Game day Saturdays in Nebraska are a staple to many. Getting up and wearing their favorite Nebraska Cornhusker shirt, tailgating with friends and family and going to the stadium to cheer on their favorite team, it all goes into the experience for every fan. For Austin Oerman, a senior broadcasting and sports media and communication double-major in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, his game days are much different than the average person.
Oerman works for KRNU, a student-run radio station that broadcasts the Nebraska football games live. He also provides post-game coverage for the Husker IMG Sports Network, which produces and broadcasts of the University of Nebraska football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball games.
“Not many people know what goes into a game day process, and they think they know everything that goes into it, but in reality, most don’t,” Oerman said.
His game day starts on Monday, doing research and preparing for the broadcast on Saturday. Oerman shows up to Andersen Hall four hours before kickoff to finalize his last-minute preparations. He then heads to Memorial Stadium three hours before the game starts. During the time in-between arriving at the stadium and the game starts, Oerman is looking over his notes and preparing for the 75-minute pregame show that takes place. His quiet nature lends itself to the lonely job of reporting.
For Oerman, a Lincoln native, broadcasting a live-action game can and does have some challenges. While on the air, there isn’t an opportunity to be a bystander of the game.
“We have to watch and observe the game in a different way than most other people in the stadium,” Oerman said.
Broadcasting hasn’t always been a part of Oerman’s life. In fact, prior to college, he had zero radio experience. Growing up, he would always listen to sports talk radio with his dad in the car. As a junior and senior in high school at Lincoln Lutheran, he had a summer job where he would listen to sports talk radio all day long.
“That’s really where my interest started. I thought, ‘Hey, I could go to school for that,’” Oerman said.
His experience working game day has led him and his classmates, Ilum Hansen and Logan Skrabal, to their first sports media and communication capstone project. The project consists of a three-person perspective on game days: Oerman through the student-run radio and working game days, Skrabal through playing in the Cornhusker Marching Band and Hansen through a typical student, tailgating and attending the game. The biggest challenge for the group has been trying to get the project focused and determine what really matters to the audience. The project will take multiple forms.
“Right now, it’s mostly text, but we also have pictures, audio clips and video,” Oerman said.
The group feels that giving the audience a three-person perspective into a typical game day will allow them to understand what goes on during the course of a game. They also want to show the audience what needs to happen prior to game day for it to run smooth and effective. Giving the audience this perspective will allow the readers to appreciate it more and how it all comes together.
Graduating in May 2020, Oerman hopes to continue to work with the Husker Sports Network doing sports talk radio. He is confident in the radio production skills he has learned and the radio experience he has had at KRNU, while in college. He loves what he does and feels like he’s good at it and can excel in the professional world.
“I’m an opinionated person, and I like doing the research on the topics and sharing that with people,” Oerman said.
With any career or within your own life, there are going to be some challenges to go through. However, there haven’t been many roadblocks along the way for Oerman.
“If the worst part of my life so far is a broken finger and a bad breakup, I’m doing pretty good,” he said.