In 1992, Chuck Scatterday began his career in broadcast production with two degrees in hand from West Virginia University – a master’s degree in Journalism and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Almost three decades later, country roads have taken him home to the College of Media where he’s training students in adventure and sports media. Scatterday was named the Shott Professor in Sports and Adventure Media and the executive producer of Mountaineer Playbook.
Before participating in the launch of new national ESPN entities such as ESPN2 and ESPNU, fielding production staff for live college football broadcasts on ESPNU and covering Olympic sporting events, he found his love for journalism and storytelling working as a staff member at U92 FM The Moose, WVU’s independent campus radio station.
“When network television came to Morgantown, it was really just ABC, CBS and this new network, ESPN. That was really it,” Scatterday said. “I got an opportunity in 1989 to work a college football game, and I was like ‘wait a minute, you can get paid to work in sports?’ And that was my ‘aha’ moment. It clicked for me. I finished up my master's degree and I was at the right place at the right time when ESPN2 launched. So away I went to Bristol, Connecticut.”
Scatterday worked at ESPN for more than 25 years, then managed content at West Liberty University and WV Illustrated while also creating Scatterday Night Live Productions – a freelance production team that works with national and regional sports networks to cover live events. He started his teaching career in the midst of a global pandemic but sees it as a challenge just like any other in executing events.
“I've just tried to parlay it and say, ‘Well, this is what I've got to do. This is the event, the producer is me, and I've got to produce and manage it,’” he said. “That's what I'm doing in this new teaching position. I've tried to make the students as comfortable as I can and realize that we're all in this together, and we’ll figure it out as we go.”
Scatterday has been at the forefront of major changes throughout the industry for decades, and 2020 is no different. Today, the evolving landscape of sports media is profound as athletes, fans and journalists grapple with deeper issues than player drafts and win-loss records. Not only has the pandemic changed how sports are played, viewed and monetized, but social justice movements have sparked controversy among fan bases as athletes speak out.
Behind every move on the field, court or arena, there’s a team of media experts working tirelessly to keep coverage rolling and explore these issues. And opportunities like Scatterday had in 1989 are still very much available to students today who want to cover WVU teams – both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.
“My advice to students has always been to try and get out and manage live content, even if that's working for the Daily Athenaeum or the radio station, or one of the local entities you're volunteering for. Learn how to manage live content, because once you understand that dynamic from wherever you're at, then everything else sort of falls in place,” Scatterday said.
To hear more from Scatterday about the path that led him back to Morgantown, why community-centered work is needed now more than ever and what’s on the horizon for sports media students, you can listen to his interview on #ReedTalk: Spotlight on Sports Media Instructor Chuck Scatterday. The podcast, focused on recruiting new Mountaineers to the College of Media, was launched in April to maintain our deep sense of community through COVID-19 and beyond.