By Austin Stanley, For Williamson Herald
Courtney Lyle, a 2008 Brentwood High School WBHS Channel 9 graduate, has taken her new job as a reporter for the sports department for WBIR-TV 10 in Knoxville.
The assignment adds Lyle, daughter of one of Nashville’s original sports-talk personalities and long-time radio executive Paul Lyle, to a long list of Williamson County natives in sports media, including Mike Keith, George Plaster and Bill King.
Lyle is moving on up in the sports television media world after spending 17 months with 13WMAZ in Macon, GA. She joined the WMAZ team directly after graduating from the University of Tennessee’s Journalism & Electronic Media program in May 2012. While at Tennessee, Lyle says she gained experience as a student that prepared her to land the job as a reporter and weekend anchor.
“I was a student assistant for the Athletic Broadcasting Department,” Lyle said. “I mostly worked with the Lady Vols doing highlight videos for them and doing stories for the website, UTSports.com. For the Vol Network, I was on the Lady Vol radio broadcast as the network host. That really helped me find a job because I had experience working with a big SEC school and covering a team.”
But before attending the University of Tennessee, she found her true passion in sports broadcasting at Brentwood High School with the WBHS Channel 9 program. As a four year student in the program, Lyle became an “intern” as a junior and was named “head intern” her senior year. The award winning high school program, known as “TV-Pro” at BHS, was run by the late Mark Madison. Madison instilled a professional atmosphere to his classroom that prepared his students to succeed in higher levels of broadcasting.
“If I hadn’t had that experience at Channel 9, I know I would not be where I am today,” Lyle said. “Mark Madison and the program he put together there was outstanding. I’ve never heard of anything else like it. WBHS9 put me ahead of the game so much. Getting to college and already having the experience of just holding a camera, shooting a camera and covering a sporting event put me ahead so much of other students coming in.”
Immediately after stepping onto the Knoxville campus, Lyle was able to get involved. Along with working with the Vol Network and Athletic Broadcasting Department, she interned in Bristol, Conn. at the World Wide Leader of Sports, ESPN. During two summers at ESPN, Lyle worked on events at the highest level of the industry including the World Cup, Major League Baseball and on location in Los Angeles for the X-Games.
“Working at ESPN was like working for Disney World, except with the sports crew. Everybody is so professional and they care so much about their job. They want the highest quality possible. So it was really amazing to get to see that.”
With Major League Baseball she worked as a production assistant working behind the scenes of the broadcasts.
“We would get requests from the Sunday night and Wednesday night baseball crews and pack bins of footage of A-Rod, Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones or whoever they were doing the game of. Seeing how real professional broadcasts come together and what all it takes behind the scenes was a great experience. I think that helped me be on air because I know the work that has to go into it behind the scenes.”
Most of her duties will be on air at WBIR in Knoxville. Covering Tennessee Volunteer Athletics brings a different challenge than she faced in Macon. Lyle is a lifelong Vols fan, and objectivity is rule number one in sports reporting.
“Coming to Macon, this is really Georgia Bulldog and Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket country. It was kind of easier to cover them because I didn’t really have a stake in the team. If something went wrong then I reported it, and then if something goes right I report it. And that’s how I’ve got to be with Tennessee.”
“You really have to take yourself out of it, and you can’t be a fan anymore. You have to look at it objectively. I think working with the Athletic Department – I’m okay with doing that.”
Lyle moved to Knoxville Monday to continue building her career in the sportscasting world. She will immediately jump in the community looking for local feature stories and roaming high school football sidelines each Friday night.
Each day, she will always hear Madison’s mantra, who ended every class meeting at Brentwood High with four simple words: “Let’s go to work.”
Posted on: 9/11/2013