(November 11, 2014) Ryan Hedrick is currently a news anchor/reporter in New York. However, his dream has long been to broadcast college play-by-play for a syndicator like Learfield. This week, Hedrick is getting that opportunity. An STAA client, Hedrick is filling-in on the call for the South Dakota State’s men’s basketball game at the University of Buffalo.
The broadcast is important to Hedrick for both professional and personal reasons. “Friday’s opportunity reinforces the fact that you should never give up on yourself,” he says. “After overcoming some personal challenges over the last several years I’ve realized that as long as I am willing to put in the work I will reap the benefits.”
The opportunity came when Learfield VP of Broadcast Operations Tom Boman called STAA looking for help. “Ryan is a talented basketball broadcaster, he has college play-by-play experience and Buffalo is a relatively short commute for him. It was a logical fit,” says STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik.
Hedrick is currently a news anchor/reporter. His full-time gig is at 106.9 KISS FM/95.3 The Lake in Jamestown, NY, but he also works weekends for WBEN in Buffalo. His passion for play-by-play, though, runs deep.
“Over the last four years I’ve gone from volunteering with the Hood College basketball program, to traveling with D3 Stevenson University as their voice for men’s and women’s basketball, to taking a job as a news/sports director at two radio stations more than seven hours away from my friends and family. The chance to broadcast South Dakota State’s season opener in Buffalo excites me because it feels like all the hard work and dedication over the last several years is finally paying off.”
(November 4, 2014) Even unusually talented people face challenges in the sports broadcasting job market. It happened to Ian Steele. Some changes in his approach, though, yielded immediate dividends. An STAA client, Steele is joining KIII-TV ABC in Corpus Christi, TX as a Sports Anchor/Reporter.
The second ranked collegiate sportscaster in the country in STAA’s 2014 All-America program, Steele is a recent graduate of Emerson College in Boston. He is especially excited to cover high school football in a state where fans are notably passionate about the sport.
“I get to cover Texas high school football five days a week. What’s not to like about that?!,” Steele says excitedly. “I’ve gotten a chance to research and explore Corpus Christi since getting down here this week, and it’s a wonderful, beautiful city that seems to have a lot of pride in its local teams. I walked into a convenience store the other day, and they were selling high school football memorabilia at the front counter.”
Landing his first job took a bit longer than Steele anticipated. His talent was never an issue. However, the composition of his demo was presenting a challenge.
“There’s an old saying that hiring managers and news directors will decide whether they like you or not after 30-seconds,” Steele says. “Apparently, they didn’t like me based on my first 30-seconds. My reel was very abstract at first. I hosted talk shows and debate shows mostly, and that showed my creative writing style, sure. My thinking was, ‘There are so many college news stations out there now. Everyone’s doing the same thing. Emerson has incredible facilities and the student producers there are so creative, I’m going to stick out with these kinds of looks.’”
Eventually, Steele came to realize that, by trying to be different on his reel, he was being a bit overwhelming for traditional sports anchor jobs. “That showed after a quiet summer [not] hearing from stations,” Steele says. “Even my news director here at KIII expressed concerns when he called me. Funny enough, I was in the process of putting together a more traditional, newsier reel with more highlights, readers, standups, etc. after getting advice from [STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik] and other STAA members when 3News called me. Funny how that works out.
Steele credits STAA for lending a helping hand.
“I don’t know what I would’ve done without STAA. “The service they gave me was unbelievable. I was confident coming out of college that I’d have a job by September. Obviously, it took a while, and at first I wasn’t doing the little things that Jon knows about to help me get noticed. When I was worried, I called and e-mailed Jon looking for advice and tips, and he even checked in with me. He made me feel like I was his only client. He cut the fat out of my cover letters; he helped me rearrange and restructure my reel, and even helped me with the content of it (what stories are good for what types of jobs, etc.) Even after I got the call, his understanding of media contracts put my mind at ease.”
While Corpus Christi is far from New England, Steele says it isn’t all that much different.
“Well, it is and it isn’t,” he says. “It’s far away, and I have a big family in New England that I’m sad to be away from. But in terms of sports coverage, both New England and South Texas are fanatics. Driving around, there are Cowboys flags, Texans bumper stickers, and local high school car paint all over the place. Sure, New England’s pro sports teams were unreal while I was growing up there, but here in Corpus there’s NFL-sized pride for high school football.”
(October 31, 2014) When one sportscaster makes a career move it often triggers a domino effect, opening a new opportunity for another broadcaster. The dominos have fallen in favor of Jason Galvin, the new Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter at KGET 17 in Bakersfield, CA.
“KGET is the No. 1 station in the market, and Bakersfield is so close to so many bigger markets, it really has paid dividends over and over again for reporters looking to use the Golden Empire to ignite their career,” smiles Galvin.
“Bakersfield has three minor league sports teams and great high school and college athletics, and the position comes with some news as well, which will only make me a stronger storyteller.”
It is thanks to keeping an eye on movement within the industry that Galvin is now in Bakersfield.
“STAA posted that Mark Haas was leaving KGET for a job in Denver. Through my work in NASCAR, I had met Mark at a race in Kern County last year. We talked a few times after, and when I saw his name, I knew it was a job I was interested in.”
Galvin was quick to reach out to KGET’s news director to express interest in Haas’ position. KGET chose one of their own, Lina Washington, to take over as sports director. That opened up the weekend position, for which Galvin reiterated his interest. From there, things moved quickly.
“Within a week I was interviewing and a week later I had the job. It was a whirlwind experience.”
Galvin’s sportscasting career began in radio in his hometown of Santa Clarita, CA, not too far from his new gig at KGET. Galvin joined KHTS 1220-AM a few months after graduating from high school, working at various broadcasting jobs throughout college. The opportunity to try the television side of broadcasting came while he was a student at Arizona State.
Galvin is grateful to begin his post-college career in familiar territory.
“I feel very blessed and privileged to know that at the drop of a dime, I could be home visiting family and friends. I’m a coastal guy, always have been, and being able to stay in California is amazing.”
(October 14, 2014) Even though he’s been busy behind the mike, STAA client Justin Antweil hasn’t had the opportunity to call college athletics since he graduated from the University of Miami three years ago. That will change this fall. Antweil has joined the broadcast team at Bucknell University.
“In addition to broadcasting the home and road women’s basketball games, I’ll be broadcasting numerous other Bucknell sporting events played on campus,” Antweil says. “These events, which include field hockey, soccer, volleyball, wrestling, water polo, baseball and lacrosse, will be broadcast via Bison Vision (a free video web stream) that’s part of the Patriot League Network.”
Antweil is based in New York, so when he unearthed the opportunity at Bucknell, he hoofed it over to the nearby Pennsylvania campus so Bucknell officials could match a face to his name.
“Seeking to return to college sports, I sent demo tapes and my resume to a plethora of Athletic Directors and Broadcast Coordinators across the country. After Bucknell responded positively, I decided to use one of my rare off days to visit the campus in order to express my desire to be part of the Bison family.”
Also helpful to Antweil’s situation was the fact that he and his potential new boss already shared an affiliation—both are STAA clients.
“STAA clients are a close-knit family and fraternity. Bucknell’s Radio & TV Coordinator Doug Birdsong is an STAA client so when we met face to face, we already had a strong bond and something in common.”
Antweil has been the broadcaster for the Somerset Patriots (Atlantic League) for three seasons. He has also broadcast a variety of high school sports on Verizon FiOS1 in the New York and New Jersey area. The high school experience has been valuable, but Antweil is excited to be back in the college game.
“I love the passion of Division One College Athletics. I relish the opportunity to work for a team and build relationships with coaches and student-athletes throughout the season.”
(October 17, 2014) Kenny Roda is back on the air in Ohio. An STAA client, Roda will be hosting his sports show in Afternoon Drive for News-Talk 1480 WHBC in Canton starting October 27th. The move comes 14 months after Roda’s departure from WKNR in Cleveland when the station decided to eliminate local programming in the evenings. Roda had been with WKNR for 21 years.
“It’s a great fit because of the shift, the fact that it’s local, and that I know all the teams that I need to talk about,” says Roda. “The station is an affiliate with the Cavs, Browns, Indians, and Buckeyes. Plus, the driving distance isn’t bad and the salary is not bad with the potential to grow.”
Staying relevant in the sports broadcasting industry was a critical part of Roda’s game plan as he sought his next opportunity.
“I stayed relevant through social media on Twitter and Facebook, and I started up my own website KennyRoda.com which was HUGE. It gave me a platform to still do interviews podcasts and blogs. And then I used to Twitter and Facebook to share all of that with my followers and fans out there. I also took any freelance work I could get, while also doing as many unpaid guest spots on radio or TV, just to be seen and heard.
“Word was out that I was doing a lot of freelance work and hosting some guest spots, so [WHBC] actually contacted me via Facebook to do some fill in work and the opportunity grew from there.
Two months after leaving WKNR, Roda sought assistance from STAA.
“STAA was extremely helpful because I had never been through this process before. [STAA CEO] Jon Chelesnik was able to take my phone calls whenever I needed to reach him and offer great advice and suggestions, along with information on how to approach certain things from resumes, to cover letters, interviews and demo tapes. Also, the online directory of all the sports radio stations around the country and their contact numbers (part of STAA membership) was awesome to have as well as all the job postings.
“STAA was a great help in a time of need and uncertainty for me.”
(October 14, 2014) The dream of many sports broadcasters is to land a job with their favorite childhood team. Less than two years out of college, STAA client Pat Boylan has just netted the dream. Boylan is the new pre-game and halftime show host and sideline reporter for the Indiana Pacers Radio Network.
The new job includes a nice variety of tasks, including post-game locker room reporter for Pacers TV on Fox Sports Indiana, and fill-in radio play-by-play announcer for the WNBA’s Indiana Fever.
“It’s a dream come true, especially at age 24. I grew up a diehard Pacers fan. When I was five years old I would force my dad to play this cassette tape that had the radio highlights from Mark Boyle and Slick Leonard (who are both still there) of the Pacers 1994-1995 season on repeat,” Boylan smiles. Every day on the way to kindergarten. Even as a Pacer fan himself, I’m sure it drove him insane.”
The Pacers job was previously handled by two veteran Indianapolis radio and TV broadcasters: Kevin Lee on home games and Michael Grady on road games. The job became available when Lee and Grady both received promotions, with different organizations, within a two-day period. From there, Boylan says he owes his new position to his mentor.
“My closest mentor is Chris Denari, the TV play-by-play voice of the Pacers. I’ve known him for 15 years. He lives down the street from me. Denari put in a good word and really pushed for me. I owe everything to him.”
Boylan is a 2012 STAA All-America honoree and a graduate of Ball State University. He says that one bonus to being a diehard Pacer fan is getting to listen and learn from a great announcer.
“If there’s a better NBA radio play-by-play announcer than Mark Boyle I’ve yet to hear him. Just getting to have him in my ear 90 or so times a year is a huge benefit for an up and coming broadcaster like myself.”
Thanks to scoring big so early in his career, Boylan is already recognizing the truth in the old adage, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
“I caught a ton of breaks in the process, but once I caught those it amazed me how important relationships are and how powerful having someone with some pull go to bat for you can be.
“I’m still very much in the learning process, but in my relatively brief time out of school I’ve seen how powerful the combination of STAA informing you of the doors that are open, and having someone well regarded vouch for you inside of that door.”
(October 7, 2014) After a career spent largely in play-by-play, Sam Farber is moving to major market sports radio. An STAA client, Farber Farber has been hired as Morning Drive Sports Anchor at Los Angeles’ new sports station, The Beast 980.
Farber updates Southern California sports fans each morning 5:30 to 11:45 on “The Home Team” with Marques Johnson and Jeanne Zelasko, and on The Jim Rome Show.
Despite his heavy play-by-play background, Farber isn’t at all surprised to land a Los Angeles radio gig.
“I have a lot of radio experience on my resume, and many of the contacts I’ve developed in the past in radio in Los Angeles were working on my behalf in my pursuit of this job,” Farber says. “I’ve always pursued jobs that were beyond play-by-play because I knew limiting myself to one type of work would limit my chances of getting a big break.”
Farber earned his undergrad at George Washington University and his Masters at the University of Southern California. He has called minor league baseball for the Bowie Baysox, Colorado Springs Sky Sox and the Inland Empire 66ers. He has broadcast various sports for Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Northridge and the University of Santa Clara, and he does high school football for Time Warner Cable in Southern California.
For Farber, the advantages of working in sports radio in Los Angeles are limitless.
“At the Beast 980, I’m on LA’s only live and local morning show, in a market where full time on air jobs of any kind are both scarce and highly sought after. I’m working with and learning from some highly skilled and accomplished on-air personalities like Marques Johnson, Jeanne Zelasko, Fred Roggin, Jim Rome, Amy Bender and Ted Sobel. Our crew of producers and editors put together by Owen Murphy is incredibly supportive and encouraging.
“I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate that I’ve received this opportunity at The Beast 980, and can continue to grow alongside all the talented people I get to work with every day.”
(October 1, 2014) Rarely is going to work for a new employer more comfortable than it is going to be for Alex Gold. Gold is joining the sports staff at 580 WIBW in Topeka, KS as a talk show host and play-by-play broadcaster. The station is just an hour from where Gold grew up near Kansas City and the sports staff is made up entirely of STAA clients, including one of Gold’s friends from college.
“I am thrilled to be able to work for Morris Communications. 580 WIBW is one of the most respected and longest running stations in the state with a great signal. This job allows me to co-host an afternoon drive show covering major athletic institutions like KU, KSU, and Washburn along with the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals.”
The entire sports staff at WIBW is now comprised of STAA clients – Gold, Pat Strathman and Sports Director Jake Lebahn. Gold and Strathman attended the University of Kansas together and Strathman had already told Gold about working at WIBW long before they hired him.
“Pat and I were heavily involved in student media during our time at KU. He and I have stayed in touch since, and during the conversations he has mentioned how much he loves the station and working for Jake Lebahn. Pat interned there in college and had nothing but good things to say about management and the way the stations were run. When he and I have talked about the industry we have discussed how many great broadcasters have come from 580 and how honored he is to work for such a respected station.”
Gold moves north to Topeka from Wichita, KS, where was a sports talk host and account executive for the past year. Prior to that, he worked as a sports update anchor and producer at 610 Sports in Kansas City.
The WIBW opportunity came about after Gold received a tip from STAA that the position was open, before the job was posted publicly.
“Within a few days I had an interview setup with Jake Lebahn in Topeka to learn more about the position. We both hit it off and got a good feel for what we each wanted in a show and a co-host, and the other job opportunities I would have.”
Gold’s new gig is less than 70 miles from where he grew up.
“I never thought this opportunity would be available,” says Gold. “Being an hour away from where I grew up in the Kansas City area was just one of the many aspects of this job that make it a wonderful fit. Topeka is centrally located which makes it a great spot to cover KSU, KU and the professional franchises in Kansas City.”
(September 29, 2014) When the Rice Owls women’s basketball team takes the floor on Nov. 14 against Prairie View A&M in the season opener, they will have a new voice over the airwaves bringing you all the action. The school has announced the addition of Alex Del Barrio for the upcoming 2014-15 season, a familiar voice in the Houston sports world.
“I want to thank Rice Athletics and IMG for bringing me into the family as I am beyond excited for this opportunity to join the broadcast team for the Owls,” Del Barrio said. “I think the fans of Rice will enjoy my call of the game and I look forward to describing the action of Owl athletics to all of the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and fans of the program.”
An STAA client since 2006, Del Barrio is currently a talk show host and on-air talent for SportsRadio 610 in Houston. Prior to his move to Houston, he was the announcer for the world famous Harlem Globetrotters. He performed with the Globetrotters in 26 countries on five continents in a two year stint from 2011-13.
Prior to the Globetrotters he worked in a variety of broadcasting roles in McAllen, TX. His most notable was as the voice of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Houston Rockets. Del Barrio’s professional works includes play-by-play on NBA TV and also serving as the sports anchor for FOX 2 News in McAllen. He also most recently filled in for the Rice Owls baseball in 2014 when he called the three-game series against FIU.
(September 24, 2014) John Wooden once said, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” STAA client Delaney Brey has found the truth in that statement in landing her first sportscasting job. Thanks to a culmination of small changes in her job market techniques, Brey is joining The Media Gateway as a weekend sports anchor.
While the company is headquartered in Little Rock, AR, Brey will be doing sports for WRDE in Salisbury, MD. The station is contracting with The Media Gateway for Brey’s services. The Media Gateway produces news and sportscasts for several markets, providing an ideal opportunity for a young career.
“For me, the biggest perk of working for Media Gateway is growth and diversity,” Brey says. “Gaining experience with my first job, while being exposed to an environment that produces multiple shows for stations across the country; it’s practically like working at CNN/ESPN!”
Brey is a graduate of Lynn University where she interned with ESPN West Palm Beach and WXEL. Like many recent grads, Brey found her first entry into the job market to be a frustrating experience.
“The first month after graduating, I was super discouraged when I would send in an application and hear absolutely nothing. That’s when I decided to sign up for STAA. I really paid attention to the resources given for applications and follow-ups.
“It’s amazing how simple changes make all the difference. Even if it was a no, I was at least getting a response, which to me is so much better then silence.”
In addition to the simple changes in strategy, dedicating more time to her job market efforts helped Brey find the right opening to begin her career.
“Everyone I’ve talked to says the hardest thing is getting that first job. I took this to heart and sent out applications like that was my job.”
Much like the changes she made in strategy after joining STAA, Brey’s advice for fellow job seekers is simple, but crucial:
“The most important thing I’ve learned is to be patient, be yourself, and less is more.”