Peal’s patience leads to Binghamton TV job

Mike Peal(October 24, 2013) After two years working as a one-man-band reporter for a website, Mike Peal is ready to don a jacket and tie, and get in front a TV camera. An STAA client, Peal is the new Sports Anchor/Multimedia Journalist at WBNG-TV in Binghamton, NY.

“Before this, I was doing a little bit of everything and sprinkling in sports when I could. Now I’ll be doing sports full time, and suddenly I have a feeling work is going to feel less like work and more like a lot of fun,” Peal grins.

Peal has been on the job hunt since the beginning of summer, with little result. When an STAA email with the WBNG opening hit Peal’s inbox, he pulled a quick turnaround to make sure that his application was among the first the station received.

“I have a friend who works at WBNG’s main competitor, so Binghamton and WBNG had always been on my radar. But if it wasn’t for STAA’s job lead emails, I may not have seen this opening as quickly as I did. It was posted 9/25, I saw STAA’s email about it at 5:30 p.m. that evening,” Peal explains.

“I had a cover letter, resume and demo reel shipped through FedEx that night and it arrived the morning of 9/27. I can’t help thinking that was huge — that I was able to get my information in front of them as quickly as I did.”

Peal also relied on STAA for help in preparing for the interview. “The day before my interview I bought three STAA audio clips regarding how to get a job, what to say and what not to say, etc. A lot of it was common sense, but it was nice to hear it. The one thing those audio clips really did do was give me some ideas on questions I should ask the employer. Very, very helpful. I am thrilled about my decision to join STAA.”

A graduate of the University of Connecticut, Peal spent the last two years honing his craft at ItsRelevant.com, a hyper local news website in Connecticut.

“At the company I’ve worked for the last two years, the experience I’ve gotten was pseudo-broadcast experience. I was writing, shooting and editing my own news packages; I was making editorial decisions, ethical decisions; learning how to gather and maintain sources — the whole nine yards. But I still didn’t have that commercial television experience I knew I would need to get where I want to go. This is a good start in that regard, and I’ll be at the top station in the Binghamton market with a long tradition of quality.”

The most common advice offered to job hunters is to remain patient. It might sound a little tired, but Peal says that advice is still an essential ingredient.

“Just don’t quit. God knows I heard ‘do not give up’ so many times I became sick of hearing it, but it’s true. I applied to jobs starting in late May and only got two call backs before this one popped up. My friends, professors, mentors from my internship — they all told me I was good enough and to just hang in there, but eventually you get sick of hearing that from everybody but an employer. But it’s true. Just hang in there. It’s a very subjective process and as good as you may be, a news director might not like your voice, your style or a number of things. If you’re good enough and you work hard enough, you’ll land somewhere.”

(Visit Mike’s STAA Talent Page).

Nathan joining KELO-TV in South Dakota

Elliot Nathan(October 18, 2013) After much patience and persistence, Elliot Nathan’s time has finally arrived. An STAA client, Nathan has accepted a Sports Reporter/Anchor position at KELO-TV in Sioux Falls, SD.

“It is great family and direction, so there is opportunity to learn a ton,” Nathan enthuses.

“Also, I will being covering a number of local, regional, and national sports teams, while getting the opportunity to be on-air and strengthen my presence (they have D-League, USHL, IFL, etc.). I will also be hosting a weekly show called ‘SportsZone’ breaking down the weeks HS sports activity.

“Sioux Falls is also a top 120 market, so there will be a ton of exposure. Overall, I think it will be a perfect fit.”

The KELO job is the ideal reward to a search that Nathan has been conducting for years.

“I had applied to probably 50 plus TV jobs in the last three years, and had two interviews. I knew KELO was a first case organization and I wasn’t going to let this one go. I drove to Sioux Falls for an interview, and the rest is history,” Nathan smiles.

“I’ve been grinding for this opportunity for three years, and can finally say the hard work has paid off. From my time at MLB.com to on-air morning DJ in small market radio, I would give the advice to follow your true passion, and do whatever is necessary to get there.”

Nathan wants to remind fellow sportscasters that persistence is the key to any job hunt.

“Timing is everything in this business. You may be qualified for a job, have a great interview, and not get the job. That’s not a reflection on you, just that the timing wasn’t right. Never give up on your goals.”

After graduating from the University of Oregon in 2011, Nathan’s pursuit of a sportscasting career took him to New York, then Montana. Happily, this new opportunity places him much closer to his roots.

“It also is relatively close to home for me, being just under four hours from Minneapolis. I will have family close, and at KELO we will still cover major market sports and events (Twins, Viks, Wolves etc.).”

With a mountain of rejected applications behind him, Nathan is anxious to dig in to his new responsibilities.

“I can’t say enough of what a classy organization KELO is, and I’m excited to be part of the family. Also, thanks to STAA for being so supportive and helpful throughout the entire process. From job postings to personal advice, it is a great platform to use.”

(Visit Elliot’s STAA Talent Page).

Lehman scores plum college hoops TV gig

Kevin Lehman(October 15, 2013) Kevin Lehman will be spending the days before Thanksgiving in a beautiful island paradise. An STAA client, Lehman has been chosen to serve as color analyst for college basketball’s Paradise Jam, a four-day tournament in late November on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.

Six games will air on CBS Sports Network. Teams include Maryland, Vanderbilt, Providence, La Salle, Loyola Marymount, the University of Northern Iowa, Marist and Morgan State.

“The Paradise Jam presents an unparalleled opportunity to develop my analysis skills and style in a tournament format while calling multiple games each day,” says Lehman.

Lehman brings an extensive coaching background to the microphone. After nine seasons as an assistant at the University of Northern Iowa, he spent six years as the head coach at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Related: Why do STAA clients get so many jobs?

When Lehman emailed STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik to share the news, the opening line of the message was, “You coached me up again!”

“Jon and STAA have been terrific,” says Lehman. “His system is SUPER! What I most value about Jon and his service is this: when I email Jon to discuss a strategy or an idea, Jon has never failed to call me the same day and usually within the hour. STAA has been invaluable to the advancement of my career. With Jon and STAA, you know you are members of the same team!”

“Coach is coachable,” Chelesnik says with a smile. “Without fail, when he’s asked for job market advice over the years, he’s executed the game plans we have developed together to perfection. Coach is always proactive on is own behalf.”

Lehman has been an STAA client since 2011 when he asked STAA to build his TV demo and do some talent coaching. At the time, Lehman was already an analyst on select Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa men’s basketball broadcasts. Since joining STAA, he has added Missouri Valley Conference telecasts to his resume, ESPN/Big 12 Network, and Big 10 Digital Network games, and the NAIA Division II national title game last spring for CBS Sports. Earlier this year, he started serving as a Missouri Valley Conference and NCAA Tournament expert on Midwest several radio stations.

The Paradise Jam opportunity came about through Lehman’s signature networking. Once he got himself into the final four candidates, he called Chelesnik for advice. “We spoke for 10 minutes and by the time we hung up we had drafted a game plan for Coach to get himself over the top,” says Chelesnik. “Three days later he emailed to say he got the gig.”

“[The employers] were impressed by the STAA Talent page and demo DVD,” says Lehman.

“The balancing act is to be persistent but not a pest,” advises Lehman. “I keep a file on each pursuit and try to reach out to the contact every two to three weeks in some way. I approach these job pursuits similar to when I was recruiting a student-athlete. Find out who the decision maker is, keep your name in front of them and make it hard for them to tell you ‘no.’”

With two games to prepare for each day during the four day tournament, Lehman will be working almost non-stop. After the final buzzer sounds, though, he plans to enjoy the beauty of the island. “I do anticipate staying an extra day after the championship game to check scuba diving off of my bucket list and possibly take in some snorkeling,” he says. “I will embrace every opportunity to take in the beauty and culture of this exotic paradise.”

(Visit Kevin’s STAA Talent Page).

Kolb lands Michigan TV sports anchor/reporter job

Jeff Kolb(October 11, 2013) Jeff Kolb is parlaying his online sports reporting experience into a TV job. An STAA client, Kolb is joining WBKB-TV in Alpena, MI as a sports anchor/reporter. Kolb will produce and anchor two nightly sportscasts and co-host a Friday night football show during the fall.

“I’ve dreamed of getting this chance and have been grinding for it since graduation,” says Kolb.

A 2012 graduate in Broadcast Journalism from Emerson College in Boston, Kolb has spent the past year as a sports reporter for a local news website in Chambersburg, PA. When he decided to start seeking his next opportunity, Kolb was concerned that all of his video reporting experience since graduation had been online versus on TV. As it turns out, the online experience was valuable.

Related: Why do STAA clients get so many jobs?

“I learned a lot by being flexible and versatile enough to improve my skills in a print job first, an experience [to which] I credit my understanding of how to cover local sports,” says Kolb. “Being at a small station with a lot of talented entry-level reporters, I’ll get to transfer that advantage of already having substantial local sports coverage experience to my job and focus on growing my abilities in front of the camera.

“Since I’ll be part of a two-person sports team I’m going to get a lot of reps and visibility, which I hope will lead me to a strong connection with the community in a short period of time.”

Kolb has been an STAA client for less than one month. “I’ve used a variety of job websites, free and paid,” Kolb says. “STAA is more than just a resource for job openings; it’s having a person in Jon Chelesnik to bounce ideas off and get advice from that is where the value of being a member truly is. Jon helped me reason out the pro’s and con’s of taking the job against staying in my current one and waiting for other opportunities. He was honest with his opinions.”

At WBKB, Kolb feels camaraderie with a staff that is largely also young and ambitious. “The other air talents are in the same boat as I am, getting their starts, so that should make this growing experience more comfortable. I couldn’t be more excited.”

(Visit Jeff’s STAA Talent Page).

Binetti new Rapid City Rush hockey voice

Mark Binetti(October 8, 2013) Mark Binetti had been told repeatedly that the first job is the hardest to get. Now that Binetti has been hired as Media Relations Director/Broadcaster for the Rapid City Rush of the Central Hockey League, he says, “My new theme is, the first job is the BEST one to have.’”

Binetti has spent the past two seasons as a broadcast assistant with the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL. The Rapid City job affords him the opportunity to do everything he has ever wanted to with a team, and not have to sell tickets. “I’ll host a weekly hour-long radio show in a restaurant with fan interaction, host a half hour update show before the weekend’s slate of games, and then broadcast the game itself, with in-depth pre-game and post-game shows to go with it,” he says.

For Binetti, landing the gig was like catching lightening in a bottle. “Everything happened super fast. Daniel Nieves, the original voice of the Rush, had already had the position filled, and then it suddenly opened up due to a late departure.” Binetti learned of the Rush opportunity from Checkers broadcaster Jason Shaya.

“Jason encouraged me to take the chance, and explained to me the sense of urgency with the team about this opening. I took a leap of faith and sure enough Mr. Nieves called me back, told me he was impressed with my credentials and offered me the position right there over the phone.”

Binetti has been an STAA client since June 2012. “At first, the job leads were really the edge I was looking for, which allowed me the opportunity to send my resume and demo out from there. Then I realized that [STAA CEO Jon] Chelesnik is full of knowledge and first-hand experience. When I tapped into that reservoir so to speak, things became more apparent to me, such as where I was not properly executing in my approach, what I could have done better, the quality of my resume/cover letter/demo etc. As soon as I started to utilize that information, I realized I stood a fighting chance when it came time to search for open positions.

“Mr. Chelesnik never gave up on me, and his honesty and constructive criticism made a huge impact. When I coupled his help with Mr. Shaya, my mentor in Charlotte, and my other colleagues in the broadcasting world, I knew I was as prepared as I could be when the time would come for a chance to contend for my first opportunity, and here we are!”

As he looks ahead to Rapid City, another thing about which Binetti is excited is the enthusiasm within the Rush organization. “Coach [Joe] Ferras was named GM a few weeks ago, and he has to be the most enthusiastic GM I have ever met. He has a high level of energy that rubs off on everyone, and it helps create an amazing environment to work in and do our jobs to the best of our ability.

“The team is one of the most well-oiled machines in all of minor league sports, with a phenomenal group of intelligent owners that truly enjoy operating the team. This allows me the opportunity to be exactly where I have wanted to be since I graduated from USC. I am so excited and hopeful for what the future will bring, and thank my friends, my family, and God for the opportunity before me.

“Now I can cross getting that first job off my bucket list.”

(Visit Mark’s STAA Talent Page).

Boulware joins Western Kansas Broadcast Center

Tim Boulware(October 1, 2013) Tim Boulware’s extensive news experience is going to come in handy in his new job. An STAA client, Boulware has accepted a News Director and play-by-play position with the Western Kansas Broadcast Center’s eight-station cluster in Garden City, KS.

“I am very happy about the opportunity to continue sharpening my broadcasting skills in Garden City,” says Boulware. “The ownership makes a real commitment to local radio in both news and sports coverage. They offer a ton of play-by-play, take pride in their news coverage and have a real passion for radio. All of these factors, along with a great staff made this a very easy decision.”

A 13-year broadcasting veteran, Boulware moves south to Kansas from Wyoming, where he has spent most of the past five years working in management, news and sports. He has also worked at radio stations in Moberly, MO, Woodward, OK and Huntsville, AL, and for pro sports teams in Missoula, MT, Muskegon, MI and Boise, ID.

Boulware spotted the Garden City job on the STAA website. “That started the ball rolling,” he says. “I also received a strong recommendation from [Western Kansas Broadcast Center] Sports Director Mike Pilosof whom I knew from my days working in Oklahoma. Then everything just seem to go quickly in allowing me the opportunity to articulate what I would do and the ways I would build on their already solid news and sports coverage.”

Boulware has been an STAA client since the company’s inception.

“[My STAA Talent Page] makes things easier because everything is available at the click of a button. Western Kansas could click on what I did in both news and sports and they can hear the audio in a matter of seconds. The resume and experience are all right there and when sifting through a bunch of applications, having your own website makes a huge difference. STAA is also quick to jump on any audio updates that I ask them to post, so perspective employers can hear the latest materials.

“I am deeply indebted for all STAA does in making the objective of a finding the right job, so much easier.”

(Visit Tim’s STAA Talent Page).

Morgan stays home to join KRDZ in Colorado

Andrew Morgan(September 30, 2013) Andrew Morgan is staying in his home state for his next sportscasting job. An STAA client, Morgan has been hired as Sports Director at KRDZ 1440 in Wray, CO.

Wray is just three hours from Fort Collins, where Morgan graduated from Colorado State University in 2011. Since then, he has been an online reporter covering CSU sports for university’s athletic department. Now, he is moving into radio.

KRDZ has employed several STAA clients in the past so when the position sports director position opened, STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik contacted station Owner/GM Wayne Johnson for permission to share the opening with STAA clients. Morgan received the notification, applied, and was eventually offered the position. There was just one issue. He had already been offered another job in TV news in another state.

Morgan sought help from STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik in weighing the pros and cons of both opportunities. “Andrew and I spoke three times over a 36 hour period,” says Chelesnik. “Both positions offered several of positives. Ultimately, though, I think it was Andrew’s passion for radio that won out. And while I know staying in his home state wasn’t a priority, it certainly didn’t hurt.”

In his new gig, Morgan will broadcast play-by-play for high school football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, softball and wrestling. He will also deliver sportscasts during KRDZ’s morning show and noon programming, plus host some sports talk programming.

(Visit Andrew’s STAA Talent Page).

Gold snags AM Drive show in home state

Alex Gold(September 27, 2013) Yet another STAA client has joined Sports Radio 1410 KGSO in Wichita, KS. Alex Gold has been hired as Morning Drive Sports Talk Host/Account Executive. He is the seventh STAA client to work at KGSO. Only Yahoo! Sports Radio Network has employed as many.

Gold moves to Wichita from Kansas City where he’d been a fill-in host, sports update anchor and producer at 610 Sports KCSP. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas and is thrilled to be staying in the Sunflower state.

“Location for this job is incredible,” says Gold. “I not only get to stay in the Midwest, but also in a state where I have lived my entire life. Besides only being about three hours away from my family, it also allows me to be familiar with the teams I will be discussing. I have been around KU, KSU, WSU my whole life, not to mention the Royals and Chiefs who were everyday topics while I was working at 610.

“I can’t be more thrilled for the opportunity and without STAA I wouldn’t have known the position was even open.”

The KGSO job came about when another STAA client, Chris Allison, left the morning show for a similar gig at ESPN Charlotte. KGSO General Manager Harry Finch immediately checked STAA’s online talent database – the STAA Talent Search – for regional talent. You might say he struck Gold.

While Finch was seeking candidates, Gold was being similarly proactive in pursuing the position.

“I had seen the opening on the STAA Premier client job listings email and immediately was interested,” Gold say. “I texted a friend and fellow STAA client Jimmy Chavez who used to work at KGSO. He told me more about the position. Within a few hours of coming aware of this position I emailed my demo and resume to Harry Finch. In the meantime Jimmy contacted Mr. Finch and put in a good word and told him he needed to talk to me.”

Gold has been an STAA client since 2011. “There is no question I would not have known this position even existed without STAA,” he says. “The job listings throughout my job search have been key to being able to stay ahead of the game and be able to get my stuff out in a timely fashion. While I haven’t been able to make many of STAA’s live chats, I go back all the time and read through the archived chats and always gain valuable advice from [STAA CEO] Jon Chelesnik and other STAA clients.

“STAA also just makes the job submission process easy. I simply point employers to my STAA Talent Page and they have everything right there for them. Thanks so much to Jon and his staff at STAA for giving me an edge in the job hunt process.”

While hosting a show was the biggest draw for Gold, he is also excited to get into sales for the first time. “I will be an account executive in the afternoon for KGSO and having the ability to learn sales and sell for my own show is a great advantage. I can’t wait to get down to Wichita and get started.”

(Visit Alex’s STAA Talent Page).

STAA duo to handle Stockton Thunder broadcasts

stockton-thunder(September 25, 2013) The Stockton Thunder will have a pair of new voices on their broadcasts this season and both are STAA clients. Caleb Lamb takes over as the team’s play-by-play voice and Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations. Brandon Kisker will serve as color analyst and media relations assistant.

The duo replaces Mike Benton, who moved onto the Alaska Aces last month. Both the Thunder and the Aces skate in the ECHL.

Lamb is a 2013 graduate of Syracuse University. He was ranked as the third best collegiate sports broadcaster in the country in STAA’s 2013 Jim Nantz Award and All-America program.

“The ECHL is a great league to start out in, especially for someone like me who wants to do hockey play-by-play,” says Lamb. “It’s an affiliated league so there’s still that connection with the AHL and NHL and the teams and players in those leagues. It’s a more organized league than some of the smaller ones out there and there’s plenty of fan interest. I’ll get to call competitive games with a high level of talent with plenty of future NHL players on the ice.”

Kisker is a 2012 graduate of the University of Cincinnati and was as the voice of Bearcats ice hockey for three seasons. He spent the 2011-2012 season as a broadcast and community hockey intern with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“This is a great experience to continue learning and growing not only as a broadcaster, digital media, web, and media relations employee, but also as a teammate and person,” says Kisker. “I’m approaching this opportunity just as I did when I started with the Tampa Bay Lightning. I want to be a sponge and soak up all that I can in anything I can, so that I can contribute positively to the Thunder organization.

“I’ll do anything I can to assist the team and do whatever is asked of me. It’s a unique situation that Caleb and I find ourselves in and if we work together with a “team first” mentality, then all parties involved will benefit from this experience.”

The STAA duo joins a franchise that is coming off its best season – a trip to the Kelly Cup finals. “The Thunder has consistently been in the top five in the league in terms of attendance, and they’ve got a great arena,” says Lamb. “I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how returning leading scorer Ryan Hayes does. He’s an alumnus of the Syracuse Stars, one of the hockey teams I called games for, for the last four years.”

Kisker has been an STAA client since spring of 2012. Lamb joined earlier this year.

“STAA’s been great for helping me to improve the way I apply for jobs,” says Lamb. “Having just graduated from Syracuse, I’d had plenty of experience calling games for different teams as an intern, but didn’t necessarily know the best way to get that experience across to employers. Working with [STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik] helped especially with writing good cover letters. And my STAA Talent Page allowed me to have a simple link to send to employers, rather than trying to cram things into a one-page resume with large demo MP3 attachments.”

Lamb admits it will be a tough task replacing Benton, who was with the Thunder since the team’s inception. However, it is a challenge he is embracing. He also feels a special kinship with Thunder fans following the team’s loss in the finals last year. “I experienced something similar as an intern calling games for the Syracuse Crunch, who lost in the AHL’s Calder Cup finals last year. So hopefully there’s a championship banner coming in the near future.”

(Visit Caleb and Brandon’s STAA Talent Pages.

Tarabocchia accepts SD job in Wyoming

Tarabocchia(September 24, 2013) STAA client Jim Tarabocchia has been hired as Sports/News Director at KASL AM 1240 in Newcastle, WY. His new duties include daily sportscasts, play-by-play for various high school sports, and hosting a weekly coaches show and a bi-weekly sports talk show.

“I get everyday radio experience on and off the mic while getting to do football and basketball play-by-play,” says Tarabocchia. “It also gives me the chance to meet new people and network with people from different parts of the country.”

A 2013 graduate of LaSalle University in Philadelphia, Tarabocchia gained considerable play-by-play experience on campus radio station WEXP. He also spent last summer broadcasting baseball in the Florida Collegiate Summer League.

An STAA client since July, Tarabocchia learned of the Newcastle job in an email from STAA. “I quickly sent an email with my resume and demo to [Station Manager] Kevin Senger. From there I was lucky enough to get an interview and before you know it I’m here in Newcastle doing what I love to do.”

In addition to the job leads that come with his STAA membership, Tarabocchia also credits his STAA Talent Page for making the job market easier. “I have all of my materials [demo and resume] in one place. That helps keep me organized when I apply for a position. Going for a highly competitive job is tough enough but having my materials in one place makes it so much easier.

“STAA’s services have been a huge difference.”

(Visit Jims STAA Talent Page).