Wednesday night, a quartet of campers from the Bruce Beck Sports Broadcasting camp were on the call for ESPN’s first-ever KidsCast, a live broadcast of the Little League World Series with young broadcasters commentating and reporting.
Aiden Blanc, a 16-year-old from Connecticut, sat alongside fellow camper, Eddie Kalegi, and former Little League phenom, Mo’ne Davis, in the ESPN booth. Blanc chatted with Fan Source Network over the phone following his appearance on national television.
Andersen Pickard: Before we get into the Little League World Series, can you take me through how you got your start in the broadcasting industry and tell me about some of the highlights of your career?
Aiden Blanc: I started broadcasting when I was three or four years old. I got into it from a very young age; I was never very good at sports but I loved sports and still wanted to be a part of [them] — so how can I still be a part of [them] while not playing? Broadcasting became the answer. My career really didn’t take off until I started in high school as a freshman. I started the broadcasting club at my school. We do live HD video broadcasts, so it’s a lot of fun.
Some of the highlights of my career: I work locally with a TV station every night, getting to shoot, report, and edit highlights. Obviously [the KidsCast] was an incredible highlight of my career — probably the biggest. I’ve also called minor league baseball games and a number of different sports.
AP: How do you get opportunities like that — with the minor league baseball games?
AB: For minor league baseball, I won the “Kids Run The Ballpark” contest and they had me come back to shoot two or three games each year. It was an unbelievable opportunity.
AP: You have been a member of the Bruce Beck Sports Broadcasting Camp for several years now. What is that camp like, who have you worked with, and how has it impacted your career?
AB: I’ve been a member for three years. The first year, it was once camp run by Bruce and the Knicks’ play-by-play guy, Ed Cohen. The last two years, it has been split off — Bruce and Ed run the rookie camp, and the veteran camp for kids who have been to the camp one year already, or who have a year of experience in high school, is run by Mike Quick. Mike is one of the biggest influences of my career, an unbelievable mentor. Bruce, Ed, and Mike are unbelievable mentors.
AP: What are some of the things you have been able to do in that camp?
AB: We have gotten so much on-camera exposure. We did a one-minute commentary, we did an interview with Sean O’Hara, we did a 30-second breaking news story, we did a PTI-style debate show, we did play-by-play for the Knicks, and we did a sportscast with highlights and scores.
AP: So from what I gather, you were in the car and you got a text from Bruce Beck. Little did you know you were about to be told you would be broadcasting the Little League World Series. Take me through that moment and what your thoughts were.
AB: It was pretty crazy. I had just called an American Legion game and I got a text from Bruce saying to call him, and I did, and he told me that I was going to do the Little League World Series. It was pretty crazy. I didn’t know whether he was joking, but then I kind of [realized] that this was for real … it was incredible.
AP: How long have you been in Williamsport? Take me through what you’ve been able to do both in preparation for the broadcast, and also just how you have enjoyed the LLWS and its events.
AB: We came down early Sunday morning and watched the two games on the U.S. side because the winners played in our game [Wednesday] night — Hawai’i and Virginia. I did get a chance to go to the MLB game that night, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life, it was absolutely incredible. I didn’t really know what to expect, whether it was going to be totally kids-themed, or what it was going to be like, but it [ended up being] absolutely incredible. Monday, everybody came in and we had a chance to watch some more games and then we met our producer, Joe. Tuesday, we went to the ballpark and did a rehearsal game and the later game, too, so we got to work out the kinks. Wednesday, one of the reporters, Rahill, and I watched the 11 a.m. game and relaxed and came over later to watch the 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. games — of course, calling the 7 p.m. game.
AP: And then last night. I watched the broadcast and you all did great. Obviously, that was an amazing experience. Just talk to me about some of the things you did behind the scenes with stats, data, interviews, production, etc. to produce a great broadcast.
AB: On Wednesday we came over around three — we were in the truck. Eddie [Kalegi] and I had already done our prep. Rahill and Zoe were looking for stories. We sat in the production room, there was a little rain, so we waited that out. We were sitting in the green room and had Bruce talk to us, we had Kevin Negandhi talk to us, we had Kevin Connors — we met a number of different people. And then we were in the green room relaxing and we watched the Japan-South Korea game and we went to dinner all together. Then, we walked to the stadium once the [previous] game was over. We did SportsCenter with Kevin Negandhi, taping a segment there. Then, we went into the stadium, took a couple pictures, and did the opener for Baseball Tonight with Karl Ravech. After that, we did the open to the actual broadcast [on ESPN] with Ravech, and then we sat down and got to call the game [on ESPN].
AP: What are the next steps in your broadcasting career and where do you think this career could take you.
AB: Hopefully, they do another one of these. This was a lot of fun and I would love to be a part of it again. This was incredible. I think, from what people have been saying on social media and online, the majority of people see it as a success and would love to see more of it, so hopefully this happens again. I am going back to high school in a few weeks — I’ll be a junior. When we get back, I will run right over to the football field and start covering training camp and fall sports [which] begins soon.
AP: And which sports do you cover?
AB: In the fall, it’s football, boys and girls soccer, and a little field hockey. In the winter, it’s boys and girls basketball and hockey. In the spring, it’s baseball, softball, and boys and girls lacrosse.
Cover image courtesy of Aiden Blanc