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Young sportscaster embarks on career path the old-fashioned way [Commentary]

In the upside-down world of radio and TV, where careers come and go like chunks of ice in pre-Christmas storms, Adam Vorce is making his mark. And he is doing it the old-fashioned way, by wearing out shoe leather, by developing contacts, by staying positive.

The North Laurel resident, a 22-year-old student in TV and radio at Howard Community College, is an eager, fresh-faced sports junkie who can rattle off box scores and factoids like nobody's business. With a goal of a career as a sportscaster, he knows that getting your foot in the door means paying your dues, sacrificing your time and energy and making a name for yourself in a field that's rife with competition.

The Jacksonville, Fla., native embarked on his quest while attending Atholton High School. He did pre-game announcing for the girls and boys varsity basketball teams and, at one point, he did play-by-play for the varsity baseball team.

The career path also led to a private school, the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland in Baltimore County. There, surrounded by state-of-the-art digital equipment and professional staff, he learned the art of editing audio and video interviews, and how to produce, write and announce news and commercials.

He credits his dad, a longtime usher at Camden Yards, for his interest in sports.

"He took me to just about every sporting event there was. If not for him, I would probably be doing something else," Vorce said.

A fount of knowledge and energy, Vorce tapped his contacts and landed an unpaid internship at CBS-owned WJZ-FM's "The Fan," a popular sports-talk radio station in Charm City. One year, he noted, he was at Camden Yards for 62 of the team's scheduled 81 home games, covering the Orioles and loving every minute of it. "I almost failed a class," he confessed, breaking into a boyish grin, "but it was fantastic." 

Less than a year after taking the internship, Vorce was on the radio station's payroll. He is at Ravens and O's games, gathering sound bites at press conferences, mixing it up with other reporters and becoming familiar with the players and coaches. Vorce dismisses the notion that talking about sports on the air is an easy gig. There's so much more involved, he emphasized. "You have to watch the games, understand the game. Anybody can talk about sports, but to talk about it in depth, to analyze it critically, is different." He applies the same work ethic while getting ready for his weekly online radio show for HCC.

Vorce, thinking back on that eye-opening tour he got of The Fan's studios, remarked that he could have simply "stopped there and not pursued" broadcasting as a career. But he didn't. He knew it was in his blood and that there would be no other job he would rather have — including the struggles that are inherently part of the action.

"My dream," Vorce said in his honey-thick baritone, "is to cover a college or professional sports team for TV or radio. My advice to others: start early, like an athlete. Start at 6 years old, playing T-ball. And use your contacts. Get your name out there. Don't do it alone."   

And lest you think Vorce is only immersed in tuning up his career, think again. Once he graduates with his two-year degree, he's preparing to go on and earn a four-year sheepskin. That's why, on many nights at the Ravens' practice facility in Owings Mills, you can find him doing something beyond poring over passing and running yard stats.

"After I edit and e-mail in my interviews," he crowed happily, "I sit at the desk in the media room and I do my homework."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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