Story by: Scott Harrigan (ISN) Photos: Kasey Eriksen
December 23, 2013, Victoria (ISN) – If you’ve ever been to Archie Browning arena in Esquimalt watching the Victoria Cougars play, no doubt you’ve seen those old dull blue wooden boxes situated along the east wall. That’s where we found the Cougars play by play man Jordan Smith who applies his trade and volunteers his time.
Smith has been doing Cougars play by play for the last 4 years, being self-taught from his teenage years messing around with friends then actually doing a amateur radio show in his buddies full functioning studio, which he built himself in his room called radiokick.com. as a DJ.
First it should be noted that his work station in those boxes aren’t the biggest or widest to climb up inside of, Jordan is also a big man so it was particularly impressive that before every game and each intermission, you’ll see him shimming up and down to stretch his legs or just talk about the current game with a number of local Cougar supporters.
We caught up to Jordan during one such intermission and asked him 10 questions we thought you’d like to know. This is what we call, 10 with ISN.
ISN– Have you or do you ever practice at home in front of a mirror?
Smith– I don’t actually. I’ll write scripts and what have you at home but for the most part, I like to wing it. I play the game (Hockey) so that gives me a good understanding of the flow. I will do research before a game but it’s mostly names; who’s in, who’s out, numbers (stats) stuff like that.
ISN – Is this something you foresee yourself doing down the road as a profession?
Smith – Absolutely!! I’d love to be able to do it. I also know that it’s a really hard market to get into. Radio in general is hard to break into. The problem is, all of the people who are doing this now in my field, really enjoy it so they are not about to leave and move onto something else unless they are promoted up the ranks, so to speak.
ISN – Who’s your biggest influence today applying your trade?
Smith – Hands down, Marlon Martins from the Royals. I talk to him quite a bit because he is so approachable and such a stand up guy. It’s easy to see why they love him over there. He has coached or mentored me which has helped tremendously as far as tips and things to keep the flow of talking going. Nothing worse than dead air or long pauses without speaking.
ISN – You’ve said you’re self-taught. Would you recommend a program someone could take as far as schooling?
Smith – BCIT has one of the best programs in the business today, if you are looking to get into sports broadcasting or radio. That is a definite must. In fact, the kid who set up the homemade radio show Curtis Machek, he’s doing this program and absolutely loves it.
ISN – What is fast hockey? (where the Cougars games are broadcast)
Smith – We signed up with FastHockey. Well, the league as a whole did (VIJHL) and they are based out of the States. Fasthockey is an amateur broadcast company who also do the BCHL, NCAA, as well as a host of other leagues across North America. They set us up with all the equipment, except the mixer but they essentially do all the work for us. All I have to do is plug into the mixer and they have my broadcast all ready for me.
ISN – Do you do any other sports?
Smith – I actually do. You know this is funny because of my volunteering here with the Cougars, I was approached by UVic Vikes basketball to do their men’s and women’s games as their public address announcer. This is a paid gig so you see, it’s funny how when you give back you get other offers from the outside. You have to put yourself out their to be seen and heard. Hard works pay’s off.
ISN – What names are harder to announce, Hockey players or Basketball players?
Smith – Oh that’s a tough one, but I’d have to say hockey. Hockey has more Europeans it seems as opposed to basketball where there are more Western names I think. You can get caught up in the excitement so very easily if you’re not careful, so even names like Jones can slip you up if you’re not on the ball at all times.
ISN – Do you ever get to travel with the team to broadcast?
Smith – No, not often. Like I said, I just volunteer. I have a full time day job working outside. This is truly a passion of mine that one day maybe, just maybe I’ll be able to do instead of the day job.
ISN – How much does Harvey and his drum distract you if any, given how close he is to the booth?
Smith – (Laughs) You know what, not a lot. I mean you can hear it a little, but once the headphones are on and the way the mixing board is set up, it’s not to bad. It’s pretty subdued. I will say, however, that the Cougars horn after each goal totally drowns me out, it’s so loud!!
ISN – Finally, one last one. Ever swear on air?
Smith – No…..But Tom has. (laughs) Tom Arlidge is the Cougars colour man.
If you’re looking for Jordan, follow him on twitter @VicPlaybyPlay