Haller stays close to the game by calling the game

Senior hopes to pursue broadcasting career after high school

Mason High School senior Ben Haller broadcasts the girls basketball regional final between Mason and Mount Notre Dame with
his broadcast partner Evan Amazon.

Sean Speidel | The Chronicle

From the sidelines of the University of Dayton arena to the press box on Friday nights, Senior Ben Haller has turned what started as a hobby into a potential dream-come-true career opportunity.

Growing up in the world of sports, Haller always had a football or basketball in hand. As he grew older, he found that it was getting harder and harder to compete. Although he was not able to play the sports he loved, his passion for sports never faded. Haller said that he used sports radio as a way to stay a part of the sports world without actually playing in the games.

“Sports has always been a big part of my life,” Haller said. “I just got to the point where I wasn’t good enough to keep playing sports but I still wanted to find a way to stay involved”

Over the course of his tenure with Mason Sports Radio, Haller began with radio announcing. At the time the program did radio broadcasts of all football games and the occasional basketball game. As the program grew, Haller shepherded its transition from radio to video broadcasting as well as expanding to more sports. Although radio and video broadcasts covered the same events, Haller said that the styles of streams differ greatly. In video broadcasting, the commentary is more of a conversation between the two hosts, while in radio, the hosts are tasked with painting a picture of the game to their listeners. Haller said that he enjoys radio broadcasting more because of the challenge that it presents.

When Haller first came on to the sports radio staff, he tried to model his broadcasts off of some of his favorite hosts, Jim Nantz, Kevin Harlan, and Ian Eagle. He enjoyed them because of their unique voices and versatility across sports. Haller said that while he drew some inspiration from big names, it was very important to make his commentary stand out. As Haller continued to broadcast, he began to develop a unique voice of his own.

“When I started, I always tried to model my broadcasting off of another broadcaster and that’s just not how it works,” Haller said. “You have to cater to your own voice and your own flow.”

Calling 100 games across all Mason High School sports, Haller has put hundreds of hours of work into the sports radio program. This work does not just come from the broadcasting itself. Doing the research the night before and getting to the game early are just part of what Haller does to ensure the top-tier quality of his broadcasts. Haller doesn’t always call the games as sports radio members also direct broadcasts, do camera work, and handle the graphics. While he has called 100 games he has been involved in many more.

Over the course of his 100 games, Haller has adjusted in different ways in order to modify his broadcasts. Haller said that he does things such as changing his setup or incorporating elements that the program has not used before in order to give his streams variety.

“I always try to experiment with different things,” Haller said. “The preparation varies, there’s not one routine I do before every game.”

Over the course of his career, Haller has made many special memories. From quadruple overtimes to penalty kicks in the playoffs to announcing from courtside from the University of Dayton(UD) Arena at a girls basketball state championship game, Haller has seen it all.  Haller said that the opportunity to provide courtside commentary at UD arena for the girls basketball state championship game was the culminating moment in his tenure with Mason Sports Radio.

“We worked very hard to get to a point where we could broadcast in a setting like that,” Haller said. “All our hard work came together in that game. It was like nothing that I’ve ever experienced before in this industry.”

For Haller, not only has it been 100 games called, it was also 100 nights of preparation the day before, 100 equipment set-ups, and 100 times calling a game with a fellow commentator. Haller said that these elements created a surreal feeling when he broke the threshold of 100 games.

With the end of the winter sports season, comes the start of spring sports. Haller said that he is looking forward to broadcasting baseball and that the nature of the game excites him. Baseball is a challenge to broadcast because of the many different camera angles needed to give viewers the full experience of the game, but Haller is excited for the challenge that baseball presents. And hopes that his last broadcasting season for Mason sports will be one to remember.

Although this is Haller’s last year in Mason Sports radio, he believes that he is leaving the program in good hands. Haller said that because of the program’s growth in size, quality, and popularity he believes his legacy will live on after he graduates.

“This program will never stop growing and I truly believe that,” Haller said. “ We only had five or six people in my sophomore year. This year we have 18-20 people in the room.”

The sense of community on the Mason Sports Radio staff is one of the main reasons Haller got to notch his 100th game. Haller said that without the togetherness of the staff, he would not have been as driven to broadcast as many games as he could.

“One of my favorite things about sports radio is the team aspect of it, ” Haller said. “I don’t know if I would have had the motivation to do all these games if I didn’t love the people I was working with.”

Photo by Savanah Libby