Cohen new Huntsville Stars voice

Alex Cohen(December 29, 2011) Not many broadcasters enter minor league baseball as the lead voice of a Double-A team, but that is exactly what Alex Cohen is doing. An STAA client, Cohen has been hired as Broadcasting and Media Relations Manager for the Huntsville Stars. The Stars are a Milwaukee Brewers affiliate.

“My dream is to become a baseball broadcaster and to be able to do that for at least one summer – I’m very much looking forward to it,” Cohen says.

Of the Stars past four broadcasters, Cohen is the third to be an STAA client, following Brett Pollock and Chad Anderson.

In addition to broadcasting play-by-play, Cohen will produce content for the Stars website and social media outlets. He’ll also be responsible for selling $10,000 worth of tickets, advertising and merchandise.

Cohen came across the Stars job through good old-fashioned networking. He says, “One day I emailed all the minor league baseball teams that didn’t have a broadcaster listed for the 2012 season. I emailed probably 70 teams or so. Huntsville emailed me back and told me what the position required.” Cohen eventually interviewed and was offered the job.

Last season, the Stars took a different approach to their play-by-play. Instead of a typical play-by-play call, they put their broadcaster in the stands to provide a fan’s perspective. This year, the team has given Cohen the green light return to a traditional broadcast.

A 2011 graduate of Indiana University, Cohen has spent the past three summers assisting in media relations and broadcasting with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs and the Gateway Grizzlies. He is grateful for the help he received from Matt Provence and Jon Schaeffer of the Iron Pigs and Adam Young of Gateway. “I’ve learned so much from them over the last three years. By watching how they go about their business on an everyday basis, they’ve served as great role models for how you’re supposed to do it.”

Cohen also appreciates the help he has received from STAA since joining in July. “I really can’t ask for more from STAA,” he says. “They’ve been so helpful, from all the info in the forums, to the [monthly] eBlasts and live chats. Its so important for someone like myself at 23 who is coming up in the industry to learn both [the talent and employment] sides of the industry, and that’s what STAA does.”

Cohen has also aggressively utilized his STAA Talent Page.

“It’s helped so much. In this age with email being so important, being able to email your audio demo, resume, writing samples and video samples to an employer at the click of button makes it so easy for them to see what you bring to the table.”

Cohen’s advice to other job seekers is to be aggressive contacting employers. “The worst they can do is say no or not respond. Don’t be afraid to make that call or send that email. I had a lot of people say no but it only takes one yes.”

(Visit Alex’s STAA Talent Page).

Walkovic delays graduation for Cubs job

Dave Walkovic(December 26, 2011) Dave Walkovic is so determined to launch a baseball play-by-play career he is delaying his college graduation six months. An STAA client, Walkovic has accepted a Broadcasting and Media Relations Assistant position with the Daytona Cubs.

Walkovic is scheduled to graduate from Penn State in May, four months after the Cubs job begins. Instead of missing out on the Cubs opportunity, Walkovic will wait until December to graduate.

“Being in affiliated baseball even before I have my degree means I’ll have more to offer once I graduate,” Walkovic says. “When I got the offer, I thought about it and talked about it with a bunch of people and decided it was just too good to pass up. The timing of the end of the [Cubs] season and the start of the fall semester just works out.”

While at Penn State, Walkovic has broadcast Nittany Lions baseball, as well as football, men’s and women’s basketball, hockey, soccer, softball and lacrosse. He is excited about watching future big leaguers play in Daytona.

“In a couple years some of these [players] are going to be playing on the [Chicago] Cubs. Then come June, some of the guys they draft in the higher rounds might be in Daytona by the end of the year.”

An STAA client since September, Walkovic appreciates the services and assistance he has received.

“STAA has been tremendous,” he says. “I’ve learned so much from [STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik] and the forums and everyone associated with STAA. Jon really helped me prep for the Winter Meetings, where this all happened. If I had gone done there not knowing what was going on, I probably wouldn’t have got the job. I went down there prepared and knowing what to expect and how to interview.”

The decision to delay graduation was difficult for Walkovic. He says what put it over the top was a last minute conversation with Cubs Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations Robbie Aaron. “Robbie called me right before I took the job and said, ‘If you need any more convincing, just tell me what the weather is like up there [in State College].’ I said, ‘its 30 and raining.’ He said, ‘its 80 and sunny [in Daytona]. I might hit the beach after work.’ The climate [in Daytona] is incredible. I’m looking forward to getting away from the deathly winter of State College at least for another year,” Walkovic grins.

Gellman joins Tampa Bay affiliate

Ben Gellman(December 22, 2011) Ben Gellman’s new job is a win-win-win. An STAA client since October 2010, Gellman has been hired as play-by-play broadcaster for the Hudson Valley Renegades, Class-A short season affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.

The pairing is a win for the Renegades because they get a quality broadcaster. It’s a win for Gellman because it’s his first No.1 job in affiliated baseball, and it’s a win for Gellman’s wife Aliza, who has family living nearby.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity in terms of timing, opportunity and location,” says Gellman. “My mother-in-law lives about an hour away, which my wife is over the moon about. It’s an unbelievable arc of luck. I can’t stress how thrilled I am about being a No.1 and doing it in a spot where a lot of broadcasters have come from in the New York Penn League.”

With Hudson Valley, Gellman is also hopeful of earning opportunities in media relations and sales.

The Renegades position was not publicly advertised. Gellman learned about it after visiting with the team’s Director of New Technology, Andy Wilmert, about social media at baseball’s recent Winter Meetings. Gellman off-handedly inquired about the broadcasting position. A week later, Wilmert called Gellman, offering him the broadcasting job.

Gellman spent last season as Broadcasting and Media Relations Assistant with the Class-A Hickory Crawdads. He believes that experience, and consulting with STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik, left him prepared and confident for his visit to the Winter Meetings.

“[Jon Chelesnik] helped me grow some ideas and develop some thoughts I had tossed around but not given much weight to. Learning how to better market myself and get my name firmly lodged in the head of employers has been huge to me,” says Gellman. He is also grateful for the guidance and support he received in Hickory.

“I have to praise the Crawdads — my immediate boss [Director of Broadcasting/Media Relations] Andrew Buchbinder, the GM Mark Seaman and team president Charles Young. They have been unbelievably nurturing and helpful to me from the day I learned of the Hickory job, though today, and into the future I’m sure. Anyone who has a chance at the Hickory job should leap at it.”

Pearlstein joins Nationals affiliate

Eli Pearlstein(December 15, 2011) Networking has again proved to be one of the best ways to build a career. It’s how STAA client Eli Pearlstein has landed his new job handling play-by-play and media relations for minor league baseball’s Auburn Doubledays.

The Doubledays are the Washington Nationals Class-A short season affiliate.

“Being in charge of media relations and play-by-play, and getting to do all 76 games is a great opportunity,” Pearlstein smiles.

The opportunity came to Pearlstein through networking. He sent the link to his STAA Talent Page to a family friend who had a contact in the Nationals’ organization. That person told Pearlstein of the Auburn job. Now Pearlstein fulfilled his goal for 2012, which was to have a job in short season, affiliated baseball.

“It seemed like the next logical step,” says Pearlstein, an STAA client since October. “The past two summers I’ve been calling college summer leagues as a No.1. I just felt the next step up from being No. 1 for a college summer league team is being a No. 1 for a short season team.”

Auburn won’t be Pearlstein’s first experience in affiliated baseball. Prior to the start of his season with the Wilson Tobs last summer, Pearlstein spent time working under Josh Feldman, Play-by-Play Broadcaster and Media Relations Director for the Kannapolis Intimidators. Like Pearlstein, Feldman is both an STAA client and a graduate of the University of Southern California.

Pearlstein says his top tip for others in the sportscasting job market is “networking networking, networking.” For young sportscasters, Pearlstein also suggests taking advantage of all opportunities. “Last summer I was doing basketball in the winter, then I got a job doing collegiate summer league baseball. Between the end of basketball and start of baseball, I went down to Kannapolis to work for Josh. That got me prepared to run my own ship in Wilson [with the Tobs].”

As he prepares for his summer in New York, Pearlstein says a great fringe benefit of his new gig is not having to spend the next two months apply for jobs. “I’ll have a lot more time on my hands not having to fill out applications,” he grins.

Neely joins PM Drive in Clarksville

Wade Neely(December 13, 2011) STAA client Wade Neely is joining WJZM 1400-AM in Clarksville, TN as a sports talk host and reporter. Neely will be cohosting a daily Afternoon Drive show with James Horn and covering Austin Peay University athletics, high school sports and occasionally Nashville Titans and Predators football and hockey games.

Neely will also provide content for the Clarksville Sports Network, an online venture launching in 2012. Neely moves to Clarksville from WKSR 98.3FM-1420AM, Pulaski, TN where he has served as Sports Director since April 2010.

“This is an opportunity for me to move to a bigger market, get more exposure, and to work with some radio veterans and some sports industry veterans who will help me gain valuable experience,” Neely says. “I am looking forward to the opportunities.”

Neely learned of the WJZM job in an email from STAA. He immediately emailed his cover letter and the link to his STAA Talent Page. “The Talent Page makes it a lot easier,” Neely says. “It is so much easier [for employers] to click on that and have access to everything at once rather than wading through individual mp3 and resume files. It also gives [my application] a more professional feel, so in that sense, I think it my have separated me.”

Neely is a 2009 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.

Acheson joins Red Sox AA affiliate

Sea Dogs(December 9, 2011) A New England native, Dan Acheson has had his eyes on an internship with the Portland Sea Dogs for the past few years. The dream is now a reality. An STAA client, Acheson is joining the team in a Radio Production/ Multimedia internship. The position features video and social media work, and some play-by-play.

The Sea Dogs are the Class AA Eastern League affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

“I can learn so much about not only the broadcasting industry, but also professional baseball, from [Director of Broadcasting] Mike Antonellis and [Assistant General Manager/ Media Relations] Chris Cameron,” says Acheson. “Its an opportunity I’ve looked at in the past to work for the team I’ve been around for many years and always rooted for.”

Acheson was highly interested in the Sea Dogs internship last year but instead decided to accept a broadcasting and media internship with the Daytona Cubs.

“The Sea Dogs internship came up again [this year] and I got really excited about it,” Acheson says. “Every time I thought about it, my eyes lit up and I got excited, so when it opened again I applied.”

The job is a good fit for Acheson for reasons beyond being in his own backyard.

“I’m excited about the quality of the team and the level of Double-A baseball. I’m also looking forward to working for a well respected front office staff that I’m excited to be a part of.”

Acheson learned of the Sea Dogs internship through STAA. “Being an STAA [Premier] client, I immediately received the position description on my mobile phone. I applied immediately and heard back saying I was a finalist. Once the process got moving it was awfully quick. STAA put me in position to be one of the first to get my materials into the Sea Dogs.”

Acheson credits one of his former professors at Emerson College, John Rooke, for turning him on to STAA.

“I have gone to the STAA website as much as anybody. Whoever checks it the most, ‘m right there with them,” Acheson grins. “It’s an incredible resource and I give all the credit to John Rooke for [referring me].”

Friedman new Gary Railcats voice

Matt Friedman(December 2, 2011) For the past couple years, Matt Friedman has wanted two things, to live in a major market and to work full-time in minor league baseball. He has now achieved both goals. An STAA client since December 2007, Friedman is joining the Gary (IN) Railcats Baseball Club as Manager of Broadcasting and Media Relations. He’ll live in Chicago.

The Railcats play in the independent American Association. “Its an organization that’s had a lot of success,” Friedman says. “They’ve averaged 3,000 fans for 10 straight seasons. They’ve also been successful on the field, winning two championships and making six straight playoffs [between 2005 – 2010].”

Friedman joins the Railcats after spending 2010 as the No.2 broadcaster with the Kinston Indians and last summer as the lead voice of the Florence Freedom.

Networking played a key role in Friedman landing his new job. “Through a contact, I talked to Tom Nichols, (Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations) with the Dayton Dragons. Tom was with Gary for three seasons. He told me about the opening.”

Following the tip from Nichols, Friedman immediately contacted Railcats President and GM Kevin Spudic, emailing a letter and the link to his STAA Talent Page. Spudic called Friedman the next day, they scheduled an interview, and Friedman was eventually offered the job.

“A huge bonus of networking is there is always going to be jobs out there that few people know about,” Friedman advises.

Troop leaves baseball for Iowa station

Jason Troop(November 15, 2011) After a career spent largely in minor league baseball, Jason Troop is going to work for a radio station. An STAA client, Troop is joining KCII in Washington, IA as Sports Director.

“It’s a great opportunity to help build on a sports department that has already developed into a mainstay in southeast Iowa,” says Troop.

In his new job, Troop will gather and write local sports stories, provide play-by-play for local high school sports broadcasts, perform production, update the station web site, conduct interviews for a weekly sports program and do a daily announcer shift. It is a major change from his responsibilities the past two summers as Director of Media and Broadcasting for minor league baseball’s River City Rascals.

“A lot of baseball jobs are seasonal,” says Troop, who has broadcast for three different baseball teams. “I worked in radio back in North Carolina for a while and did some radio work up here [in O’Fallon, MO]. I like it and it seems to be steadier work. Also, the opportunity to call some other sports is another thing I like about the job.”

After seeing the KCII opening on the STAA sports broadcasting job forum, Troop immediately sent the link to his STAA Talent Page. “The process went really quick to be honest with you,” says Troop. “STAA makes it a ton easier to apply for jobs.”

Troop made sure to explain in is cover letter that he wasn’t applying on a whim, that he was genuinely interested in the position. “I know they also liked my experience in radio working with college and pro teams. That certainly helped me out a lot,” Troop says.

A St. Louis-area native, Troop is relocating to a town of just 7,000 residents. However, he is eager for the change. “Washington is rated one of the top 100 small towns in the United States. I could walk to work it I wanted to. Of course, if its minus 20 degrees outside I’m not sure I’m going to be walking anywhere,” Troops grins.

Leite is Suns new radio voice

LeiteVeteran baseball broadcaster Matt Leite will be continuing his career with a new team last summer. An STAA client since February 2010, Leite is joining the Hagerstown Suns as Director of Media Relations and Play-by-Play Broadcaster.

The Suns are the Single-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

“We are excited to welcome Matt Leite to our front office team,” said Suns General Manager Bill Farley. “His professionalism and dynamic baseball background made him the perfect candidate for the position.”

Leite, 26, joins the Suns front office after spending the 2011 season as the Media Relations Manager for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Double-A, Toronto). While with the Fisher Cats, Leite acted as the team’s lead media contact which included serving as the primary media representative for the 2011 Eastern League All-Star Game held in New Hampshire.

“I am excited to have this great opportunity with the Hagerstown Suns and to get back on-air to tell their baseball story next season,” said Leite. “The Fisher Cats are a tremendous organization and I was fortunate to experience a championship season and the Eastern League All-Star Game with that great staff. I’d like to thank Bruce Quinn and Bill Farley for affording me the chance to join the Suns’ talented front office, and I look forward to meeting Hagerstown’s great baseball fans this coming season.”

A New England native, Leite brings with him nearly 10 years of broadcast experience, including baseball play-by-play with the Fisher Cats and teams in the independent Can-Am League, Cape Cod Baseball League and New England Collegiate Baseball League. Leite was the featured play-by-play voice in the documentary series Eye on the Dream, which chronicled the 2006 NECBL season and aired regionally on Comcast SportsNet New England (formerly Fox Sports) and SportsNet New York.

Leite will serve as the Suns’ primary media contact and liaison with the South Atlantic League and Washington Nationals communications departments while also bolstering the Suns group and corporate sales efforts.

Leite is a 2007 honors graduate of Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H., where he received a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and was awarded the Marlin Fitzwater Medallion as the major’s top student in public discourse.

Del Barrio joins Harlem Globetrotters

Alex Del Barrio(November 3, 2011) Alex Del Barrio has twice watched the Harlem Globetrotters when they have visited his current hometown of Edinburg, TX. The next time the Trotters visit, Del Barrio might be behind the mike. An STAA client since 2006, Del Barrio has been hired as a public address announcer for the internationally renowned clown princes of basketball.

“I’ve always enjoyed watching them on TV. I am obviously impressed with what they are able to do. Its always a big deal when they are coming down,” Del Barrio smiles. “When people leave Globetrotters games they leave with a smile on their face. That is something different. I am looking forward to it.”

The Globetrotters season tips off on Christmas Day. Del Barrio will start with a part-time schedule that will provide him with several weeks off scattered throughout the year. “I think I get to go to Seattle, Phoenix, Houston, Portland, Boise and Calgary [among other cities],” Del Barrio says. “I’ve always enjoyed being on the road and have always loved traveling.”

Basketball has long been a focus of Del Barrio’s career. He spent four seasons as radio voice of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA D-League. He has also broadcast games for the men and women’s teams at the University of Texas-Pan. Del Barrio reached a point, though, where he wanted to take his career in a different direction, so he sent his demo and resume to a variety of different employers including the Globetrotters and WWE.

“I had an old employer who told me ‘if you throw a lot of spaghetti at the wall, something is going to stick,’” Del Barrio says.

Several months after contacting the Globetrotters, Del Barrio was surprised to receive a reply requesting additional material. He studied the public address announcing in several Globetrotters online video clips, then incorporated what he heard into a two and-a-half minute demo.

Del Barrio is excited to be associated with such a monumental brand for the first time in his career. “I’ve had a chance to do a lot of great things – I’ve called games in Staples Center and I’ve done national broadcasts on NBA TV but this is the first time I’m truly associated with a brand everyone recognizes, and no one has a bad thing to say about them.

When someone remarked to Del Barrio that, as public address announcer, he was going to hear the Globetrotters signature song, Sweet Georgia Brown in his sleep, he replied with a grin, “I think I already am.”