Johnson takes his Internet show to radio

Rob Johnson(September 19, 2014) Rob Johnson understands how to build a sportscasting career. He isn’t yet where he eventually wants to be, but after starting at Square One in his mid-30s, he is taking another important step in the right direction. An STAA client, Johnson has been hired to take his online podcast to afternoon drive on Fridays at 95.5 The Fan in Paducah, KY.

In addition, Johnson’s blog posts, “Rob’s Rapid Rant,” will now include a radio version that will air daily at various times on 99.5 The Fan.

What is most impressive is that every opportunity Johnson has earned in his career is one he has created exclusively through his own hard work, industriousness and creativity.

Johnson’s sports talk career began with the creation of his blog, MakinThePlay.com, in 2011. He designed and implemented advertising strategies for the website and it’s accompanying sports talk show. Two years later, in January 2013, he was able to broker a deal to get his show on the radio in Southeast Missouri.

The opportunity at The Fan in Paducah started with an email to the program director this past spring.

“In April, I cold emailed, then cold called the PD. The first email actually went to the PD’s junk folder. A few phone calls and email conversations led to a meeting in late June with the PD and GM,” says Johnson.

Once he got the meeting with station executives, Johnson knew what his most relevant selling points were, and he knew how to present them in a way that would garner attention in an industry where advertising revenue is the bottom line. Johnson also sold his motivation and proactivity – traits that are attractive to employers in all industries.

“I told my story of creating MakinThePlay.com, broadcasting an Internet show to compliment it, and transitioning that show to radio,” says Johnson. “I described how I negotiated and purchased air time, sold advertising, then delivered an entertaining and informative show that was popular with listeners and sponsors.

“To provide additional credibility, I gave them the names of sponsors who were ecstatic with the ROI (Return on Investment) that my show delivered.”

Two other things Johnson have done exceptionally well in building his career is networking and continuing education. Just this year, he has attended a sports radio conference in San Diego and STAA’s annual One Day Ticket to Sportscasting Success seminar in North Carolina. The education and contacts he made at those events were something else he sold in his meeting with executives at 99.5 The Fan.

“I talked about the conferences I’ve attended, what I’ve learned, how I’m continuing to learn, and the relationships I’ve developed through various ways with successful people in sports talk radio. In addition, I laid out my vision for a successful show.”

Having confidence is yourself and your plan is a prerequisite for success at anything. Johnson believes it is his destiny to be a sports talk show host.

“I’m motivated by the overpowering belief that I was born to be a sports talk show host and the knowledge that I have the talent and intangibles to succeed in a large market. As my baseball card (another great marketing idea that Johnson uses) states, I’m a 5-Tool Player. The passion that led me to follow my dream four years ago — 18 years later than I should have — is stronger than ever.”

(Visit Rob’s STAA Talent Page).

Harab takes News/Sports Director job in Nebraska

Matt Harab(September 17, 2014) STAA client Matt Harab has successfully navigated the path to full-time employment. Harab has accepted a job as News and Sports Director at KTMX-KAWL Radio in York, NE.

“On the sports side I’m in charge of play-by-play duties for the local high school football, basketball, baseball and volleyball teams. On the news side I’ll be going to council meetings, reporting on local current events, and recording news and sportscasts to air every 20 minutes. I am also participating in weekly sports talk show.”

Like many sports broadcasters, Harab has been working as a freelancer, hoping to gain the contacts and experience to land full-time employment. Harab’s freelance time in the northeast included work with Loyola University and John Hopkins University.

Hard work and patience paid off, and when the full-time opportunity in Nebraska came up, Harab relied on STAA to ensure his application stood out from the crowd.

“Jon and Mel were both great. Jon answered all my annoying emails during every part of the application, pre-interview and post interview processes. I felt like you guys were with me the entire way and I was getting the best professional advice possible. [I] would not have heard about the job and applied the correct way without STAA.”

A 2013 graduate of the University of Delaware, Harab is looking forward to the many positives of his new job.

“The cool thing though is the station is open for ideas of how to grow, so I’m excited to pitch in my ideas for advancing the website and possibly having my own show!”

(Visit Matt’s STAA Talent Page).

Prospecting leads Lewis to college gig in Alabama

Brandon Lewis(September 11, 2014) After nearly a decade of broadcasting in Iowa, Brandon Lewis is moving to the Heart of Dixie. An STAA client, Lewis is joining the broadcast team at the University of North Alabama. He will serve as pre-game host for UNA football, color analyst on Lions football and basketball, and play-by-play voice for the university’s volleyball and women’s soccer programs.

While the opportunity to return to broadcasting college athletics was attractive to Lewis, he was also pleased to discover that UNA is an ideal employer.

“To be honest, a big factor was that they seemed just as committed to helping me achieve my goals as I was in making the radio broadcast and LionVision (Internet broadcasts) the best possible.”

Lewis’ time in small market Iowa radio has been well spent gaining experience in play-by-play, news, production, and an always-marketable skill for a sports broadcaster – sales. All of that experience, along with an assist from the university, helped Lewis land a second gig in his new Alabama home.

“I will be doing sales, production work, and voice tracking for KISS FM in Florence. About a day after I accepted the position at UNA, the Athletic Director was in a meeting with the General Manager and my name was brought up. He gave me a call right then and the manager and I exchanged information. After talking later that day, he said he was impressed with me and we set up a time to interview when I moved to Florence.

Lewis first contacted UNA after learning through STAA that their football and basketball play-by-play voice had resigned. The school already had a replacement lined up, but the athletic department did have broadcasting needs in other areas.

“It is truly amazing how this all came together.”

(Visit Brandon’s STAA Talent Page).

Kuhns gets college gig on ESPN Williamsport

Kuhns(September 9, 2014) STAA client Jordan Kuhns is the new play-by-play voice of Misericordia University football and basketball. Located in Pennsylvania, the Cougars play in NCAA Division III.

Kuhns takes the mike after spending the past three years calling games for his alma mater, Millersville University, also located in the Keystone State. Kuhns follows fellow STAA client Dan Hilton as the Voice of the Cougars.

“I’m excited to take this next step in my career after learning so much about the business at my alma mater, Millersville University,” says Kuhns, who joined STAA in May 2013. “I have to thank everyone at Millersville Athletics for being fantastic beacons of support.”

STAA has had a long-time relationship with ESPN Williamsport, the radio home of Misericordia athletics. When the broadcasting position opened, station GM Todd Bartley asked for assistance. Kuhns learned about the opportunity in one of STAA’s Job Leads emails.

After hiring Kuhns, Bartley put him on the air right away, broadcasting a Babe Ruth League regional playoff tournament.

“I’m thrilled to join the team at ESPN Williamsport. It feels surreal in a way to have the ESPN call letters ready and waiting after I come back from a commercial break.”

(Visit Jordan’s STAA Talent Page).

Deutsch joins college friend at Topeka’s WIBW-TV

Deutsch-Jonathan(September 3, 2014) Jonathan Deutsch and Chris Lilly worked together for four years while learning television at the University of Missouri. Earlier this year, Lilly was hired as Sports Director at WIBW-TV in Topeka, KS. Now, Deutsch is joining him. An STAA client, Deutsch has been hired by the station as a Sports Reporter/Anchor.

“It’s probably a little abnormal to have two people fresh out of college working together in the sports department, but there’s a lot of benefits,” says Deutsch. “We have worked together for the last few years, so we know our chemistry and personalities will carry over to WIBW.”

During his time on the Columbia, MO campus, Deutsch gained anchoring, reporting and producing experience at KOMU — a fully commercial NBC affiliate that is owned by the university but essentially operates independently. In addition, he interned for Fox Sports Southwest in his hometown of Dallas during the summer of 2013.

While at MU, Deutsch also built his friendship with Lilly.

“He’s so easy to get along with, a great person to be around, and the two of us always have a good time when we’re together,” says Deutsch. “Another plus of working with a good friend is the trust and comfort we have. I know that I can be direct and honest about an idea or during a critique and it won’t affect our friendship, and the same goes for Chris.”

Deutsch’s advice for other young sportscasting job seekers is to follow-up your application and to research the market.

“If you’re aggressive and — for lack of a better word — relentless, there’s a good chance your name will be remembered by a news director,” suggests Deutsch. “More specifically, for sports broadcasting, I would say it’s important to study your craft and know the market you’re applying for. Know the teams, coaches, history, and get a feel for the local flavor. There’s no replacement for being well informed.

(Visit Jonathan’s website).

From Baltimore to the Corn Belt, Donnelly joins KCNI

Donnelly-Tim(September 2, 2014) Tim Donnelly joined STAA in early August. By the end of the month, he has a job. Donnelly is joining KCNI/KBBN Radio in Broken Bow, NE as a Sports Anchor/Play-by-Play Broadcaster. He will also handle a daily air shift.

A former walk-on quarterback at the University of Delaware, Donnelly eventually earned a scholarship. He’ll apply that same “can do” attitude as he moves from his home just north of Baltimore, MD to Broken Bow, a town of fewer than 4,000 residents in the central part of the Cornhusker State.

While a student at Delaware, Donnelly was a host, anchor and reporter on the Delaware Student Television Network. He was also a sports reporter and broadcast a variety of play-by-play on the university website. After graduating in 2013, Donnelly continued broadcasting high school sports play-by-play on 94.7 WDWD in Wilmington, DE.

Most recently, Donnelly has worked as an account executive for a pair of radio stations in Baltimore.

(Visit Tim’s STAA Talent Page).

Levine new voice of FIU football

Mike Levine(August 28, 2014) When Mike Levine moved to Miami seven years ago, it was with the hope that being in a major market would lead to big-time opportunities. The bet has paid off. An STAA client since the company’s inception in 2006, Levine is the new voice of Florida International University football.

Levine has been a sports broadcaster with 560 WQAM for the past seven years, working baseball, basketball and football, including the high school “Game of the Week”. He also serves as an on-air personality as well a sports update anchor, reporter and producer. A graduate of Penn State, Levine also spent time with WMAJ-WLTS, State College, Pa. (2003-04) and WKZO-WQSN-WKLZ-WQRL, Kalamazoo, Mich. (2005-07) as a sports director, play-by-play announcer and color analyst.

“There are only 128 FBS play-by-play jobs in college football, and to have the privilege of landing the FIU position is a true honor,” Levine said. “FIU’s campus and athletic program is continually building and growing, becoming an innovator in the city of Miami. I can’t wait for kickoff and to get things rolling. Head Coach Ron Turner, who’s a proven winner, and his staff will undoubtedly make this a competitive and rewarding season in Conference USA.”

“I’m truly humbled and thrilled to get started.”

(Visit Mike’s STAA Talent Page).

Young leaving Grizzlies for New Mexico State

“Adam(August 22, 2014) Two years ago, Adam Young was a finalist to join the broadcast team at New Mexico State University. When the position re-opened this summer, Young applied again. This time, he got it. An STAA client, Young is joining the Aggies radio and TV teams after four years with minor league baseball’s Gateway Grizzlies.

“I think I still had to mature as a broadcaster,” Young says of his 2012 pursuit of the NMSU position. “I’ve worked extremely hard at this craft the last four years and I feel like each year I’ve been able to get better and better.”

With NMSU, Young will do mostly TV, but some radio, for Aggies women’s basketball, volleyball, softball and baseball. He will also do at least three NMSU football telecasts, and host a variety of coaches shows.

“Their games and coaches shows are aired on the likes of Fox Sports Arizona, Fox Sports Southwest, Comcast, Altitude Sports and ESPN 3. The exposure will be terrific.”

Young replaces fellow STAA client Jay Sanderson, who left Las Cruces last month to take over as the play-by-play voice at Montana State University. Young learned about the NMSU opportunity through STAA.

“Without STAA I would never have known about this position,” says Young, who has been an STAA client since 2009. “Thanks to [STAA CEO] Jon Chelesnik for all of his help in my career.”

“When this position opened in 2012, it was immediately prior to the start of school,” says Chelesnik. “Because time was of the essence, the school asked STAA to send the opening exclusively to our clients. They liked the process and followed the same plan this time around.”

In addition to play-by-play, Young worked in media relations and sales with the Gateway Grizzlies. He has also been serving in recent years as the voice of women’s basketball at SIU-Edwardsville, and for various sports at Washington University-St. Louis and McKendree University. At New Mexico State, he gets to focus on one school and one responsibility – sportscasting.

“For the first time in my career I will have the chance to just call games and work for just one university. Now, I can attend practices and devote all of my time to just my broadcasts. Instead of having to cram for three broadcasts in three days at three different universities, I can focus solely on the New Mexico State Aggies.”

Young will be in Las Cruces this coming Thursday for the Aggies football opener. Between now and then, his life will be a whirlwind.

“I will be finishing off the road trip the Grizzlies are currently on. I was offered the job Thursday when we were in Cleveland. Now we are in Pittsburgh Friday-Sunday and then we head back home after the game Sunday. My final full Grizzlies broadcast will be Sunday. We have an off day Monday. On Tuesday the Grizzlies start a home stand and I will do the play-by-play of the first inning as my farewell inning before being recognized in an on-field ceremony.”

(Visit Adam’s STAA Talent Page).

Sports host Myers jumping from market 149 to 15

ESPN-Seattle(August 14, 2014) Justin Myers is moving from market No. 149 to No. 15 without having to leave the Pacific Northwest. An STAA client since 2011, Myers is joining 710 ESPN in Seattle. He’ll host a sports talk show weeknights from 7 to 9,- and produce The Bob and Groz Show daily from Noon to 3.

Myers moves to the Emerald City from Eugene, OR where he has hosted daily shows since 2007.

“The most attractive part [of the opportunity] is being able to host in a major market but not being thrown into the deep end. I will be working with two established and talented hosts in the afternoon (Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby) that I am looking forward to learning from, and also getting the chance to host in the evenings. It is really an ideal situation,” says Myers.

STAA shared the job opening with clients in late June. The station received more than 100 applications. During the interview, 710 ESPN Program Director Mike Salk made it a point to tell Myers how much he appreciated the convenience of reviewing Myers’ demo and resume on his STAA Talent Page.

“With a large number of applicants, I truly believe it gave me an advantage. The easier it is to hear your stuff the better shot you have to get an interview,” says Myers.

A 2000 graduate of Western Oregon University, Myers is excited to continue his career in a part of the country he loves. “It’s great being able to work in a major market and still be close to home (southern Oregon). Plus, coming in with knowledge of the Northwest sports scene I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity.

(Visit Justin’s STAA Talent Page).

Bull riding experience helps Brintle land Wyoming job

“Chris(July 28, 2014) Chris Brintle never had any idea that his experience riding bulls would ever help him land a sportscasting job. It has, though. An STAA client, Brintle has been hired as Sports Director at the Basin Radio Network in Gillette, WY.

When the position opened Basin Radio General Manager Don Clonch asked STAA for recommendations. He mentioned that rodeo is huge in Wyoming, so if he could find someone with knowledge of the sport, it would be a big bonus.

“I didn’t know of any clients who had rodeo knowledge, but I knew Chris Brintle was otherwise a good fit for the position,” says STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik. “I sent Chris’ Talent Page to Don and to Basin Radio’s owner, then I called Chris to gauge his interest. When I mentioned that rodeo was part of the job, he told me he had quite a bit of experience riding bulls. At that point, I felt pretty good about his chances of getting the job!”

“Bull Riding was my life for nearly a decade, so rodeo being the ice breaker towards getting this job was special to me,” says Brintle.

The entire hiring process, from the time Basin Radio contacted STAA to the time Brintle accepted the position, took less than three weeks.

“Simply put, I would not have a job yet if it weren’t for me joining STAA. From day one I received helpful tips and ways to improve every single aspect of finding employment. I was borderline clueless before joining STAA. I bothered Jon all the time and always received detailed responses in a very short amount of time. The whole team was great!

“I can’t say enough about the STAA family that I am proud to be a part of. Just look at my results. I joined in May and found work in July due to their efforts in helping me. For that I am truly grateful for STAA!”

The Midwest lifestyle is a great fit for Brintle. He is a native of Kansas and recently graduated from Oklahoma State University. Now, he’s eager to start a new chapter of his life in The Cowboy State and to make his mark in the city of Gillette.

“When the dust settles the people in the community is really what the radio business is all about. So I want to do everything I can to help in the community.”

(Visit Chris’ STAA Talent Page).