(October 4, 2019 — Press release) STAA member and 2018 STAA All-American Jack Benjamin is the new voice of the Nicholls State University Colonels.
Nicholls State is an NCAA Division I school in Thibodaux, LA.
“I am thrilled to join the Nicholls community and I look forward to discovering and sharing the stories of the student-athletes,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin joins the Colonels after serving as the primary TV play-by-play voice for football streams at Davidson, where he also hosted the weekly Coach’s Show and called games for the men’s basketball team on ESPN+. He replaces Bryant Johnson, who recently accepted a broadcast position at Virginia Tech after four years as the Colonels’ play-by-play voice.
Benjamin brings a wealth of broadcast experience to the bayou. He served as a play-by-play voice for various sports for a host of Division I schools, including the University of Virginia (UVA), University of Tennessee, St. John’s (NY), Winthrop, Wofford, and South Carolina Upstate for games broadcast on ESPN platforms, including ESPN3/+, ACC Network Extra and SEC Network+.
On the radio airwaves, Benjamin called games for Florida International (FIU) football, UVA women’s basketball, Winthrop men’s basketball, and Davidson baseball.
Benjamin attended Santa Clara University and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in communication in June 2018. A month earlier, he was named an All-American and ranked as the third most outstanding collegiate broadcaster in the country by the Sportscasters Talent Agency of America (STAA).
(September 19, 2019) Nick Badders has wanted to visit Australia since watching The Crocodile Hunter on TV while in preschool. Now he’s going to work there. An STAA member, Badders is the new voice of the Melbourne Aces of the Australian Baseball League.
The league runs from November through February. It fits perfectly with Badders’ schedule as broadcaster for the Elizabethton Twins, the Minnesota Twins rookie league team in Tennessee.
“I’ve had an interest in working in the Australian Baseball League for several years but hadn’t seen an opening until STAA sent out the position description in an exclusive job leads email,” says Badders.
Badders’ career has already taken him to several diverse locations. He graduated from Arizona State University in the middle of the desert. He moved to California wine country to call Sonoma Stompers summer collegiate baseball, then onto the Blue Ridge Mountains and Elizabethton.
Moving to Australia for several months gave Badders pause before his mother offered a unique perspective. “My mom compared this opportunity to a semester studying abroad,” he recalls. “When I looked at it like that, it was an opportunity I knew I wanted to take.
“There was the added challenge of how it would affect my last year of college and earning my degree from the Cronkite School, but thankfully ASU offers so many classes online that it was a challenge solved quickly.”
Badders credits his knowledge of the ABL and a strong reference from Boyd Sports VP Jeremy Boler for helping him land the job. Boyd Sports is the company that owns the Elizabethton Twins. “Jeremy was comfortable writing a letter of recommendation for me after I had been with the E-Twins for less than a full season. I don’t think I would have gotten the Aces job without his confidence in me and his words in support of me to Melbourne’s front office.”
A strong cover letter also helped Badders earn the gig. It’s something he’s worked to improve since joining STAA in 2018. “Cover letters, from my perspective are one of the trickiest parts of applying for jobs,” he says. “Before I joined STAA, I didn’t know what did or did not work. Now that I know what a successful cover letter and even resume look like, I can apply that to future applications and immediately know that my application will rise to the top.”
Badders joined STAA to help him advance in pro baseball. “I wanted to expand my network in the industry while also improving my skills and marketability as a candidate,” he says. “I’ve done all of those things and once I made the jump to Minor League Ball from Indy Ball, I knew STAA would help me stay in affiliated baseball and advance my career further, which it has.”
Badders’ advice to anyone new to STAA’s membership is to take advantage of all the resources. “Not all at once, because there are a ton and it can get overwhelming, but over time take advantage of everything,” he grins. “The exclusive job postings, the job market advice, the pages on how to improve your broadcasting, everything. And take advantage of Jon [Chelesnik’s] help. I quite literally would not have gotten either my job in Elizabethton or this one in Melbourne without his direct help.
“I’ve twice asked for his advice and feedback on my cover letter and resume. Both times I did I got the job I was applying for. Don’t be afraid to send emails, asking for critiques or simply advice. It will all be worth it and he will help.”
There are many more minor league baseball broadcasting job seekers than there are openings each off-season. “Plenty of positions are posted publicly,” says Badders. “But the number of exclusive leads and postings that I’ve received from STAA is beyond what I expected. In an industry that is brutal, I feel like I am a step ahead of the curve. So there is an element of added confidence simply in knowing that I do have these other potential avenues to take my career down that not everyone knows about.”
Now, Badders’ career path is taking him Down Under for the winter.
“Taking this job was the biggest life decision I feel like I have made to this point in my 21 plus years of existence,” he smiles.
(September 16, 2019) Drew Nixon was stunned to learn he was the victim of budget cuts after just eight months after joining a small town Colorado radio station. It turned out to be for the best. An STAA member, Nixon is joining BEK in Bismarck, ND as a TV play-by-play broadcaster for high school, college and semi-pro events.
“It gives me some professional TV experience I have really been searching for, and possibly even needing, given the trends in the industry. I also feel the team at BEK is welcoming and produces good sports broadcasts,” Nixon smiles.
After graduating from Butler University, Nixon went to work for a radio station in La Junta, CO in August 2018. By April, he was unemployed. “After being let go, I was kind of just frozen. I asked myself did that seriously just happen? I told myself okay there’s something better out there,” says Nixon.
Nixon admits there were mental challenges. “My girlfriend helped me by telling me to keep my head up. It’s taken a bit but you ask yourself is this really supposed to happen? Why is this going on?”
It led Nixon to what he calls a complete reset. “Kind of a blessing in disguise actually,” he says. “I created Sports University and host and produce a podcast I hope to continue. Going back to Indianapolis to get support from my family, Butler University Career Services, and STAA really put me in a good spot mentally.”
Nixon started his podcast as a way to stay sharp. “I knew I needed to stay fresh with content for my website and I thought about creating something. I love college sports and thought why not do something I can call mine. So I created Sports University, which is a podcast (titled SUP) and blog (titled SUB) on my website dedicated to college sports. And I’ve jumped off the cliff, full on into this. I now have it on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!”
Nixon suggests something similar for any sports broadcaster who is between jobs. “Do something that stands out. Show effort that you give a care about your career,” he suggests.
Just months after starting Sports University, Nixon saw the BEK opening in an STAA Job Leads email. The position was not published publicly. “I read the description and pictured myself doing this,” Nixon recalls. “Could I see myself doing this in this location?
“BEK COO Jordan Hassler got back with me and we had a good conversation,” says Nixon. “He said they would cut it down to two people and let me know if I made the cut. They called me and offered the position rather than say I made the cut, which was kind of neat to feel wanted.”
Nixon joined STAA in February upon the recommendation of KLMR Radio (CO) Operations Manager Ben Catley.
“STAA has given me some connections I hope can help in the future of my career. It has also helped me with resources for improving my broadcasting, which has helped a lot,” Nixon says.
Perhaps the most important thing STAA has given to Nixon was the BEK job lead.
“Being in Bismarck is a good spot for me to really take a step forward in my career,” he says.
(September 12, 2019) Intelligent follow-up and a sportscasting job market version of Carpool Karaoke have landed Casey Bryant as Director of Communications and broadcaster for Danbury Hat Tricks hockey.
The opportunity came through an exclusive STAA job leads tip. Bryant applied immediately but didn’t hear back for three weeks. “I sent a brief follow-up reiterating my interest in the position, and received a call back five minutes after sending it, he recounts. “Turns out I caught their owner [Herm Sorcher] driving and he decided to give me an on-the-spot interview. He called me in to meet in person a few days later and by the end of the week, I had a job offer.”
Bryant joined STAA upon the recommendations of fellow STAA member Bret Leuthner and agent Seth Mayeri in the spring of his senior year at Marist. Since graduating in 2017, he’s been working as an editor at MSG Networks and doing freelance play-by-play.
“The time had come to really sink my teeth into a team and assume a larger role in their business and media departments. I’m extremely excited to do so in a hockey market like Danbury and with a fresh new team like the Hat Tricks,” says Bryant. “It will be a great opportunity to gain vital hands-on experience to hopefully propel my career in the right direction.”
The Danbury application process underscored for Bryant the importance of following-up applications. “It is vitally important,” he says. “I imagine it’s very hard for an employer when the job gets initially posted and they get inundated with new applications and emails. I’ve found that to avoid getting lost in the shuffle, sending short but personal follow-up emails helps get responses one way or the other.”
Another valuable lesson Bryant has learned is to be genuine in the job interview. “The first five minutes of my in-person interview was a conversation about our mutual love of Randy Johnson and it ended with reciting lyrics from A Chorus Line. Let your personality shine,” Bryant suggests.
Bryant interviewed for several hockey jobs this summer. He failed to make himself a victim whenever he came up short. Instead, he took a realistic view of why it was happening.
“I’ve made it to the final round of interviews for teams at the USHL, NAHL and ECHL level thanks to STAA,” he says. “Almost all of them said the same thing when the final decision came: ‘we love you and your work, but we went with someone a bit older.’ It’s hard to argue with your own date of birth. I just celebrated my 24th birthday.”
Bryant says the age concern makes sense, even though he’s been a working broadcaster and an employee of a prestigious sports network in New York City since 2015.”It’s understandable that someone with a year or two more in the business, who perhaps has more hands-on experience in sales and media relations, appeals as the safer bet.
“By assuming that kind of role with the Hat Tricks, it feels a bit like vindication that I’ve been on the right path and that when the time comes that I get back in the room with an ECHL or AHL team, I’ll have pro sales and media relations experience to point to.”
“It’s a lot on the plate but I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.”
(September 10, 2019) Staying busy after losing a job helped Dave Schultz stay optimistic while pursuing his next gig. It paid off. Schultz is the new Program Director and Afternoon Drive host on Sports Radio 105.5 FM WNSP in Mobile, AL.
Schultz most recently spent more than five years as PD and AM Drive host at 103.7 The Game in Lafayette, LA. He’s excited for his new opportunity.
“105.5 is very well known throughout Alabama,” Schultz says. “It keeps me in the South, which I enjoy and Mobile is basically a mirror city of Lafayette. Both have Sun Belt schools in town and both are dominated by larger SEC schools.”
Schultz parted ways with 103.7 The Game earlier this year. Instead of moping, though, he stayed busy. Schultz continued covering the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and LSU, started a podcast and was eventually given a Sunday morning show on ESPN 1420 in Lafayette.
“The late, great Cajuns Baseball Coach Tony Robichaux always preached to his non-starters, ‘you need to work while you wait.’ And honestly until Robe passed, it hadn’t occurred to me that’s what I was doing,” Schultz recalls.
WNSP has employed STAA members in the past. When they decided in early July to hire a host and a program director, General Manager Tim Camp contacted STAA again. Around the same time, Schultz was referred to Camp by another sportscaster in the area.
One challenge Schultz faced in his sportscasting job search was age. “I turned 50 at the beginning of July. Based on who was hired at some other openings, I think age was something that was holding me back. I’ve got almost two decades of broadcasting experience, work extremely hard and had ratings success in Lafayette, but still struggled to find work.”
One thing Schultz says helped him stay positive is the weekly STAA Insider emails he receives. He’s been an STAA member most of the past nine years. “Many of [STAA’s] stories about struggling or keeping you head up always seem to arrive in my in-box at just the right time,” he smiles.
Now, Schultz is eager to take his optimism, experience and expertise to Mobile. It’s a market he says is quite similar to the one he left in Lafayette. “Both are two hours from New Orleans. It’ll take time to learn the specifics of Alabama, Auburn, South Alabama and Mobile High School football, but generally speaking, the topics of the SEC, SBC and NFL will be the same.”
(September 9, 2019) Press Release — The Peoria Rivermen have announced the hiring of Andrew Mossbrooks as their new Director of Communications/Broadcasting.
Mossbrooks, 24, replaces Brad Kupiec, who will begin pursuing a degree in law.
A native of Sunbury, PA, Mossbrooks moves to Peoria after holding a similar role with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights in the North American Hockey League.
In addition to junior hockey, Mossbrooks also served as an assistant to the Philadelphia Flyers media department; an opportunity he used to propel himself into television play-by-play for the Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League last season.
“I am thrilled to join such a historic franchise like the Peoria Rivermen,” says Mossbrooks. “This is an iconic brand throughout the minor league hockey community.
“NHL broadcasters have come through these doors and I can’t wait to sit in the chair that so many great voices have before me. I can’t thank Bart Rogers enough, along with Brad Kupiec, and I’m excited to experience the passion of this fanbase inside the Peoria Civic Center come October.”
“Andrew has a tremendous amount of video broadcast skills, which will open the door for more in-depth coverage of the team than ever before,” says Rivermen COO Bart Rogers. “We look forward to upgrading our coverage both on and off the ice with more video/game day content of pre game interviews, weekly Coaches segments and post game interviews broadcast on all of our social media platforms.”
(September 3, 2019) Hurricane Isaac devastated Louisiana in 2012. Oddly, it was also a turning point in Mario Jerez’s sports broadcasting career. As the result of a chain of events that started with Isaac, Jerez is now the Spanish language radio voice of the New Orleans Saints.
Jerez, 25, has been the Spanish radio voice of LSU football home games since 2012; he will continue in that role. It is an opportunity that came his way when Isaac battered Jerez’s home state.
“In 2012, I was given the opportunity to attend a broadcast at Tiger Stadium and assist the broadcasters as a spotter,” he recalls. “However, the then play-by-play man realized he couldn’t make the game at the very last moment because Hurricane Isaac had just hit the gulf coast; he had to tend to severe damage at his house.
“I was asked if I felt comfortable filling in as play-by-play man, and I obliged.”
Though Jerez was raw, his broadcast was a success. “The people in charge at the station liked how I did and decided to work with me further and keep me in that role for the rest of the season.”
The Saints opportunity arose when the NFL team moved it’s Spanish broadcasts to 105.7 FM KGLA – the same station for which Jerez has been calling LSU games. “We have mostly the same broadcast crew we had with the old station, but they wanted me in a play-by-play role instead of an analyst,” Jerez explains.
Jerez has been a Saints studio analyst on the Louisiana Spanish Network the past two seasons. “I was fortunate to have some good circumstances, and I have some family-friends in the Spanish radio market in New Orleans.”
A 2017 graduate of LSU, Jerez joined STAA later that year upon the recommendation of LSU’s English-speaking sports voice Chris Blair. “One day, when I asked Chris for general broadcasting advice, he told me about the site. I enjoy STAA’s sense of community, and Jon [Chelesnik] has been a great friend and resource.”
Jerez hopes his experience as the Spanish voice of NFL and major college teams will lead to being an English voice at that level. “All play-by-play experience is valuable,” he says. “My networking at the LSU games, among other places, has already led to other opportunities. I continue to work in several facets of sports radio, but ultimately, I hope to call games for a living some day.
“I’ve fallen in love with the process of constantly preparing, constantly learning and working to become a better broadcaster every day. I’m confident that these experiences and all the work behind them will pay off as I move forward in my sportscasting career.”
After several years broadcasting LSU games at such a young age, Jerez realized he had become complacent. “I quickly learned that if I wanted to make more progress, I had to be more proactive in networking and becoming a more versatile media professional. I worked hard to improve my editing, writing and producing skills, and that’s led to more opportunities behind and in front of the microphone.
“I owe a lot to the people at LSU’s student media department and to the New Orleans Pelicans Radio Network, where I interned, for helping me to become a better broadcaster and develop other valuable skills. I still have a long way to go, but I feel like I’m on track in my career.”
It is a fast track Jerez found himself on only after Hurricane Isaac. “That day taught me you always have to be prepared in this business. Thankfully, I was, and it’s led to great things.”
(August 29, 2019) Dominic Miranda could teach a master class on building relationships in sports broadcasting. Professional friendships were key in Miranda landing his new position as a sports MMJ at WTHI-TV in Terre Haute, IN.
Miranda graduated this spring from DePauw University.
“As I was searching for jobs my senior year of college, I was looking anywhere and everywhere for job postings,” Miranda recalls. “I started utilizing STAA’s service in January of 2019 and the constant job leads were extremely helpful. That’s where I first saw the position in Terre Haute.”
Fortunately, Miranda had already had contact with the station prior to the opening. “The News Director, Susan Dinkel, graduated from DePauw so she was a part of my alumni networking outreach I did my senior year. The Sports Director, Rick Semler recently won Indiana Sportscaster of the year and I just wanted him to see my reel. It was a perfect storm and I was hired very shortly after all this transpired.”
The WTHI staffers were far from the only people to whom Miranda introduced himself. “I had also reached out to almost 100 DePauw alumni and multiple Indianapolis sports personalities as well,” he says. “There’s nothing to lose when you humble yourself and ask for help from people are successful in the industry. More times than not, they are extremely willing to help a young sportscaster.”
Among the folks with whom Miranda ended up meeting were Indiana Pacers Radio Voice Mark Boyle and TV Voice Chris Denari, and veteran Indianapolis sportscaster Greg Rakestraw, In fact, he met all three in one day!
“Not only did I receive invaluable guidance and advice from these individuals, but two of them also made calls to Terre Haute on my behalf,” says Miranda.
Miranda joined STAA upon the recommendations of Northwest Arkansas Naturals Radio Voice Benjamin Kelly and New Mexico State University TV Broadcaster Adam Young. “When I met with Mark Boyle of the Pacers, he also mentioned STAA’s service. It made me feel good to tell him I was already a part of it,” Miranda smiles.
“I needed to get ahead of job leads and wanted to learn extra tips and strategies for navigating the job market. STAA helps me with little things like what to include on my demo reel and what tips and tricks there are to becoming a better sportscaster. It has undoubtedly made me sharpen my skills even after I began my job. There are things I read and put into practice, and I believe this has made me stand out in my current position.
“I truly have STAA to thank for assisting in landing me my first job.”
(August 26, 2019) Dan Doherty thought the sportscasting job market would unfold quickly. He stayed patient when it didn’t. His reward is a play-by-play/sports journalist position in the city where he attended college. An STAA member, Doherty is joining ESPN Ithaca in New York.
Doherty is a December 2017 graduate of Ithaca. At ESPN he replaces fellow STAA member Mark Shelley, who left for a hockey job.
“It is my first full-time job in the sports industry after a season and a half of working as an intern and part-time employee in independent baseball. What makes it even better is it is located where I went to school, which is an area I absolutely love,” Doherty says excitedly.
A former ESPN Ithaca employee helped Doherty’s application get noticed.
“I saw the job through an STAA email and immediately got in touch with a contact by the name of Jeremy Menard who works at my alma mater of Ithaca College and was a previous employee of ESPN Ithaca,” Doherty recalls. “He contacted the station and notified them of my incoming application and gave a personal recommendation.
“Displaying a variety of skills on my resume made a difference as well, as that showed I can go beyond my job description, which is always a plus in radio.”
While at Ithaca College, Doherty broadcast sports updates and called play-by-play of Bombers football, basketball, softball, soccer and lacrosse on the campus radio station. He spent the past two summers with the Long Island Ducks, first as a media relations and broadcasting assistant, and this summer as public address announcer.
It’s common to not always get replies when applying for sportscasting jobs. However, Doherty says it’s tough when you’re not landing anything whatsoever. “After grinding through a year of independent baseball, I felt ready for anything. I quickly realized I was not, which was a tough pill to swallow. I attended the Winter Meetings in Vegas (where I luckily have family) and did not get a single interview after throwing my resume in many baskets.”
Doherty suggests that patience is key in the sportscasting job market. “There are always jobs coming through STAA and one will eventually be the right fit for you,” he says, “I kept working as a public address announcer and continued writing, knowing my time will come.”
Doherty joined STAA in 2018 upon the recommendation of fellow STAA member and fellow Ithaca alum Seth Cantor. “Seth considered STAA an ‘investment in my future’ because the price point can scare college students off, but it’s worth every penny.
“I joined STAA towards the end of my first post-graduate position because I wanted every resource possible to make that next step into full-time work and didn’t want an opportunity to slip by. It took time, but it absolutely paid off. “
Doherty recommends that anyone new to STAA utilize all the resources the membership offers. “There is a wealth of broadcasting knowledge on the site that makes it much more than just a job board. It’s a must-have for sportscasters.”
Now, less than one year after joining STAA, Doherty has earned a full-time sports broadcasting job in the city where he attended college.
“It’s amazing,” he says. “I never wanted location to be a reason I turned down a job. I was applying to many different states without getting much to stick. To return to my second home is an unbelievable feeling and I’m just waiting to get pinched. I’m just four and a half hours away from my home on Long Island too, which is easier on my family.”
(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.”