Gellman-Chomsky back in baseball after a year away

Ben Gellman(December 23, 2014) When Ben Gellman-Chomsky was out of baseball last summer, he was disappointed but not defeated. Now he is back in the game. Gellman-Chomsky is the new Broadcasting and Media Relations Assistant for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

The Fisher-Cats are the Class AA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

New Hampshire is Gellman-Chomsky’s first opportunity in double-A ball and he couldn’t be more excited.

“First and foremost, they’re giving me both experience and mentorship in sales, something I’ve wanted for some time. Second, it’s a chance to get back to work in media relations and broadcasting — two areas where I’ve worked hard to develop my skills. I’m also fortunate to be returning to New England, where I went to college (at Brandeis University) and where I still have lots of friends and family.”

Gellman-Chomsky last worked in minor league baseball in 2013 as Lead Broadcaster and Media Relations Assistant with the Clearwater Threshers. He has also worked for the Hudson Valley Renegades and Hickory Crawdads.

Support from family and friends and belief in himself were critical for Gellman-Chomsky as he spent last summer at home instead of at the stadium.

“About a week into April, I noticed I had way too much energy at 6 PM, when I’d have been preparing for a game. I missed broadcasting baseball terribly, but I was blessed to have a number of friends and mentors across Minor League Baseball encouraging me to get back into the job market this year. My family and friends have also been constant sources of support, and I’m so grateful to have them behind me. More than anything, I knew I had the skillset and experience that could make me valuable to a team, and I was determined to show it.”

For other baseball broadcasters who have been out of the game, Gellman-Chomsky suggests strengthening old connections and creating new ones.

“I have to thank the many International League broadcasters (Jeff Levering, Josh Maurer, Patrick Kinas, Ben Wagner, Josh Whetzel, Matt Provence, Will Flemming and Howard Kellman) who put up with me hanging around their booth when I visited them at Durham Bulls home games. Their advice and patience made a big difference for me. I also leaned on my old boss Andrew Buchbinder (now of the Springfield Cardinals), who gives me way more time than I deserve and picks up entirely too many of my calls.”

Gellman-Chomsky also suggests that out-of-work broadcasters stay sharp by any means necessary.

“My options for doing mock broadcasts of minor league baseball games were limited, [so] I turned instead to my living room, using my Playstation 3, an subscription, a microphone and my laptop to do some mock broadcasts of MLB games at home.

“Above all else, stay positive. Channel any frustration into new energy to make yourself better and more valuable to your next employer. I held two temp jobs this year, and used my work at both to enhance my graphic design skills and ability to edit effectively. I can sell myself on way more than just my on-air ability now.

“Coming off a year where I couldn’t get a baseball job, this was a way better outcome than I could have reasonably hoped for.”

(Visit Ben’s website).

Contacts help Tanaka land summer baseball job

tanaka-luke(December 16, 2014) When California native Luke Tanaka graduates from college in Chicago next spring he’ll be headed for a summer of baseball in Michigan. Tanaka will be the 2015 broadcaster for the Battle Creek Bombers.

The Bombers play in the Northwoods League.

“This is the perfect opportunity for me to gain experience as a full-time broadcaster. Also, I am very excited about the freedom that I will have to prepare for the broadcast and make sure that the on-air product is as good as it can be. On top of the broadcasting, I’ll also be helping out in the media relations department, which will give me invaluable training and experience.”

With his senior year at Elmhurst College approaching, Tanaka spent the summer months preparing to enter the job market. A chance encounter with a childhood friend granted Tanaka the opportunity to record his demo with a broadcaster’s view at an Oakland A’s game.

“When I wasn’t interning at KNBR, the flagship radio station of the San Francisco Giants, I was practicing my play-by-play in front of the TV. Then, I contacted Bob Rose, the PR Director of the Oakland A’s, through his son who I played Little League baseball with. He allowed me to use the vacant Spanish broadcast booth twice over the summer, where I recorded my mock broadcast with my own equipment.”

“My encounter with Bob Rose’s son was complete chance. We are both college students studying far away from the Bay Area (me in Chicago and him in New Orleans) and ended up bumping into each other in the Oakland Airport’s security line. After talking about our career interests, he mentioned his dad and that he would be willing to connect me with him. I cannot thank him or Bob enough.”

Once his demo was recorded, Tanaka decided the next play was to join STAA—a move that directly led to the Bombers gig.

“I kept tabs on the STAA job boards, but felt that it was time to join because play-by-play broadcasting, specifically baseball, is my passion. Upon joining the STAA a couple of months ago, they connected me with Kelly Cartner of the Kalamazoo Growlers. I sent her my cover letter, resume, and demo tape, talked to her on the phone, and was offered the internship a couple of weeks later. I realized that this is the perfect first step for me in the business and took the job.”

In addition to the internship with KNBR, Tanaka has packed in the broadcasting and athletic experience while at Elmhurst. He is the News and Sports Director at WRSE, a play-by-play and color commentator on BluejayTV and works in the Sports Information office.

Despite the youth of his career, Tanaka has a couple sharp observations that should encourage fellow job hunters to be bold in the market.

“Most of my opportunities came about because I made the extra effort to make a good impression on those around me and ask for the opportunities that I wanted.

“This summer, I met five different sets of play-by-play broadcasters. I was taken aback with how willing the broadcasters were to meet with me and answer my questions. I would have never guessed this, but all I had to do was ask through my connections. I feel so fortunate that I was able to meet these people and I could not thank them enough for their time and advice.”

(Visit Luke’s website).

Helpfulness leads Bullington to network studio gig

Ashlea Bullington(December 9, 2014) The most effective networking happens when you are looking out for opportunities to help others instead of helping yourself. STAA client Ashlea Bullington’s timely offer to help turned into a job opportunity. American Sports Network, Niles Media, and Sinclair Broadcasting have hired Bullington as a TV Studio Host and Sideline Reporter.

“I might not be the most tenured anchor or reporter, I’m 22 you can’t expect that, but because I work hard and am willing to put time in for the team I got the opportunity of a lifetime,” says Bullington.”

Bullington was working as a general news reporter at KATC in Lafayette, LA despite knowing that her true calling was in sports. To stay close to the athletics atmosphere and build her resume, Bullington spent some of her downtime crewing University of Louisiana-Lafayette TV games.

“I was working a game with a director named Sean Moore out of Birmingham, Alabama. One of the cameras broke and everything looked like it was going south. That’s when I offered to run a camera, EVS and audio. I wanted to make their lives easier. His words were ‘You know how to do all of that.’ That day I did stats like I was hired to do, but Sean was impressed. After the game was over he got my information and sent it to Kevin Shank with Niles and ASN.”

Soon after, Bullington was flying to Kansas City for an interview with ASN. A few days later she had a job offer.

A 2013 TCU graduate, Bullington left college with a wide range of skills gained through internships and working in TCU student media. Versatility paired with a team-focused attitude proved to be the key factors in landing at ASN.

“They loved my resume because I had the production background, and ASN being a startup, they needed talent that is willing to write, edit, anchor, report, and if need be go freelance on the weekend running equipment.”

Working in sports media requires long hours; working in a sports media startup makes those long hours even more critical for success. For a young sports broadcaster like Bullington, the huge benefit of those hours is the opportunity to grow and thrive.

“This opportunity for me is perfect because I am learning from some of the best in the business. Working with ASN, my director worked for ESPN so he is helping with my writing and it has already improved leaps and bounds. Our other anchor and all other talent have been in the business for ten plus years. Mick Shaffer, our other host, works for Time Warner Sports KC and has been in the business for 20 years. Just watching him in studio is a learning experience. Every producer, director, camera op I work with has a different eye and that makes you versatile, having to learn to adapt to the people you are working with in the field.”

“The best part of it all is that I have a voice here. We are new and the team relies on me to do more than just anchor and I love that. I have creative freedom and a personality. The best is getting to voice my opinion on things. Also, I love being in a place that challenges me. Not only does my sports knowledge gets challenged here, but so does my ability. I’m extremely blessed to be a part of ASN.”

(Visit Ashlea’s website).

McMillan takes TV sports gig in Nebraska

McMillan-Brett(December 4, 2014) Your first full-time sportscasting job always holds a special place on the career journey. For Brett McMillan, the first signpost on his path has been planted in the Cornhusker State. McMillan has accepted a Weekend Sports Anchor position with Pappas Telecasting in Kearney, NE.

“I get to anchor, report and produce, so this job is a great place to continue to grow and develop. The station covers a wide range of sports, which will help me expand my versatility. From the first time I talked to the news and sports directors I knew the station had quality leadership, and would be a place I really enjoyed.”

McMillan received notice of the opening from an STAA job leads email, and he credits STAA for helping him sort out a job market strategy.

“This would not have happened without [STAA’s] personal help, and all the great STAA resources I’ve been able to use since May,” says McMillan. I used so much of what you taught me about resumes, follow ups, and job hunting in general. You gave me the edge I needed.

“Getting STAA emails is always a highlight. I love learning what is inside them. When college kids ask me how to hunt for sports jobs I tell them that STAA is a must.”

A 2014 graduate of Lindenwood University in Missouri, McMillan built up a solid resume of experience in four years of college.

McMillan says it is crucial for sportscasters to develop job market skills alongside their broadcasting skills.

“Always be willing to listen to others’ ideas, especially if you are young. You have to learn to be a great job hunter, which is independent of your ability as a broadcaster. Be creative. Send the application and a follow-up that would peak your own interest. You have to intrigue someone with your presentation before you can sell them on your capabilities.”

(Visit Brett’s website).

DeBoer scores baseball gig with Kalamazoo Growlers

DeBoer(December 2, 2014) STAA client William DeBoer is on a roll. In less than six months, he has secured two sports broadcasting jobs that allow him to work year-around. DeBoer will be the voice of the Kalamazoo Growlers for the 2015 season.

“At the collegiate level, no league stands taller than Northwoods. The Growlers played 72 games in 77 days last season, and every single one was broadcast,” says DeBoer.

“In a nutshell, I get to work roughly half a major league season in a similar time frame. Add to that the chance to work for the summer in West Michigan, about an hour away from where I went to college. How could I say no?”

This fall, DeBoer began a graduate assistant position at Columbus State (GA). That job includes play-by-play, color, and other multimedia responsibilities. Fortunately, the Growlers schedule fits in perfectly with DeBoer’s CSU timeline.

“The spring semester ends in early May, and the Growlers season starts around Memorial Day. Then that season wraps up in the middle of August, about the same time I’m due back at CSU. The timing couldn’t have worked out much better, really.”

Now that DeBoer has secured two jobs in less than six months with STAA, he has some tried and true advice for other job seekers.

“It’s never too early to start looking for the next gig. The good ones fill up quick, but if you put yourself out there and turn over every stone, chances are good you’ll find something fulfilling. Basically, the sportscasting version of ‘vote early, vote often!’”

(Visit Wiliam’s website).

Reed earns ESPN3, Georgia Southern assignments

Danny Reed(December 1, 2014) Managing a freelance sports broadcasting career is an art unto itself. Freelancing is not a career style that is right for everyone, but when persistence is applied to the right strategy, it provides the freedom for rewarding opportunities. STAA member Danny Reed worked his contact list and succeeded in landing fill-in basketball play-by-play assignments with ESPN3 and Georgia Southern.

While many STAA members achieve success through months of working the job market, it can take much longer to see your efforts come to fruition. In Reed’s case, success in picking up both play-by-play assignments is the result playing the long game—building relationships and staying in contact.

“I’ve been emailing the ESPN contacts off and on for about four years and up until this week, I had only ever done one game, which was back in Dec. 2012. I truly believe that polite persistence and timing are absolutely vital. Don’t beat down their door, but don’t be a stranger…make sure they remember you. You never know when it will pay off. ”

Years of patience and diligence paid off when Reed submitted a well-timed offer to help.

“For ESPN3, my two main contacts through ESPN Regional are Chris Farrow and Stos Hall. I emailed Chris over a month ago regarding the Charleston Classic to see if they needed any assistance. He said that Stos was in charge of the event so he forwarded him my interest. I never heard anything from either, so the other day I casually emailed Stos in regards to that prior contact. He said they were fully staffed for the Classic but may need someone to do the NC State men’s basketball game on the 28th. I said I was available and he gave me the assignment. Later in the day, he emailed again asking if I could also do the ECU men’s basketball game on the 30th since I’d already be in the area.”

In a similar fashion, the Georgia Southern fill-in games came to Reed by way of an established relationship.

“For the Georgia Southern fill-in, I’ve been good friends with their play-by-play voice Chris Blair since I started with The Citadel. We talk about once a week on average. I went to GSU’s Homecoming this year to see their new stadium and amenities and we talked a little bit. He knew about my situation and has always been supportive. A few weeks back he gave me a ring saying that he would be in Dallas for Learfield’s GM meetings in mid-December and asked if I could fill in for two men’s basketball games.”

It is easy for sportscasters to become discouraged by weeks or months of unsuccessful job hunting. However, Reed’s story demonstrates the importance of long-term dedication.

“The popular phrase is ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease.’ I’d also say it’s important to check the tire pressure and the lug nuts. Exhaust your contact list, ask for references and critiques but be respectful, be professional and be patient. If you are committed, it will pay off.”

(Visit Danny’s STAA Talent Page).

Perrault joining Yahoo! Sports Radio Network

Perrault-Matt(November 25, 2014) After 15 years of keeping his nose to the grindstone, Matt Perrault’s efforts have paid off. An STAA member, Perrault is joining Yahoo! Sports Radio as a Talk Show Host and Network Sales Executive.

“This is a rare opportunity for me to use both of my sports radio skills. I’m a uniquely talented sports talk show host who also is someone that looks to maximize revenue by creating killer sales platforms for my clients,” says Perrault. “Yahoo! has given me the chance to use my full arsenal of skills on a national scale. It’s a very unique position that I’m so excited about.”

Yahoo! Sports Radio has employed many STAA clients over the years. When Network Program Director Craig Larson called STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik with the unique broadcasting/sales opportunity, Perrault was the first person Chelesnik suggested.

“After just a few conversations with Craig Larson, I knew it was a great opportunity. It only took about three weeks after the first phone call for me to move to Houston and start the job. Without STAA, this opportunity would never have happened and I’m thankful for the relationship that helped Jon recommend me to Yahoo! Sports Radio.”

Perrault’s career started in 1999 as a play-by-play broadcaster for University of Virginia women’s basketball. After that, he worked as a sports talk host in Huntsville, Omaha, Des Moines and New Hampshire. Perrault has done fill-in work in Boston and Kansas City, and has gained considerable sales experience along the way.

Six month ago, things took an unexpected turn for Perrault when his station in New Hampshire was bought and he was let go as General Manager.

“At 37, I knew my career wasn’t over but I was no longer a young kid in the business. I’m very lucky to have some outstanding connections in the business and I used every one of them during this process of looking for my next opportunity. I knew I was good enough to host in a major market or nationally but I just needed the right opportunity.”

Strong support at home was a major advantage for Perrault as he sought the next step in his career.

“I have an amazing wife (Theresa) and she was my rock every time I doubted that a job like this would come along. I don’t think I would have been able to deal with uncertainty of the past six months without her support. It’s been a long road to get here but a lot of fun as well.”

Gulick joins UC Bearcats play-by-play team

“Brendan(November 20, 2014) Brendan Gulick loves Ohio. He attended high school and college in Cleveland, he spent last summer broadcasting baseball in Dayton, and now he is joining the radio team at the University of Cincinnati. An STAA member, Gulick is the new play-by-play voice of Bearcats women’s basketball and baseball.

There is also potential for soccer and volleyball broadcasts next fall.

“I’ve been blessed to work in Ohio,” says Gulick. “I’m a Cleveland native and I have family in Southwestern Ohio. I have a wonderful family and faithful friends who have supported my career. Living and working geographically close to them means so much to me – I love sharing my journey with them. Truthfully, they’re as much a part of this as I am; I even lived with my brother, sister-in-law and niece last summer while working for the Dayton Dragons.”

The UC position opened three days after the season had already tipped-off. The former women’s basketball voice took on additional duties within the university’s athletic department that were going to preclude him from doing the games. The school posted the play-by-play opening on the STAA website and hired Gulick within 48 hours.

“It’s amazing how quickly things can happen,” says Gulick. “I feel so fortunate that this opportunity opened up. I’m thrilled to get right to work next week. UC Athletics has a great reputation regionally and nationally. The facilities are beautiful and there is a clear commitment to the development of student-athletes on and off the field. Jamelle Elliot and Ty Neal are incredibly well respected coaches in the industry and in the community. I am eager to work with them as they continue to strengthen their relationships with Bearcat fans nationwide.”

Being a professional freelance broadcaster has its challenges, but Gulick says it can also be advantageous.

“It forces you to constantly update your demo, focus on building lasting relationships with other broadcasters you respect, and continually look to improve your ability on-air. It’s a never-ending process.”

Since finishing the summer with the Dayton Dragons, Gulick has kept busy with a variety of freelance play-by-play jobs at John Carroll University, Case Western Reserve University and Baldwin Wallace University. Those jobs moved his career forward and helped keep him patient.

“Lots of times, things don’t happen on the timeline that you want them to, and I kept reminding myself that the next opportunity could pop up at any minute. Patience is tough, but I surround myself with people who care about my well being and I take things one day at a time. Plus, using the countless resources STAA offers kept me focused on the right things. I think when you take all of that into account, you’ll be ready when the job you’re meant to have opens up, especially if it’s unanticipated.

“I’m excited for the next phase of my career. Go Bearcats!”

(Visit Brendan’s STAA Talent Page).

NCAA, MiLB jobs put Levitt on fast track

Levitt-Sam(November 18, 2014) Sam Levitt has been out of college for just six months but two new jobs will already have him doing play-by-play year-around. An STAA client, Levitt is the new Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for minor league baseball’s Gateway Grizzlies, and he is joining the broadcast team at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

The opportunity with the Grizzlies is actually a promotion as Levitt spent last season as a broadcasting and media assistant to Adam Young. Young left this summer for a job at New Mexico State University. With SIUE, Levitt will handle play-by-play of all women’s basketball games, work with veteran SIUE voice Joe Pott on men’s games, and handle play-by-play on men’s games when Pott slides over to the TV side for FOX Sports Midwest broadcasts.

SIUE brought in five people to interview for the position. Four of them were STAA clients.

“I had met Joe Pott a few times during the baseball season,” says Levitt. “When the SIUE gigs opened up, I immediately contacted Joe to see what was happening with the job. After interviewing with the athletic department during the fall, I was offered the position.”

Levitt is excited about the experience that will come with the two jobs. “During the next ten months or so, I’ll have the opportunity to call an entire Division I basketball season and a full professional baseball season. At 22, it’s a tremendous chance to hone my craft and improve on-air. These opportunities also put me on-air in a top-25 market, which is so valuable.”

The Grizzlies are based in the St. Louis suburb of Sauget, IL. The SIUE campus is just 30 minutes away.

Getting a jump on the job market while still in school, and making new contacts were keys to setting up Levitt in his current situation.

“I was aggressive in the job market during my senior year at Northwestern, and my decision to originally come to Gateway for a summer ultimately led to me making these connections around the area.”

Levitt encourages other aspiring sportscasters to take a similar approach.

“You must be aggressive while in school at trying to cultivate relationships with other broadcasters and professionals in the industry. It’s so important to get feedback on your work at an early stage, and you never know where those connections may lead you down the road.

“A funny story: I actually emailed Adam Young randomly two summers ago when I was working in the Cape Cod Baseball League. I came across his name on Twitter and sent him some of my work. A year later, he ended up hiring me at Gateway and that really put things in motion when more opportunities became available with the Grizzlies and SIUE. It’s a small example of how important it is to be aggressive in trying to reach out to all different kinds of people in the business.”

(Visit Sam’s website).

Cancer survivor Bishop lands NCAA DII gig

Matt Bishop(November 14, 2014) For STAA client Matt Bishop, the last month has been one of celebration. On the personal side, Bishop was recently declared cancer free after a two-year bout with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. On the professional side, Bishop has accepted an On Air Announcer/Play-by-play position with KROX Radio in Crookston, MN.

The new job includes play-by-play for the University of Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles (NCAA DII) men’s and women’s basketball, Golden Eagles football in 2015, and Crookston High School sports.

“Once the winter sports season kicks in, I’ll be calling 3-5 games a week, which is right up my alley because of the passion I have for broadcasting. This job also allows me to broadcast in one of the premier DII conferences in the country, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. It will allow me to make great contacts and see high quality basketball.”

Bishop gratefully notes that, even while battling cancer, he was able to keep his sportscasting skills sharp. Last year Bishop served as a courtside reporter and color commentator for select University of Minnesota basketball games and called games for University of Northwestern-St. Paul football and basketball.

“It feels great to be done with that stage of life and on to the next one. God was so good in still providing broadcast opportunities for me throughout my treatment. It helped my skills continue to improve as I was waiting for my treatment to finish up.”

When the KROX opening was announced, Bishop relied on advice from STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik to make sure his application was on point.

“STAA played a key role in me getting this job. From the hot lead email notifying me of the job, to Jon providing resume and cover letter advice, to me having all my materials in one place (my STAA talent page), STAA helped me every step of the way!”

There’s nothing quite like celebrating a clean bill of health by starting the journey down your dream career path.

“It is very satisfying to get this job so soon after being cancer-free. It is a huge answer to prayer and makes all of the hard work worth it!”

(Visit Matt’s STAA Talent Page).