Two years ago, Staples High School sports fans enjoyed junior Zach Brody’s call of the Wreckers’ girls soccer state championship match on WWPT-FM.
Last winter Zach was courtside at Mohegan Sun, announcing the boys basketball title contest.
Those broadcasts drew hundreds of listeners.
This Sunday at 7 p.m., millions will hear — and see — Zach. He’ll be behind the mic when the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies meet at neutral Bowman Field, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania during the Little League World Series.
It’s a legit Major League Baseball game. And — just 2 months after graduating from Staples — Zach will be a legit ESPN announcer.
The event is part of ESPN 2’s “KidsCast.” Zach was selected from 114 students at the Bruce Beck Sports Broadcasting Camp to air a full MLB game, on national television.
“KidsCast” may be a misnomer. Though Zach is still a teenager, he’s honed his skills through Staples’ intensive, high-level curriculum. He’s as serious about his work — and as good — as pros like, well, Bruce Beck.
Zach took full advantage of Staples. He played basketball and tennis; was a cellist in the Orchestra, and served as president of the Unified Sports Club, for special needs youngsters.
A friend who had taken a radio class with Geno Heiter raved about the instructor. But Zach marked it on his sophomore year schedule only as an alternative, in case he did not get into another elective.
He did not — to both his and the student-run station’s benefit.
Zach Brody (center), with his WWPT co-executive producer Devon Jacobs and instructor/advisor Geno Heiter, at the Drury Awards for high school broadcasting. The duo — and station — won several honors.
“I love all sports. And ‘PT has a huge sports culture,” Zach says.
“It’s so inviting and inclusive. Sophomores can debate on the air with seniors. We all build cool relationships around a common passion.”
He learned the trade. Over 3 years he called football, boys and girls soccer and basketball, and baseball.
For 2 summers, he attended the Bruce Beck Camp at Iona College. He learned breaking news, SportsCenter-style news, commentary, podcasting, and play-by-play. The latter included calling an old New York Knicks game, with one of their broadcasters.
“It was very professional. There’s a friendly feel, with lots of collaboration. But there is also competition,” Zach says.
He listened to and watched his fellow campers intently. He heard feedback about everyone.
Meanwhile, he honed his own style.
Zach Brody, courtside at Mohegan Sun for Staples High School’s boys basketball state championship game. WWPT-FM broadcast that contest, and the state final in another division too.
“I like to have fun on the air,” Zach says. “I embrace the big moments, but I try to keep it light. I like getting a smile or chuckle from my partner or listeners.”
Of course, he says, “I’m still learning, growing and developing.”
Campers do not apply for the ESPN 2 KidsCast gig. The network selects 3 young broadcasters, based on tapes from the Beck camp. Zach got the call about making the call the other day.
He’ll work with ESPN producers, and their crew. He’ll do the usual intense prep work.
But Sunday night’s broadcast isn’t the only big thing happening in Zach’s life.
Yesterday, he left for college. He’s about to begin his freshman year at George Washington University.
He asked for — and got — permission to leave for a few days, right in the middle of orientation.
Zach Brody, in the Staples football broadcast booth.
“I’m over-the-moon excited,” he says about Sunday’s broadcast.
“I’m confident in my abilities. As long as I keep doing more than what’s expected, I’ll feel prepared.
“I know I’m very lucky to have this opportunity. I’m stoked.”
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