Troy Hackley is a Baltimore sports icon though you may not know it yet. Hackley is the public address announcer for teams all over the city. Whether its high school games at St. Francis Academy, ABA games for the DMV Warriors, or AAU youth sporting events he donates his time and services with a passion.
Using the same passion that he has for youth and community athletics Hackley learned the game of television and created a unique platform for local sports TV after humble beginnings in the world of public access. He found the audience that shares his passion for college, high school, AAU, Little League and Pop Warner sporting events who will consistently watch.
Urban Sports Beat is now celebrating its one year anniversary on broadcast television in Baltimore. After debuting on WMAR-TV channel 2 it now airs on Comcast channel 75 THIS-TV, which is part of the Fox 45 family. Many have tried to move from community access to broadcast TV while few have found success.
However, the void of distributable community programming that plays to the very interested but underserved audience has helped it grow. The show has carved its niche in the city by telling stories of talented youth and high school athletes in Baltimore who use sports as their platform to compete in college and beyond.
“We’re showcasing young people in a positive way through sports,” Hackley told the AFRO. “There are attributes of sports are transferrable to everyday life.”
Hackley was discovered by accident as a student at Baltimore City Community College. During the launch of Kwiesi Mfume’s book No Easy Ride he moderated a panel discussion for a group during a mock debate contest. Hackley’s performance opened the door for an internship at WBFF-TV after the judges were impressed with his ability to host in a live forum.
One of Hackley’s mentors is FOX45’s main sports anchor and Baltimore Ravens announcer Bruce Cunningham. Cunningham taught him multimedia content production skills in the early days of his development. Hackley often shoots, writes and does voiceover packages by himself.
Hackley also gained valuable tutelage working as the sports update anchor for Stan “The Fan” Charles when he hosted a radio show at WJFK-FM (105.7 The Fan). Charles, whose Press Box weekly tabloid and website chronicles local professional and major college sports in Baltimore, influenced his relationship building at the grass roots level. He also gave Hackley the chance to cover major events which shapes the way he covers local sports on his program.
“Building relationships and keeping your word is big when you’re trying to build a grass roots brand,” Hackley said. “Versatility is important when producing a TV show but being a standup guy is even more important when you’re building relationships”.
Hackley is Baltimore personified and understands the value of positive roles models through sports and how these stories can provide hope to those in difficult communities. He spent formative years in the Gilmore Housing Projects – where Freddy Gray was arrested – on the west side and currently has a day job as a third grade educator in the Baltimore Public School System.
While the grind of looking for sponsors continues, Hackley’s passion for kids in sports is what drives him each week.