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East graduate making waves in world of sportscasting

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Veteran Purdue basketball announcer Larry Clisby remembers the day about 10 years ago when he visited Luke Martin’s grandmother.

Martin, who was then in middle school, had grown up listening to Clisby and wanted to become a sports broadcaster. So it was much to his surprise when he went to visit his grandmother in Lafayette, only to find Clisby instead.

“I knew his grandfather, who had passed, and she asked me if I would go over to their house,” Clisby said. “He showed up on his birthday expecting to see his grandmother, and I was there. We talked for about an hour, and from that day forward, he’s seemed to be pretty motivated.”

Since then, Martin has garnered a wide variety of sportscasting experience through his work both at Columbus East High School and Ball State University. The third-year senior is in line to graduate in December as Ball State’s first student with a digital sports production degree.

Martin is in his third year of hosting the “Luke Martin Show,” which he carried over from his days at East. He broadcasts Ball State basketball games as the sports director for WCRD-radio after serving as assistant sports director last year.

While the main baseball announcer for the Ball State athletics website has been helping with basketball, Martin has been on the road with the Cardinals’ baseball team the past two weekends in Port Charlotte, Fla., and Lynchburg, Va. His recent basketball television broadcast of the Ball State-Eastern Michigan game for Ball State Sports Link TV aired on Comcast Channel 81 across the state of Indiana and in Michigan.

“It was fun,” Martin said. “I’ve always enjoyed basketball. Growing up in Big Ten country, watching all the games on TV, watching the IU and Purdue games and games on ESPN, it’s always been fun. Being able to call a game was kind of like a dream-come-true.

“I love Columbus East and the opportunities that they gave me, but they’re not Carmel,” he said. “They’re not Warren Central. They don’t have their own TV station. Ball State was my first TV experience from a play-by-play standpoint.”

Martin called BSU women’s volleyball games for Ball State Sports Link TV in the fall after doing two men’s volleyball games last spring. He has also done basketball for student radio station WIPB and was the football sideline reporter on the broadcast crew for flagship station

104.1 WLBC out of Muncie.

Sports Link is an immersive learning project for sports media and production at Ball State. It was first in the nation of its kind for sports media, where students are immersed in every cross-platform aspect of sports media.

“When he was a junior in Columbus, he came up on a visit, and I think we immediately connected,” Ball State Sports Link director Chris Taylor said. “He had a lot of passion for what he wanted to do. He’s a very determined young man.

“What I like about Luke is, he backs his passion up with his work,” he said. “A lot of people want the notoriety and want to be in front of the camera. Luke works as hard behind the scenes and when he’s not in front of the camera as he does when he is in front of the camera, and that’s a very powerful combination.”

Following his freshman year of college, Martin interned in the Indianapolis Colts Youth Football Department. That turned into a stint helping in the Colts’ radio and video production department.

That fall of 2012, Martin assisted the radio crew at home games, helped produce pregame shows and found network TV announcers in the press box and walked them to radio booth. After home games, he did postgame interviews in the visitors locker room while the regular announcers were in the Colts locker room.

Martin hosted the Luke Martin Show on local cable Channel 3 his final two years at East.

“Luke, for a high school kid, was mature past his years, as far as his broadcasting and media experience,” East football coach and athletics director Bob Gaddis said. “He started tagging along with the football program, and that turned into the Luke Martin Show. That was very professionally done, and everybody in the building looked forward to seeing that. He did a tremendous job promoting East football and East athletics.”

“He had a lot less fear than I did when I was his age,” Clisby said. “I predict big things for him. He can go as far as he wants to go.”

Martin nearly landed an internship for this summer at ESPN. He was one of the final four candidates but found out last week he wasn’t selected.

“The ESPN gig would have been nice,” Martin said. “It’s nice to be one of the final four candidates for such a sought-after position. I just have to go back and sharpen my tools in Muncie and try again after I graduate.”

If Martin doesn’t land an internship for this summer, he’ll likely stay at Ball State and take classes like he did last summer.

“Right now, I’m going to look around and see what other opportunities there are,” Martin said. “I’m going to enjoy my last spring semester at Ball State and see if any opportunities pop up. That way, my last semester, I can really focus on job hunting and not have any tough classes.

“It’s amazing how much has changed in the last couple of years,” he said. “So much has changed with things opening up. I don’t understand why more kids don’t want to do (sportscasting). It doesn’t seem like a lot of work for me.”

Martin said he hopes to work in both radio and TV.

“I love both,” Martin said. “I hope to do both because that’s kind of the business now. I have a lot more experience in radio, but I really don’t have a preference.”

As far as his favorite sports, Martin likes football, basketball and baseball. But he’s open to broadcasting any sport.

“Football is one I really enjoy, but truly, whoever calls and gives me an opportunity, I’ll make it work,” Martin said.

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