There's more to broadcasting a game then just the play-by-play announcements. A Color Analyst adds insight to strategies, descriptions of plays, commentary on players and coaches, and even some entertaining or amusing stories or comments. It is his or her job to add some color to the broadcast and both enlighten and entertain the viewers.
The Color Analyst does all of the above, plus often has the added responsibility of interviewing players or coaches on camera before or after a game. Sometimes interviews are conducted and taped prior to the broadcast as well.
Vera Jones-Soleyn is a Broadcaster/Color Analyst for the Liberty. When she's not in the broadcast booth during the game, she's busy doing her "homework" which includes reading and plenty of research. "I look at WNBA.com, read magazines, newspapers, look at team notes (public relations information) and watch the team's pre-game shoot-arounds or practices to be on top of all that is going on with the team." Jones-Soleyn also talks with the trainer to be knowledgeable about the players' injuries.
While the job is far busier during the season, in the off-season Jones stays abreast of the game, following trades, team developments and other activities regarding the WNBA and the Liberty. She continues doing research and taking notes so she'll be up-to-date when the new season arrives.
Getting to where she is today took a steady climb up the proverbial ladder. Jones graduated from the Syracuse University School of Communications with a Masters degree then worked as a deejay in a variety of music formats for small radio stations. She moved to television for a local cable channel as a basketball Color Analyst. She credits a variety of radio jobs, commercial voice-over work and hosting local television with helping her get the "big time opportunities" as she calls them, which include ESPN, MSG and FOX.
Her strengths include her ability to ad-lib, knowledge of sports, confidence and quick wit. She suggests that would-be color commentators or broadcasters become very knowledgeable about sports. "Also, dare to be different," says Jones-Soleyn. "It's a very competitive industry and you need to be different and to do something that sets you apart (in your personality). You also need to be solid in your professionalism and knowledge."
Broadcasting and color commentary are great ways to be close to the action. Learn the details of the sport or sports you love and practice talking in front of the microphone. From covering high school or college teams for local radio and television to small town stations covering regional and minor league teams, a broadcaster can work his or her way up to the majors just as a player does. And you don't have to worry about getting traded.