There is a prestigious award that everyone in the Butler Student Sports Media program strives for. A big competition arises between all of the students for the entire year. This award is not just for the hard work put in the classroom, but it is also the work outside that helps people win. This award is Butler’s “Best Sportscaster of the Year” award, and it was most recently won by a first-year student who has returned for his sophomore year at Butler, Tucker Ashburn.
Ashburn was interested in broadcasting games before he even started Butler’s Sports Media Program.
“He had done filming for football for Riley County High School,” Mike Swan, Student Sports Media adviser, said. “He was interested in that, so we took him on in this program.”
Many people in his high school thought Ashburn was a very good filmer for the football games.
“The coach there at Riley County said that he produced the best video they ever had, and Tucker has stories where he had to lean out of a press box… and he had just like a handheld personal camera,” Swan said. “He made it look good.”
Ashburn has been dedicated to whichever broadcasting program he has been in. From leaning out of a press box with a handheld camera to enduring the harsh year of sports last year, no matter what challenges faced Ashburn, he was ready for them.
Last year was a very rough year all-around. With the effects of COVID pushing the sports games back a semester, it affected the broadcasting program as well. Because it was not an easy year, he had to persevere throughout the school year. Very few people were in the class, and even fewer people wanted to be a part of the broadcast team on KBTL 88.1 FM or on the stream. There were only three other people in his class that would do the broadcasts with him and only six people, Ashburn said.
“First it was me and one guy, for like the first few games,” Ashburn said. “Then to the middle part, it was a guy who was an art/TV student. Then towards the end, it was me and the art/TV guy and another guy who’s on the livestock judging team. It was pretty much me and whoever could fill in.”
Ashburn did not take a game off as he was dedicated to the broadcasts.
“I did two games during spring break by myself,” Ashburn said.
In a normal year, the students broadcast all the women’s and men’s basketball contests and the football games, home and away. They added some baseball last year.
He stayed an extra day at the dorms and came back a day early, so that he could broadcast more games. That is a tough thing to do for college students because most students love to have that time off to relax and not have to worry about school.
Not only is Ashburn good outside of the classroom, but he is also an excellent student. Swan loved having Tucker in class last year.
“Tucker is very detail-oriented, likes things to be lined up,” Swan said. “[He] volunteers with things. [He] loves to get along with other people in the classroom.”
Ashburn has been very helpful to his classmates this year. He understands he is the only returning person for the sports broadcasting program. Because of that, he has taken on the role of a mentor, trying to teach everyone how to set up and work the equipment. He also offers tips to new people in the program who had never been on air here before.
Aiden Harper, a first-year student in Student Sports Media, was very happy to have Ashburn work with him for his first time on-air.
“I have to learn a lot from him, obviously, because it was my first time, but I mean I have already learned a lot from him,” Harper said.
Ashburn has given many tips to his classmates to make sure that they know the right things to do on-air. He wants them to succeed and be able to mentor the people that are going into the program next year.
“I have never tried play-by-play before but I think next time I am going to try play-by-play and use some of the tips he gave me like speak clearly and don’t stutter or anything, so that is what I’m going to try and do,” Harper said.
Although Ashburn may seem like he would be uptight, he is a very ‘chill’ person. He is very nice and easygoing when you get the chance to talk to him. While he may be shy at first, but once you push through that, then it is very easy to talk with him.
“Trying to build chemistry with him was tough, but we were able to relate throughout the course of the game,” Harper said.
Not only has he helped his classmates, but he has even managed to help out his instructors with the knowledge that he has received over the past year. With having to do most of the broadcasts last year, Ashburn has learned many things about the equipment both in the studio and on-air. In the studio, he has his show, “Open Door Policy,” which airs every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. He also helps “The Cave,” a student-led sports talk show that goes on air every Thursday from 3-4 p.m. He is such a big part of 88.1 FM “The Grizz” and KBTL.Butlercc.edu.
If he is around his classmates, whether he is on-air or not, he is always helping them do the right thing. He gives them tips on breaks, giving them positive feedback and telling them what they could improve on. Ashburn has been very helpful to anyone and everyone around him.
Even though Ashburn has helped his classmates with learning how to be a good broadcaster, he has set his sights on becoming a back-to-back “Sportscaster of The Year.” There has been a challenge set between his classmates to see who can get this award. Everyone is trying their hardest to take the award away from the person that has taught them what to do. Even though Ashburn is the only person to have experience in Butler broadcasting, it will be very interesting to see who will be able to win it.