least better than the Westfield game.)

I thanked Nick for all the help afterwards. He told me good job.

Nick would graduate that year and I lost touch with him for several years. Remember how I said, you never know when your paths will cross?

Well, eight years later, I’m courtside at Charlotte about to broadcast my first game as the newest play-by-play announcer for the Ball State Radio Network (I was so nervous, I even left my belt at the team hotel). I connected to the network’s flagship station, the producer and board operator on the other end picked up the phone.

It was Nick. Holy cow! Talk about ironic.

At first I didn’t recognize him, but then he politely said over talkback, “Tyler, you may not know this, but we both are WEEM and Pendleton grads.”

*Insert huge euphoric moment for Tyler*

“OH MY GOSH, YES! How are you doing man?”

Nick still occasionally board ops Ball State games and we share some WEEM stories.

On the final day of class, Mr. Petrey asked if anyone had any interest broadcasting basketball games for WEEM that year. A few students raised their hands. I did not. I was too shy. Petrey jotted down the names and said there would be a call out meeting this coming week; just stay tuned to the school announcements if interested.

I talked it over with Rick. “Think we should do this? Think we should attend that call out meeting?”

We discussed and decided “Why the hell not? It can’t be that hard, most of the student sports announcers aren’t that good anyway and we probably already know the team better than them. It can’t be that hard, right?”

WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! (I found out quickly at Westfield just how hard the job was)

So Rick and I signed up.

Who the hell does this kid think he is?

At this time as a high school freshman, my childhood dream of someday playing varsity basketball for Pendleton like Rick’s older brother, Nick was still alive. I was playing freshman basketball and hopeful I might see some playing time on the junior varsity team. But I knew if I stuck with radio, eventually I would have to make a decision. Radio or basketball?

Freshman basketball photo from 2008… #34 wasn’t my first pick, just happened…

The only problem with basketball was those four freshmen above me already playing varsity. The chances of me seeing significant playing time on the varsity team at any point during high school were slim. But I stayed with it for the time being as a freshman.

Our class had always been extremely athletic. As eighth graders we were the first basketball team to finish a season undefeated in school history. We destroyed everyone.

Eighth grade county championship game, the final game of the year. Talk about embarrassing.

We had a 50-point lead over Lapel late in the championship. We had been through the rotation several different times. Final seconds were ticking off as I had the ball at mid-court. We were about to complete the undefeated season and cut down the nets as county champs.

Now, basketball etiquette here says just dribble this one out and hand it to the official. Out of excitement, I threw the ball in the air — somewhat toward the basket — and started running to the bench to celebrate jumping up and down.

I still to this day swear that it was unintentional, however, I’m not sure I will ever be able to recall my exact thought process as to why I threw the ball. So maybe it was intended to be a half court shot? Who knows?

Long story short, the horn sounds as the ball is on its downward end of the trajectory… swish!

I just hit a half-court shot at the buzzer in a 50-point blowout.  Whoops! Luckily, coach couldn’t make me run the next day at practice because this was the final game and the season was over.

Leading into freshman year, Rick and I went to open gym everyday over the summer. The upperclassmen ran pickup games on one end of the gymnasium, while the underclassmen and incoming freshmen played on the other.

One of those summer days a scrawny, barely 6-foot tall, to-be freshman came in for the first time. He had just moved into our school district and was attending open gym for the very first time.

He played down at the underclassmen end. The same end where Rick and I played. Selected to opposite teams that day, that new kid and I guarded each other.

Here’s that once scrawny freshman …

I remember the junior varsity coach, Kevin Bates (who is now the head coach at Pendleton) blowing his whistle during the scrimmage. He looked at the new kid and asked, “Can you take him off the dribble?”

Without saying a word, the new kid shook his head yes. Coach fired back, “THEN DO IT!”

Who the hell does this new kid think he is? It’s his first day and he is saying he can take ME off the dribble? Take a seat and learn your place, newbie.

Well turns out he could indeed take me off the dribble. In fact, he could take a lot of people off the dribble. That newbie’s name was Kellen Dunham.

Kellen ended up being the best player in school history setting the school’s scoring record. He went on to play at Butler, where he finished as the third-leading scorer in Butler basketball history and named a First Team All-Big East player.

But all those future scoring records were news to me on this summer morning of open gym in 2008 as I guarded this slow, gangly, new kid during his first day at open gym. I guess you can never underestimate the potential of your competition.

Years later, while on a morning run through my college campus, I would pass that once scrawny freshman on crutches.

He had suffered an injury during a workout with the Indiana Pacers while preparing for the NBA. We stopped to talk and catch up. Shockingly in good spirits, Kellen was up visiting his girlfriend. He had gone out for a hobble on his crutches in search of some Pokémon on his “Pokémon Go App” while his girlfriend was in class.

Yep, apparently Kellen Dunham plays Pokémon. I’m not shocked honestly…

Not Good Enough: 2009 Softball Sectional

Mr. Smith would have to pull me out of several freshmen basketball practices that year in order to go broadcast the varsity basketball game that night.

The station was a little short on announcers, so most of the games I did that year were with Mr. Smith. Plus, I think Mr. Smith enjoyed doing a couple games here and there.

I also did a girls county tournament game that year against Elwood. The lead student let me slide over from being the color analyst to play-by-play for the fourth quarter. The only reason he let me do that was because the final score ended up being 64-4. Try making that one sound entertaining?

Mr. Smith and I broadcasting in 2009. I told you he used to pull me out of practice, that explains the basketball shorts…

When baseball and softball season rolled around that spring, WEEM’s lead student broadcaster and Sports Director was also the starting catcher on the baseball team. So the station was even more shorthanded on broadcasters.

I knew very little about baseball compared to basketball. I had resented the sport for so many years after that horrible experience playing all-stars.

I was enjoying this whole broadcasting thing, and figured I could give baseball announcing a try. So I split some innings with a few upperclassmen.

I knew nothing about baseball (Mr. Smith taught me an hour before my first baseball broadcast how to score a baseball game, if that tells you anything). But why not give it a try? I knew I wanted to do more basketball games, so maybe this would be good practice?

I printed off some baseball terms, lingo and rules. I attempted to organize them in a three-ring binder, which I still have to do this day.

I took that binder to the game and read over the terms in the press box before each broadcast. The concept of prep and charts had yet to be introduced to me. None of the other student broadcasters brought anything with them. They just showed up and did the game.

Mr. Smith took note of my binder though. He finally pulled me aside before one of the broadcasts and asked what the binder was all about. A little stunned and a bit concerned that I had done something wrong, I opened it and showed him.

“Cool,” he said after flipping through several of the pages, not stopping on any one page longer than a handful of seconds.

That binder would end up landing me, perhaps, my first significant shot at the radio station (more in just a bit).

Softball sectionals, freshman year…

Beau and I were placed on the broadcast that day (Beau being the same kid from my beginning broadcasting class). I knew Beau well, he had always been in my group of friends, yet we rarely got together outside of school. Known for being one of the smartest kids in school since he skipped a grade in elementary, Beau was brilliant.

I still view him in the same light to this day regardless of any stories about talking me into modeling for a group of 50-year-old women on Broadway during our friend Brady’s bachelor party in Nashville. Trust me, we’ll reluctantly get there as well. I promise. I did make a few bucks to spend at the hot dog stand though. High risk, high reward, I guess. But again we are far from that point.

That is Brady on his wedding day. Beau and I are on the right. Don’t ask about the pose, we don’t even know. Seemed appropriate?

Beau and I, both young freshmen had the call for a softball sectional game. This was my first big assignment. Postseason game, win or go home.

While we were setting up the equipment, I could hear in the back of this large high school press box, Mr. Smith having a conversation with another adult who had been around the athletics program for many years. I cannot for the life of me recall who that person was, and wish I could, because I would love to thank them for what he said that day to Mr. Smith.

Still to this day, eavesdropping in on that conversation may have been one of the most beneficial things I have done.

“Who are these two on the call today, Chad?” I heard under the man’s breath.

I continued to attach the headsets and equipment acting as if I couldn’t hear their conversation. Mr. Smith answered his question softly.

“The one on the left is Tyler, and the one on the right is Beau. They are both freshmen.”

The man, quite shocked, responded back in a bit of a confused, yet half-joking tone.

“You’re telling me you put two freshmen on a sectional game? What kind of an operation are you running here Chad? Can we not get two better announcers for this big game?”

Those seven words hung with me …“Can we not get two better announcers?

I was so dejected. I felt once again, like I didn’t belong. I was too young. I’m not adequate. I’m not good enough for this game. I’m not good enough to broadcast. I should just walk away, and honestly had Mr. Smith not responded the way he did seconds later, I may have walked away. I’m the type of person who fears letting everyone down, and constantly searches for the approval of others.

Mr. Smith responded, “Hey, give them a chance. I think we have two really talented kids here. I wanted to see how they handled this game together. I think they have the chance to be pretty good.”

He stood up for us.

I doubt Mr. Smith remembers that interaction, but I often revisit it for two different reasons.

In my opinion, motivation comes from two sources — internal and external. Within every successful person there is some degree of internal motivation. You simply can’t be successful without it.

Then there are viable outside sources that provide motivation. Sometimes the doubters and naysayers slide into this category, such as the man in the softball press box that day.

Occasionally — still to this day — I’ll recall that conversation.

Noah Reed and myself taping a run through of the ESPN3 open during our first college basketball game. (Yes, that is the same Noah Reed who I saved his life from the Delaware River, hang tight for that one.)

Nine years later, I’m standing on a college basketball court during warm ups with TV cameras and lights pointed in my direction. In my hand was a microphone with an ESPN microphone flag snug around the base of it. I was about to do my first college basketball game on ESPN3. I hear our producer in my ear piece say: “Talent, stand by.” 

I looked to the monitor and the ESPN college basketball intro started to play. Talk about chills for someone who had dreamed of this very moment for years.

As the intro played, I closed my eyes and said a quick prayer of thanks, something I started doing in high school during the opens of broadcasts. When I opened my eyes I gave a quick fist bump to my analyst, Noah Reed. As I looked into the camera to start the telecast for a brief second that conversation played back in my head.

Can we not get two better announcers?

I doubt that man from the softball press box was watching that game, remembers who I am or would even recognize me. But as the producer said, “you’re live” in my ear piece I quickly thought I wonder what he would think now?

I would love the opportunity to thank that man, wherever he is, for providing that external motivation. It has driven me for years.

The second thing I extracted from that interaction was Mr. Smith had full belief in my abilities. He very easily could have gone along with the insult and slammed both Beau and I.

He could have said with a demoralizing chuckle, “yeah, we’ll see how this goes, it may be a little rough just be glad you’re here and don’t have to listen to it at home.”

Nope. Not Mr. Smith. He backed his two freshmen broadcasters, and said he thought we had a shot to be pretty good at this.

Mr. Smith believed in my abilities.

Sometimes, even to this day, I think he believes in my abilities more than I do myself. That’s just how Mr. Smith is.

I’ve found if you can find someone who believes in your abilities just as much as you believe in your own, that’s special. That’s when real growth takes place.

I’ve been very fortunate to find several “Mr. Smith’s” on my journey. My parents, Chris Taylor, Chris Ulm and several others have had a similar belief in my abilities. I credit many of my successes to them. Without their belief and guidance to foster opportunities to highlight those abilities, none of this happens.

I’m always trying to answer the question, how in the hell did I get here? Well, it starts with them. If I can offer any advice at all, find that “Mr. Smith” who believes in your potential.

14-Year-Old Sports Director?

At the end of my freshman year, the Sports Director and lead student broadcaster at WEEM was graduating and the position was open.

At this point, freshman year of high school was drawing to a close. The Sports Director and lead student broadcaster at WEEM was graduating and the position was open.

I didn’t apply. Why?

I thought I was too young and unqualified for the job, so therefore why apply?

The bell had just rung on 7th hour and school was released with just a few weeks to go in the academic calendar. As I walked down the hallway toward my locker, Mr. Smith pulled me aside. It was a day before the applications were due.

He stated and asked, “Tyler I noticed you didn’t apply for Sports Director, any reason why?”

“No, I just thought I wouldn’t have a shot since I’m only a freshman.”

“Well, at least apply. If you don’t apply, you’ll never even have a shot. Let the person evaluating the applications determine if you’re qualified or not. The applications are due tomorrow. Why don’t you fill one out tonight and bring it back tomorrow, and just see how the interview goes?”

Always after his approval, I said, “Okay, I will.”

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received… “If you don’t apply, you’ll never even have a shot. Let the person evaluating the applications determine if you’re qualified or not.”

I applied, interviewed with Mr. Petrey and Mr. Smith, and got the position.

Elated and somewhat confused when I found out, I asked, “Why did you choose me? I’m not even the best broadcaster. Why didn’t you choose one of the upperclassmen, you know seniority?”

Mr. Smith said it had a lot to do with my three-ring binder I had brought to the baseball games.

I was the first student to come to a broadcast having put in some work outside other than just showing up. If I was willing to work on my own, he felt as though he could help make me better.

So, here I am, 14-year-old Tyler Bradfield, and now the Sports Director and lead student play-by-play broadcaster of our high school radio station.

My first big break, all because of a three-ring binder.

How in the hell did I get here?

Let’s not fail to address the group of jealous, and somewhat angered upperclassmen, now taking a back seat to me. I had worked all year for their approval, and now I had leaped frog them all because I showed up to a baseball game with a three-ring binder. What had I done? They were pissed at me now, and I just wanted to be accepted by them.

Well, at least I had the summer to process everything.

But with some of those upperclassmen now turning against me, I got a little big headed. The once shy, 14-year-old freshman now had some confidence to his step. Not only had I passed up these upperclassmen behind the mic and within the radio station, I would also take one of their girlfriends the following year…

I think that’s a great place to start next time.

Hello sophomore year, WEEM Sports Director, and the infamous homecoming dance…

Tyler Bradfield is a play-by-play broadcaster on ESPN3, the Ball State Radio Network, and an Emmy Award Winner.  As the graduate assistant of Ball State Sports Link, Tyler will be contributing his “Boradcaster’s Journey” blog special to Chirp City in 2017.  Follow @Bradfield323  and @bsusportslink on Twitter.


1 thought on “Here We Are, Tasmanian Tigers and All: One Broadcaster’s Journey (Blog #2)

  1. Great cliff hanger! Very enjoyable read. Cannot wait for the next blog.

    I am very thankful and extremely grateful for Chad Smith and the impact he has had on Tyler’s life. I always knew he was a great guy. But the significant role he has played in my son’s life is quite mind blowing to me. I am beyond words as just saying Thank You pales in comparison and comes off to me as being very minute as to how I feel. Chad you are a very talented administrator. PHHS is lucky to have you guiding and directing the young kids in our school corporation.

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