He winks a lot, smiles like the Kool-Aid Man and is an encyclopedia of baseball facts (especially tidbits about the Detroit Tigers).
Yet, Olivet College freshman Matt Scher is still in the WOCR office an hour before his 8 p.m. show, anxious to talk to his listeners tuning in from Florida, Michigan, Kansas and Ohio.
His print notes, barely legible, are being scanned over and over. Scher, a journalism and mass communications major (JMC), is not blinking. He is consumed by his show before it even hits the airwaves. Tonight’s topic is college basketball and the National Basketball Association, and Scher is almost done looking at his notes.
“I like to get down there an hour before to get the web pages I use to talk about certain sports topics open on my computer,” he said. “I also go over a plan of how I will conduct the show. This ranges from the structure to the material that is presented during the broadcast. I like to be prepared, and it’s better to be over prepared than under prepared.”
A New Hudson native, Scher has taken initiatives in Olivet’s broadcast program, with his radio show airing on Tuesdays from 8 to 10 p.m.
Scher has covered football, basketball and baseball for WOCR. He is also a pitcher in the baseball program.
“It was a ‘College Night’ at Schoolcraft,” Scher said. “And I credit this as the reason why I went to Olivet: I stopped at Adrian first, and they were talking about how they have TV broadcasts and everything. Then, I walked down the row of tables and saw Olivet. They told me about the small classes and the seminars where they would help me. I got in contact with baseball coach Ted Mahan, but I thought the broadcast program would be a golden opportunity.”
Starting off early, Scher has job-shadowed with big-named members of the media like Detroit Redwings’ hockey broadcaster and WXYT AM 1270’s Ken Kal, as well as Flint Firebirds Play-By-Play Announcer Dominic Hennig.
“I just did it for a day, but I got to see what they do for game day on a daily basis,” Scher said. “Also, I was able to meet Jeff Riger of 97.1 The Ticket CBS Radio Detroit. I was able to make connections and have them offer to critique my broadcast tapes. The experience really will help in the long run.”
Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication Joanne Williams takes notice to Scher’s unique broadcast abilities; this ability to imitate Ernie Harwell’s, Vin Scully’s and Kal’s broadcast voices.
“Matt is one of the most focused, genial, and detailed students I have ever known,” Williams said. “Two great things about him. He has an eidetic memory – which is awesome and leads to his academic success, and his passion for sports and sports broadcasting is non-stop. He has a wonderful vocal talent already, just in his freshman year. I know he will live his dreams. And, I would not challenge him in sports trivia.”
What makes a sports broadcaster great? Is it the way he or she pauses at the right moment, making time stand still until the pitch reaches the catcher’s glove? Or, is it the inflections of said broadcaster’s voice, the long O sound made as a batter’s name is introduced?
According to Scher, the answer lies ultimately in his love for the art form of broadcasting. He admits bumps in the road, where covering his first football game earlier this year failed to meet his high standards. However, it is the adjustments and Scher’s willingness to learn from other Olivet JMC majors which has allowed him to thrive since.
“With broadcasting, it is something I have always wanted to do,” he said. “That is why I chose Olivet. I was seven-years-old, and instead of singing in the shower I was ‘Leading off for the Tigers in centerfield, No. 28, Curtis Granderson.’ That’s why I want to do broadcasting.”