No sight needed: Radio station adds blind sportscaster
BUNNELL, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - The new voice of sports at a Flagler County radio station has never actually seen a game, but that’s never held him back before.
According to the station, Trent Ferguson was just hired as morning sports anchor and high school football color commentator at 94.9 WNZF News Radio in Flagler County.
What makes Ferguson so unique: he’s blind.
"I have no sight at all. I've been completely blind,” said Ferguson. "The optic nerve did not develop fully."
So the 20 year-old from Avon Park has never seen anything. He said don’t feel bad: it’s just life to him and he’s never treated it as a disability.
Ferguson spent 10 years studying at the Florida School for Deaf and Blind where he said he learned to really understand sports without seeing the games. He said he’d run the fields and gyms to learn where key points were.
His biggest inspiration into sports though: listening to his favorite play-by-play commentators describing the games on the radio. He said the games would play out in his mind through their words.
Ferguson said he became inspired by other blind broadcasters like Tampa Bay Rays color commentator Enrique Oliu; learning to see the games without seeing them.
Ferguson said when he calls a live game he listens closely to his play-by-play partner to breakdown the game through their calls. He also takes constant notes on his cell phone and on a braille typing machine so that he can fill the broadcasts with in-depth stats and facts about the team and players.
In recent years, Ferguson also began co-hosting the “Outta Sight Sports” podcast with WNZF News and Sports Director Rich Carroll; the title an obvious reference to his blindness.
Even now as he begins at WNZF he’s continuing to show his blindness is no disability. His show being sponsored by a West Palm Coast optical business that’s offering free eye exams to the referees Ferguson highlights in his ‘bad call of the day’ segment.
"I love that. I mean I just, I embrace stuff like that, and some people say that, 'well I don't want to say that, I don't wanna mention the word blind cause I don't want to offend you.' Like I said, it doesn't offend me,” said Ferguson. "The Lord made me who I am for a reason. I would not have it any other way even if I could have sight."
Ferguson said he’s never doubted that he could one day be a sportscaster, and he has no plans to stop pursuing that vision. He hopes maybe he can inspire others along the way.