As a woman in the sports industry, I have a slight obsession with women in the sports industry.
Shocker, I know.
They’re like my own little gang of sporty fairy godmothers, guiding the way to where I want to be and unknowingly, providing a map for myself and others on how to do it. The best part? They’ve all taken their own route getting there, which means that for aspiring sports gals like me, we get a peak inside at all the different ways we can make our careers happen.
And so, I started an interview series featuring sportscasting gals from all around the country, to get a glimpse into their lives and even a little bit of free advice. This started over on my professional website, JuliaKennedyReporting.com, but I’ve decided to bring all my blog material to the same website in efforts to consolidate. You know, adulting stuff.
First up: Alexa Datt, was at one point, the Mets Insider Host, SNY Sideline Reporter, and Citi Field In-Stadium Host — at the same time. Yup, you read that right: three different jobs. Now, she co-hosts 120 Sports’ “The Morning Run”.
I grabbed this interview before she made the move, but read on for juicy bits about how Alexa juggled all three jobs, how she got her start in sports, and her secret to making a sports career in New York City.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be in the sportscasting industry?
I’ve always loved sports since I was a kid, and when I was in high school I started writing for my school newspaper covering our HS sports teams. I became the Sports Editor my Junior year and then the Editor-in-Chief my Senior year. I switched to broadcasting in college.
What were the first things you did to get your start?
Since I first started in newspaper and not on air, my first skill-set was learning to write. Once I got the hang of it, I found it really helped me in TV because strong writing skills are so important in telling a good story.
You worked first as a production assistant before you broke into an on-air position. How did your PA job prepare you for reporting and anchoring?
My PA job was my first paying gig in the business. I developed relationships with other PAs but more importantly with producers and on-air talent who still guide and mentor me to this day. When you’re just starting out in the business, if you work at the right place, almost everyone is willing to help you out. All you have to do it ask.
You’ve been able to stay in the Northeast for your entire career, when typically, on-air talent have to move to a small market and then work their way up. Which of your jobs so far has been the most skills-building?
Yeah this comes up a lot when I talk to people about their careers, because I was always told I would have to work my way up at smaller markets in order to get my dream job, and I haven’t found that to be the case. But I do have to compete with those people still. So for me, learning new skills every step of the way has been key. I can edit all my own video, I can shoot a package, I can go live, or tape a studio segment. I’ve learned to deliver sports news or voice my sports opinion, and I’ve become a wiz on social media. It’s really about who can do the most, not always who’s done the most.
The past few years, you’ve been both an Associate Producer and held various on-air positions. How do you juggle multiple jobs?
With a very organized calendar, ha. And the desire to never do the same thing two days in a row. It keeps my job really interesting and exciting. It rarely ever feels like work.
You started about a year ago as the Mets Insider Host. What has that been like?
Mets Insider has been a blast. I’m lucky to work on a show that is shot and produced so beautifully, I just add the finishing touches to help guide the viewers through the segments. Plus the Mets run to the World Series was the greatest sporting event I’ve been a part of in my career.
One of the hardest things to do in the sportscasting industry is simply just breaking into it — what is the best advice you ever received, and what would you tell aspiring sportscasters?
Best advice I ever got was to be myself, and I would tell anyone who wants to get in this business to get in cause they love it. Any other reason would be cheating themselves.
What is a “normal” day like for you?
For me, there is no normal. I go from hosting at Citi Field, to writing Super Bowl highlights, to interviewing athletes on a daily basis. I don’t think I could handle normal.
You’ve been making a broadcasting career in the toughest media market in the nation, New York City. What has been the toughest part of having a sportscasting career in NYC and the best part?
The toughest part is actually the best part too. Everyone comes to New York to make their dreams happen. And that’s a lot of people and a lot of dreams to compete with. But when you do finally break through it’s an amazing feeling. You’ve beat the odds. And there’s still so much more left to do.
Follow Alexa on Twitter!