Talking about sports on the air is what Troy Hirsch has been working toward since college, where he played football, majored in economics and communication, and dreamed of doing play-by-play. A student internship with KING-TV, working with Tony Ventrella and Gaard Swanson, introduced him to the role of the sports reporter. “The more I got to do that, the more I realized how much I enjoyed doing television sports news,” he says.
It didn’t come easily, though. After graduation he married actress Seema Ahmed ’94 and worked at a series of jobs in marketing, radio, and television in the Chicago area, Spokane, and Seattle, always putting much more than required into his work. He did radio play-by-play for Washington State University and was the voice of the Rockford Reds minor league baseball team. At one point he held a full-time job as a marketing assistant, then drove 100 miles each way on Saturday to work as a production assistant at a television studio, routinely arriving six or seven hours early to help the sports reporter. Then he’d do the same on Sunday. At another job he produced a half-hour show about high school sports that aired once a week. “I got paid for 20 hours a week and worked about 50, just to make it a good product,” he says.
Persistent pestering landed him a freelance job anchoring the weekend sports show on WREX-TV in Rockford, Ill. On his first nerve-wracking night, the news anchor gave him his cue. “I looked down at my notes, and all I could see was white paper. Couldn’t remember a word. My mind was completely blank,” recalls Hirsch. “I looked up and there were the words on the teleprompter. I had no idea what I was reading, but I got through it.”
Things got better after that. He was eventually promoted to weekday sports anchor. His first assignment was covering the Chicago Cubs in their home opener at Wrigley Field against the San Diego Padres.
But in this game, nobody stays put for long. “Television by its nature is a nomadic business because to move up, you have to move on,” Hirsch explains. Seattle sports fans recently watched him co-anchor the weekend edition of the “Northwest Sports Report” and deliver three to five sports stories a week for Fox Sports.
But when last we heard from him, Hirsch was on his way to San Diego to anchor the weekend sports show and report sports on weekdays for KSWB-TV.
Working hard and cultivating a can-do attitude has helped Hirsch reach his career goals. “I always try to be the hardest worker at every TV station I go to, not just for advancement, but because I enjoy it,” he says. “Everyone, from the news director to the viewer, can tell when someone puts a lot of effort into a product. It’s a lot more fun to work hard and look back on the day and be satisfied with what you did.”