Broadcaster Marco LaNave Leans on Audio-Technica BPHS1 Broadcast Stereo Headset
Over the past 10 years, broadcaster Marco LaNave has called minor league baseball games in Davenport, IA, Jacksonville, FL, and currently in Akron, OH, where he handles the play-by-play duties for the Akron RubberDucks, the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. For headphone monitoring and to mic his voice, LaNave relies on the BPHS1 Broadcast Stereo Headset from Audio-Technica, a leading innovator in transducer technology for over 50 years.
“I had the experience when I was 11 years old of being up in the radio booth, on-air with my hometown baseball team,” LaNave recalls. That broadcast with the St. Cloud River Bats, a summer collegiate team in the Northwoods League, started him on the path to his current career. “I was always a baseball fan from childhood through high school and college,” LaNave says. “And when it turned out that I wasn’t good enough to play baseball, the next best thing was to be around the game, describing it, calling the action.” As the teams LaNave has professionally announced for thus far are filled with players hoping for their shot at Major League Baseball, with his own progression through calling farm team games, the announcer is himself hoping to reach the majors.
LaNave and his partner, Jim Clark, have a goal of making the players and coaches “come to life a little bit for those listening to a game or watching online,” he states. “To get ready for each game, obviously, there’s the equipment and technical setup. But there’s also a good degree, especially in baseball, of preparing and knowing the teams and players you’re describing.”
Radio has been famously described as “theater of the mind,” with sound the only tool available to put the listener into an event such as a baseball game. “We’re always concerned about the sound,” says LaNave, sharing that the A-T BPHS1 headset provides “a good, clear, professional sound to the broadcast. We’ve all experienced a lot of different microphones over the last year-plus with people calling in on Zoom and that sort of thing, but the BPHS1 really does give you the sound that, when people tune in, they know they’re listening to a pro sports broadcast. That’s number one: ‘What is the audience experiencing from this?’”
Audio-Technica’s BPHS1 is designed for natural, highly intelligible vocal reproductions, with a cardioid mic pickup pattern to reject off-axis sounds. Its boom-mounted mic can be positioned on the left or right side. The headset’s user-replaceable, closed-back circumaural ear cups help seal out crowd noise and other background distractions, and it features an adjustable cushioned headband and a lightweight design that provides comfort when worn even through extra innings. The BPHS1 includes a detachable cable that terminates in a 3-pin XLR plug for the mic and a three-conductor, quarter-inch headphone plug.
“From a personal perspective,” adds LaNave, “the headset is very comfortable, and the flexibility of the microphone is nice. It packs well and, because I travel a lot, that makes a big difference. Jim Clark and I both use the headset, as does any on-air guest. The headsets have been great.”
For the next generation of broadcasters, LaNave says, “there’s more opportunity in the broadcasting landscape with the technology and the streaming platforms. There’s no reason that someone who’s interested can’t get started, practicing themselves. Calling games off of a screen is something even the pros have done. Look for hands-on experience and opportunity and start practicing. Learn to do interviews, ask people questions. And pay attention to people who do it at the highest level.”
“I have savored and enjoyed baseball every year that I’ve gotten to do it,” says LaNave. “Coming back into 2021, nothing is taken for granted. The fact that we can have people in the seats, that we can get within shouting distance of teams and players, and see them play baseball here on the field, that’s something we missed for a whole year.”