By: Amber Nightengale
Renowned sportscaster Christian Heimall has always loved baseball from the time he was growing up. A die-hard Boston Red Sox fan, he was like most young boys and dreamed of playing in the major leagues. As a sophomore in high school, he realized that while he may not be able to play baseball professionally, there were other options which would keep him connected to the sport he was passionate about. He chose sportscasting, leading him on the adventure of a lifetime.
Upon graduating from high school, Heimall chose Hofstra University specifically for their radio program. He was given the opportunity to work in the student-run radio program, giving him experience in play-by-play for college football and basketball. Once he was out of college, Heimall began work calling college sports. By his early 20s, Heimall was doing play-by-play for Manhattan College; already at the top of his game.
During this time, Heimall had begun his own sports podcast. In June of 2017, he joined Baxter Colburn in a new enterprise known as Public House Media. Since then, he has been working with Public House Media as the Sports Director.
One common misconception about both sportscasting and podcasting is how “easy” it seems. Countless shows about a wide variety of subjects dominate the Internet; there is truly something for everyone, so finding listeners should be a fairly easy thing to accomplish. At the time of his initial partnership with Public House Media, Heimall was already running his own sports podcast. He chose Public House Media because the marketing team was more focused on helping him grow his podcast. His listening audience began to slowly grow with the help of his dedicated team.
While most sports fans would enjoy a job which allows them to regularly watch sports, Christian Heimall’s position is not without challenges. While in college, he had been taught to be as neutral as possible while giving commentary on the games he was calling. However, this standard was challenged when a friend advised him that perhaps allowing his fans to see his loyalties would not be such a bad thing. As a sportscaster, Heimall has the distinct privilege of narrating some incredible moments; showing his joy for his favorite teams while remaining tactful during difficult calls gives people more of a connection to the sport. This is especially true in the case of college sports; while professional sports have their share of die-hard fans, Heimall believes there is something truly special about being heavily involved with so much school pride.
As of right now, one of Heimall’s fondest memories for his line of work goes back to 2013, during his time at Manhattan College. The men’s basketball team won the NCAA championship for the first time in a decade. He was part of a group who had been invited to participate in CBS’ Selection Sunday, where a portion of the final game he had been calling was played on national television. As stated before, the art of calling sports is the narration of memories; this was a memory which would go down in history for Manhattan College.
Heimall also notes that legendary sportscasters have helped make memories for people who were not even present during the game. An example of this is the Miracle on Ice, where the United States Men’s Hockey team took on the reigning champions of the Soviet Union. The game had a calling delay; something unheard of in 2016. The entire nation rallied together at the height of the Cold War, supporting the young men as they took home the gold medal. Without the instant knowledge of today’s Internet, the entire world waited with baited breath, glued to their televisions and radios to wait for the impending result. The joy was narrated by the legendary Al Michaels, who gave the game a voice. It is this type of special bond sports fans worldwide can share for a lifetime, something which spans time and generations. This is what makes Christian Heimall’s job so special.
When he is not calling sports, Heimall can be found with his two dogs or enjoying the Marvel Universe. If he had been asked five years ago, Heimall admits his favorite superhero would have been Spider-Man, mostly because of the cool gadgets and the spidey sense. Currently, the snark of Deadpool and the cosmic power of Doctor Strange have left Heimall waiting for more Marvel movies. If he would choose a favorite villain, he crosses to the DC Universe, where he finds the Joker, impressively played by so many people and always somehow relatable.
To aspiring podcasters and sportscasters alike, Heimall suggests not being afraid to start small. Coming from a bigger city on the East Coast to a small town in Iowa, he has found it a little difficult to fit into the local sports. Most people see him as more big-city, bigger college sports. Starting small gives the advantage of more practice, more time to hone the craft of sportscasting. In the same breath, he also advises to not be afraid to be unique; trying to be a copy of a legend will not work. Find an interest, stay with it, and continue working. Heimall’s work ethic and talents have led him to where he is today; living his dream.