By Chad Dryden
Most high school students interested in careers in communications do not make it past the school newspaper or morning public address announcements. But Field High School junior Ryan Pritt already has several professional experiences under his belt, including assignments covering the Cleveland Browns, Indians and Cavaliers.
An aspiring sports broadcaster, the 16-year-old son of Steve and Cindy Pritt of Suffield also serves as the voice of the Falcons, announcing games for pretty much every sports team that competes for Field.
Sports are my passion, Ryan said. (Broadcasting) is something Ive always wanted to do.
Ryans career began in seventh grade as the P.A. announcer for Field Junior High Schools boys and girls basketball teams. He then went pro in eighth grade after winning a contest that landed him a guest host role on WKYC-TV (Channel 3)s Browns Blitz program. On Oct. 3, 1999, Ryan called the Browns first ever touchdown at Cleveland Browns Stadium while reporting play-by-play from the sidelines.
Two years later, a blind e-mail he sent to Fox Sports Net resulted in a co-hosting gig for an episode of Tribe Time, where he interviewed Bob DiBiasio, Cleveland Indians vice president of public relations. Back at Field, meanwhile, Ryan had become the go-to man behind the microphone for high school sporting events.
Ryan also has shadowed Plain Dealer Cavaliers beat reporter Branson Wright and sat in with the Columbus Blue Jackets Radio Network broadcasting team. Currently, he is interning with Kevin Keanes Sportsline talk show on WTAM-AM (1100), where thus far he has hosted two on-air segments.
The first segment was a piece of cake, he said. As part of Keanes amateur night program which thrusts six callers into the role of host for 30 minutes apiece Ryan, who had begun shadowing Keane in the studio, was given the chance to prove himself on a live radio broadcast that reached 38 states and parts of Canada.
(Keane) called the night before the show and offered me the last open slot, Ryan said. I thought I did pretty well. The listeners picked the top two announcers to host their own two-hour show and I was one of the selections.
That program presented Ryan with more of a challenge. He spent hours researching material for the show and faced what has been an uncommon problem for him in the booth nerves.
About a half an hour before the show I worked myself up about it too much, he said. But once you get on the air you dont think about being nervous.
Ryans future plans include continuing his internship at WTAM and giving a serious look at colleges with strong sports broadcasting programs. His advice to aspiring broadcasters? Persistence and personality.
Ive e-mailed at least twice as many teams that never got back to me, he said. Be yourself. Dont try to mimic someone youre not. The main goal as announcer is to keep the listener informed and amused without going overboard.