Watson making her name over the airwaves
written by Zach Baker of the Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune
Associate Sports Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Complete Paige Watson Feature on Advertiser-Tribune.com in PDF
Paige Watson said she felt a little nervous about her first appearance as a color commentator on SportsTime Ohio.
The 2006 Carey graduate, who spent her first two years at Baldwin Wallace as a forward on the women's basketball team, stopped playing this year and is pursuing something else - broadcasting.
"I knew being a communications major would be tough," said Watson, who played basketball, volleyball and track with the Blue Devils. "It's more of an experience-type thing. You need to have experience."
Watson gained experience in the field in her freshman and sophomore years by working on WBW, the BW campus radio station. She called football, baseball and men's basketball games, as well as local high school contests.
But Saturday was another matter. Watson joined Adam Mendoza to call Baldwin Wallace's women's basketball game against Marietta. The game was shown on tape delay by STO - the cable network owned by the Cleveland Indians.
While Watson may have been nervous, others said it was hard to tell.
John Skrada, one of the owners of S&S Video Productions, produced the broadcast. He said he has worked with a number of student broadcasters.
"You never know going into it, until they do it," said Skrada, who has worked on Indians and Cleveland Cavaliers' television broadcasts. "She was probably the best student we've had do that. She's very knowledgeable."
Watson had an advantage over most students, since she played under BW women's coach Cheri Harrer, and with a number of players on the floor.
Watson said that experience helped her with material for what became a lopsided 74-39 BW win over Marietta.
"I think it helps, just being a former player, knowing what Cheri's offensive plan is and what she would do," Watson said.
Harrer, who said she was able to watch most of Saturday's broadcast, agreed.
"She definitely had more insight than most people would have," Harrer said. " It's almost like she was right there with us [as a player]. "We don't change much year to year."
Baldwin Wallace sports information director Kevin Ruple, who makes the call on who broadcasts the games from the school, said the feedback on Watson has been positive.
"Six phone calls and four or five e-mails of people who wanted to know who she was be cause she was so good," Ruple said.
Ruple noted that many times, an analyst has a tendency to simply repeat what the play-by-play person says, but Watson didn't do that.
"Everything she said was interesting, on the nose," Ruple said. "The analysis was perfect. "Those are the days that make me, as an SID, smile."
POST-PLAYING DAYS: Despite leaving BW as a player, Watson said Harrer has allowed her to stay close to the program.
"I miss basketball every day. I do the PA announcing usually for the home games. Watching those girls out there playing is hard," Watson said. "Coach Harrer was great by letting me stay involved, allowing me to scrimmage (with the team)."
One of the other reasons Watson stopped playing was that she will be studying abroad in Australia in the spring.
"I had to choose between basketball and Australia. It was really tough," she said.
THE FUTURE: Watson said she's hoping for a career in broadcasting, and has had experience in several aspects of it.
This past fall, Watson worked as a sideline reporter during an STO broadcast of a BW football game.
It gave her good exposure, even though there were some small problems.
"On TV, they were having audio difficulties," Watson said, "You could only hear about three words I said."
Watson also has worked on the production side, doing audio for some of the TV broadcasts.
"She took it in and did really well," Skrada said. "I kept requesting her."
"Every opportunity we gave her, she took it and ran with it, and wanted to do more," Ruple said.
FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES: When Watson was choosing a college, she made it clear that her interest was in communications, as well as basketball.
Ruple put her in touch with Indians' television broadcaster Matt Underwood, a BW graduate.
"He told me about his experience, how he got where he is today," Watson said. "Just from meeting him, I built a great friendship and kept in contact."
Watson has been able to sit in the television broadcast booth with Underwood and Rick Manning during games, in order to shadow them.
"The Cleveland market has opened a lot of opportunities, a lot of jobs," Watson said.
YOU SAID IT: "I try to be unbiased. During football season, there were people that called Kevin and said (the announcers) should just be for BW. (The supervisors of the program) want us to give that overall effect, calling it like it is." - Watson, on her broadcasting style.