Sunday, May 19, 2024

Student Broadcaster lands gig in Iowa

Liam Sample calls a game in a broadcasting booth.


By Collin Bolebruch

Liam Sample is the teaching assistant for Cardinal Points, but does not contribute to the content of the publication.


Plattsburgh State fans are well-acquainted with the deep, excited voice of play-by-play commentator Liam Sample. The junior appears as the live broadcaster at every Cardinals game he can attend — especially his bread and butter, hockey. 

This summer, Sample will be known as the voice of the Burlington Bees in Burlington, Iowa.

Sample wasn’t new to broadcasting before coming to SUNY Plattsburgh. The Plattsburgh native claimed he’s been calling games since he was a kid, walking around the house, commentating imaginary games, imitating the Yankees announcers he had grown to love.

Originally, Sample planned on pursuing a career as a doctor. As college decision time grew nearer, he had a change of heart.

“I realized that if I don’t give this childhood dream a turn, I will regret it for the rest of my life because I know I want to try,” Sample said. 

Sample graduated from Beekmantown High School early and enrolled in SUNY Plattsburgh’s broadcast journalism program for the fall of 2021.

In his first semester, Sample reached out to the department for any experience and he was quickly brought on.

Sample started calling hockey in January 2022, and he’s picked up most other sports along the way. Along the way, he’s broadcasted at Dartmouth, Middlebury and St. Michael’s.

This academic year, the Plattsburgh State Athletics brought Sample on as athletic communications student lead for broadcasting and creative content. On top of his broadcast duties, Sample edits videos, manages streaming equipment and takes photos.

“A lot of jobs in the play-by-play industry require you to wear different hats,” Sample said. “There’s some play-by-play announcers that do ticket operations for teams. That’s just how you get your foot in the door for a job.”

Sample, preparing for graduation, applied for 24 play-by-play internships across the country. After interviewing for a few different teams, he was accepted by the Bees, a collegiate summer baseball team 1,000 miles away.

“I’ve never moved before,” Sample said. “It’d be the first time I’ve ever lived away from home, regardless of being 18 hours away. So I am a little nervous.”

Sample is next in line of a series of Plattsburgh State Athletics sports information department members to land professional gigs in recent years. Last summer, students Ryan Nista and Julia Ennis were hired by the NFL and Buffalo Sabers respectively.

In 2022, baseball pitcher and digital media production major Ryan Nista took initiative and gave his team a media day, complete with photos and videos for the upcoming season.

The department noticed and offered Nista to shoot media days across Plattsburgh State. Eventually, Nista landed a role as sports media associate.

“It was really exciting because I wanted to do more than just baseball,” Nista said. “I just tried to build my portfolio as much as I could and take as many photos at sporting events as I could.”

Nista’s portfolio with the department and his work with Plattsburgh State TV were significant in him landing a seasonal position as the NFL’s live digital media specialist.

Nista collaborated with Ennis that season to produce content for Plattsburgh State. Ennis, a soccer player and digital media production major, was brought on as student leader of creative content and social media manager.

“Being able to say that I did work closely in college with a collegiate athletic department definitely, definitely helped,” Ennis said.

Ennis now serves as a game presentation assistant for the Buffalo Sabres of the NHL.

Sample’s experience with Plattsburgh State will be instrumental for any sports information job he applies for. Just like he did, anyone can give it a try.

“The Plattsburgh State Athletics department does a good job of encapsulating the philosophy of wanting to give everybody opportunities,” Sample said. “They’re willing, for pretty much anyone who reaches out to give them an opportunity.”


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