6 common mistakes of major college PBP applicants

applicationIf broadcasting major college play-by-play is a goal of yours, be smart about how you go about the application process.

Since 2007, I have been retained to be the recipient and initial evaluator for the football and basketball play-by-play positions for more than 15 NCAA Division I schools. Included are LSU, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Stanford, Virginia and Boise State.

Here are six common mistakes that applicants make when applying for big time play-by-play jobs:

  • No personal web page or web site
  • Applying at the last minute (How interested can you really be?)
  • Not following application instructions
  • Failing to meet the minimum qualifications
  • Addressing cover letters to the wrong person
  • Not tailoring the cover letter to the position

Greatness requires more effort than does mediocrity.

How to make the most of 3 job market frustrations

Anyone who has applied for sports broadcasting jobs has experienced some degree of frustration.

If it makes you feel any better, the things that annoy you are annoying to other people as well.

job market frustrations

Here are three common job market frustrations (and how to make the best of them):

1. EEO posts

For job seekers, EEO means a lot of position descriptions are published when there isn’t really an opening. The position has either already been filled or there never was a position available in the first place.

Some stations send out the same position descriptions every three months but never make a corresponding hire. Two stations in particular are so notorious for this that we rarely even post their positions in our job board any more.

One time I posted a sports radio position in the STAA forums. I then posted a follow-up comment along the lines of, “This is likely an EEO post. Don’t get your hopes up.” The PD of that station immediately emailed me to tell me that the opening was legit. I replied that the reason I wrote what I did was because he hadn’t hired anyone the last several times they had posted the position.

They didn’t hire anyone that time either.

Make the best of it: Submit your application on the chance that the employer might actually see it.

2. Applying to Human Resources

This is usually another result of EEO posts. Sending your demo and resume to the Human Resources Director is like putting a message into a bottle and throwing it into the ocean. You wonder if the actual decision maker is ever going to see it.

Make the best of it: When instructed to apply through HR, also send your application directly to the decision maker.

3. Local hires

Employers who prefer to hire talent who knows the history of the local teams is understandable, especially in sports talk radio. However, if you know you are going to hire local, don’t solicit applications nationally. It wastes people’s time.

I know an employer who always hires locally. Still, he feigns interest in out-of-town candidates — even for part-time positions, gets their hopes up, then tells them in the end that he wanted to make a local hire. Considering that the employer knew that from the start, it is disrespectful to applicants to put them through the charade.

Make the best of it: Demonstrate that you can instantly sound local by customizing your demo for the market to which you are applying.

Do You Feel Stuck In Your Sportscasting Career?

When I worked at XTRA Sports 690 in San Diego in the mid-90s, I felt like my career was in neutral. I felt stuck. Years later, I realized I wasn’t stuck. I just didn’t want to leave my hometown.

Is your sportscasting career really stuck?


Many sportscasters think they have been in the same place for longer than they want because they are the victims of circumstance.
Read More

5 ways to set yourself apart in our crowded industry

Several years ago when the Florida Marlins radio play-by-play job opened, the team received 250 applications for the position. That is still the largest number of applicants I have ever heard of for a sports broadcasting position.

How do you stand out in a crowd that big?


Very few things in your career will ever be more frustrating than repeatedly getting passed over for jobs when you know you are just as good as the people who are landing the positions. How many times have you said to yourself, “If only somebody would just give me a chance?”
Read More

How to NOT show credibility on your sportscasting resume

Many years ago, I played a pickup basketball game with Danny Ainge. However, sharing a court with Ainge didn’t mean that I was an NBA-caliber player. As the following 60 minutes proved, it meant only that I was a crummy player who happened to play a pickup game with Danny Ainge.


Similarly, a common mistake that many sportscasters make on their resumes is inferring credibility based upon their experiences. Just because you interviewed Michael Jordan doesn’t mean you are a great interviewer. I have heard Jordan interviewed by a number of crummy sportscasters.

It isn’t automatically assumed that you are a great sports reporter simply because you covered the Super Bowl. Again, a lot of mediocre reporters cover the big game each year.
Read More

When you put your foot in your mouth like this, you lose

Last week, I wrote about the Number One Way to Blow a Telephone Job Interview. Today, I share more examples from employers about how NOT to nail the job interview.


When I was a kid, I used to receive a magazine called Highlights. If you are at least 30, you probably remember seeing it in the waiting room at your pediatrician’s office.

Highlights had a feature titled Goofus and Gallant. Goofus was always doing stuff the wrong way, Gallant was doing it the right way. Today’s “yes, this really happened” story is about Goofus and Gallant in the sports broadcasting job market. The examples come from another broadcasting executive.
Read More

The number one way to blow a telephone job interview

Often, the best advice I share on the STAA blog is straight from sports broadcasting employers. In this case, it is about the telephone job interview.


The number one way to blow a phone interview is to not be prepared.

The following comments are from a minor league baseball executive who vented to me about his recent experience in filling a broadcasting position.
Read More

10 actionable tips to help you reach your career goals

If change is worth making, it is worth making right away. For some people, though, the motivation is greatest to make change at the start of a new year.


As you look ahead to your plans for the new year, these 10 actionable tips will help you reach your career goals in 2015.

1. Build your team
We all have people we lean on at important times in our lives. Think about who those people are in your life, then use them to help you with important career decisions. It’s likely that not all of your team members will be in the sports broadcasting industry. My team includes my wife, dad and sister, Melodie who is part of our team at STAA, and a couple of friends in broadcasting with whom I have grown close over the years. The people who know you best will keep you moving in the right direction.
Read More

SCP 10: How to cold contact sportscasting employers

I am a long-time supporter of the cold contact method for finding a sports broadcasting job. Cold contacting is a more efficient plan to get a job versus only applying for published openings. In fact, my belief in cold contacting is so strong, I wrote a book about it.


You don’t have to simply take my word on the effectiveness of cold contacting. Justin Antweil landed his current play-by-play job at Bucknell University by putting together a cold contact plan and following through with his strategy. In this podcast episode Justin shares his strategy and how it lead to Bucknell.

Listen to the Audio

Read More