His love for sports has guided sophomore journalism major Sam Murray into working for The University of Rhode Island’s own FM radio station, WRIU, in an effort to reach his career goal.
Murray’s love for sports started at a very young age and continued throughout his life, playing sports until he came to URI. However, it wasn’t until people in his high school started to ask what he wanted to do with his life when he realized his passion for sports could be the focal point of his career.
“The only thing I was thinking is- I want to do something with sports,” Murray said. When looking at colleges, not many offered the journalism program that he wanted and they did not provide the experience he would get from being involved at WRIU. At the station, he started calling games during the spring semester of his freshman year, which Murray said gave him a new appreciation for the game. He also had his own sports talk show on WRIU’s online sister station, RIU2, and stepped up to call more games whenever he could. He progressed his way up and was recommended for RIU2 Sports Program Director.
“They trusted me and I’m glad they did cause I think I did a pretty good job at expanding the role of this position,” Murray said.
As RIU2’s sports program director, he is in charge of scheduling 16 students to broadcast for all sports games that are not broadcasted on FM. These sports include soccer, hockey, women’s basketball and softball. He explained that essentially his job is getting people ready for sports broadcasting “down the line” by teaching them things like techniques, what to say, and what not to say. RIU2 games are broadcast on www.RIU2.org rather than the FM airwaves.
“I pretty much give them the whole experience before they go into the real world,” Murray said. “The great part about what I do is that I introduce these people to radio.” He explained that there is not a lot of hands-on work for radio broadcasting at URI, and that being involved with the WRIU sports program is really the only hands-on approach students can get if they want to do something with sports radio.
Since becoming the program director, Murray has tripled the numbers of students involved with the sports program from four or five to 16. He said that the students have stuck with it and haven’t dropped, which has made his life easier.
“It makes me really excited knowing I’m making a difference for this position,” he said. “And hopefully the next person that does it can take what I’ve kind of done so far and expand on that even more to the point where we have a giant program that’s very successful.”
Because of his involvement in the station, Murray is sure that he wants to pursue a position in sports radio, going into the sports talk side of it, which is what he does on his show, The Sports Power Half Hour. The program is from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday on 90.3 FM.
“I want to be able to talk about sports on radio for a living,” Murray said. He explained how mych he likes debating games and “breaking it all down.”
Murray feels that the work he has done for WRIU has given him a “distinct advantage” over other people. He said that when he wants to go into the job market or try to get an internship, he has this experience under his belt.
“I have the technical side of it, the actual broadcasting part of it, all that stuff I have under my resume and I’m a sophomore,” he said. He added that this is a job he hopes to have until he graduates.
Murray said that any students who want to get involved in sports broadcasting should be knowledgeable about the sports that they are covering and have a passion for it too. He said that if one plans on making a career out of calling sports games, that they should be prepared to call different sports too, not just the one they may be directly interested in.
“Get your feet wet a little bit, try it out,” Murray said. “If it’s not for you, there are obviously other positions out there for sports.”