New sports media instructor teaches real-life skills

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Alexandria Rosales

Professor Ralph Strangis lecturing with his students in the Sports Media class.

Estefania Moreira, Staff Reporter

College of the Desert is offering a new media course this semester. The class is RTV-003 Sports Media. Directed by instructor Ralph Strangis, students learn about the sports broadcasting industry and gain network skills they will be able to use out in the professional sports media world. 

For the past 30 years, Strangis has been a National Hockey League play-by-play broadcaster on television and radio. Now he works freelance for WestwoodOne Sports radio and as COD’s new media adjunct instructor.

In the sports media class students learn, storytelling, production and sport-broadcasting skills. Strangis’s main concern is making sure his students learn efficient time management skills. “Sports and media, in general, is a hard deadline business. Students need to learn how to manage their time and students need to learn how to prepare. The sports broadcasting industry is a homework business, you have to do your research,” said Strangis.

Strangis pushes his students to get used to these two life skills they will need in this industry, to be on time and to properly research a subject. His philosophy is to educate and share his experiences to students who want to learn what it means to be in professional sports broadcasting. 

Fourteen students are enrolled in the course this semester who will be by producing a weekly radio show covering the spring sports at COD. Strangis is working together with the Athletic Department to make sure the students and staff understand proper protocols and build a good working relationship, 

Students use Tascams audio equipment to put together a 30 minute show on KCOD radio. Since COD does not have its television station yet, radio broadcasting will be the main focus in class. 

Business administration and film major, Jonathan Cardenas said, “As one of the first 14 students enrolled in this class, I am excited to be a part of this new program offered COD and learn from a professional in the sports media field.” 

During lectures, sports media students get the chance to talk to industry professionals in the classroom and through Skype. Strangis has an enriching educational media background and knows many important names in the sports media industry. 

In the first week of class, students met Jason Walsh, the executive producer of Fox Sports Southwest Regional Network. 

Walsh spoke about what jobs are available in the industry, informed students how much they can make in a variety of positions and what he expects of new employees on their first interview. Students also met Bob Sturm, who covered the Dallas Cowboys football team for the last 22 seasons. He talked about how sports reporters need to be on top of their game in the industry. 

Alexandria Rosales, KCOD’s sports director said, “I am excited to see how these students will become better storytellers in sports. This is an amazing class to take for anyone interested in working in the sports media industry. They are taught by the play-by-play commentator of the NHL, Ralph Strangis and he is an awesome person to be taught and guided by.”

Strangis’s goal is to help expand the structure of the current sports media class and have a thriving sports media department in COD. He hopes the class will be divided into different levels: an intro, intermediate and advanced course, offering more rigorous curriculum in each.

Sports Information Specialist, Brian Sylva said, “I think it’s vital for student-athletes to holistically understand their role in collaborating with media as well as playing their sport of choice. The new sports media class helps bridge that gap, allowing the student-athletes to be on the other end of the camera or microphone, asking the questions and attempting to elicit the response they are looking to receive.”

Strangis is thankful for the support from Dr. Sara Butler, the interim dean of social sciences, Laurille Jackson, assistant professor of Media Production and the entire KCOD staff for their help. “I wrote the course curriculum in hopes of giving students new opportunities to learn specific sports broadcasting skills. I also knew it would bring attention to our Roadrunner games and athletes. Ralph is a true professional, we’re lucky to have him.”

The first KCOD sports show is scheduled to air March 11 at 6 p.m. on 99.9 Coachella FM. 

For more information about the course or radio show contact adjunct instructor Ralph Strangis at [email protected]