The whole interview was full of energy! An interview with whom you ask? With Park Ki-duk, an MBC Sportscaster and a graduate of the University of Seoul (Dept. of English Language and Literature, 03’). He has been broadcasting the Champion’s League and baseball at MBC Sports Plus since March 2011.
?Many people confuse the terms anchor (announcer), sportscasters and reporters. When you become an anchor you are assigned to everything from being a news anchor, an MC (Master of Ceremonies), sportscaster and so on. News anchor, MC, sportscaster, reporter, and DJ are all included in the work of anchors.
Dream of Becoming an Anchor
When I asked him when he started to have the dream of becoming an anchor he said that it was when he was given the chance to host the closing ceremony at the City of Seoul Teenage Drama Festival at the age of 17. After he saw how the host talked at the ceremony influenced the mood of the ceremony and the people, he was mesmerized by talking in front of people. He liked the idea of being an anchor, looking intellectual in front of everyone and informing current news. Also, realistically he thought that an anchor had a high and respected status in society considering the amount of work they do. Therefore, he believed that an anchor was a great job.
Life as a Sportscaster
When I asked about the schedule of a sportscaster, it was tighter than I had expected. He explained his schedule by taking professional baseball as an example since most people are familiar with it.
Every day, baseball games start at 6 p.m. Sportscasters have to be at the stadium three hours before the game starts. There are many Program Directors (PDs) so one missing PD is not a big deal. However, the game cannot start without the sportscaster because there is only one. Before the game, they have to meet the players, coaches and whoever is associated with the game. The game usually ends around 9 or 10 p.m. and afterwards; the sportscaster goes for a drink with the players and coaches. Participation in drinking parties after the game is a ‘requirement’ for sportscasters because it is where they can get special and personal information about the players for themselves. When sportscasters get that kind of information, they can say more while broadcasting and give more information to the audience. The drinking parties usually end around 6~7 a.m., and when Park goes home or to the hotel he has to organize the figures of how each player did at the game. There are games every day so the figures change after every game. Therefore, he has to organize the figures for every game. Also, in order to broadcast he also has to know how the world goes around. Therefore, he watches the news as well. By the time Park does all these things, it is 8 a.m. and he catches some sleep before waking up at noon and repeats what he did the day before.
A Funny Episode
In baseball, the section where players sit and wait is called a dug-out. In soccer, it is called a bench. During the Chelsea-Shackhtar Donetsk game, Park was intending to say “Chelsea’s Champion John Terry is sitting on the bench.” However, he said “Chelsea’s Champion John Terry is sitting in the dug-out.” Since Park broadcasts both baseball and soccer he suddenly got confused. He got a glance from the commentator next to him and he could hear people laughing in his in-ear (earphone where anchors get direction from the PD in the control room). He could not correct this mistake because if he tried to do it would only bring more attention to his mistake, so he just kept on talking.
Difficulties of Being a Sportscaster
You might think that the biggest difficulty of being a sportscaster would be studying different sports rules. However, Park said that it is not that difficult at all since most men know the rules of many different sports. Also, he said that there is no need to know the specific rules since the job of analyzing the game is for the commentators.
The biggest difficulty of sportscasters is that there is no script. News anchors and MCs have scripts so they can just memorize or read them. However, all sportscasters have are lists of players and the materials they prepared. Also, the games are not planned so sportscasters have to talk spontaneously. Sportscasters have to be careful because the habits of how they talk in their daily lives often slips out.
▲ Park Ki-duk sportscaster (Left) and Joo Sung-no commentator (Right) broadcasting the 2012 LG Korean Women’s baseball tournament | MBC PLUS MEDIA
Merits of an Anchor & Sportscaster
When I asked him what the merits of being a sportscaster were, Park said, “What I say becomes the broadcast.” Like mentioned above, sportscasters do not have scripts, so whatever they say goes straight on air. “As a sportscaster, I get to watch the game that I like up close and get a chance to talk with the best professionals in that field. Plus, I get paid for doing what I love to do,” he added.
Park mentioned other merits of being an anchor. Anchors can earn enough money and have a lot of personal time. He said that when anchors do not go on air, the rest of their times is free time. They can do anything they want and no one says anything about that.
Park’s dream is to be able to broadcast Korean Professional baseball. Also, he wants to try news anchor in the future because what he originally wanted to do after becoming an anchor was to be part of a news broadcast. Thus, he is currently striving to become a news anchor.
After, he finds stability in his life; he wants to do charity work. He wants to help youngsters who are capable but have to give up because of harsh realities.
Last Words to Students
To students who have the dream of becoming an anchor, Park said that they should not just worry about how they can be an anchor. He suggested that they should try anything: go on the broadcasting company’s homepage, e-mail an anchor and ask for advice. Though having a good appearance is an important aspect of being an anchor, he believes that having a good voice is more important. Anchors with good looks will become famous quickly but plummet quickly as well. On the contrary, anchors with a good voice will take a long time to establish themselves as anchors, but will be long-lasting.
There are people who venture blindly without knowing what they are doing or what they want. Of course, those people eventually find their dream later and give up what they are doing to go for their ultimate dream. However, to prevent starting over or to start a little earlier, figuring out yourself by finding out what you like, do not like or what you want or do not want should be proceeded before taking action.
When I asked him what he does to maintain a good appearance, he answered, “Nothing much. Between my male colleagues, there is no appearance competition at all. However, we do have a comment competition. Like who makes better comments on air.” Through this answer and throughout the whole interview, I felt that he was a very cool guy. All of his answers were straightforward and he was very cheerful throughout the interview. Through his lively voice and through his active gestures, I could definitely see the sportscaster character in him in just a one-hour interview.