(April 25, 2019) Age is often a detriment in the sports broadcasting job market. For Leroy Kleimola, 36, his age might have helped him land his first opportunity. An STAA member, Kleimola is joining Miller Media Group in Taylorville, IL as a news reporter and play-by-play broadcaster.
“I studied news at Western Kentucky University, so this was something that I knew I could do,” says Kleimola. But being able to do high school play-by-play to better my craft is what really sold the deal for me.”
Miller Media Group owns five stations in the market; Kleimola will be doing news and play-by-play mostly for WTIM and WRAN. He landed the job after interviewing with MMG General Manager Kami Payne for another position that ended up going to someone else.
“Since she had already done all her interviews with me for the original job, this one went a whole lot smoother and in about two weeks was offered the position,” Kleimola recalls.
Kleimola’s biggest challenge in the sportscasting job market has been being a 36 year-old “rookie” with minimal tape. “Trying to sell myself has always been an issue,” he says. “I can interview well, but struggle to get my resume looked at. In 2019 I think a lot of it is how we brand ourselves and finding out what our employers are looking for.”
Kleimola used his age and family to help sell himself to Payne. “Since I am former military I have moved my family around quite a bit,” he says. “I had told my family (four children, ages 13 years to 4 months) that I would find a place to settle down for a while. I really think letting [Kami Payne] know that I had no intention to bounce after a year really sold it well.”
The majority of Kleimola’s broadcasting experience came at the student station at Western Kentucky University. He graduated last year. In addition to the work he did on campus, he has broadcast high school play-by-play, been a camera operation for minor league baseball’s Bowling Green Hot Rods and run the board for a local radio station.
Kleimola joined STAA last year after being referred by WKU women’s basketball voice and fellow STAA member Brett Williams.
“The only hesitation I had about joining was if it was worth it, and it has been,” Kleimola grins. “I joined STAA for the job market tips and for the leads. Now I love STAA because it helps me improve my play-by-play and keeps me tied to a network of professional broadcasters who’s only mission is to help themselves and others improve.”
(Visit Leroy’s STAA Talent Page).