Flour Bluff Students Gain Sports Broadcasting Experience

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A listener tuning into KSIX 1230 AM for the past two weeks reportedly heard the voice of Terry Shannon as he called play-by-play for Flour Bluff Hornets football games.

But that listener would also have heard the voices of Xavier Pon and Zach Turner, two members of Flour Bluff High School’s sports news program who can now call plays alongside Shannon at weekly Hornets football games.

Created in 2018, the course aims to give students hands-on experience in using technology to manage a website and social media platforms. Flour Bluff purchased airtime with KSIX to broadcast Flour Bluff football games and give students exposure to both radio broadcasting and the use of radio equipment.

Something seen as the natural progression of the course.

“These kids, they’re very passionate about it,” Shannon said. “How many high school students will be able to graduate being on the radio, understanding Facebook, doing Facebook Live videos and audio streams? You can’t make that up. It’s an amazing program.

Each student found their way to the course for a different reason.

Pon said he always wanted to be a broadcaster and be involved in the sports entertainment industry. For him, the class was a great opportunity.

Others, like Turner, stumbled upon the class but became completely absorbed. Turner’s experience is in writing and writing for the course website, but the commentary element is something he is committed to improving.

While Cade Dowd, one of the producers of the radio show, jumped at the chance to use the provided technology as it could open up opportunities for a possible IT career.

“Some of these things people can’t get their hands on until college,” Turner said. “So being able to get the experience now could really be a game-changer once we get to college with all the experience we know.”

The team has yet to produce a home show as the Hornets’ first two games have been at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo and Callalen, but they are eagerly awaiting the opportunity. After working on the nerves of that first match, where they were grateful the live stream wasn’t dead, the team worked on improving their performance week by week.

Students do everything from studying opposing teams to practicing commentary while playing Madden at home.

Shannon, meanwhile, took on a mentoring role for the students. During matches, he will show them how to take notes in order to keep track of what is happening during a game; a way to make sure they’re always talking.

“I think the experience, as we move forward with Terry, we’re going to get a better bond and it’s going to go better as we go through the season,” Pon said. “I think it’s going to improve considerably from the first to the last game.”

The Hornets have a bye week this week and will face the Veterans Memorial at Cabaniss Stadium on September 20. The match will be one more opportunity for the team to improve their style and product.

There will come a day when Shannon will no longer be around to mentor them. On that day, they will have to take everything they have learned and produce a complete show as if they were professionals.

“Radio took it to a different level,” said Bob Cashman, sponsor of Flour Bluff’s sports news program. “It teaches you to adapt to different situations. It’s not going to be perfect and I think that’s a very good lesson for these students to learn is to be ready to go any way and get the job done.

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