FROZEN ROYALTY EXCLUSIVE: New Los Angeles Kings television play-by-play announcer Alex Faust has been spending a lot of time doing interviews since he was hired on June 1, and he spent over an hour speaking with Frozen Royalty for what will be a series of stories starting with a look at how he got his start in broadcasting and how his early work prepared him for what would come next.
<pLOS ANGELES — When the June 1 announcement came that the Los Angeles Kings had hired 28-year-old Brooklyn, New York native Alex Faust as their new television play-by-play announcer, taking over for the legendary Voice of the Kings, Bob Miller, who retired after the 2016-17 season, his 44th year behind the microphone for the Kings, a new era of Kings hockey began.
And yes, you read that right. Faust is just 28 years old, and is a rookie, in terms of working full-time in a National Hockey League broadcast booth.
Prior to being hired by the Kings, Faust called hockey games for NBCSN, NESN and Westwood One Radio, along with serving as a radio broadcaster for the American Hockey League’s Utica Comets.
Faust has also served as a college football and basketball play-by-play commentator with ESPNU and Fox Sports since 2015, as a minor league baseball radio broadcaster for the Staten Island Yankees, and he called this year’s NCAA Men’s Frozen Four on Westwood One.
Faust was also the voice of the Northeastern University men’s basketball.
Faust earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Political Science at Northeastern University, and it is where he began his journey towards becoming a hockey play-by-play announcer. But he actually chose an entirely different career path, at the time.
“I always wanted to do some sort of announcing—TV, radio, and I guess, in college, I found the outlet in the student radio station,” he said. “But I didn’t think, ‘oh, this was going to be my career.’ I thought about studying Communications and going into the industry. But I was also kind of interested in Political Science and Economics so I pursued that path.”
“I thought, ‘this broadcast stuff is fun but I don’t know how to make it a career,’ so I just tried to get a real world job and to stay active in broadcasting,” he added. “After college, I didn’t know whether or not I’d be good enough to make it, so I wound up pursuing the full-time stuff, and I got a job offer from Price Waterhouse/Coopers (PWC).”
Despite choosing to move away from broadcasting, in terms of his career, it didn’t take long for things to move back in the other direction.
“I think it was two days after [receiving the job offer from PWC]—I got an offer from the Staten Island Yankees to come and do their play-by-play on radio,” said Faust. “It was really late in the season to be applying. I think it was in May, and I saw a post on their web site. I thought that I’d just throw [his application] in there. I thought, ‘why not? I’ll give it a shot.’”
What happened next isn’t exactly common in large corporations.
“The timing worked out such that I could do the full season with Staten Island and then I’d start my job at PWC in the Fall,” Faust noted. “My bosses at PWC were so kind that they allowed me to go back, and in the summer, work at the New York office during the day, take the ferry, call a Staten Island Yankees game at night, get to bed at midnight, and do it all over again the next day.”
“That summer—if you thought working two TV jobs was hard, the baseball stuff was the most taxing,” Faust added. “Even though it was only home games, it was a grind every single day, and I hadn’t built up enough vacation time to be able to take enough time off, at that point, and I was still relatively new to the company. I wanted to show my commitment to the them, too, because $50.00 a game with the Staten Island Yankees wasn’t about to pay the bills.”
“PWC, from the moment I got there—they were very supportive of this side passion. Part of it, too, was that they were early adopters of this whole work-life balance, or flexible working, where it makes sense to do so. But I didn’t work in the accounting part of the business, luckily, so I could be more flexible with it. They were really supportive from day one. Without that, I wouldn’t have been able to launch into all these other opportunities.”
To be sure, Faust’s path to professional broadcasting is rather unique.
“I get e-mails from college students, asking me what advice do I have to make it,” he said. “But I tell them that my path is pretty unique. I don’t know if you could replicate that. To the extent that you can get a full-time job outside of sports that’s stable enough to pay the bills, then you can be choosy with the opportunities that you take, or maybe you do a couple of [NCAA] Division III hockey games. That was the first thing out of college that I did on a hockey level, before that AHL opportunity came about. If you have a chance to do that without having to scrape to pay your rent, why not do that?”
Faust continued to work full-time for PWC while pursuing part-time play-by-play opportunities, but even though part-time gigs weren’t enough for him, he still had to play it safe, at least for the time being.
“I asked a couple of co-workers whom I really trusted, ‘hey, I’m thinking of stepping away and doing [the broadcasting] full-time,’” he noted. “They said to stick with it, and if I didn’t have anything going on over the summer in the sports world, stick with it, because you’re going to want to have that stability if you do make that the full-time leap.”
“I’m glad I made that call,” he added. “It was good to be able to transition out as smoothly as I was able to.”
Relatively speaking, Faust moved very quickly into broadcasting full-time, even though he did not have a permanent job.
“Last year was my first, full-time, freelance year,” he indicated. “I quit in September and I was doing a part-time football package for ESPN and a full-time basketball package for ESPN and Fox, with other assorted things thrown in there for good measure.”
“The year before, I did fewer games for Fox and fewer games for ESPN, but it was still getting to the point where, by the end of the year, I was burnt out,” he added. “I knew that I couldn’t keep it up for a second year.”
It didn’t take long for a big opportunity in professional hockey to come along
“I went out and did the AHL stuff just because I had a mutual friend—as the story goes, Brendan Burke, who was the Utica play-by-play guy, had just also signed with Fox Sports to do a college football package when Fox Sports got the Big 12 and Conference USA rights, so he was doing stuff on Fox Sports and Fox Sports 1,” Faust explained. “But that was right at the start of the new franchise in Utica, so he was looking for someone who could fill in on weekends.”
“The voice of the Albany Devils, Josh Heller, knew my work from student radio, because I had called the Beanpot (college hockey tournament played in Boston each year),” Faust elaborated. “Northeastern alumni all tune in for that if they can’t watch on NESN, so he knew my work from there and thought it was good enough to send over to Brendan, so he connected us. I remember interviewing with Brendan in a coffee shop and him peppering me with questions—this was a big thing for him, too. He wanted to make sure that everything ran smoothly at the start for a new franchise.”
If Brendan Burke sounds familiar, he should. Not only did he replace Howie Rosen as the television play-by-play announcer for the New York Islanders, but he also called Stanley Cup Playoff games for NBCSN this season.
“That was a tremendous opportunity,” said Faust. “That was my first huge break. It set in motion putting together a tape and sharpening my work at a professional level—just being able to call [games] at a high level, doing it solo on radio and knowing where to fill in the gaps, being familiar with all the players and having a strong foundation in terms of all the background information. That opportunity was huge.”
As reported earlier, Faust has called games for several major sports networks and not just hockey. Nevertheless, he certainly isn’t a household name. How did Faust and the Kings find each other? What does he know about the Kings and how they do their television broadcasts? What are his plans and ideas for the broadcasts?
For all that, stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon.
LEAD PHOTO: Newly-hired Los Angeles Kings play-by-play announcer Alex Faust. Photo courtesy Los Angeles Kings.
Going Deep With New LA Kings Broadcaster Alex Faust – Read The Entire Series
- Going Deep With New LA Kings Broadcaster Alex Faust – Part 2
- Going Deep With New LA Kings Broadcaster Alex Faust – Part 3
- Going Deep With New LA Kings Broadcaster Alex Faust – Part 4
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