With his lifetime passion of analyzing sports, James McCarty’s start at MSUM put him on a path to his dream career.
James lives and breathes athletics as the sports director for Flag Family Media/WDAY Radio on 93.1 FM and 970 AM. Known as “Big Game James”, he does everything from spouting in-depth analysis to orchestrating interviews with MSUM hall-of-famers. James features as the daily sports segment on the radio show “The Coffee Club” to give daily local and national sports updates. He also hosts “Flag Sports Saturday” on Saturday’s from 9am-11am.
James interviews area athletes, coaches and analysts. His reach knows no bounds, from giving play-by-plays of high school football, to previewing the upcoming MSUM Dragons basketball season, or even visiting the Minnesota Vikings’ facility to see the new TCO Performance Center, “Big Game” has been there and done that, despite his youth.
He’s also brought back the radio show “Prime Time Sports” on WDAY Radio, weeknights from 6:30-8 p.m. Originally hosted by the late Scotty Miller, James highlights local and national athletes, predicts what's to come in the season and even shares the airwaves with his vocal listeners.
"The greatest thing about the show is that it brings sports talk back to the metro,” he says. “We can also have listeners call in and can give their insights to what’s to come in the season.”
James’ love for sports started just like any other kids’ did. He played baseball and football in high school and had a love for hockey for as long as he could remember. His love extended beyond the playing field, though. Even from a young age, he was constantly commentating.
"I can analyze anything in sports,” he says. “It turned into a passion for talking with others and learning their mindsets.”
That passion fueled his pursuit of a broadcast journalism degree from MSUM.
As a freshman, James took his first crack at journalism as a member of MSUM’s Campus News. He saw the effort it takes to run a professional newscast. A team of dedicated student reporters, photographers, anchors and producers make up the program. James loves the guidance that both the professors and professional guests put into the students' work.
“They came in every week and critiqued our work, gave us tips and helped us improve,” he says.
Working for Campus News showed James what it takes to succeed in journalism. Along with his classes, he learned key components of working in this industry.
"There's a lot of encouraging constructive criticism, which is something that can get lost sometimes,” he says. “You have to be able to know where to improve and it’s only been rewarding and helpful for my career.”
James worked his way up the studio from being a reporter to a head producer his senior year. He knows that the work of program director and professor Aaron Quanbeck set him up for success.
“I love the opportunities we were given,” James says. “He (Professor Quanbeck) has gone above and beyond to prepare me for the position I'm in today.”
Throughout his experience, James figured out curiosity is the most important trait to sharpen.
"You have to be curious,” he says. “You're not going to get anywhere if you're not asking questions.”
The work James has done for the community has rewarded him in every way possible. He loves being able to help athletes tell their stories and fuel the heart of sports-talk in the area.
“I love every minute of it, I really do,” he says.
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