The Illinois Center for Broadcasting, would like to thank Chris Rongey, the studio host of the pre and post games for the White Sox Radio Network for his visit with the students at the Chicago Campus.
Chris has been at WSCR-670AM, “The Score,” for twelve years. On occasion he has also performed play-by-play announcing duties for the White Sox games. His background also includes work as a print journalist for the Daily Herald, as the White Sox columnist for the sports section.
Chris shared with the students how he worked his way up to his current position from the bottom up. He served as an intern for KMOX-AM for just under a year. He used that experience to get a job as a news anchor for two years for WJBC 1230 AM in Bloomington, Illinois. Chris then moved into a job for a year as a marketing assistant for National Sports Agency in the St. Louis area. He then found a position as a broadcaster for Total Traffic Network where he continues to work along with his current position as the studio host for the pre/post games on the White Sox Radio Network.
As Chris noted to the students, he sometimes had to take jobs in broadcasting that he really didn’t want to do – such as “news” on weekends for 1230 AM in Bloomington. He sometimes got calls from listeners who were looking for a missing turtle or wanted to know when the mattress store was open – all to be expected when you work in a small market radio station. Chris noted that small town He took a job working at a sports agency firm when he left the Bloomington station, and wound up working with various NFL celebrities and realized after a year, this was not something he really liked. So he went back to a college buddy to use the college studio at ISU and on a weekend he worked on a demo reel so that potential employers could hear how he sounded.
Chris was persistent in sending out demo reels and following up with potential employers, something he highly recommended that the students also do. He noted that one should not take a “no” as absolute or a reflection that “you’ve done something wrong…possibly the company just doesn’t need you at that time.”
A student asked Chris if he ever had to fill in for a play-by-play announcer and he related that about 15 times he did fill in on the radio. One time when Hawk Harrelson, the Sox TV announcer called in sick, the broadcast producer looked for Chris to fill-in on the TV side, but no one seemed to know that Mr. Rongey had been assigned to a radio announce booth different from his usual perch and so when Chris couldn’t be found, he lost the opportunity to do a TV play-by-play game – something he hopes he’ll be able to do in the future.
Chris also shared the importance of keeping a confidence and not broadcasting something about a player that had been learned off the record. That was a point he stressed that each student learn now and stick to it.