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Kathryn Tappen mailbag: FAQs

Posted by She's Game Sports  August 30, 2012 10:18 AM
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When I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a sportscaster. I was an athlete and loved to speak in front of large crowds, so I figured it would be my best option for a career.

I lucked out and am thrilled to be living my dream job.

It didn't happen overnight, and I needed a lot of advice, encouragement, coffee, and support along the way. I also needed a little help from those in the business willing to shed some light on this crazy career path I wanted to pursue.

Having entered the industry as an on-air broadcaster the year I graduated Rutgers University in 2003, I'd say I've learned a whole lot, and also have answered a ton of questions from aspiring sportscasters and fans along the way. And so, I thought it would be fun to share some of the frequently asked questions I get on a regular basis about my job - and maybe the future KT is reading and taking notes.

Q: How did you first get into the business?

A: After sending my hodge-podge college resume reel out to every market #110 and above job opening I saw on, I finally took advantage of an on-air walk on tryout at CSTV (College Sports Television) in NYC the summer after college graduation. I won the two-day competition in front of celebrity sportscaster judges (I was terrible, but they must have liked something?). I know there's an audition tape somewhere that will be used to blackmail me one day. I'm fully prepared to defend myself. And so my career began at CSTV. I worked alongside Michelle Beadle when the network would allow me, and somehow was asked to come back after the first show.

Q: Do you ever get nervous?

A: Did you ever have that dream when you're a kid, and you get to your first day of school and realize you forgot your backpack, school supplies, lunch, and gym clothes at home? I have the dream every so often where I run on the set on live TV and realize I forget my earpiece, my hair isn't done, and I have no makeup on. That's the only time I get nervous.

Q: How do you know so much about the sports you talk about, in particular hockey?

A: What you see is the product of intense studying, research, and information digging. I'm constantly reading, inundating myself with information and facts, and having conversations with people involved. Oh yeah, I also work alongside the greatest analysts in the game who make me look good every single night.

Q: Do you read from a teleprompter?

A: "I'm Ron Burgundy?" I haven't read a teleprompter in over five years. When I was reading from one, I was writing my own material.

Q: Do you get a clothing allowance?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you pick out your own clothes?

A: Sort of. I have a great stylist I work with in NYC. Thankfully, someone else does the thinking when it comes to my clothes. If it were up to me, I'd be in Lululemon every night on TV.

Q: How do you know what to ask the players who join you live on NHL Tonight?

A: I don't! The players come to the Cisco Arena Cam immediately after the final horn sounds on the ice, and they are looking up at a small camera they can barely see in the Jumbotron of their arena. They put the headsets on and we say "Hello!" live on the show. They're lucky if they know it's me, and at the same time, I'm lucky if I can see what player we just grabbed on the screen in front of me! It's a fun interview, and happens very quickly. You have to be prepared for anything. My rule of thumb is to just talk to the player as if they're a friend who just played a game. I ask a few questions about the game itself, their personal play, and we banter for about two minutes. The end result can be anything from a solid interview to a technical nightmare. But hey, our fans love it and we're happy to bring you live player interviews from every single game first on the NHL Network.

Q: What is it like covering a championship victory in the winning team's locker room?

A: Having been the lucky charm (wink wink) to all the Boston sports teams over the past six years, the most important lesson I learned was to always carry a baseball cap in the event of a champagne shower in the locker room. By the third championship, I also learned to wear waterproof mascara and to bring a raincoat. Champagne burns your eyes!

Q: What would be your best advice for students interested in pursuing a career in broadcast journalism?

A: I chose this career path a long time ago, busted my butt, and eventually got to where I wanted to be. My best advice that I tell everyone is: Stick to your dreams. Life is a lot more fun if you're doing something you love for your career. Work hard, don't take shortcuts, and read, read, read! There's no greater power than knowledge. Nothing will happen overnight, but if you're patient, you'll get there.

Oh, and drop me a line from time to time. It's always fun to hear how others accomplish their dreams, even if it means having someone else dress you.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
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