Broadcaster Works Anything But 9-to-5 Schedule

Westminster Graduate Divides His Time Between Radio And Television

February 23, 1992|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — It's about 1:30 Tuesday afternoon, and while most 9-to-5'ers are more than halfway through their work day, Bryan McLean is just starting his.

He grabs a camera at the Prestige Cable office and heads off to interview a Carroll athlete.

After setting up the camera and lighting (he says it's common forreporters in small-market stations to "get a little taste of everything"), he conducts the interview and heads back to Prestige.

By now, it's just past 2:30 and time to work on the daily sports news broadcast.

North Carroll's boys basketball coach Pete Litchka is retiring at season's end -- that is the focus. The four- to five-minute segment takes an hour and a half to edit.

After grabbing a quick bite to eat, he heads up to North Carroll to do the play-by-play in Prestige's boys basketball game of the week -- the Westminster Owls are visiting the Panthers. The post-game show wraps up around 9:30.

Theday's not over just yet for the 26-year-old McLean. He heads over toWTTR radio, where, among other things, he does color commentary for WTTR's "Carroll County High School Basketball Game of the Week" on Friday and is a disc jockey three nights a week.

He works on his weekly spot, "WTTR's Athlete of the Week." By the time he's done, it's 11:30 p.m.

Simply put, a typical day for McLean is not typical -- and that's how he likes it.

"I respect people who work nine to five, but that's not for me right now," McLean said.

"I like the hustle and bustle and doing something different every day. I'm part time with both (Prestige and WTTR). The majority of work in radio is at night while most of the television is during the day, so it works out really well. I also have two good bosses who give me the flexibility I need. I usually work anywhere from 45 to 60 hours a week."

Growingup a big sports fan, McLean was the sports editor for The Owl, the school newspaper at Westminster High, and went to Towson State University.

"I always loved sports and knew I couldn't make a living on the field," he said. "I went to college wanting to be a writer."

But after taking a couple of radio classes at Towson, McLean turned hisattention toward a broadcasting career. He worked at the campus radio station for three semesters -- covering news and sports -- and had an internship with WTTR in 1987.

He took a part-time postion with WTTR later that year, working as a disc jockey on Saturday nights, and also began doing color commentary for the high school basketball games.

"He's been a real asset," said Dwight Dingle, general managerof WTTR.

"He's seen the whole spectrum of the business. He's donesports broadcasting, play-by-play, color, sports commentary, announcing and even the traffic. He's developed very well and works hard at sharpening his skills."

McLean has developed a special rapport with his partner and play-by-play man Charlie Beckhardt.

"We've been partners and good friends for five years now," said Beckhardt, who's been with WTTR since 1983.

"I'm real comfortable with him. After five years, we've gotten into a rhythm that seems to work well on and off the air. I respect his knowledge of area sports and also the preparation he puts into each game."

McLean credits Dingle and Beckhardt for helping pave the way.

"Dwight gave me the opportunity that has led to all this and Charlie has taught me so much," he said.

McLean broadened his horizons to television in 1988, covering high school football, and has broadcast the sports portion of the daily news broadcast for 1 1/2 years. He enjoys the different perspectives in radio and television.

"I have no big preference," he said.

"Each medium has its own distinct advantages. Doing play-by-play radio, youhave to paint the picture for your audience.

"In television, there's a picture, so you have to adjust and enhance what they already see."

His work off the air far exceeds the time spent on the air. Hesays three minutes of television can take up to four hours by the time all the editing is complete. He also spends a great deal of time doing "homework" in preparation of covering a game.

"Play-by-play announcing is 70 percent preparation," McLean said.

"I often spend two or three hours studying rosters and statistics before a game. That knowledge and your abilities carry you through the game."

McLeanenjoys working in the county where he grew up and noted the advantages it brings. But sometime down the road, he said, he'll be ready to move on to bigger and better things.

"I'm glad to be where I am. The coaches, athletic directors and parents are all great and there isa lot of community involvement.

"Eventually, I'd like to move on to a bigger market, but I've set no timetable. Everyone has a goal ofbeing at the top of their profession."

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