(August 22, 2019) The first sportscasting job after college can be the hardest one to get. Mission accomplished for Reily Chestnut. The recent graduate of Texas State University is joining Hub City Radio in Aberdeen, SD as an on-air talent and play-by-play broadcaster.
He learned of the opportunity through STAA. “I called the PD to see if they were still taking applications. I sent in my cover letter and resume with demo pieces and I got a call back two hours later,” Chestnut recalls. “Two hours after that, I was offered me the job.”
Chestnut spent the last two and a half years as sports director for TSU’s campus radio station. He’ll be building upon that experience in Aberdeen. “I get to focus heavily on refining my craft and becoming a better play-by-play broadcaster,” said Chestnut.
At the TSU radio station it was Chestnut’s responsibility to train a team in game coverage, online story creations, live tweeting and broadcasting games. He also worked as a play-by-play broadcaster for The Sun Radio Network in Austin, Texas.
Chestnut joined STAA in May. “Make the most out of all that STAA has to offer,” he suggests to new STAA members. “It’s got too much to not fully utilize the tips that you apply to your work.”
(August 20, 2019) Pursuing his dream has landed Rob Hipp with Sam Houston State University as the new football play-by-play voice for the Bearkats.
Hipp founded his own IT company when he was 20 years old and was awarded “small business of the year.” He wanted to pursue his dream of becoming a broadcaster so he created his own Internet network in 2015. He’s broadcast high school and college sports the past several years in Austin, TX.
“I had heard there may be an opening,” Hipp said about pursuing the Sam Houston State job. He believes his unique approach helped him get the gig.
“When I submitted my resume, I also emailed a video introducing myself, putting a face to the voice.” Hipp continued, “I was told after I was hired, the video helped me stand out.”
So why did Hipp leave the IT world for a play-by-play job?
“I have always wanted to be a broadcaster. I realized I wasn’t pursuing my passion which was broadcasting,” Hipp explained. “Owning my own IT business for 15 years helped me develop communication skills, as well as a hard work ethic, both of which helped tremendously in my broadcasting endeavors.”
Hipp is focusing on his passion while pursuing his broadcasting dream.
“I would rather be happy doing what I enjoy every day instead of working a job that is miserable,” Hipp wisely points out.
(August 16, 2019) Yale men’s and women’s hockey on ESPN+ will be broadcast exclusively by STAA members this winter. It was recently announced that Bridgette Proulx will call women’s games. Joining the Yale broadcast roster for men’s games are fellow STAAers Kevin Gehl and Mike O’Brien.
The university contacted STAA earlier this summer for help building their roster.
Gehl and O’Brien are both experienced hockey broadcasters. Gehl has called games for ESPN, NESN, Big Ten Network and Stadium. O’Brien was the voice of the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins before moving to Boston in 2018.
Gehl joined STAA in 2015, O’Brien in 2010. Both men have created niches throughout New England as versatile freelance broadcasters. In addition to hockey, Gehl has called basketball, baseball, softball, field hockey, lacrosse, volleyball, soccer, rugby, fencing and rowing. He’s also experienced in sideline reporting and sports talk radio hosting.
Since moving to Boston, O’Brien has added lacrosse to his resume and will call a variety of sports for UMASS Boston – another school that asked STAA to help staff its broadcast roster. He is also a Boston Celtics Radio Network host.
“It’s been a good year,” O’Brien smiles. “In addition to the Yale ice hockey, I’ve been able to pick up some definite work with UMass-Boston, Bentley and Lax Sports Network and have also been looped into the broadcaster rotation for some other D-I schools in the area.
“When I think about where I was just last summer and starting anew in Boston, I am excited about the in-roads that have been made.”
(August 13, 2019) Kansas native and KU grad Jackson Schneider is staying home for his first job. An STAA member, Schneider has joined Rocking M Radio in Colby, KS as a morning sports talk host and play-by-play broadcaster
“The opportunity to step in and be on-air right away, and in a great community, was a big plus,” says Schneider, who learned of the job through a lead that was exclusive to STAA members.
The new co-host of Morning Blitz is set to work with fellow STAA member, Ross Volkmer. Schenider’s move is a career step forward and brings him closer to home.
“Staying in Kansas was big for me. Most of my family lives in western Kansas now, so Colby was a great chance for me to learn and move even closer to my family. It was really just the perfect spot,” Schneider says.
Schenider is prepared for the move because he made good use of his time at Kansas University.
“During my senior year, I worked under [Jayhawks radio voice] Brian Hanni as the Voice of Kansas volleyball and softball. That year of experience and large amount of air-time really helped develop me and set me apart from others,” said Schenider.
It takes time, and a few rejections, before a majority of broadcasters find a job like this. Schneider faced similar challenges.
“Being still so fresh in the job market, I was having a really tough time with rejection after the first several jobs I applied for, but one of my mentors, Soren Petro, of Sports Radio 810 in Kansas City gave me great advice. He told me to stay patient, and to constantly apply, even if I didn’t think I would get the job, and that the right opportunity would come along.”
Schneider has been an STAA member since April.
“STAA was about more than job postings. The tutorials about demo reels, resume development, and even interview tips really seemed like a great chance to continue to grow while applying for jobs. My good friend Brendan Dzwierzynski told me about STAA and the opportunity that it brought him in Topeka (at 580 WIBW), so I decided to give it a shot. It worked out great and I owe him big time.”
(August 8, 2019) Carl Hauser understands that growth comes through change. His desire for growth has led him to KJAM in Madison, SD.
As sports director, Hauser will cover high school and NAIA college football and basketball. He’ll also host coaches shows, broadcast baseball in the summer and host a daily air shift.
“Since I started in radio play-by-play nine years ago, I wanted to get into the college sports scene,” says Hauser. “Here at KJAM we cover our local NAIA school (Dakota State University) so it seemed like a great fit.”
Hauser leaves KZZJ/KKWZ in Rugby, SD where felt he had learned all he could. “I was able to do a lot there and called over 600 games in the five years I was there. I certainly learned a lot.”
Leaving his comfort zone in Rugby wasn’t easy for Hauser. “I had become ingrained in the Rugby community and made a lot of friends,” he recalls. “It took me awhile to understand that it would be okay to move on and that I was better off for those friendships and relationships.
“While perhaps not as big a challenge as others have faced, my personality and loyalty can get in the way. Applying for an opening and new step in my career was big for me.”
Hauser learned of the Madison opportunity through STAA. He joined STAA in June after being referred by former co-worker Dylan Corbet.
“I felt like I would be able to get some inside knowledge about job openings that I might not have access to otherwise. And I was right,” Hauser says enthusiastically. “I also thoroughly enjoy the tips and other tidbits around sports broadcasting. I’m looking forward to incorporating those into my upcoming games this fall.”
(August 1, 2019) Countless hours watching NHL games with her dad planted a passion for hockey and play-by-play within Bridgette Proulx. She will be combining those passions this winter as the voice of Yale women’s hockey on ESPN+.
“When I was trying to decide what to go to college for, I remember my dad telling me, ‘Do something you love, something that doesn’t feel like work.’ So I took his advice and chose to pursue something I never seem to get tired of — talking about hockey,” Proulx grins.
The opportunity arose in May when Yale asked STAA to help find play-by-play talent. “I learned about the job opportunity at Yale through an STAA posting in one of the member emails,” Proulx recalls. “I sent my reel and resume to the email listed and got a quick response.
“I was looking to get a steady amount of games doing play-by-play for a college or professional hockey team. In the past I was mostly getting opportunities as a fill-in. It’s a good stepping stone for my career from mostly radio broadcasts to broadcasts on visual mediums.”
Proulx is a 2016 graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She broadcast play-by-play for men’s hockey and women’s basketball on campus radio station WMUA. After graduating, she hosted football, basketball, and hockey broadcasts on the Boston College IMG Sports Network.
In 2018, Proulx became the first female Boston Red Sox producer on 93.7 WEEI.
Last spring, she broadcast the Women’s Hockey East Tournament for Providence College on FloSports. “That was helpful to being hired by Yale because it was very recent, was a similar style telecast to what Yale will have on ESPN+, and it provided me a good sample of work for my reel.”
She joined STAA in April. “Another STAA member and friend, Matt Neverett, referred me to STAA,” Proulx remembers.
The startup cost of an STAA membership caused Proulx to think twice before joining. “I joined STAA hoping that I would be able to land a job doing play-by-play for a college or professional hockey team,” she says. “I am mostly a producer at my job at WEEI, and I wanted to spend more time broadcasting to improve and increase my visibility. STAA has certainly done so by helping me land my current opportunity at Yale.”
While female play-by-play broadcasters are becoming more common, Proulx hopes the day is near when she will have more female colleagues.
“In my past job as a studio host at IMG I was the only female studio host for their approximately 80 schools,” she says. “In all of my previous jobs, the team of broadcasters and producers has included no more than two women, making up between 1% and 5% of employees in that department for the company.
“I hope to see that percent go up at my places of work in the next 10 years, and I have been actively trying to help advance other female sportscasters and journalists at the college level.”
(July 29, 2019) Three STAA members are joining the play-by-play roster at NCAA Division III UMASS Boston. Mike O’Brien, Dana Grey and Mike Drew will help on broadcasts of Beacons athletics in the coming school year.
UMASS Boston produced over 125 webcasts for 10 sports in the past academic year. The school asked STAA for help in filling-out the play-by-play roster.
Here’s a look at the STAA members who are joining the coverage.
Mike spent seven years as the voice of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL. He moved to Boston in 2018 for family reasons and has since been keeping busy with freelance play-by-play opportunities.
Among the Beantown sports Mike has called are football, basketball, baseball, softball , field hockey, soccer, and lacrosse.
He’s also the Boston Celtics studio host on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Mike earned his undergraduate degree from Westfield State University in Massachusetts and his Masters from Syracuse. His play-by-play experience includes football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, lacrosse and volleyball.
(July 25, 2019) Derek Tate called a career audible and has scored a touchdown. After eight years in the health care and sales industries, Tate is now a full-time sports broadcaster. He is joining NewsNet & MI News 26 in Northern Michigan as a sports anchor and play-by-play voice.
In addition to daily on-camera, writing and editing reps, Tate will broadcast local football, basketball, baseball and hockey.
LinkedIn led him to his new opportunity.
“I was proactively introducing/messaging myself to higher-up employees on LinkedIn,” Tate recalls. “The President of a company called NewsNet responded to my message, which led to an interview this past November. I was actually denied the job — likely because I did not have a great demo.”
Tate thanked the company president for his interest, took every TV and play-by-play opportunity he could find, then reconnected with the employer this spring. “I updated my demo and followed up with a LinkedIn message in May. Once he saw my new demo, he offered me the position over the phone.”
Tate’s path to his new job was less-than-direct. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a B.S. in Mass Communications-TV News in 2010. A year later, he began work as a benefit consultant in the health care industry. In 2016 he transitioned to sales.
Realizing he wanted to pursue sportscasting, Tate enrolled in the Illinois Media School’s Sports Emphasis program. One of his instructors was former San Diego Padres broadcaster and fellow STAA member Andy Masur.
After Tate graduated from IMS in 2018, Masur suggested he join STAA.
“For five months I was unable to secure a full-time position in the sports broadcasting industry,” Tate says. “I overcame this frustrating period of time by simply saying yes to any opportunities I could get. I stayed consistent with updating my demos and following up religiously.
“Always continue to expand your network and hone your skills and the doors will open.”
Now, Tate is walking through one of those open doors into a full-time sportscasting job.
“The fact that I’m getting in-studio reps daily and I’m the voice of play-by-play for local station coverage feels great. The experience hopefully will make me very well-rounded moving forward.”
(July 23, 2019) Michael Foiles’ only regret about STAA is that he didn’t join sooner. One week after joining, Foiles received a job lead that was exclusive to STAA members. Now, he’s joining the broadcast team at NCAA DII Queens University in Charlotte, NC.
“Before I joined STAA, I had a really tough time finding a position where I could do play-by-play and crack into the game as a recent college graduate,” Foiles recalls.
“I applied to Queens University through the job lead emails Jon sends out and thankfully got a strong recommendation from Adam Cavalier at nearby Carson Newman University.
“My only regret was not hearing about STAA earlier because I spent about a month fishing in the wrong pond after graduating in May.”
At Queens, Foiles will handle play-by-play and color duties for live audio and video streams on the Queens Sports Network. He will also assist in production of web content.
He will work under fellow STAA member Phil Constantino. “I understand there is a lot I do not know about broadcasting, but I am eager to learn and receive feedback from [Phil].
Foiles graduated in May from the University of Illinois. His play-by-play experience includes basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball on Big Ten Plus, and occasionally re-aired on Big Ten Networks.
Foiles gained considerable production experience with Fighting Illini Productions and internships with NBC Sports in Chicago and San Francisco.
He joined STAA shortly after graduation.
“Taking advantage of the job leads STAA sends out almost daily was the best thing I did. Identifying what was a good fit and sending out applications was the best course of action toward finding a position.
“There was not much hesitation about joining STAA once I recognized the personal help [Owner Jon Chelesnik] would provide in landing my first post-college broadcasting position.
“I joined simply because I needed a job but have remained a member because I have learned a lot about how to become a better broadcaster from browsing the site.”
(July 19, 2019) Instead of waiting for opportunity, Mark Shelley seized it. An STAA member, Shelley is the new Director of Broadcasting, Media and Community Relations for the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls.
“I had been searching for a hockey-specific job for the last two hiring seasons, with very little success in finding an opening that would even give me a call or email,” Shelly recalls. “When I noticed the heads-up in the STAA Job Leads email about the current broadcaster leaving the Bulls, I decided to change my strategy and reach out to the GM before there was an official job posting. A day after reaching out, I was interviewing with [General Manager Rick Matchett].”
Shelley made certain to be timely in his replies to Matchett’s emails. “To show that I truly wanted this position,” he says.
The Bulls intrigued Shelley because of the caliber of hockey, the organization’s success and the opportunity to immerse himself in the sport. “I have an opportunity to work in media relations while also getting back into the sales side of things, something that I have missed and truly enjoy. The organization is welcoming, and I am excited to be a part of the family,” Shelley says with a smile.
Not all job applications have been as easy for Shelley as his Bulls application. “I was seeing jobs that I applied for be filled without ever getting a call or an email. Some of the jobs were jobs that I felt that I was the perfect fit. Even though I never got calls back, I didn’t get discouraged.”
A key for Shelley was establishing a network of people to give honest critiques of his work. “They told me why they would or would not hire me, and I used that to make myself better in those areas. I found that, sometimes, the most brutally honest opinions of your work are the ones that are the most constructive.”
Shelley joined STAA in 2017 upon the recommendation of Hershey Bears broadcaster Zack Fisch. “I reached out to Zack to ask for advice on getting into hockey. He referred me to STAA.
“I joined STAA because I wanted to be the best broadcaster I could possibly be. As a fresh-faced broadcaster right out of college, I needed guidance on how to go about the job search and how to prepare myself for the job that I wanted.”
Shelley has spent the past year calling play-by-play for various sports and hosting a daily talk show on ESPN Ithaca. He’s also been the voice of Cornell women’s ice hockey the past two seasons.
Shelly is a 2017 graduate of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania. He graduated Cum Laude.
His advice to someone just joining STAA is simple. “I would tell them that they made one of the best decisions of their life,” he grins. “Whether you’re looking for a new job or just wanting to get better in your broadcasting skills, STAA has the tools to help you reach your goals.”