MSU College of Communication Arts & Sciences hosted an event for alumni at Comerica Park. Special guests Mario Impemba and Dan Dickerson offered words of wisdom for MSU students.

On June 26 the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences hosted ComArtSci at the Ballpark. The event brought together ComArtSci alumni and friends for a pre-game picnic at Comerica Park, including special guests Fox Sports Detroit announcer Mario Impemba (’85, Telecommunication), Vice President for Park Operations Mike Healy (’90, Communication), and radio announcer Dan Dickerson. The Tigers would go on to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-4.

As part of the picnic program, we asked Mario Impemba and Dan Dickerson for one piece of advice that they would give to current MSU students who are looking to get into their line of work. Here is what they had to say:

Mario Impemba:

“I have to be careful the way I say this because I don’t want my education at MSU… I don’t want people to get the wrong idea. It was a great education, and I went through all the classes, I got my degree, but to be honest with you I learned how to do what I wanted to do by practical experience. You cannot learn to be a broadcaster by reading a book. You’ll go through the workshops, and how to edit, and how to do things, and yes that’s good. You’ve got to get your education and your degree, but if I had not gotten involved in campus radio, and practiced, and did games, I would never be here. There is no substitute for experience.”

Dan Dickerson:

“A lot of times now those opportunities are being taken away from student radio, which I think is crazy. But if you can’t get in to campus radio, my belief is go practice somewhere. Go find Comcast to do a local high school game in your town wherever you live. It’s amazing how many local cable access [channels] are doing sports, Friday night football. Find a way. Or just go practice. Go practice at, if you’re a student at Michigan State, at those early exhibition games when the basketball team plays nobody of importance and there’s nobody at the game… Find a way. Get to know people at sports information…. Sit courtside and practice your play-by-play. Find ways to practice your play-by-play on other sports. My wife teaches at Michigan State. She had her students, because they couldn’t do some of the other sports, they ended up doing dodge ball… It doesn’t matter what the sport is. Show that you can call the sport. I think you would agree, when we listen to tapes, I think you can tell. Even if someone is raw, I think you can usually tell. Either they have it or they don’t… And don’t ever let anybody tell you that the field is crowded. No. I’m a firm believer, and I think Mario is too, if you’re talented there’s always room. There’s always room in this field for more talented and creative people… Or women get stereotyped and pigeonholed into sideline reporting a lot of the times. There’s going to be a lot more opportunities, I think, for women in play-by-play in the years ahead… Don’t let anyone say you can’t do play-by-play if you’re not a male because there’s going to be those opportunities.”

Mario Impemba:

“I would also add to that, as well. I had a professor at MSU my freshman year. It was a basic comm class. He had the class raise their hand if they wanted to get involved in television and raise their hand if they wanted to get involved in radio. I raised my hand for radio. And I had the professor actually say, “Okay, those that raised their hand for radio: forget it. You don’t want to get into radio. That’s a terrible career choice.” And I’m sitting here at my desk going, “Alrighty then. I guess I can just leave now. Become a packaging major, I don’t know.” So, that speaks to Dan’s thought of don’t let anybody pigeonhole you into what you don’t want to do, if there’s something you’re passionate about. It’s cliché-ish, I understand, but, you know. Why grow up and do something you’re not going to be happy doing, when you can try and fail at something that you could be happy doing. At least you tried.”

Thanks to the MSU College of Communication Arts & Sciences for hosting this wonderful event!

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