“Hartford Talent”: Ty Anderson shares his journey to cover Boston sports

Ty Anderson walks down from his desk to the break room after listening to the first couple minutes of the Bruins game on the radio. It is March 25, and an important regular season bout between the Boston Bruins and the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning is underway. Ty covers the Bruins and other topics for 98.5 The Sports Hub, a popular sports radio station in Boston. When Ty is at the office, as opposed to watching at home or covering the event at TD Garden, he prefers watching downstairs because the upstairs television’s feed is a little behind.

The 5-foot-7, skinny 27 year old sits down with a big, yellow notepad to jot down quick notes during stops in the action. “I like when my handwriting is messy,” Ty explains, “because that means a lot was happening.” His apparel this evening consists of an old-school Detroit Tigers hat, a long-sleeved light blue flannel, a grey undershirt, tight blue jeans and white Nike shoes. He has a haul of snacks and refreshments to choose from, so Ty grabs some Goldfish, Swedish Fish and a purple Gatorade. His laptop, phone and notepad are never out of reach, as he needs all of them over the course of the game.

Ty’s job consists of many tasks. His main focus takes place on Causeway Street, as he covers all things Bruins for The Sports Hub’s website. When he’s not writing articles defending the play of Tuukka Rask or Torey Krug, he occasionally appears on the station’s weekday radio programming. Especially with the Bruins in the playoffs, Ty often comes on to laugh and joke with Toucher and Rich in the morning or to yell and argue with Felger and Mazz in the afternoon. Ty enjoys going on both shows and equates the two program’s differing styles as, “appeasing both sides of my personality.” Ty is also expanding his role by covering all four Boston teams, not just the Bruins. He writes stories regarding the Patriots, Celtics and Red Sox. Although Ty has had other jobs in the past, including working at restaurants and traveling agencies, he cannot imagine doing anything else for a career.


Ty first lived in Chelsea, Massachusetts but moved to Billerica around the age of 11. He considers Billerica where he grew up in regards to school and becoming who he is. Naturally, Boston sports became a huge part of his life at a young age. “My mother was – is – a gigantic sports fan,” Ty says. “I went to my first Red Sox game when I was four, first Bruins game when I was four.” Sports were such a big part of growing up that Ty even mentions, “I watched, I think, probably every game that’s ever been broadcasted in this area from 1994, when I can remember it, until now.” Ty chuckled at this realization.

Ty’s first taste of sports coverage was at his high school newspaper. The paper asked him what topic he wanted to cover, so Ty answered music. However, the paper had other ideas. The teacher who oversaw the paper noticed Ty’s fashion choices. “People knew me as the kid who was always wearing hockey shirts,” Ty recalls. He then chuckles as he remembers, “I had a shirt, basically, of every Bruins player that they sold back then. The team was not good so it was, like, four.” The teacher who let Ty join the paper asked him if he wanted to write about sports, and Ty agreed. As he started writing, Ty started to develop a thirst for an audience. “I think seeing your name in print and realizing people were reading what you were saying about a sports team, like, that was a really cool feeling,” Ty says. “[People] then coming up to you and saying, ‘Hey I read this and I disagree with it, or I like it’, you know, that’s cool. That was a really cool feeling. And I think once I got a hold of that, I was like, ‘Wow, how can we make this even better?’”

Blogging had started to take off, and Ty decided to make his own website to share what was on his mind. “I was a 17-year-old high school kid just writing about my thoughts on the NHL or my thoughts on the Red Sox. Whatever I wanted,” Ty said. “It was just a way to keep myself active and get out there more, and the more I did it, the more I realized that I was developing an audience.” Ty also concluded he enjoyed blogging. “I was having fun, which I think is the biggest thing at the end of the day is that you wanted to do something that was A. fulfilling and B. was fun too.”

After high school, Ty enrolled in Middlesex Community College. While mainly directing his energy to his personal blog, he started to write for a website titled Hockey Independent. “That was my first time writing about a team, like, on a beat,” Ty recalls. While he lacked a press pass, he was still writing everyday. “These were thoughts, recaps, previews, and it was all over the place,” Ty remembers. He wrote for Hockey Independent while still taking classes. Ty knew he had an appetite for writing, but did not know what he wanted to do for a career. While in college, Ty was, “Kind of stuck in that middle ground of believing in yourself and believing you can do this, or trying to be practical and say, ‘Okay I need to have a career and maybe the writing will be a backup.’”

In 2010, Ty took a very important step. He was hired by Hockeybuzz.com during his sophomore year of college to cover the Boston Bruins. With millions of page views each month, it was an opportunity to show his skills to a larger audience. Another benefit was Ty was given a press pass that made it possible for him to cover practices and home games. He also made the decision to drop-out of college about six months after joining Hockeybuzz. Ty now felt during his inaugural season, “No, this isn’t not the backup, this is the primary.”

However, it was still not smooth skating for Ty at this point. While getting his writing career on track, he was bouncing from job to job, while still writing, and concluded this is not what he wanted his life to be. “I had every job that I could to try to figure out what the hell I wanted to do with my life,” Ty says. “But nothing ever gave me the same joy that writing, even for pennies, you know, even for few hundred bucks a month from Hockeybuzz, gave me.”

An important moment for Ty’s career happened in his fourth or fifth year at Hockeybuzz. After a crucial game in the Bruins’ season, Ty disagreed with a player’s opinion on a penalty that was not called. A heated argument ensued. “They questioned if I was actually watching the game,” Ty recalls. “To which I said yes, yes I was.” It was the first time Ty had an intense conversation with a player. “I’ll never forget that because that was a moment where it was kind of fight or flight,” Ty explained. “You can say, ‘Oh I’m sorry,’ or you can say, ‘No I was watching.’” That was an important moment because it “kind of gave me the confidence and the realization that these players are not your friends. You’re not here to do P.R. for them.” Ty mentions how that really altered the way he does his job since, “That was the first time a player pushed back on me.” While Ty was frustrated and thought the player acted like a jerk, he did not let the altercation change his coverage of the player.

Ty’s next big jump in his career happened October 27, 2016, when Ty was hired to cover the Bruins for 93.7 WEEI, a popular sports radio station in Boston. This was Ty’s chance to reach a mainstream Boston audience. For the next two years, Ty tried to separate himself from the logjam at WEEI but was frustrated because he was behind four other website writers. “I didn’t want to just be a spare part,” Ty explains. “I wanted to be a focal point of a website’s coverage to further develop my own skills and my career as a whole.” Then, in August of 2017, Ty had a meeting that would drastically alter his career.

Before the start of the Bruin’s 2017-2018 campaign, Ty had a meeting with WEEI program director Joe Zarbano. Ty wanted a larger role at the station, especially after he noticed there were roles open he could fill. Ty wanted to know what he could do to strengthen his skills. “I was told to my face, ‘You’re not talented enough for Boston. You belong in a smaller market, like Hartford,’” Ty remembers. Ty asked what he could do to alter this perception but was again told, “‘You’re not talented enough to bring listeners in.’” Ty sarcastically mentioned hearing this was, “A super good feeling.”

It was clear to Ty that working at WEEI was not a realistic long term plan. So, he sent his resume to 98.5 The Sports Hub, WEEI’s main competitor.  After a long, complicated process, Ty was officially hired by The Sports Hub on April 23, 2018. Interestingly enough, Ty had been telling his friends and family he wanted to work at The Sports Hub since it launched in August, 2009. “If I had projected a 10 year thing, my joke was I wanted to be working with Felger and Mazz, and I didn’t know how, I just knew I wanted to do it,” Ty explains. “I get texts from my friends from high school saying, ‘You said you were gonna do this, and now you’re doing it.’ It’s really cool, it’s a really great feeling.”

“I can’t get him to go to bed sometimes,” jokes Tim Staskiewicz, The Sports Hub’s digital program director. Ty prides himself on his ambition and is constantly thinking about ways to polish his skills.  Even in his 10th season covering the Bruins, he is still as motivated as ever to improve. “I’m still very driven to be the absolute best,” Ty says. “And there are people who are still ahead of me that I want to beat.”  Ty admits he would have liked to know a few things upon entering this competitive, unpredictable business a decade ago. “There were some nights where I was like, ‘This isn’t fair.’ Nothing’s fair, you have to go out there and do it,” Ty says. “I would get so bothered by people getting opportunities instead of me, where it was like ‘No, go out there and earn those.’”

Ty’s current job consists of many interesting components he was not getting while working as a bartender. Ty, like so many other sports media members, had to work other jobs while still holding out hope for their dream. He believes he has a greater appreciation for his position at The Sports Hub after chasing it for so many years. Ty explains that the people who have to work other jobs are grateful just going to a ho-hum regular season game, because it is so much more exciting than any other part of their day. “And that’s what opened my eyes. I think realizing that I had to work other jobs to survive, but I had this really cool side job that was, like, a lot of fun,” Ty says enthusiastically.

Ty certainly appreciates the perks of being a full-time sports media member. “This is a really fun job, man. And this job allows you to go to pretty much any sporting event you want to go to,” Ty points out. “As long as you have the energy and the willingness to write about the event you’re going to or provide something with the event you’re going to. Why the hell wouldn’t you take that opportunity?” After just celebrating his one year anniversary at The Sports Hub, Ty’s appreciation for his situation has not faded. “This has been a dream come true, it absolutely has been,” Ty mentions. “Being a part of their website, being a lead columnist for their website, I mean, it’s everything I wanted and more.”

 

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