Rezac welcomes opportunity, adventure at KROX in Minnesota

(May 5, 2020) After living his entire life in Nebraska, Tommy Rezac is venturing outside the Cornhusker State. An STAA member, Rezac has joined KROX Radio in Crookston, MN. His on-air role includes play-by-play for University of Minnesota-Crookston athletics and various area high schools.

He learned of the opportunity in an STAA Job Leads email.

“The main draw was the chance to do play-by-play for an NCAA University,” Rezac says. “I had been doing Doane University (Nebraska) football on the radio, and that’s NAIA competition. It was a great start and a necessary step, but I felt I was ready to take the next step, and do play-by-play on a regular basis for an NCAA DII or DIII school.

“With the dream of being the radio voice of a major DI school or pro franchise, I saw the opportunity with KROX and the University of Minnesota-Crookston (NCAA DII) as a great step toward that.”

Rezac grew up in Nebraska, graduated from the University of Nebraska in 2017 and has worked at several radio and TV stations in the state. His resume includes one year as Sports Director at KLIN in Lincoln and nearly a year and-a-half as Sports and News Director at NewsChannel Nebraska.

“I don’t know if there’s ever a perfect time to leave Nebraska for me. I grew up there, and loved living there,” Rezac says. “But the top sportscasting jobs in Nebraska are coveted positions that rarely come open. I tried my hand at a couple Nebraska stations, and while it was tough to leave home, I felt it necessary to expand my horizons and try to work my way up the ranks in a different area.”

One thing Rezac believes set him apart in the KROX application process was inquisitiveness. “I asked a lot of questions, which I think is good. The more curious and serious you are about a position, the more questions you ask. I think it shows your prospective employer that they have your attention.”

Rezac joined STAA in 2016 at the start of his senior year in college.

“Being a member of STAA means having access to tools and resources that make you a better sportscaster. It’s a pretty easy way to network with others in the business, share your work, ask questions, hear from longtime pros and of course, the job leads are huge.”

One of those STAA job leads has provided Rezac his next career step in a new state.

“If my career allows me to return to Nebraska one day, I’m all for it. But until then, I plan to visit as much as I can,” he smiles.

(Visit Tommy’s website).

Many STAA baseball broadcasters hopefully joining new teams

(April 29, 2020) Many STAA members were preparing for baseball season with new teams when the Coronavirus hit. The teams they were joining range from affiliated to independent and summer collegiate clubs.

Regardless of whether baseball ends up being played this summer, these individuals still deserve recognition.

They include . . .

Nick Badders
Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (previously the Miracle) No. 2

The 2020 Arizona State University grad moves to Florida after spending the first part of this year broadcasting in the Australian Professional Baseball League. He spent last summer with the Elizabethton Twins.

Adam Bertsch
Sioux Falls Canaries No. 2

Adam will move to Sioux Falls after spending January broadcasting in the California Winter League in Palm Springs. He spent last summer with Duluth in the Northwoods League. Adam is a South Dakota native, so the Sioux Falls opportunity keeps him close to home.

Paul Fritschner.
Bowie Baysox No. 2

Landing with the Baltimore Orioles AA affiliate is testament to Fritschner’s drive and hard work. “I reached out to pretty much every AA team. [Baysox Director of Broadcasting Adam Pohl] and I stayed in contact through the winter until the spot opened.”

Fritschner is a 2019 graduate of Xavier University. His baseball broadcasting experience includes summers in the Frontier, Cal Ripken and Great Lakes leagues.

Luke Hallett
Winston-Salem Dash No. 2

The Dash never publicized their opening but Luke found out about it through STAA. The Indiana University alum previously did broadcasting and media relations with Mankato of the Northwoods League.

Carlo Jimenez
Portland Pickles No. 1

This will be the first summer spent with a baseball team for the talented USC freshman.

Nick Lalpuis
Sanford Mainers No. 1

Nick will handle broadcasting and media relations for the Mainers. He graduates from the University of North Texas in December.

“In my previous summer league job (with the Brazos Valley Bombers) I was a lower level member of the media team so getting the experience of being the media coordinator for the team,” he says.

Chris Markowitz
Somerset Patriots No. 2

Chris is a 2019 graduate of Drexel University. The Patriots play less than 40 minutes from Markowitz’s home in Elizabeth, NJ.

Brandon Monty
Walla Walla Sweets No. 1

Brandon is the latest in a long-line of talented sportscasters from Ohio University. He graduates in the spring. Brandon spent last summer in the Alaska Baseball League.

Josh Sperber
South Bend Cubs

Josh will assist the Cubs in media relations and production. He’ll also serve as one of their broadcasters and host of their pregame and postgame shows on radio and select TV broadcasts.

Sperber did color for the State College Spikes last summer while working as a sports reporter and studio host for WHVL-TV. He is a 2015 graduate of Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.

Josh White
Chicago Dogs

Josh will move to the Windy City shortly after he graduates from the University of Miami in May. He’s spent the last two summers with the Orleans Firebirds in the Cape Cod Baseball League. The Dogs play in the American Association.

Congratulations to all!

Hoover snags RailCats job close to her hometown

(March 10, 2020) Laura Hoover grew up a mere fifteen minutes from Gary, IN where she is the new Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the SouthShore RailCats, an independent American Association team.

She succeeds fellow STAA member Jared Shlensky.

STAA members were tipped off to the opportunity in a December Job Leads email. However, Hoover missed the note and instead learned of the opening when the team found her in the Talent Search database on the STAA website. “I got a call from the General Manager, Mr. Brian Flenner,” she recalls. “He got a hold of material through STAA and saw that I was local so he called me and we started to explore if it would be a good fit.”

A lengthy Internet job search had led Hoover to STAA last year. After asking around about STAA, she decided to join to see where it would take her. She adds, “It’s always nice to have people willing to listen and critique you when you otherwise know your own circle of friends will probably just tell you what you want to hear.”

Hoover spent last season broadcasting in the NECBL summer collegiate league. While she had spent the previous eight years broadcasting several games each week, the NECBL gig offered daily broadcasts.

“The NECBL allowed me to take all the things that I knew and drove into muscle memory and expand on them, and forced me to change how I prepare and become more efficient,” she says. Additionally, her knowledge of the game expanded while she was “meeting some amazing broadcasters” and learning fresh ways to tell the same story.

There are several factors Hoover believes helped in her pursuit of this position. In addition to working hard, continuing to broadcast, and not giving up, she also aimed “to listen to other broadcasters, to try and learn something new every time I take to the mic or talk to a player or a coach.”

Hoover’s ties to the area may have given her the home field advantage with the RailsCats job. Not only did she grow up nearby, but she also graduated from Goshen College in Indiana. And she’s in no hurry to leave. She still loves her hometown and believes her roots have uniquely equipped her to connect to the RailCats, their fans, and the local stations.

Hoover shares, “It’s my home and I am happy I get to give back to a ballpark that has given me entertainment since childhood.”

(Visit Laura’s website).

Eastern Oklahoma State hires McLaughlin for on-air/PBP

March 4, 2020) Spencer McLaughlin will be graduating from Santa Clara University a quarter early so he can start a new job broadcasting for Eastern Oklahoma State College. He will be the lead broadcaster and on-air personality for Mountaineers Athletics and 93.1FM/104.9FM.

“It is my responsibility to serve as the lead play-by-play announcer for all EOSC athletics events (and high school football), have a daily air shift at the radio station which will feature elements beyond sports talk, work with college students to improve their broadcasting skills, and help to further improve the station’s broadcast productions,” he says.

McLaughlin sees this as a great opportunity that will provide him extensive play-by-play experience for college sports, including a few with which his experience is limited: baseball, softball, and soccer. “Having these experiences will bolster my resume and my capabilities as a broadcaster.”

Prior to pursuing a job, McLaughlin did as many broadcasts as possible in order hone his skills. He believes this was one factor that helped him in his pursuit of the EOSC job, but he says another important factor was that he followed up with EOSC a couple weeks after sending his application.

McLaughlin joined STAA in January after being referred by fellow Nichols State University Play-by-Play Broadcaster Jack Benjamin, a fellow STAA member and a fellow graduate of Santa Clara University. He credits Benjamin with inspiring him to become a broadcaster and helping him get where he is today.

He shares, “When I met Jack he not only gave me the opportunity to love broadcasting as much as he does, but he immediately instilled the utmost confidence in my on-air abilities. He has guided me throughout this entire process, and for the last three years has been a great friend and an even better mentor. He has truly changed my life in the best way possible.”

McLaughlin also shares how helpful his STAA membership has been. Not only did he learn of the job opening from an STAA Job Leads email, but he believes his STAA membership made him a much more marketable candidate with a stronger resume. He says STAA furnished “tips on how to write better cover letters, how best to present demo tapes to employers, and insights as to which types of jobs I am most qualified for. Without it I do not think I would have gotten this position.”

(Visit Spencer’s STAA Talent Page).

Ottumwa Radio Group opportunity finds Cook

(February 24, 2020) Sometimes opportunities seem to fall into our laps. Such was the case for Dewayne Cook with his new job as Operations Manager/Sports Director at Iowa’s Ottumwa Radio Group.

The opportunity came his way when ORG President Greg List found Cook’s demo and resume in the Talent Search on the STAA website. List called STAA owner Jon Chelesnik to learn more about Cook, who admits, “I had no knowledge of this job opening, and truthfully I wasn’t actively pursuing another job at the time. The owner of the company found my information on STAA, called me, and the rest is history.”

Cook is excited not only for the opportunity to climb the proverbial career ladder, but also for the challenge and responsibility that will come with this management role.

Since 2016, Cook has been with KSID Radio in Sidney, Nebraska. While his new position in Iowa will bring him east, it’s still a far cry from sunny Florida, where Cook grew up and attended college.

The culture shock and cold of the Midwest has not been an issue for Cook. “I just remembered what several of my professors told us during my college career, ‘A lot of you will live and work in places that you may never have even heard of, but you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and do what it takes to advance your career.’”

Snow boots and warm coats aren’t the only things that have helped Cook with the transition. “I grew up an only child and have always had a sense of independence, so I felt confident I would be able to adapt to whatever culture and community I ended up in.”

He also credits the Sidney community and especially his former boss, Suzy Ernest, with helping ease the transition. “She was a joy to work for and really helped me through that first year in particular. The community of Sidney was also very welcoming as a whole.”

Cook was referred to STAA by fellow STAA member, Mike Ridaught. He joined in 2018 after graduating from the University of Florida in Gainesville. He says, “In my final semester at UF I spent time perusing the free job boards on STAA looking at different job listings, but once I graduated I decided to join for good to have access to all job opening information.”

Cook stated that one of the benefits of a membership with STAA is “what a great job Jon does in staying in contact with a wide range of companies, teams, etc. and letting members know when openings are available.”

He continues, “This Ottumwa Radio Group opportunity fell into my lap and while that’s true, it wouldn’t have happened without Jon specifically mentioning my information to the owner of the company. How he’s able to keep everybody’s information straight is beyond me, but it is definitely appreciated and comforting to know you have someone with his contacts there to promote you.”

(Visit Dewayne’s STAA Talent Page).

Ex-baseball player Hamilton joining Lakeland TV

(February 18, 2020) Brad Hamilton admits he spent considerably more time in college on baseball than broadcasting. He’s made up for lost time. Now Hamilton is joining Lakeland TV in Brainerd, MN as a Sports/News MMJ.

He found the opportunity through an STAA Job Leads email.

“I used a lot of STAA’s advice on how to apply and standout,” Hamilton says. “I had no clue before I signed up with STAA how to represent myself for a job in television. It was the difference in me ultimately getting a job.”

Hamilton is a 2018 graduate of Kent State University. He played baseball for the Golden Flashes, but admittedly, didn’t spend enough time preparing himself for the sportscasting job market.

“I was a college baseball player so a lot of my time was spent playing and not getting better as a broadcaster/ reporter,” he recalls. “That was my own fault. I should have done more and was lucky to find STAA to help me figure some things out. I feel lucky to have the opportunity and am so darn excited to learn all I can.”

Hamilton didn’t spend all his time in college on the diamond. He spent two seasons as a color analyst for women’s basketball and volleyball. After graduating, he spent the summer of 2018 as an Aberdeen IronBirds play-by-play broadcaster and pre and post-game host. Most recently, he assisted Fox 8 Cleveland’s production of high school football and was a production assistant for Lyon Video’s coverage of Cleveland Cavaliers basketball.

When Hamilton was invited to interview with Lakeland TV, his approach was simple. “I just tried to be myself and hoped that they’d see I’ll work as hard as I can to make it work.”

Hamilton joined STAA in November 2019. “I found it through my best friend, who is also in the business,” Hamilton says. “He is way more advanced in his career and knew that STAA was a good group to help me learn how to get an opportunity.

“I joined STAA after my career with baseball was over. I was overwhelmed with how far behind I was. I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without STAA. That’s why I sent [owner Jon Chelesnik] an email immediately after getting the job. I feel lucky to have gotten his help.”

(Visit Brad’s STAA Talent Page).

Sheridan becomes first female broadcaster at Lynchburg

(February 14, 2020) Maura Sheridan is making history. Sheridan has joined the Lynchburg Hillcats as Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations. She will be the first female broadcaster in Hillcats history.

Sheridan, who joined STAA in 2018, spent the past year doing play-by-play for the Fayetteville Woodpeckers. She also gained play-by-play experience with University of Vermont women’s basketball, ACC Network Extra, and WAER at Syracuse University.

Once Sheridan applied for the Lynchburg job, things moved forwardly quickly. She heard back from Hillcats’ president Chris Jones within and hour of applying, and the job was hers just two days later. “After talking to [Chris] and other people in the Lynchburg organization it was clear that we were on the same page and had the same goals for the Hillcats’ future,” Sheridan says.

Sheridan’s time with Fayetteville acquainted her with the Carolina League and its people. She’s certain that helped her secure the position with the Hillcats. “I’ve been lucky enough to interact with some really humble and genuinely supportive people. They vouched for me and kept me going when it seemed unlikely I’d get a shot at a lead broadcasting position in baseball. It turns out networking is really just honest friendships built while talking about movies and eating ballpark nachos.”

But Fayetteville provided Sheridan with far more than connections. Her time there was her first year in professional baseball. By the end of the year she had called multiple games on her own, including the division title game. She says, “I walked into that job easily intimidated and not the most confident of a baseball broadcaster. I still have a ton to learn, but the growth was so evident from the first game to the last. Maybe the most important lesson I learned is to enjoy the moment and let yourself breathe every now and then.”

Sheridan credits multiple mentors with impacting her career so far.

She received a lot of encouragement from the people at ACC Network, especially from Syracuse University Football and Basketball Voice Matt Park. He helped Sheridan secure the UVM women’s basketball position. “Getting that gig also opened so many doors for me including a chance at the Fayetteville job.”

Sheridan has also learned a lot by listening to the games of some of her WAER classmates. In addition, she’s felt mentored from afar by the female broadcasters in Minor League Baseball. Their encouraging texts and broadcasting skills have pushed Sheridan to grow. “They inspire me to keep fighting in a so-called man’s world.”

(Visit Maura’s website).

Tennessee native Nichols finds opportunity at WDKN

(February 11, 2020) Jake Nichols has lived in Tennessee his entire life, and his new position on the sports staff at WDKN in Dickson will keep him in his home state a stretch longer.

An STAA member, Nichols shares that the position offers much more than a familiar location. “It just happened to work out that my hometown is an hour and a half from my new job, but I would’ve gone almost anywhere for an opportunity like this.”

He continues, “It gives me an opportunity to cut my teeth in radio play-by-play, and being right outside Nashville could open some incredible doors.” He also anticipates the on-the-job learning opportunities that will come with working in a small town.

Nichols is a former sports editor at the Tennessee Journalist. He has also done freelance sports reporting and photography for The Mountain Press in Sevierville. Prior to that, he broadcast with Diamond Clear Media, worked as a student assistant with SEC Network/VFL Films, and served as an on-air personality at WUTK Radio in Knoxville.

A 2019 graduate of the University of Tennessee, Nichols heard about the WDKN job through a college connection. “I posted my play-by-play reel on STAA, and a former colleague from UT saw it as he was about to step down from his position as sports director.”

In preparation for his interview, Nichols wisely researched his new boss to learn shared interests and talking points. He says, “I think that my ability to connect with my boss really helped. I also think my reiteration of my passion for radio really helped to secure the position.”

Nichols joined STAA in October of 2019 after a friend at UT Knoxville recommended STAA to him. He’d also heard about STAA through researching several broadcasters.

“[STAA] connects you with opportunities you might never know about otherwise. It gives you a foot in any door before anyone else.”

Holt to call Class-A baseball during final year of college

(February 7, 2020) Clever class scheduling has allowed Cullen Holt to accept a full-season Minor League Baseball job though he is still in college. An STAA member, Holt is the new Director of Broadcasting/Media Relations for the Augusta GreenJackets.

Augusta is the Class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.

“I strategically took all of my major classes [at Cal Baptist University] in my first two and-a-half years so that I would be able to switch to online classes if a good career opportunity came up,” says Holt. “I’m finishing my degree online and will graduate in December.”

Holt learned of the GreenJackets opening in an STAA job leads email and applied almost immediately. “I had been impressed with the one-of-a-kind branding in Augusta for a couple years and followed the opening of beautiful SRP Park in 2018,” he recalls. “I honestly didn’t think I had the best chance of landing the position, but the interview process went well and I could not be more thankful that the GreenJackets are giving me this opportunity.”

Scheduling his classes to have job market flexibility during his senior year has long been the plan for the forward-thinking Holt. “I have always had the mindset that any competitive edge you can get in this industry goes a long way,” he says. “The goal for me was to become the No. 1 voice of an affiliated baseball team before graduation in the hopes of getting a head start on others who may not seriously pursue those positions until after graduation.”

One of Holt’s best pieces of advice for the sports broadcasting job market is to always be improving your approach and presentation. “There are so many different factors that go into whether or not a team hires a broadcaster, so you really have to continue to improve and present yourself as best you can until you find the right fit,” he recommends.

“That being said, a couple of things that seemed to go over well [with Augusta] were my research and my understanding of the position. Demonstrating that I had done my homework on the GreenJackets during the interview process likely told them a lot about what kind of professional I am. Also, understanding that live play-by-play is just one aspect of the position and one aspect of my skillset may have set me apart from other candidates.”

Holt joined STAA in 2018. “Like pretty much everything in my proverbial sportscasting toolbox, I learned of STAA from other broadcasters. [Cal State University Northridge Voice] Ghizal Hasan was the first to tell me about STAA,” Holt remembers. “And then seeing how many other broadcasters in the area were utilizing STAA’s resources to further their careers sealed the deal for me.

“In sports media, the ‘who you know’ can often be more important than the ‘what you know’ and [STAA Owner] Jon Chelesnik is a great person to know. STAA’s job leads point you in the right direction and having Jon as a resource is invaluable.”

A native of Riverside, CA, Holt has broadcast summer collegiate baseball each of the past two summers. Last year he was with the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters of the Northwoods League. There, he gained a better understanding of how a team interacts with the local community. “The Rafters understand exactly what kind of content engages their fans and they have a committed fan base to prove it.

“I’m looking forward to bringing that knowledge to a fantastic baseball community in Augusta,” Holt says excitedly.”

(Visit Cullen’s website).

Bannister following legendary sports talker Koza in Lima

(January 30, 2020) Following a legend is never easy but Marty Bannister is taking on the challenge. An STAA member, Bannister is replacing the iconic Vince Koza as Afternoon Drive host at 93.1 The Fan in Lima, OH. Koza passed away in January after battling cancer. He’d been at the station since 2008.

Bannister had been filling-in on Afternoon Drive since Koza took ill.

“Vince was well known throughout Ohio, not only for his coverage and promotion of high school athletics, but his extensive coverage of Ohio State. I met him on more than one occasion and appeared on his radio show,” says Bannister.

“I’m somewhat fortunate, as most of my career moves have led to me follow someone who held that same job for years,” Bannister recalls. “You just be yourself, remain true to your abilities. There will always be those that will not ‘welcome’ you, and want the prior guy back. Let that talk roll of your back and focus on the positives of what is being said about you.”

Bannister is currently the play-by-play announcer for Ohio University’s men’s and women’s basketball on ESPN3. He’s also been the voice of Ohio State University women’s basketball and baseball and was the primary backup for Buckeye’s football and men’s basketball. His non-play-by-play experience includes time as a sports update anchor and reporter at 97.1 The Fan in Columbus and as sports director and talk show host at WIZE/WBLY radio in Springfield/Dayton, OH.

Afternoon Drive in Lima will sound much the same with Bannister as it did with Koza.

“I am keeping all of the local elements Vince incorporated into the show — interviews with area coaches, players, athletic directors, info on big local events, golf tournaments and so forth, says Bannister. ” Local radio is so important, especially local sports, and that’s what made the show run.”

Occasional conflicts between Bannister’s show and his Ohio University women’s basketball duties will not be a problem. “The staff in Lima was more than willing to honor my prior agreements with my play-by-play freelance gigs and they allow me to host the show around those. Once the basketball season ends, I will host the show five days a week.”

Bannister will also be doing local play-by-play on The Fan. “That helps with name recognition as well,” he says. “Many listeners in the area know me from my years on Ohio State games, and that has made the transition smoother.”

Bannister has been an STAA member since 2016. “STAA has been invaluable to me in keeping my name out there,” he says. “When I started rebuilding my career in 2016, it was good to know what jobs were available and hear the talk on the forum boards about what is going on. I still use the site to this day for similar reasons. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m sure when I get there, STAA will have been a big reason why.”

(Visit Marty’s STAA Talent Page).