Anyone who has ever watched ASU athletics on TV in San Angelo owes that experience to Dr. Herman Howard.
Since arriving at ASU in 2016 as chair of the Department of Communication and Mass Media, Howard has spearheaded a sports broadcasting program that has brought ASU athletics into people’s homes while also giving students valuable field experience.
The program involves students in every aspect of broadcasting ASU athletics on Ram TV and Ram Radio, as well as covering games for the Ram Page. Don Plachno, director of Ram TV, and producer Russ Howard coordinate the field operations to teach the students skills that will translate into many different communication and mass media career fields.
“It can really be a springboard,” Howard said. “They can take their skills into sports or news, they can do production or work in research, or they can go to graduate school. They can also use what they learn to start their own business, like a production shop, and I’m really into educating them about that type of entrepreneurship.”
“I want my students to find and follow their passion, no matter what it is,” he added. “Find that one thing in the field of communication and mass media that they want to do for the rest of their life, and find a way to go out and do it.”
“My passion is sports broadcasting. I’ve never met a microphone I didn’t like.” - Dr. Herman Howard
Howard found his own passion when he was only eight years old. A native of western New York, he inherited a love of sports from his father, who rewarded good grades in school with trips to professional Buffalo Sabres hockey games.
“I was always looking into the broadcast booth, and Rick Jeanneret was the radio play-by-play broadcaster for the Sabres,” Howard said. “From where I sat, I’d watch him broadcast the games, and I said, ‘Dad, that’s what I want to do.’ So from there, he started helping me become a public speaker.”
“He would bring home the Buffalo News every day and say, ‘Herman, what’s going on in the news?’ So I’m eight or nine years old, standing up in front of him just reading to him verbatim what was going on. Then, my mom gave me a tape recorder and told me to turn down the sound on the TV and do the play by play for different sports. So I would practice my play by play while she sat there cheering.”
All that early practice paid off as Howard has helped start sports broadcasting programs at three different colleges. He is also quite the radio guy himself, having broadcast thousands of games in a wide variety of sports. He still broadcasts 50-100 games a year, including ASU athletics, local high school sports and junior hockey tournaments in Dallas.
“It’s a lot of fun, but it takes some juggling,” Howard said. “The hard part is carving out time to prepare for the games, but I feel blessed every time I get asked.”
“My passion is sports broadcasting. I’ve never met a microphone I didn’t like.”