The Face of the “Voice of the Highlanders”
Written on: April 15th, 2012
For sports fanatics all over the world, there is truly nothing that gets your heart racing more than the sound of a broadcaster’s voice when a game winning three pointer goes in the net. Nothing can beat the stumbling of words in a broadcasters voice when a team that’s down eight runs in a baseball game happens to pull through in the bottom of the ninth and win the series. A man who gets to live in this excitement every day, and get paid for it, is sports enthusiast and media talent, Rick Watson.
Watson, also known as the “Voice of the Highlanders” is currently the Director of Sales and Sponsorship within the Radford University Athletics Department, as well is the head of broadcasting for the games. RU is a Division I sports organization comprised of 19 different sports teams, all of which he works to gain sponsorship for. He is also referred to as the “Big Dog” from his ten year, three hours a day radio show called “Big Dog Sports Talk Show”.
For the four month long basketball season, Watson is busy as the head voice and broadcaster for the games, home or away. In the eight months he’s not busy with basketball, he is broadcasting other games, such as baseball. His general duties outside of being the “voice of the highlanders” are to find companies and businesses that want to sponsor and give money to the Athletic Department.
Watson said every time he approaches a business he tries not to make it all about sealing a deal and getting money. He stressed the fact that he tries to create a relationship with his clients. One piece of advice he had for anyone interested in sports marketing and sales is that it’s important to know your client, build a relationship and gain trust before you even mention a business proposal. “Everyone wants to be a part of an athletic department because you’re then part of a community,” he said.
Watson is also in charge of social networking for RU athletics. “In one month, the month of January I believe, we got 400,000 hits on our website. That’s parents, student athletes, coaches, business, etc. all interested in what our program has to offer,” he said. These advertisements online are a huge part of RU revenue, as well as advertisements on stadium scoreboards, signs around the fields, radio ads, half time promotions, etc. and it’s Watson’s job to set them up.
“There are so many different hats you wear in this job,” he said. Watson builds relationships with clients, travels to meet with them, works with people in the advertisements business to create signs, etc. He broadcasts the basketball games, baseball games, helps with half time shows and business promotions, and much more.
“It’s got to be something you love,” he said. It does indeed have to be something you love and are passionate about for the amount of time and energy Watson dedicates to the RU Altletic Program.
When asked if he would change positions are reloacted to another job any time in the furture, Watson said he is perfectly happy here and loves coming to work every day. Having grown up in Pulaski County, been an RU graduate and is now and RU employee, it’s clear that Watson’s life is in Southern Virginia and he loves it here.
“I’m very happy here, I appreciate the opportunity they’ve given me to work here. You always keep your ears open if a great thing comes along though. I never close any doors, never close a door until you’ve at least opened it too look inside,” he said.