(September 21, 2016) Ariel Epstein is creative. When she learned that WCTI in New Bern, NC had a sports anchor/reporter opening, and that the station’s sports director is receptive to new ideas, she knew it would be a fit. She applied, and now Epstein is the newest member of the WCTI sports team.
“I am very excited to start my career doing what I love as well as learning what I am sure will be a great amount,” says Epstein. “The station covers high school sports, East Carolina University, UNC, Duke and NC State, along with some Wake Forest and Carolina Panthers. They even have a Texas Rangers high-A affiliate coming in next spring.”
A 2016 graduate of Syracuse University, Epstein learned of the WCTI opportunity through STAA. She became more excited about it as she got deeper into the application process.
“The sports director [Brian North] is very open-minded to new ideas and covering everything possible, which is something I really liked about the station,” says Epstein. “I felt it was extremely important for me to get in front of the camera as much as possible so I can continue to grow and refine my skills. This job allows me to do just that.
“Thank you [STAA] for your great advice along the way.”
(September 19, 2016) When Ryan Ruff received notification from STAA of a job opening at WETM-TV in Elmira, NY, he recognized it as the station where one of his college friends works. She put in a good word and now they are co-workers. An STAA member, Ruff has joined the 18 News staff as a news/sports anchor/reporter.
“The job will allow me to sharpen my reporting skills in both areas (news and sports) and make me more marketable for future jobs in larger markets,” says Ruff.
A 2016 graduate of Penn State University, Ruff spent considerable time in University Park honing his craft on the student radio and TV stations. It was at PSU’s Comradio where he met Amy Simpson, now a news anchor at WETM. Simpson gladly recommended Ruff to the station’s news director. “I believe the news director took her advice into account and made the decision to give me a phone call. Penn State’s alumni network is a beautiful thing,” Ruff smiles.
Prior to interviewing for the position, Ruff studied techniques on crushing the job interview. “I have found numerous STAA videos and live chats to be extremely helpful,” he says. “I must have reviewed “Winning the Job Interview” 100 times before I met with the news director.”
Shortly after interviewing, Ruff accepted the offer to join WETM’s news and sports staffs. “Trust me, I’m a huge sports guy, but when an offer that would allow me to get my feet wet in different areas came along, I had to bite.”
Nick Nollenberger is making what might be an unprecedented jump in his hockey play-by-play career. An STAA member, Nollenberger is moving from the Odessa Jackalopes of the NAHL to the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda. He’ll serve as the team’s media relations and broadcasting manager.
Nollenberger, 25, grew up a San Jose Sharks fan as a native of Santa Cruz, CA and spent ten seasons playing in the Jr. Sharks Youth Hockey Program at Sharks Ice at San Jose. “This opportunity is a dream come true for me, says Nollenberger. “Growing up in Santa Cruz and being immersed in the Jr. Sharks for most of my youth, I always pictured myself working for this organization.
A graduate of the University of Arizona, Nollenberger spent three years as the Wildcats play-by-play announcer.
“I’ve attended Sharks games since their inaugural season and have looked up to the likes of Dan Rusanowsky and Randy Hahn since I can remember. My goal when I get to San Jose is to continue to grow the Barracuda brand and the AHL in the Bay Area while providing a fun, energetic and informative broadcast for fans.”
(September 13, 2016) Matt Bagley is now working at the station he grew up listening to. A native of Medford, OR and an STAA member, Bagley has been hired as Sports Director at ESPN 580 KTMT in Medford. With his administrative duties, Bagley will do news and sports updates, and broadcast high school play-by-play.
“The cluster, Radio Medford, embraced the ESPN Radio format fairly early. There’s a hometown appeal,” says Bagley.
Bagley returns to Medford from the Basin Mediactive cluster in Klamath Falls, OR. “I spent most of my time running the front desk and editing commercial traffic,” he says. “It was difficult to juggle play-by-play with that. Now I have a full-time on-air position.”
In Medford, Bagley replaces his friend Max Milander, who recommended Bagley for the position. Bagley will be doing play-by-play for a football program that is tied for the most state titles in Oregon history, and a basketball program that is ranked in the Top 25 nationally.
Play-by-play is an area where Bagley has grown considerably over the past year. He says learning how to self-critique has been key. “The STAA Play-by-Play Pyramid taught me how to critique my tape, and STAA’s group critiques have been especially insightful. Not only do you learn the obvious where you went right or wrong, but if you listen to the other member’s submissions, you can learn how to listen to tape. I honestly feel like that is an underrated part of becoming a better broadcaster. Someone like me, who is still raw and in their twenties, can grow faster if they know how to listen to tape.”
Now, Bagley is eager to apply all that he’s learned on his hometown sports station.
(September 9, 2016) When Brian Hanni (pictured) accepted the play-by-play job at the University of Kansas this summer, it was the first domino in a remarkable chain featuring six STAA members.
Upon moving to Lawrence, Hanni vacated the men’s basketball and baseball job at Texas Tech. Geoff Haxton replaced Hanni, leaving the men’s basketball and baseball job at Oral Roberts. Adam Hildebrandt left Wright Radio in Weatherford, OK to replace Haxton at ORU. Mike Hammett left KSAL in Salina, KS to replace Hildebrandt. Pat Strathman left WIBW in Topeka to replace Hammett. Finally, Dan Lucero left KSTC/KATR in Sterling, CO to replace Strathman.
For Haxton, getting the Tech job started with applying at the University of Toledo. He finished runner-up. However, like Tech, Toledo is a Learfield Sports property. “I don’t get myself involved in Toledo without STAA,” Haxton says. “Then my STAA Talent Page did so much work for me in Lubbock. Every corner of the campus I went to, the fine folks at Tech had listened [to the demo on my Talent Page]. A few clicks let them judge whether they liked my sound or not. I felt like the page paved the way for me before I arrived. It was a real blessing to have that link.”
Like Haxton, Hildebrandt values his STAA Talent Page. He says that keeping it updated is “big” because it allows him to apply for jobs immediately. “My resume and demo [are] ready to go.”
A notable fact about the sports broadcasters in this employment chain is their longevity with STAA. Each of them joined between two and six years ago. Hanni’s first of two stints with STAA was in 2010. (He discontinued his membership upon receiving the KU job). Haxton also joined in 2010, Hildebrandt in 2011, Lucero in 2013 and Hammett and Strathman in 2014.
Lucero says, “From selecting good demo material, to building a website with relevant information, to how to get, and prepare, for an interview. It’s all come together thanks to the advice I’ve received from STAA.
“Now, I enter the market feeling confident that I’m prepared to achieve the best possible outcome.”
(September 8, 2016) Brenna Greene loves college football. However, as a student at Gonzaga then working her first job in Montana, she never had the chance to cover it. Until now. An STAA member, Greene is joining the sports staff at News 4 KRNV in Reno, NV. Among the duties of her new job is covering University of Nevada Wolf Pack football.
Greene moves to the Silver State from KRTV in Great Falls, MT, where she spent the past two years. A 2014 graduate of Gonzaga, Greene was rated as the ninth most outstanding collegiate sports broadcaster in the country her senior year in STAA’s annual All-America program.
Although Green was an intramural basketball champion at Gonzaga, football is her first love. Shortly after accepting the KRNV job Greene tweeted, “I love college football with all of my heart and soul.”
(September 7, 2016) Greg Brzozowski has aspired to cover major college sports. He is now getting that opportunity. An STAA member, Brzozowski has joined WOLO-TV in Columbia, SC as weekend sports anchor/reporter. Among the beats Brzozowski will cover are Clemson University, the University of South Carolina and the Carolina Panthers.
Brzozowski moves to Columbia following three years as a sports anchor/reporter at News Channel 7 WJHG in Panama Beach, FL. While there, he won eight Associated Press awards for outstanding work.
Brzozowski has spent his entire life on the East Coast. A native of New Jersey, he graduated Elon University in North Carolina. As a senior in 2013, Brzozowski earned STAA All-America honors as one of the six most outstanding collegiate sports broadcasters in the nation.
(September 2, 2016) Comfort and familiarity aren’t usually part of a new job, but they will be for Dan Lucero. An STAA member, Lucero is joining the sports staff at 580 WIBW in Topeka, KS.
In 2013 and 2014, Lucero worked at Sports Radio KGSO, also in Kansas (Wichita). One of his co-workers there, Alex Gold is now also at WIBW. In fact, it was Gold who tipped off Lucero to the opportunity.
Lucero replaces fellow STAA member Pat Strathman who left for a sports radio job in Salina, KS. Lucero’s addition means that the three-person WIBW sports staff continues to be made up entirely of STAA members.
“This job is the ideal opportunity to get my career moving forward again,” says Lucero who, after leaving Wichita, spent the past year as sports director at KSTC in Sterling, CO. “I’ll have the chance to do a ton of high school play-by-play, get back into sports talk, and I get to do it all at one of the most prestigious AM stations in the entire Midwest.”
Lucero appreciates how the Topeka community embraces high school sports. “In a state like Kansas, where there aren’t any pro teams within the state lines, high school sports take on a much greater importance,” he says. “I saw that first-hand covering high school games in my previous position in Wichita, as well as in past stops in Nebraska and Wyoming. People in the communities care deeply about their high school teams and love to see them receive recognition.”
Since joining STAA in 2012, Lucero has fine-tuned his job market approach. “From selecting good demo material, to building a website with relevant information, to how to get, and prepare, for an interview. It’s all come together thanks to the advice I’ve received from STAA,” he says. “Now, I enter the market feeling confident that I’m prepared to achieve the best possible outcome.”
For Lucero, WIBW represents a best possible outcome. “It checks every single box for me and what I love about radio,” he grins.
(August 31, 2016) For four years, Anthony Nachreiner has done whatever necessary to keep his sports broadcasting dream alive. While working part-time on air, he’s paid the bills working as a bank teller, stocking shelves and serving ice cream. “I have been itching for something full time in this business so I can put all my focus into one job,” Nachreiner says. Now, he has that opportunity. An STAA member, Nachreiner has been hired as sports director at 600 AM KGEZ in Kalispell, MT.
Nachreiner’s new responsibilities include high school football and basketball play-by-play and launching a daily sports talk show. He applied for the position in early June.
“I interviewed three times and we talked about the possibilities in the market and my experience with both play-by-play and producing The Mark Moses Show in Melbourne, FL,” Nachreiner says. He adds that the patience he’s learned in the job market paid off. “A year ago I would have been bouncing off the walls waiting for answers. Now, even though I applied to this job, I kept applying to others while I waited to find out of I would get the job.”
After graduating from Wisconsin Lutheran College in 2012, Nachreiner moved to Melbourne, FL for a high school football, basketball and baseball play-by-play job. 18 months later, he added part-time anchoring and producing duties at cross-town station WLZR.
Since joining STAA in 2012, Nachreiner has made it a point to meet new people and develop his craft. “The connections and people you can meet through STAA have been such a huge help,” he says. “Being with STAA helped land me my first job with Mark Moses. The charts and pyramids for both sports talk and play-by-play are things I continue to use everyday.”
(August 30, 2016) When Ben Creighton learned of a sports anchor/reporter opening in Little Rock, AR through STAA, he almost didn’t apply. “I thought, ‘there’s no way a market 56 station would look at me since I’ve only been at my first post-college job for 1.5 years.'” Not only did they look; They hired him. Creighton is the newest member of the staff at KLRT-TV.
“You gotta believe in yourself and go for it if you see a job you really like,” suggests Creighton. “If you’re talented and you do great work, people will notice you.”
Creighton moves to the Natural State after spending his entire life in the Pacific Northwest. Upon graduating from Washington State University in 2014, he did freelance play-by-play for the West Coast Conference before landing a sports anchor/reporter and play-by-play job at KEZI-TV in Eugene, OR.
“It was weird thinking about how this was going to be the first time ever in my life I’d be living outside of the Northwest,” says Creighton. “But I found that if you want to keep moving up on the market ladder you have to branch out of your comfort zone. When I first moved out of Oregon to go to Washington State for college I was terrified of living somewhere new. But when I graduated I didn’t want to leave.”
Arkansas isn’t totally foreign to Creighton. Many extended family members and friends live in the state. “My grandfather, who grew up in Melbourne, AR, used to tell me stories all the time about how beautiful the Natural State is.”
In Little Rock, Creighton is excited for the variety of sports he’ll be covering. “Obviously you have the Razorbacks (can’t wait to be at my first game inside Razorback Stadium), but also Arkansas State, Central Arkansas and pro teams like the Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Cowboys. There are also many pro athletes and Olympians who call Arkansas home that I plan on doing feature stories on in the near future.”
Creighton will also be the lead live reporter at the premier high school football game each week during FOX16’s “Fearless Friday” shows.
“To make a huge leap to a bigger market, be a part of a great news station, have an endless array of sports coverage/stories and to be close to familiar faces, it was a no-brainier,” he grins.”
Creighton encourages other sportscasting job seekers to be confident. “If you see an opening you like don’t hesitate in applying…sometimes you’ll get rejected, sometimes you’ll surprise yourself and land a huge opportunity. You’ll never know unless you just go for it.”