Giddings puts baseball on hold to polish additional skills

(September 4, 2018) After two summers in minor league baseball, Evan Giddings decided it would be helpful to develop skills in other areas of sports broadcasting. He’s found the opportunity in North Dakota. An STAA member, Giddings is the new Sports Director at AM 1100 The Flag in Fargo.

Giddings will call more than 80 high school football, basketball, volleyball and hockey games annually. He will also broadcast sports updates and host a weekly sports show.

“I saw the opening at The Flag through an STAA job posting back in July and immediately applied,” he recalls.

For Giddings, Flag Family Media is a great fit. “They have developed a strong brand and I’m excited to contribute. Also, in addition to the numerous play-by-play opportunities, I wanted the chance to have my hand in a little bit of everything on the radio side — hosting, updates, social media, sales, podcasts etc.”

Giddings spent the past two summers in minor league baseball, first with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, then with the St. Paul Saints and their veteran broadcaster Sean Aronson. Aronson played an important role in helping Giddings land at The Flag. “Not only through guidance and support, but helping me make contacts in Fargo. It made a big difference,” says Giddings.

Giddings sees the move to Fargo as a pause to his baseball career, not the end of it.

“My passion still lies on the diamond, but this move allows me to build other skills I think will be beneficial in the long run,” he says.

Giddings says his STAA membership has helped offset the fact that the college from which he earned his degree, Willamette University in Oregon, is not a traditional broadcasting school. “Although I went to a strong, academically-focused university, there was virtually no student outlet for broadcasting. STAA has helped me overcome circumstances that others in this industry may take for granted.”

(Visit Evan’s STAA Talent Page).

Dream comes true for Worhack with Arizona Prep Spotlight

(August 31, 2018) Many broadcasters go through periods of frustration and self-doubt. Zack Worhack was no different. The recent University of Northern Arizona graduate grew discouraged after four years of college didn’t lead to an immediate opportunity.

“Over the summer I fought with my mental health nearly every day,” explained Worhack. “This industry is so competitive and when I did not have anything lined up post-graduation, I second-guessed everything. Thoughts flooded through my head that I was a failure. I felt like I was not good enough to get hired because I did not have a job in the sports broadcasting industry.”

It has all changed for the STAA member. Worhack is joining the Arizona Prep Spotlight team on Fox Sports Arizona to cover the Northern Arizona region. Separately, he will also have the opportunity to broadcast NAU women’s basketball and volleyball on TV and Internet.

“As far as my responsibilities go at Arizona Prep Spotlight, I will be creating feature stories and game recaps on a weekly basis,” explained Warhack. “My territory is all of Northern Arizona, but I will also be covering stories in the valley. In addition to this, Arizona Prep Spotlight live streams high school games throughout the state so I will have the opportunity to call play-by-play in addition to other duties.”

Having a strong support system is important for a sports broadcaster. The job is demanding, time-consuming and often frustrating. Worhack relied on family and friends to bolster his confidence.

“I am so thankful for everyone in my circle and for those who helped me along the way. I had countless conversations with my girlfriend, Meg, and she pushed me to keep fighting for what I had dreamed of since I was a child,” said Worhack. “In addition to Meg, I spoke with my mom, dad and Jon (Chelesnik) about all of my doubts and I am grateful for all of them.”

The Arizona Prep Spotlight is a perfect fit.

“It gives me the opportunity to pursue my passion of sports broadcasting. This job has so much to offer and I believe it will allow me to improve due to the fact that I have the opportunity to be a reporter and play-by-play announcer.”

(Visit Zach’s website).

Hammett jumps at D-1 opportunity with Louisiana-Monroe

(August 29, 2018) Mike Hammett spent a lot of time preparing for an opportunity that came quickly. An STAA member, Hammett is making the jump from NCAA DII to DI as the women’s basketball and baseball voice at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He will also host football pre-game and halftime shows.

The timing is right after two seasons with Southwestern Oklahoma State prepared Hammett for the opportunity.

“It was a very quick process. When I read the [STAA] job lead and saw the fast track timeline on it, I knew I needed to immediately send my resume and demo to [ULM broadcaster] Nick White,” says Hammett. “Two days later, Nick replied to my e-mail just before the closing of the application period to set up an interview. I reviewed the job interviewing tips from an STAA live chat and spent over an hour on the phone with Nick.”

The ULM opening was shared only within STAA and all four finalists who interviewed are STAA members.

Hammett started his broadcasting career in Hays, Kansas. He is a two-time winner of the Oscar Stauffer Award for broadcasting excellence. In addition to Southwest Oklahoma State, Hammett has play-by-play experience with Kansas Wesleyan University and Kansas State University.

“This opportunity at ULM allows me to reach Division I and build relationships at that level. I’m looking forward to not only building relationships with Nick White, the coaches and student-athletes at ULM, but also with fellow broadcasters and athletic department employees across the Sun Belt Conference and beyond.”

Being prepared for the job market was critical for Hammett since ULM was on an expedited hiring timeline.

“The biggest thing I did was having my STAA Talent Page and resume ready to go. I sent an email to Nick White within two hours of receiving the job lead,” explained Hammett. “Instead of asking for a cover letter, Nick wanted three sentences about why I was qualified for the job. I used those three sentences to highlight my seven years of collegiate play-by-play experience, my experience working select games for Kansas State University baseball, as well as my social media background.”

Hammett made sure to chalk up the assist to STAA.

“The listing with ULM was available only to STAA members, so without it, I would have never learned of the opportunity. [STAA’s] emails with tips on play-by-play, interviewing, social media, and how to build a resume, cover letter, and demo have all been invaluable.”

(Visit Mike’s STAA Talent Page).

Mark Shelley networks his way to ESPN Ithaca

(August 27, 2018) A familiar face helped open the door to a new career opportunity for Mark Shelley. An STAA member, Shelly is joining ESPN Ithaca as a sports reporter and play-by-play broadcaster.

Shelley has broadcast experience with Cornell University, Mansfield University and the Tri-City ValleyCats.

“I saw the STAA email with the job posting and applied almost immediately,” said Shelley. “Ithaca is relatively close to where I went to school and I love the area. I knew the Sports Director at WETM in Elmira, and he helped get me in touch with one of the broadcasters In Ithaca. I interviewed and got the job the day after my trip to the station.”

The connections don’t stop there for Shelley. His experience with Cornell made the decision easier for this broadcaster out of Mansfield University. Shelley broadcast Cornell University ice hockey and sprint football. The games aired on ESPN 3 and the Ivy League Network.

“I get to work in a market that I have a familiarity with and have strong connections in. I broadcasted women’s hockey and sprint football at Cornell, so I have existing connections in the athletic department. Also, the station is hoping to grow, and it’s exiting to be a part of this process.”

The moral of the story for the former communications assistant is, fittingly, communication.

“Networking. Networking. Networking. I use the expression: ‘I knew a guy who knew a guy.’ This is true,” explains Shelley. “It helped me get in touch with people directly at the station and helped me understand the details of Ithaca market. Smile, shake hands, and stay in touch with your contacts.”

Shelley is taking a step in his career that will allow him to be multi-dimensional. He will have the opportunity to host, write and broadcast multiple sports. He credits STAA with helping polish his job market strategy.

“My STAA membership greatly improved my job approach. I greatly benefited from the resume guidelines, to the demo reel construction, to how to send my information to a potential employer.”

(Visit Mark’s website).

Hasty new basketball voice at DI U. of Detroit Mercy

(August 23, 2018) Dan Hasty’s experience as a play-by-play broadcaster and studio host helped create a personal connection that led him to his new job. An STAA member, Hasty is the new basketball voice at NCAA DI University of Detroit Mercy. The Titans are coached by former University of Indiana head coach Mike Davis.

“About four or five years ago, I met the person who eventually became my contact at Detroit Mercy. I had filled-in on one of his basketball broadcasts and on another occasion, he needed a PA announcer for an afternoon mid-week women’s basketball game. I did the game and had a blast,” said Hasty.

Social media may have also played a factor in Hasty landing the job.

“Thankfully, my contact started following me on social media. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it gave Mercy a chance to see my work from a distance, which I’m sure played a big part in why they brought me in.”

Hasty will keep his minor league baseball job with the West Michigan Whitecaps. However, he gives up the men’s basketball job he held for one season at Saginaw Valley State. He wouldn’t have left SVS for just any job, but Detroit Mercy is a perfect fit.

“I visited with a few members of UDM’s athletic department and felt a strong connection. Our ideas and vision for the radio broadcast were remarkably in-sync, and it was easy to tell that we had chemistry. It’s an honor to be a part of this — especially with a program guided by strong leadership with a proven track record in head coach Mike Davis.”

Not only is the program a perfect fit for Hasty at this stage of his career, but working in Detroit comes with plenty of benefits including time with family and friends.

“Believe it or not, it’s actually a shorter commute from Grand Rapids-to-Detroit than Grand Rapids-to-Saginaw. It’s just barely over two hours,” says Hasty. “Add-in that I grew up close to Detroit, I’ll get to spend much more time with family and friends out that way. Plus, I can always stay there for the weekend and not have to make a round-trip commute, which is what I had to do for SVSU. The chance to be back in Detroit, the city in which so many of my best memories have been made, made this a special opportunity.”

The move was a no-brainer for Hasty and STAA looks forward to featuring Hasty #InTheBooth on social media this basketball season.

(Visit Dan’s website).

Persistence pays for Williams, Western Kentucky

(August 20, 2018) Brett Williams is off to a hot start in his broadcast career. Williams has been hired as the new play-by-play voice for Western Kentucky women’s basketball.

It’s a big step for the STAA member as Williams leaves a broadcast position with Queens University a year after graduating from the University of South Carolina. He learned about the WKU opportunity in an email from STAA.

“I saw the lead in late May and immediately applied,” said Williams. “A week later, I left a voicemail during my follow-up call, and I continued to follow up via email for a little while longer.”

Williams didn’t hear back for two months.

“While on vacation with my family in late July, I received an email requesting a phone interview, and I conducted that interview with Chris Bloomfield of Hilltopper IMG Sports Marketing the next day from, of all places, an amusement park! That proved to be an easy and evidently effective icebreaker, as Chris called me three days later, asked if my family and I had enjoyed our vacation, and then offered me the job.”

Williams joined Queens University as a broadcaster and multimedia assistant shortly after graduating from South Carolina. His experience is adding up quickly.

“I was fortunate to join Queens just as the Queens Sports Network, an all-encompassing live broadcasting and digital media platform, was launching. This allowed me the opportunity to call many games on a consistent basis and devote more time to honing my craft.”

Timing helps but it isn’t everything. Williams was wise beyond his years to do the research it required to become the voice of the Hilltoppers.

“I made sure to learn as much as I could about WKU. That helped me prove my interest in and commitment to the job in each piece of communication I had with hiring managers—cover letter, follow-ups, and the interview. More importantly, it prepared me to better do my job now that I have it.”

The quick rise has Williams joining a D-1 basketball program after graduating college last year. He credits STAA throughout the process.

“My STAA membership has played a pivotal role in the launch of my career. I’ve gone through the hiring cycle twice now, and almost all the openings to which I’ve applied have come from STAA job lead emails.”

“Moreover, I’ve noticed a continuous uptick in the quality and quantity of responses I’ve received from hiring managers as I’ve further applied [STAA’s] lessons. Pursuing play-by-play jobs, especially early in one’s career, isn’t for the faint of heart, and I’m very grateful to Jon and his colleagues for helping me achieve my goals.”

(Visit Bretts website).

Sheridan to broadcast Vermont Catamounts women’s hoops

(August 16, 2018) Maura Sheridan long aspired to be a TV sports anchor/reporter. However, the recent success of women in play-by-play encouraged her to reconsider her goals. Now, Sheridan is the new voice of women’s basketball for the University of Vermont.

Sheridan has broadcast play-by-play and reported for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League since early 2017

“A lot of my male friends in the industry decided on play-by-play when they were just little kids. For me that was not the case at all. I think if you rarely/never see someone like you in a certain role you subconsciously cross that out as an option for yourself. That’s what happened to me until my junior year of college. I had pretty much decided I wanted to work as a TV sports reporter,” says Sheridan.

Her thinking changed when Sheridan attended Beth Mowins’ Syracuse University/WAER Hall of Fame induction. “It clicked with me that a woman could not only do play-by-play, but be very successful at it. I only had two years left at Syracuse, but I decided to give play-by-play a try. I made so many tapes at college lacrosse games and finally called SU lacrosse’s last regular season game. I was so nervous and very green so I won’t be using that game for any of my demo reels. However, that was the first time I realized that I could someday be a woman making a career out of play-by-play.”

It is Mowins’ work ethic that first grabbed Sheridan’s attention. “I also think its especially impressive how she’s broken the glass ceiling in football. That’s probably the easiest sport for men to claim as ‘their own.’ This clearly doesn’t phase Beth at all. She approaches every game with such an immense amount of knowledge, preparation, and energy that nobody can honestly claim her voice doesn’t belong.”

In addition to the experience, Vermont women’s basketball provides an opportunity for Sheridan to broadcast the team she watched growing up. “I went to all the Catamounts’ summer camps. I even played in a state championship at Patrick Gym,” Sheridan recalls. “It’s a little surreal to think I’ll be calling games for the Cats.

“This is also just an incredible opportunity to call an entire college basketball season and really improve on my broadcasting skills. A lot of SU alums that held this job before me reached out and had only good things to say about Vermont. All the pieces just fit together and it was clear this was a great situation for me.”

Sheridan says her goal is “to call an NBA game someday. That is the ultimate dream.” She took a big step forward in play-by-play by joining the University of Vermont.

(Visit Maura’s website).

Noble’s “now or never” approach leads to Wofford College

“Jim(August 14, 2018) Jim Noble took a chance when he heard Wofford College had a position available to broadcast football and basketball. He has 20 years of experience in sportscasting and noticed a familiar place when STAA alerted him to an opportunity. Now, Noble is the new voice of Terriers athletics.

The opening was an exclusive for STAA members. It was not published publicly.

“It was a surprise this late in the summer, but I was very familiar with the school having covered Carolina Panthers training camp there for many years while I was working local TV in Charlotte” says Noble. “So I jumped on it right away.”

Noble required a perfect landing spot to add another job to his busy schedule. That’s exactly what Wofford College had to offer. After working with the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina (WBTV), Noble moved on to broadcast for ESPN, NBC Sports, TNT Sports, Fox Sports Net and the NASCAR Media Group. Working as a reporter on the biggest platforms on television, Noble always wanted to do play-by-play. The Washington and Lee University graduate knew he had to commit himself in order to accomplish his goal.

“Finally about three years ago I said ‘it’s now or never’, and started asking around the area, resulting in Davidson basketball work and calling enough local high school football to make a demo reel to start pursuing play-by-play work seriously.”

It took more than television experience to secure a broadcasting job with Wofford College. As Noble was going through the interview process he knew he had to stand out. He focuses on his strengths. “I knew they had just parted ways with a broadcaster who had been there for 29 years so I stressed the fact that younger applicants might use Wofford as a stepping stone, and at this stage of my career, I wasn’t interested in moving around a lot anymore.”

So how did Noble sell himself as a play-by-play broadcaster despite his experience as a television reporter? “In terms of football play-by-play, I pointed out that a NASCAR booth work is pretty hard. There are 40 footballs instead of one and calling football and basketball is relatively easy in comparison.”

As for the new commute, Noble has that under control as well. “It’s only about an hour and a half from Charlotte to Spartanburg, and I have given up my daily NASCAR show on SiriusXM. I plan to be on campus at least twice a week just visiting, attending practices, meeting with coaches, etc. I do plan to fill-in on some of Sirius’ other channels – ESPNU, ACC and SEC conference channels – but I can do that remotely. Technology is a fabulous thing!”

Noble has been an STAA member since 2014. Last year, he was the subject of an STAA Member Makeover where his entire job market approach was put under the microscope to determine where it could be stronger.

“The STAA makeover was like a cold glass of water in the face – and I needed it,” says Nobel. “I was definitely too complacent, thinking that my experience and name recognition would simply blow schools away – it wasn’t like that, and I needed to hear that. I’ve always felt that I was really good at DOING the job, not very good at SELLING myself to get the job. STAA pointed that out with my admittedly lame YouTube channel and the work I was presenting on my STAA Talent Page.

“I realized I had to get serious and really sell myself.”

(Visit Jim’s STAA Talent Page).

Mentors help Mauro with decision to become voice at The Citadel

(August 10, 2018) Luke Mauro has been in a job he loves for nearly three years. When another opportunity was offered, deciding to stay or leave was challenging. Mauro leaned on various mentors for guidance. They all pointed him in the same direction – his new job as play-by-play voice at The Citadel (NCAA DI) and sports talk host at Kirkman Broadcasting in Charleston, SC.

The opportunity was not posted publicly. Mauro learned of it in an STAA job leads email.

“It’s just the next step in my career and hopefully, to borrow a phrase a lot of people have used to describe the job, a ‘launching pad’ for my career,” says Mauro. “The opportunity to become ‘The Voice’ of a school like The Citadel was enough for me. But to then factor in the ability to have my own daily sports talk show, and the other perks, I felt it was certainly the right move for me.”

A 2013 graduate of Quinnipiac University, Mauro has been Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Class-A Daytona Tortugas since 2016. He also spent the past four years as the radio voice at Stetson University, a position that has been discontinued.

Leaving the Tortugas was not easy. “I loved the organization, the people I worked for and with, the owners of the club, my apartment, and even the area,” Mauro says. “It would be easy to continue to do that. After four years in Daytona, I knew the people; I knew what I had to do, how to do it, or who I needed to get in touch with to get it done, etc. I’d like to think I was good at my job. Not to sound arrogant, but it almost becomes easy after a while.

Mauro says that he had found a rhythm in Daytona and knew how to get things done. “For example, I was able to build connections to get us on ESPN and MLB Network a couple times a season, which was previously unheard of. That became easy.”

What wasn’t easy was the decision to leave. Mauro leaned on various mentors to help explore the decision. The way he chose them was as intelligent as it was insightful.

“I like to talk to people who have been [where I want to go] — those who have been in the business longer than me and have had similar experiences,” Mauro says. “For this particular decision, I wanted to talk with people from every angle – a Minor League broadcaster, a former talk show host, someone who did both – both at the same time, and individually in their career. They’ve been there, they’ve done these jobs, and they have even had to make similar decisions. It helps when weighing the pros and cons, and they’ll even help you realize things you weren’t even considering before.

“Everyone I talked to said ‘no-brainer’ about this position.”

One idea Mauro says helped push his decision over the top came from STAA Owner Jon Chelesnik. He suggested that growth comes from change. “It was time for a new challenge and the opportunity to continue to grow, both personally and professionally,” says Mauro. “I wish the Tortugas nothing but the best. They are one of the best organizations to work for in MiLB.”

Mauro first joined STAA in 2013. “This is not a paid advertisement. I am not an STAA shill,” he says. “But [Jon Chelesnik] was a great help and resource. I’ll be honest; I don’t take complete advantage of the STAA membership. But I am glad that I have taken advantage of having [Jon] as a resource. And our discussion about this decision was a big help.

“As much as I loved my time in Minor League Baseball, this opportunity was just too good to pass up.”

(Visit Luke’s LinkedIn page).

Sanderson new Corpus Christi IceRays voice

(August 9, 2018) Rob Sanderson grew up playing hockey and working at an ice rink. For the past 13 years, he has parlayed that passion into broadcasting the sport. The next stop on Sanderson’s journey is Texas where he is joining the Corpus Christi IceRays as Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations.

The IceRays are members of the NAHL.

“We are extremely fortunate to be adding Rob to our team,” said IceRays General Manager Michael Wood. “He is a gifted broadcaster who has also shown himself to be an excellent representative with local media members.”

Sanderson is the third straight STAA member to serve as voice of the IceRays, following Collin Schuck and Alex vonKeudell. When the position opened this summer, the IceRays contacted STAA. They hired Sanderson within a few days.

An STAA member since 2015, Sanderson is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia. He spent the past three seasons with the Chicago Steel of the USHL. Sanderson also has American Hockey League play-by-play experience, filling in for the Rochester Americans and Utica Comets.

From 2012-2015, he served as the Americans’ radio host, providing pre-game, intermission and post-game coverage.

Sanderson’s other hockey broadcast highlights include calling the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship in 2010 and 2015.

(Visit Rob’s website).