Baker lands job in Alabama covering major college athletics

Davis Baker has landed a new job that allows him to cover major college athletics. And it’s just two and a half hours from his home in Atlanta. Baker is joining WSFA 12 News in Montgomery, AL as a sports anchor/reporter. He makes the move after two years as sports director at KTEN-TV in Denison, TX.

“One thing that really intrigued me was WSFA’s emphasis on college coverage, which was a jump up from mostly covering high school sports at my previous station,” Baker states. “At WSFA, I’ve already gotten to travel to Phoenix to cover Alabama in the Final Four and will get to cover plenty of great football in the future with Alabama, Auburn, Troy, Alabama State and more within driving distance.

“I had a number of friends in the industry reach out to me as soon as it was posted. I heard nothing but great things about WSFA sports director Rosie Langello and knew this could be a great fit.”

Those same friends were instrumental in Baker landing the job. “The phrase ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ seems applicable in this situation,” he believes. “When I spoke to Rosie for the first time, she told me that multiple people had already reached out on my behalf. I think that helped me stand out as a candidate.

Baker joined STAA last fall. “I found out about STAA online when I started my job search and heard good things about the organization when I reached out to a few friends that were members,” Baker recalls. “I got a call from [STAA] Owner Jon Chelesnik a few hours after I joined welcoming me to the team and explaining all the benefits of being an STAA member.

“A job search sometimes feels like a job in itself. Having [STAA’s] job leads come straight to my email was a HUGE help, especially when still having to focus on work as well.”

Though Baker’s job search ended well, the road wasn’t entirely smooth. He admits, “This job search was challenging and humbling at times. There were certain situations and opportunities that I thought I was the best candidate for and did not end up getting them. However, I believe it was God telling me to stay patient and trust in my abilities. There isn’t a job that I applied for in the four months of searching that I would rather have than my current one. I feel like I found the perfect spot at the perfect time.”

Van Camp lands job in Kansas town steeped in family history

Kolby Van Camp’s first full-time sports broadcasting job is going to be in a city where his family planted roots more than a century ago. After he graduates with is Masters from Kansas State University next month, Van Camp will head west to Garden City, KS to join the Western Kansas Broadcast Center.

“I have 120 years of family history in Garden City,” Van Camp explains. “My dad covers the local hospital as an interventional radiologist. My cousin is faculty at the college. My aunt and uncle live on the family farm outside of town. There were a hundred reasons for me to be in Garden City.”

Kansas roots

Garden City is less than two hours from the Kansas community after which Van Camp is named – Colby. And though he was born in Oklahoma, Van Camp considers himself a Kansan. “I grew up in Topeka and spent all my life between Topeka, Lawrence, and Manhattan. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!”

At the Western Kansas Broadcast Center, Van Camp will be the voice of Garden City Community College football, basketball and baseball. He’ll also call many high school sports and create a daily sports report to air on all Western Kansas Broadcast Center stations.

Always ready

The opportunity was emailed to STAA members on March 15th. It was never posted on STAA’s public job board. Van Camp recalls he was in New Mexico when he learned of the opening. “Funny story! I happened to be driving back from doing a podcast episode at the Very Large Array (radio telescope facility) in New Mexico over my spring break when the job came open. I had been keeping a copy of my résumé and sample cover letter handy in case a job opened up that I was interested in. What do you know, it opened up while I was somewhere in the middle of nowhere in eastern New Mexico. I applied from the side of the road.”

Van Camp’s resume is strong. He graduated from Kansas State in 2022 with a Bachelor of Music Education and a Bachelor of Music, Composition. In May, he’ll earn his Master of Science in Mass Communications from KSU. He’ll also graduate this year with a Master of Music in Music Technology – Film Music from Southern Utah University.

Keeping his demo and resume handy was especially key for Van Camp’s pursuit of the position. “I always had a copy of my résumé and sample cover letter that included my demo with me wherever I went. Whether it was on my phone, on a thumb drive on my car keys, on my computer, it was easily accessible. That allowed me to apply for jobs at the drop of a hat, and timing is everything in this business.

“The other thing was that I worked hard building relationships with the local folks who are legendary in the broadcasting industry. Not to be transactional, but to learn and sit at the feet of the masters. Ultimately, I feel that gave me a competitive advantage. I tell anyone I meet to always be open to meeting new people and learning from everyone. I’m truly humbled by the help they’ve given me over the last few years. Wouldn’t be where I am without them!”

Help from STAA

Van Camp joined STAA in January. “[STAA] helped me build a better demo, helped me crush my résumé, helped me build better relationships, helped me prepare for my interview, and helped me follow up with the folks who are now my new employers fairly early on in the interview process. There are just a lot of practical skills that were excellent to get a different perspective on.”

Now, Van Camp is moving to Garden City to dig his family’s roots even deeper. “I’d honestly been trying to think up a way to get into Garden City one way or another, and it all just worked out. I’m very thankful and humbled for the opportunity.”

Enthusiasm wins the job: Haynes joins DRG Media in Mobridge

The first thing that struck radio station operations manager Chuck Hanson about William Haynes was his enthusiasm. “[Hanson] was steadfast that attitude was the most important trait a candidate could have, and that’s what set me apart,” Haynes recalls.

A 2023 graduate of Florida State University, Haynes is taking that enthusiasm to his new role as Sports Announcer/On-Air Talent at DRG Media in Mobridge, SD.

“I think the fact that I’ve lived in Florida my whole life and was so eager to move to a small town in South Dakota gave them some slight trepidation. But it also signaled to them that I meant business,” Haynes hypothesizes.

Daily sportscasts, high school football, basketball and volleyball play-by-play, and a daily air shift will be among Haynes’ responsibilities. It fits neatly with Haynes experience as sports director of Florida State’s campus radio station.

Haynes learned of the Mobridge opportunity in an STAA Job Leads+ email. “It’s my first break into commercial radio,” Haynes enthuses. “Being the sports director at a university radio station is one thing, but the [variety of] experiences in this position really brings me into the business. Additionally, the job offers an abundance of football and basketball play-by-play reps, which is vital.”

Haynes joined STAA last year. “I had been reading the blogs on STAA for some time, but was not a member,” he recalls. “Then last May, I was broadcasting a JUCO baseball tournament. One of the guys I was working with suggested that I join. His name is Mike Ridaught, and he himself is an STAA member. He mentioned things like the Group Critiques and the job leads that made it seem worthwhile.

“Ultimately, I joined STAA because I was serious about working in sportscasting. I’m all about giving myself every chance at success, and STAA is a part of that. A listing in an STAA Job Leads+ email led to my first full-time sportscasting job, and I’m sure STAA will help me continue to improve.”

Seeking improvement and thriving in his new role are things Haynes will tackle with his signature enthusiasm. “If you can establish yourself as a grinder and leave people with good impressions, good things will happen.”

STAA members on the move in baseball broadcasting

Congratulations to the many STAA members who will be broadcasting baseball in new places this summer.

Destinations range from Alaska to Fenway Park!!

MLB & Affiliated Baseball:

Tyler Murray
The Worcester Red Sox broadcaster will join the Boston Red Sox radio team for 21 games this season.

Tony Parks
Salt Lake City Bees. In addition to his play-by-play background, Parks is a former Salt Lake City sports talk host and radio sideline reporter for the Utah Jazz.

Alex Jensen
Alex moves up to Springfield from the Stockton Ports. He also called 40 games for the Oakland A’s last season.

Tim Fitzgerald
Tim replaces Alex Jensen in Stockton. Tim has spent the last two and-a-half years as Director of Communications & Broadcaster for Saint Mary’s College Athletics.

Luke Moehle
The U. of Missouri alumnus and former Cape Cod League broadcaster joins the Frisco RoughRiders as their No. 2.

Brian Yancelson
San Antonio Missions No. 2. He spent this past Winter broadcasting for the California Winter League in Palm Springs.

Jordy Fee-Platt
Hudson Valley Renegades No. 2. Jordy earned his Masters in December from Arizona State after getting his undergrad at Kenyon College. He called games last season for the Duluth Huskies of the Northwoods League.

MLB Draft League:

Gus Baylow
Frederick Keys No. 1

American Association

Andrew Mild
Gary SouthShore RailCats No. 1

Cal Friedman
Kansas City Monarchs No. 2

Alaska Baseball League

Dylan Simmons
Mat-Su Miners No. 1.

Appalachian League

Samuel Goldberg
Danville Otterbots No. 1.

Max Gershon
Greenville Fly Boys No.1.

More Summer Collegiate

Adam Oppenheim, Stephen Buxton, Cole Paveglio & EJ Sanchez
The quartet will be the voices of the Palm Spring Power and the Power Summer Collegiate League.

(Updated April 4, 2024)

From Stockton to Springfield, Alex Jensen new Cardinals voice

Alex Jensen landed his first Minor League Baseball play-by-play job just four years ago. Since then, he’s broadcasted four seasons with the Class-A Stockton Ports and more than 60 games for their parent club, the Oakland A’s.

Now, Jensen is moving up to Double-A baseball with the Springfield Cardinals.

“Joining such a renowned Minor League Baseball organization and collaborating with the Cardinals’ exceptional front office is a dream come true,” Jensen states.

Jensen has been an STAA member since 2019. His broadcasting career began in 2008 as the voice of women’s basketball at his alma mater, St. Mary’s (CA). He Gaels’ men’s games in 2013, and split sideline reporting duties for University of California football last season.

Jensen is just the fourth-ever “Voice of the Cardinals.” He follows in the footsteps of Mike Lindskog (currently with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes), Jeff Levering (Milwaukee Brewers), and Andrew Buchbinder, who is now in a front office role with the team.

“I can’t wait to immerse myself in Springfield’s vibrant community, become part of Cardinals Nation, and talk some baseball,” Jensen enthuses.

Toll in awe of his new role with The Party Animals

Of his new full-time job, Drake Toll enthuses, “I sit in the office now and I’m in awe of my surroundings. Having read the books and watched the documentaries, it’s like I’m in the midst of endless celebrities… and I kind of am! It’s as if someone who’s a massive Full House fan just got thrown into the cast of Full House one day and nobody was the wiser. There is not a job in sports, not a single one, I would rather be in. Everyday is a new, nuts adventure.”

The opportunity that has Toll doing backflips — possibly literally — is the Broadcast Entertainer for the Party Animals Banana Ball Club. The Party Animals are the biggest rival of the world famous Savannah Bananas; both are owned by Fans First Entertainment.

Toll will be the life of the party as the Party Animals:

* Play at five Major League Baseball stadiums in 2024, including Fenway Park.

* Start their own headliner tour this year featuring 12 games. The schedule includes two games in Las Vegas, two in Greensboro, NC, two in Greenville, SC and six in Savannah Georgia.

* Embark on a planned nationwide headlining tour in 2025.

Toll is a 2023 graduate of Baylor University. Most recently, he’s been a sports talk host on ESPN Central Texas in Waco. He was introduced to Party Animals Nation via video on January 26th.

Toll was asked a series of questions about his new opportunity. His replies are typically entertaining and insightful.

Q: How did the Party Animals job come about?

A: Interestingly enough, I was happy with my role at ESPN Central Texas hosting ’The Drake Toll Show’ each day, and I wasn’t looking to make a move. But when a radio position in Fayetteville, AR came open, I applied to move closer to home. This opened a can of worms. During the hiring process with the Arkansas station, I became more open to other moves. After seeing the Party Animals job opening on STAA, I knew working with Jesse Cole and company would be the perfect fit for me. I knew dozens, if not hundreds, would apply, and my odds of even being looked at were quite low. But I put my zaniest hat on, recorded an unconventional demo and soon received a video from Jesse inviting me to interview. Along each step, STAA was the catalyst to make this move happen.

Q: What attracted you to The Party Animals, Fans First Entertainment?

A: I’ve worked in traditional baseball, from regular season college ball to summers in Alaska and on Cape Cod, but the rules of broadcast have never fit my energetic, outlandish style. I never imagined I’d find a job in broadcasting that would let me be myself, maximum creativity encouraged. The Party Animals job description included “The successful candidate will consider the normal guidelines for baseball play-by-play then do… the exact… opposite.” I was sold. The description went on to list fire breathing, rapping and bartending as encouraged actions. This allows me to try traditionally unwelcome and often discouraged things. I feel like broadcasting shirtless tonight? Can do. I want to call the game from a kiddy pool? Let’s do it. I want to bring a sarcastic, deprecating energy to the opposition? Have at it. That’s the environment I crave.

Q: Broadcasting for the Party Animals gives you freedom to be you. What does broadcasting play-by-play in the traditional style feel like to you?

A: Broadcasting [games] in the traditional style is an art. Truly, I have such a reverence for those who are committed to mastering traditional broadcast. But while my favorite artist is Vincent Van Gogh, you may take his work for scribbling recklessly. Art is often up to interpretation. The art of traditional play-by-play is one that I can appreciate, but it’s not one that I enjoy. If everyone sounds the exact same, if everything in broadcast stays the exact same, the art will die. You’re not wrong for being a traditional play-by-play savant, but I don’t consider myself wrong for acting like I won the lottery while wearing a fur coat in a kiddie pool as a pitcher backflips into throwing strike three.

Q: What is something you did that you think was especially helpful in your pursuit of the Party Animals gig?

A: Everything that was normal, I did the exact opposite. I relentlessly studied the Fans First culture, and I understood how my personality could fit before entering the interview process. I showed up to my first Zoom interview shirtless, puffer-vest donned, wearing pit vipers and sipping a beer. That blew [Fans First Entertainment Owner] Jesse Cole’s mind. At that point, I didn’t know if I was candidate No. 1 or an afterthought. I had to stand out. Moreover, when Jesse asked for more content to prove I could create, I worked on Thanksgiving in order to have five pieces of material edited and complete within 48 hours. That speed encapsulated my excitement and passion for the job. In my pursuit, I did what was necessary to impress the living P.T. Barnum. That’s tough to do, so I had to think outside of the rules.

[Toll later added] I was never asked for a resume. I never gave my background at all. All Jesse needed was that first video and an interview. This revolutionary hiring style is something I hope other organizations adopt.

Q: Describe Jesse Cole.

A: Relentlessly committed. Take Walt Disney, P.T. Barnum and Bill Veeck back from the dead, combine their brains and put the new guy in a yellow suit. That’s just Jesse Cole. Jesse is so impassioned by his vision that ignites a craving for excellence. When he is set on an idea, his fervor makes everyone else around him just as committed to completing a new, wild venture. Jesse takes everything that is normal in business and sports, evaluates it, and does the exact opposite. If you’re searching for direction in life or better results both personally and in your career, please read Fans First. Study Jesse Cole. His ideas will change your outlook on life.

Q: What is one way your STAA membership has benefitted you?

A: My STAA membership, coupled with the continued support of Jon Chelesnik, landed me a dream job. STAA fulfilled a dream that transcended my imagination. Standing in the broadcast booth at Historic Grayson Stadium for the first time, I got emotional. Had you told me six months ago that I’d be working alongside the Savannah Bananas, I can’t put into words what I would have felt. Thanks to STAA, every day is an out of body experience.

Below are two of the wildly entertaining videos Drake submitted with his Party Animals application:

Next stop for Robyn Hearn: 5News in Fayetteville

Robyn Hearn is young but her suitcase already has many stickers: Stillwater, OK, Binghamton, NY, Wichita Falls, TX. And now, Fayetteville, AR. Hearn is moving to The Land of Opportunity to join 5News as a sports anchor/reporter. Among other things, she’ll contribute to coverage of the Arkansas Razorbacks.

“The great thing about this area is how much they love their college and love college sports,” she enthuses. “I’m excited to be joining just in time for SEC play in basketball and the baseball/softball seasons. I know how much Razorback fans love their baseball!”

Hearn first learned of the opportunity in an STAA Job Leads+ email. “It was in the back of my mine to apply,” she recalls. Before she did, though, the station found Hearn’s website and contacted her. Things fell into place after that.

On the move

There is a saying in sportscasting, “Go where the jobs are.” Hearn has always been willing to do exactly that. The Dallas native attended college at Oklahoma State University. She launched her career in Binghamton, NY before moving back to her home state for a job in Wichita Falls. Have suitcase, will travel. “I’m willing to go wherever because that’s when you grow the most,” she states. “Being uncomfortable in a city where you know no one is when you learn the most about yourself. From the start of my career, I’ve learned the importance of getting to know the people and sports in my new community. It’s been difficult but I’ve enjoyed getting to experience life outside of my hometown.

“Do I miss being near family? Of course! However, I love being able to make my own home in the areas that I get to live in. Also, I enjoy getting to learn about the athletes and coaches in different areas. Even though most of the major sports are played nation wide, getting to see the talent levels in every stop I’ve been in has been awesome!”

Always learning

Hearn has been an STAA member since 2021. “I’ve continued to be a member of STAA because of the resources it has brought me. From job postings to learning how to improve as a sports reporter, in my time being a member I’ve been able to apply everything STAA has taught me to my work.”

Something that helped Hearn earn the 5News position is the variety of experience she’s gained so early in her career. “I’ve learned a lot since graduating from college almost four years ago. I’ve grown as a reporter and as a person.”

One skill Hearn hasn’t yet mastered is the Razorbacks famous “Wooo Pig Sooie” call. ” It’s coming,” she laughs. “I’ve been practicing but I know it will only get better once I’m in Fayetteville.”

ASU grad Brown new OM/Play-by-Play voice for Ingstad Media

Patience is a virtue. Comparison is the thief of joy. The sportscasting job market has provided Jake Brown with an understanding of both famous quotes. Patience and perseverance have paid off, though. Brown is the new Operations Manager/On-Air Host/Play-by-Play Broadcaster for Ingstad Media’s two radio stations in Morris, MN.

It’s a great opportunity for someone who graduated from Arizona State University just last month. “I’ll basically be doing everything I’ve wanted to do since I was 12,” Brown states. “I’ll co-host multiple radio shows while doing play-by-play for multiple sports for the University of Minnesota – Morris. I also have the potential to do a lot more with the big sports teams in Minnesota like the Vikings and Twins.”

Patience

Brown learned of the opening in an STAA Job Leads+ email. It was far from the first job for which he applied. “One frustration I had was getting a lot of rejection emails. All my other friends who graduated with me were getting jobs while I felt stuck. Just know that a job is going to come. It just may take a longer wait than others.”

Remaining diligent is Brown’s best advice for other job seekers. “STAA sends out job leads all the time. It’s always good to apply to a job you’d like to see yourself doing no matter the market. At some point, an employer will see your skills or potential and want you to join their team.”

Well-prepared

Brown is well prepared for his opportunity. At Arizona State he broadcasted play-by-play, hosted shows and was a digital and audio reporter for Cronkite News. He spent last summer as a broadcast intern for the Sioux Falls Canaries baseball club. Brown joined STAA in August on the recommendation of fellow STAA member Tanner Hoops, a member of the broadcast team at the University of Minnesota.

“I joined STAA to connect with other broadcasters and to get the members-only job leads. I also always love joining discussions in the Member Community,” Brown smiles.

Now, Brown is trading Arizona’s heat for Minnesota’s chill, and he couldn’t be more thrilled.

“There’s so much potential in this job and I’m excited about it!”

Dackiw overcomes frustration, lands at KFYR TV

Ben Dackiw’s pursuit of a TV sports anchor/reporter job became frustrating enough that he considered adjusting his goals. “I thought about making a new reel dedicated to my news work, but decided to stay the course and stick with sports,” he recalls. “I just stayed hopeful and kept putting my name out there. All it took was that one bite to get this first job.”

That first job for the December 2023 University of Oklahoma grad is as a sports anchor/reporter at KFYR TV in Bismarck, ND.

“After applying to jobs all over the country, I applied to this opening and got a response the next day. Getting a sports reporter job fresh out of college is a dream come true for me.”

Dackiw appreciates all that his new opportunity has to offer. “A lot of people who work in this field have to do news for their first job. I get to report and anchor for my first real reporting job in a part of the country I’ve never seen before. It’s a brand new adventure.”

Sportscasting has always been Dackiw’s goal. “There’s never been a plan B and there’s never been anything else I’ve wanted to do.”

As comfortable as Dackiw is on camera, he admits that self-confidence has sometimes been a challenge. “It might sound silly, but looking at myself on camera felt weird. It wasn’t until I was deep into my senior year of college when I realized I can really do this.”

Dackiw joined STAA in October at the suggestion of his college friend and fellow STAA member Matt Bowling. “Matt told me about the opportunities and just the know-how that comes with STAA,” Dackiw states. “I don’t think there was a single job opening in the country I didn’t know about.”

Dackiw’s perseverance through his early sportscasting job market frustration has paid off.

“I never gave up hope and had great people around me.”

Layoff boosts DuPuis forward to legendary 580 WIBW

The three months after being laid off from his West Virginia radio station have been among the hardest of Spencer DuPuis’ life. “I was definitely sad, disappointed and angry,” he recalls. “But I used that to motivate me to continue my career in sports broadcasting.”

The place where DuPuis’ is continuing is the Kansas capitol city of Topeka and the legendary 580 WIBW. He’ll be co-hosting and producing an afternoon sports talk show.

The process

DuPuis learned of the opening in an STAA Job Leads email on November 24th. “Initially, I didn’t hear anything back. I saw it again in the job leads email on December 8th and sent a follow up email.” WIBW Sports Director (and fellow STAA member) Jake Lebahn called DuPuis four days later for an interview. Ironically, it was DuPuis’ birthday. “The next day, I did a Google Meets interview with the two other sports guys. On December 14th, I had an audition. I was offered the job on December 19th!

WIBW’s “two other sports guys” that DuPuis spoke to are STAA members Dan Lucero and Brendan Dzwierzynski. The station’s sports staff has been comprised exclusively of STAA members since 2014.

Staying busy

DuPuis describes his mindset following his layoff as interesting. “I know a lot of companies don’t hire much during the fall and winter. So while I was looking and applying, I kind of focused on finding a temporary job and working as much as possible to save money and pay my bills. I ramped up applying in mid-to-late November. I was able to have a few interviews with different places before the WIBW interviews.”

Being in Kansas will be the first time DuPuis has lived outside of the Virginias. He’s from Leesburg, VA, then graduated from Marshall University in West Virginia before landing his first job nearby. “After getting abruptly laid off, I knew that my job search would be far and wide. And at 26, I knew that the time was now to make the move and take the risk, so here we are!”