Friendship, Winter Meetings lead Kocsis to Hagerstown Suns

(January 8, 2019) Building relationships and attending the Winter Meetings are two things a broadcaster can do to maximize their chances for working in minor league baseball. John Kocsis parlayed this strategy into the Director of Broadcasting/Media Relations position with the Hagerstown Suns.

The Suns are the Class-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. Kocsis moves to Maryland after two years with the West Virginia Power. There, he worked his way up from video production and promotions to a broadcasting and media relations position.

In Hagerstown, Kocsis follows fellow STAA member Shawn Murnin, who has accepted a new position he has yet to announce. Murnin helped Kocsis land the job as his successor.

“I met Shawn through my work in West Virginia this past summer. When Hagerstown travelled to Charleston, I talked with Shawn. I had also spoken to him at the Winter Meetings prior to the job opening up,” says Kocsis.

The Hagerstown opportunity started to unfold when Murnin called Kocsis and asked to meet at a sports book to talk. “Shawn explained to me that he had accepted a new job and that Hagerstown was looking for a replacement, but did not want to open the job up. Rather, he was looking to compile a short list of names of people who were free agents that might be interested,” Kocsis says.”

He interviewed the next day and was eventually offered the position.

Kocsis credits West Virginia Broadcast and Media Relations Manager and fellow STAA member David Kahn with helping polish his skills. “I’ve workshopped a lot of my delivery with the help of David. Most importantly, I have learned to sell within the market of baseball. My time in Charleston [West Virginia] has set an incredible foundation for my future within the sport and I look forward to start building it in Hagerstown.”

Kocsis suggests that anyone looking to get into or move up in Minor League Baseball should attend the Winter Meetings.

“There’s no other place where every MiLB team gathers at the same time and it’s scheduled a year in advance. You may not walk out of Winter Meetings with a job, but you never know when you’ll find a connection to a new friend or potential boss/assistant in your future. There are a lot of people to learn from over the course of five days. Take full advantage of it.”

(Visit John’s website).

Smith reunites with former boss at SB Nation Radio

(January 2, 2019) National sports talk radio veteran Dave Smith is being reunited with a boss for whom he worked more than a decade ago. Smith is joining SB Nation Radio where he will host Thursday nights from 8 to 10 pm and weekends from 9 pm to 1 am Eastern. He will work under COO and Program Director Craig Larson. The pair formerly worked together in Los Angeles.

“I’m really excited to be working for Craig Larson again,” Smith says with a grin. “He was my PD when I did a national show for Sporting News Radio. I also worked with Craig at 1540 The Ticket in Los Angeles where I did local afternoon drive. He’s always been an excellent radio programmer and is a radio lifer, so obviously he is my kind of guy.”

Smith spent the past five years hosting on NBC Sports Radio. He became a free agent when NBCSR decided in November to discontinue most of it’s shows to focus on it’s 24/7 sports update business.

“I was both surprised and emotional because I worked there for five years and had a great experience,” Smith recalls. “I loved everybody I worked with at NBCSR and can’t ever thank Jack Silver, my PD, enough. Five years ago I was wondering if I’d ever work again and then Jack saved my career by not only hiring me, but encouraging me and bringing out the best in me. I’ll really miss everyone at NBCSR, because they are some of the best people I’ve ever worked with.”

Smith contacted STAA immediately after learning of the changes. “On the same day I posted my demo and resume on STAA, [owner] Jon Chelesnik called and told me he spoke with Craig Larson [on my behalf] and to be expecting Craig to contact me. Sure enough, I received an email from Craig an hour later. A few days later I was on board at SB Nation!”

This is Smith’s second stint with STAA. The first was nearly nine years ago. “I re-joined STAA because I was a member a few years ago and impressed by Jon Chelesnik’s professionalism and dedication to getting his clients jobs. Being a former radio guy himself, Jon knows the ins and outs of this business and has the contacts to make things happen for his clients. And what a great decision it was to join because I had a new job in less than a week!”

A new job with a former boss in Larson.

“After 10 years, we’re working together again and I can’t wait,” Smith smiles.

(Visit Dave’s STAA Talent Page).