Senior’s CFHS sports announcing leads to experience for UNI softball

Making ice cream at Coldstone or saving people’s lives at the Falls are endearing part-time jobs in their own ways, but you must admit that announcing for sports events at UNI is a pretty fantastic side gig, especially if the announcer is only a high school student. For senior Jared Hylton (aka Nacho), a part-time job means more than washing dishes; it means using a voice that sports fans rely on.

Hylton got his start announcing during his sophomore year. After a football team meal, he stuck around to watch a ninth grade football game at the high school. Senior Bennett Ford was working the microphone when Hylton asked to borrow it. Athletic Director Gary Koenen was sitting in the bleachers as Hylton messed around on the mic, and a few days later, Hylton got pulled out of class. Though he was terrified about what he could possibly be getting in trouble for, Nacho simply got pulled aside by Koenen to be asked to announce for the high school girl’s volleyball games. Hylton accepted the offer and was excited, but couldn’t help feeling some nerves. Until this point, he had only announced for junior high/elementary events and little league hockey. That night, Hylton announced for his first high school game and immediately fell in love with it. He now announces at the high school for all volleyball games, some basketball and various varsity baseball games.

Hylton cites one of his biggest influences as Josh Paulson. Paulson began his announcing career at Cedar Falls as well, and now he announces full-time for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Hylton met Paulson during a CFHS men’s basketball game when he was working the scoreboard as Paulson was announcing.

Since this initial meeting, the two men have bonded through sports announcing. “Josh has really taken me under his wing. He offers me press passes to Kernels games and lets me sit up in the press box with him. Josh has shown me the ropes in announcing and has been a huge influence. I’ve taken from his style, but I like to have my own twist on things. I like to make games fun but professional. Most athletes, besides a couple at UNI, aren’t going pro, but I like to make it feel professional because people enjoy that. It makes it more fun for everyone,” Hylton said.

Hylton didn’t start announcing for money or real games until his sophomore year, and in the summer of 2012, he got an offer that would become a stepping stone to greater opportunities. “Josh Paulson does some announcing for UNI, and someone called him to ask if he knew anyone that would be interested in picking up an announcing gig. He ended up giving them my number, and soon after, the UNI Athletic Director called me. He wanted me to send in clips of my announcing, and he must have liked them enough to call me back and offer me the job,” Hylton said.

During the summer of 2012, Hylton began announcing for UNI softball at Robinson Dresser. He now helps out with the softball Classic Dome Tournament as well.

Craig Laue, radio broadcaster for 105.7 and the voice of the Waterloo Black Hawks, has also served as inspiration to Hylton. Nacho has been a Black Hawks fan since a young age and fell in love with Laue’s voice. Last baseball season, Laue announced for some CFHS baseball games where he met Hylton. “He’s definitely had an influence on me. He’s really cool, and I love listening to him. I’ve got a lot of flavor from him,” Hylton said.

Ultimately, Hylton’s goal is to rise up the ranks and announce for professional sports. He hopes to be promoted to announcing men’s basketball games at UNI as well.

“I wouldn’t want it to be a full-time thing, but just a side gig. I’m thinking about going into radio or media broadcasting, so I could use my broadcast communications skills to do sports,” Hylton said.

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