Cullen Holt to call play-by-play for Cook Brothers Broadcasting in Wyoming

“Cullen HoltHigh school sports in Wyoming are starting as scheduled this month and Cullen Holt will be there to call play-by-play. An STAA member, Holt is joining Cook Brothers Broadcasting in Evanston. The full-time position includes radio and video play-by-play streaming and hosting a local talk show.

“I came across the job lead in one of STAA’s emails and applied almost immediately,” Holt grins. “I’m super thankful for STAA. The job leads are invaluable, and the resources and advice make leaving STAA virtually impossible at this stage of my career.

“In the middle of uncertainty surrounding sports and COVID-19, this position offered me the opportunity to work on my craft and cover a community that is passionate about and dedicated to its local sports.”

Baseball disappointment

Holt thought he would spend this summer traveling to Minor League Baseball ballparks. In the spring, he accepted a broadcasting position with the Augusta GreenJackets. COVID-19, though, put an end to that after Holt spent several months in the team’s front office. Still, he is positive about the experience.

“I can’t thank the GreenJackets enough for the opportunity they gave me. As tough as it was to not call a game for them, they allowed me to work with them for over five months and it was an absolute blast helping to engage their fans in new and creative ways.”

The support of family and friends helped Holt through the disappointment of not getting in a full season in Augusta. “Finding a great opportunity with Cook Brothers didn’t hurt either,” he adds.

Smart planning

Holt believes two things gave him an edge in his pursuit of the Evanston job. “First, I’ve been blessed to get a wide variety of opportunities in broadcasting and journalism over the years, which has given me a diverse skillset. Second, I showed genuine interest in both the company and in Bridger Valley sports.”

A Southern California native, Holt graduates from Cal Baptist University in December. Smart class planning enables him to move to Wyoming before he’s even earned his diploma. “I took all of my major classes in my first two and-a-half years so I would be able to switch to online classes if a good career opportunity came up.”

Holt joined STAA in 2018 as a college sophomore. “[Longtime STAA member] Ghizal Hasan was the first to recommend STAA to me, Holt says. “Other broadcasters in Southern California were also using STAA to advance their careers, so joining was a no-brainer.”

Nick Springer to broadcast for NCAA Incarnate Word

“Nick SpringerConducting a sportscasting job search during a pandemic has been anxiety inducing for Nick Springer. He’s landed on his feet, though. An STAA member, Springer has accepted a Broadcasting Graduate Assistant position at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX.

Incarnate Word is an NCAA FCS football program and DI basketball (Southland Conference).

Springer’s duties will include play-by-play for all football games, and for home men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball.

“The opportunity came about for me after I saw it in an STAA job leads email,” Springer says. “At the time I was struggling to find jobs that I was really interested in because of the pandemic. I had been considering going to graduate school but I also wanted to continue to improve my broadcasting abilities so it seemed like a win-win.”

Pandemic poses challenges

Conducting a sportscasting job search amid COVID-19 presented unique challenges for Springer. “I graduated from the University of Kansas in May in the middle of a pandemic. It was demoralizing. It was frustrating. The industry I had dreamed of going into right out of college was suddenly contracting and the opportunities for exciting jobs in play-by-play were few and far between.

“Some days were very difficult, but I maintained a positive attitude when I could and started to focus more on graduate school as an opportunity to continue my education. I knew I wanted to keep my broadcasting skills fresh, which is why this particular opportunity seemed like the perfect fit for me.”

Following up was key

Following-up his application multiple times was a key to Springer earning the Incarnate Word opportunity. “I learned that sometimes a sharp cover letter and impressive resume don’t always convey the level of interest in the position. I knew I was very interested in continuing my broadcasting career while also earning a masters degree and I wanted to convey that interest prior to an interview.”

Springer joined STAA in January. “I found out about STAA from STAA member and my former roommate Jackson Schneider,” he recalls. “We worked closely together at KJHK (KU’s student radio station) and we both wanted to get into the sports radio and broadcasting industry. Shoutout Jackson!”

Finally, Springer tips his cap to STAA. “Thank you so much for everything you do. I’m proud to be a member of STAA!”

(Visit Nick’s website).

Hartbeck to broadcast inaugural season of Maryville U. women’s hockey

Tom Hartbeck’s first post-graduate season as a hockey play-by-play voice will also be the first season for his new team. An STAA member, Hartbeck has been hired as the broadcaster for the inaugural season of Maryville University women’s hockey in St. Louis.

The Saints play in the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

Eager to work in a passionate hockey town

“Maryville Hockey is part of surging hotbed of the sport here in St. Louis,” says Hartbeck. “The job not only gives me a local opportunity to build relationships with media, but also gives me lots of experience in a communications market that many would like to end up in, as opposed to starting in.”

Another reason Hartbeck appreciates the opportunity is because sportscasting jobs are hard to come by in the area. “In St. Louis, TV, sports, and radio jobs tend to not turn over very much,” he says. “This is largely in part to affordable living costs in the area. Many broadcasters and athletes like Bob Costas and Wayne Gretzky have ended up making their homes in town.”

Local roots helped

Hartbeck learned of the Maryville job in an STAA Job Leads email. His candidacy was helped by the fact he knew several of the decision makers and they liked the energy of his play-by-play. “I would recommend to any broadcaster entering the job search to be as bright and as positive as they can while calling a game. Call a 6-0 blowout the same way you would call an overtime winner,” Hartbeck suggests.

The St. Louis area is home to Hartbeck. He lives in nearby O’Fallon and graduated from neighboring Lindenwood University in 2019. He called hockey, basketball, baseball and soccer on Lindenwood’s student radio and TV stations.

Joined STAA on the recommendation of a Cardinals employee

Upon graduating, Hartbeck joined STAA on the recommendation of Brett McMillian, a multimedia reporter for the St. Louis Cardinals and fellow Lindenwood alumnus and STAA member.

“I also had heard that STAA was a very active and effective outlet for finding a high number of applications,” Hartbeck recalls. “I find that STAA is much more efficient than aimlessly searching Google or Indeed. While ultimately getting a job may come down to who you know or how early you get into the application process, the volume of applications you can get with STAA will give you a great start.”

One frustration Hartbeck continues to experience in the sportscasting job market is the feeling that he is a fish in a very big pond. “You have to apply so many times and be prepared to be rejected just as much. I’ve had the experience of applying to the same job six times and been rejected six times. To overcome this, I have taken on the mentality of ‘any experience you can get is good experience.’

“Looking for the perfect job shouldn’t be the first resort,” Hartbeck advises. “Instead, you need to look for the job that will give you the most experience and build your portfolio as a broadcaster.”

Hartbeck has found what he was looking for right in his own backyard.

(Visit Tom’s LinkedIn page).

Cochran lands play-by-play gig in Colorado

Mark Cochran loves play-by-play and will now have plenty of opportunity to do it. Cochran is joining Media Logic Radio in Sterling, CO to call football, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball and wrestling.

He learned of the opportunity in an STAA Job Leads email. It was not posted publicly on the STAA job board.

Cochran is no stranger to the Rocky Mountain region. He worked at Hub City Radio in Aberdeen, SD from 2018-2019.

In January, the University of Georgia native moved to the University of North Georgia to broadcast Nighthawks baseball and softball.

(Visit Marks website).

Day earns new hosting role at SportsMap Radio

Denton Day has a new Saturday and Sunday evening show on SportsMap Radio Network (formerly SB Nation Radio). The story of how he has gone from newspaper sports editor to national sports talk host just three years out of college is improbable.

After graduating from Liberty University in 2017, Day went to work as the sports editor at a local newspaper. He’d worked on Liberty’s campus radio station, though, and maintained a passion for broadcasting. When Day got a USB microphone for Christmas in 2017 he started a podcast, “In My Opinion with Denton Day.”

“The podcast originally started as weekly 15-20 minute episodes discussing whatever happened to be relevant at the time,” he recalls.

An Internet radio station offered Day a lineup spot if he could expand his show to an hour. “I did that for about 10 months before the site folded in May of 2018,” Day says. Afterward, he continued the show as a podcast.

Day joined STAA in June 2018. One month later, he messaged SB Nation Radio through their website to ask, “What are the qualifications for having a podcast linked with SB Nation? If I don’t meet the qualifications just yet or if you’re not searching for a podcast, are the any ways that I can get my foot in the door?”

Network COO and PD Craig Larson replied.

“I sent him my two most recent shows – one of which featured my dad as a guest, which Craig really enjoyed,” Day smiles.

The timing of Day’s email proved fortuitous. “Originally, I planned to reach out in April. I had a message all typed out and ended up not sending it. A few months later I did send the message and it just happened to be at a time when they were looking at making adjustments to their schedule. Talk about right place right time.”

Day hosted his first show on Sunday August 26, 2018, just over a month after contacting the network. For nearly two years, he hosted on Tuesday nights and Sunday mornings. With the new schedule, though, Day’s show is airing Saturday and Sunday evenings.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to build a consistent audience,” he says. “As much as I loved my previous slots it was tough to build consistency amongst listeners when one slot is late Tuesday nights and the other slot is early Sunday mornings. Now being in the same slot on both Saturday and Sunday it offers a really great chance to be able to have the same people listening and ultimately interacting with the show either via call-in or on social media.”

After joining the radio network, Day left newspaper for SiriusXM in Washington D.C. He’s currently an Associate Producer with the ESPNU channel. He hosts his SportsMap Radio show from home and is especially excited for his new time slot.

“It’ll be exceptionally fun to once football gets underway – assuming we have a season – to be able to react live to plays and results.”

(Visit Denton”s STAA Talent Page).

Pandemic leads Shelley to St. Cloud Norsemen

The COVID-19 pandemic nearly pushed Mark Shelley out of hockey broadcasting. Instead, it has ended-up moving him forward. An STAA member, Shelley is the new Director of Broadcasting/Media Relations for the St. Paul Norsemen of the NAHL.

He moves to Minnesota after an abbreviated season with the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls. When the pandemic resulted in Shelley being laid off by the Bulls, he thought his days of calling hockey might be over. “I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to remain in hockey until I saw an STAA Job Leads email that had some potential openings.”

The St. Cloud job was among those potential openings. When a subsequent STAA email stated that members could send their applications to St. Cloud GM Tom Chorske, Shelley moved quickly. “I had an email sent to the GM within five minutes and was on the phone with other broadcasters and GMs in the division to see if they could offer advice and help,” Shelley recounts.

Besides broadcasting and media relations, Shelley will produce videos and other social media and website content. “Additionally, I will take on a large corporate and ticket sales role,” he says.

Shelley joins St. Cloud as they rebrand following their first year in Minnesota. “The team moved to St. Cloud in August of last year and only changed from the Brookings Blizzard to the St. Cloud Blizzard. Now, they have a new color scheme, logo, a long-term staff, and a base of advertisers. It’s basically a ‘start fresh and build something strong’ type of mindset, and that is awesome,” he says excitedly.

Shelley joined STAA in 2017 on the advice of Hershey Bears broadcaster Zack Fisch. Months later, Shelley attended an STAA Play-by-Play Retreat in San Diego. Shelley says contacts he’s made through STAA aided his pursuit of the St. Paul position.

“STAA has helped me meet a lot of other broadcasters who have all been unbelievably helpful. I would reach out to guys at higher levels and we would bond over STAA while they helped me work on my play-by-play,” he says.

Prior sales experience also boosted Shelley’s St. Paul application. “My sales experience played a huge role in getting this job. Having that background, while I’m no sales expert, certainly made sure that I met every need of the ownership.”

Shelley adds, “I want to thank [STAA] for all that you do. The job leads are life changing, and the emails about strategies, experiences, and advice are so helpful. STAA creates a community that wants to see everyone succeed and does so by having them help each other.”

With St. Cloud being in the NAHL’s Central Division, Shelley will work with other broadcasters he also calls friends. He sees great potential for the Norseman. “With this being the team’s second season in the city, I have an opportunity to work alongside a dedicated staff and for great ownership that all have the same goal of turning this team into a powerhouse organization on and off the ice.”

(Visit Mark’s website).

Sports talk host Creighton calling baseball this summer

“Patrick(July 15, 2020) Veteran sports talk radio host Patrick Creighton has earned a baseball play-by-play job in a league that didn’t exist just one month ago. Creighton is part of the two-man broadcast team for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the new Constellation Energy League.

The Skeeters have long-played in the independent Atlantic League. The Constellation Energy League was put together last month. It features four teams playing a 56-game schedule. The season started July 10th and is scheduled through August 30th.

Former Major League players Pete Incaviglia, Roger Clemens, Greg Swindell and Dave Eiland are managing the four CEL teams.

Creighton’s role with the Skeeters resulted from a longtime relationship with team owner Kevin Zlotnik. “They used to have their radio broadcasts on SB Nation Houston 1560 AM when I was hosting a show on that station,” Creighton recalls. “We would do live broadcasts from Constellation Field, the home of the Skeeters.”

Creighton and Zlotnik had long discussed the idea of Creighton doing a handful of Skeeters broadcasts as a cross promotion but it didn’t work out until now. Creighton will call Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday games. Weekend dates are all doubleheaders.

An STAA member since 2011, Creighton has spent most of the past nine years in sports radio. He’s been hosting local and national shows from Houston since 2013, the past five years for SB Nation Radio and Gow Media.

As much he loves in sports talk, Creighton’s goal in college was play-by-play. He’s broadcast Long Island University football, basketball, baseball and softball, University of Houston baseball, Rice University women’s basketball and high school football, baseball and softball.

“The more you can do, the more valuable you make yourself. I’ve long believed that having as much versatility as possible is always a good thing in an employer’s eyes,” Creighton says.

Creighton would ultimately love to call Major League Baseball. “There’s no better radio play-by-play job than baseball,” he says. “Baseball gives you the most intimate setting, it is the conversational broadcast, and allows you to have the most fun. It is the only broadcast where you paint the picture of the game, and bring the listener right into the action and strategy. When you love baseball the way I do, there’s no better place to be than at the ballpark.

“I have always enjoyed calling games. The more work I can get, the better.”

(Visit Patrick”s STAA Talent Page).

Masur joins White Sox radio for 2020

(July 2, 2020) -PRESS RELEASE- The Chicago White Sox and WGN Radio 720-AM have announced veteran broadcaster Andy Masur will join Darrin Jackson in the booth for broadcasts on WGN Radio and the White Sox Radio Network during the 2020 season. Masur fills the role following the death on April 1 of longtime radio voice Ed Farmer.

Masur, a Chicago-area native, served as the pre-game host for White Sox baseball on WGN Radio during the 2018-19 seasons. He also called an inning of play-by-play for games at Guaranteed Rate Field and filled in for both Farmer and Jackson during the two seasons.

“I am truly honored and humbled to join my friend Darrin Jackson in the White Sox radio booth this season,” said Masur. “Many people before me have said legends cannot be replaced, and the great Ed Farmer is truly irreplaceable. As a fellow Chicagoan, I hope my passion for the city and the game of baseball connects with White Sox fans in a way that Ed would be proud. I want to thank the White Sox and WGN Radio for this fantastic opportunity.”

Masur returned to WGN Radio in 2014 for his second tenure with the network. In addition to his work with the White Sox, his duties included select play-by-play and pre and postgame work for the Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Cubs, Northwestern Wildcats, as well as anchoring/hosting duties. Prior to rejoining WGN Radio, Masur spent eight seasons (2007-14) with the San Diego Padres as part of their radio broadcast team and worked a number of games on FOX Sports San Diego. He also was the play-by-play voice of the University of San Diego men’s basketball team for eight seasons.

Masur previously worked for WGN Radio from 1999-2007 as part of the Cubs Radio Network. He served as the main pre- and postgame host and also handled select play-by-play duties. Masur’s previous play-by-play work includes the Loyola University men’s basketball team and baseball and softball on Big Ten Network (BTN).

Masur is a graduate of Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. and Maine East High School in Park Ridge, Ill. Masur and Jackson will debut as the White Sox full-time radio team upon the resumption of the 2020 season.

Work ethic, optimism lead Ahmad to ABC Fox Montana

(June 22, 2020) Mohammad Ahmad faced unique challenges entering the sportscasting job market after college graduation. He invested in work ethic and optimism. The payoff is a sports anchor/reporter position at ABC FOX Montana in Missoula.

“Not only are they giving me the opportunity to report and anchor on the local ABC/FOX affiliates, but they’re also letting me report on another network called SWX. SWX is a 24/7 regional sports and weather channel that broadcasts in Montana and Washington,” says Ahmad. “With that channel comes the opportunity to do play-by-play and sideline reporting for high school sports and the University of Montana.”

Mohammad credits STAA for helping him land the opportunity. “Gosh, where do I start? I could go on and on and on,” he smiles. “From the interview tips to making your demo reel look good, STAA gave me so much advice that led to me getting my job.

After Mohammad was offered the job, his boss told him that as much as he liked Ahmad’s reel, the biggest reason he offered Ahmad the position is because he loved Ahmad’s enthusiasm and excitement during the interview. “No joke,” Ahmad grins. “Where did I learn how to sound excited and confident? STAA’s tips taught me!”

Ahmad faced two notable challenges in building his sportscasting career. The first was his college curriculum. He didn’t have certain opportunities that students from other schools might have had. “I went to the University of Kentucky (Go Cats!) and had the privilege of doing weekly live newscasts and covering the Cats for the school paper. I never did and never will take those chances for granted,” says Ahmad. “Unfortunately however we didn’t have hands-on opportunities like live shots, sideline reporting or play-by-play. This is not to discredit what I learned in school – I learned how to be a great reporter and journalist – but for sports I just wished they provided those opportunities.”

Ahmad overcame the lack of opportunity by creating his own. “I did sideline reporting at a local radio station for high school football and basketball. I produced pre-game shows, taped coaches interviews and did halftime and post-game interviews.”

The other challenge Ahmad faced was his concern the sportscasting job market might be more difficult because of who he is. “My name and face make it obvious that I’m both Muslim and Middle Eastern. I thankfully didn’t experience any blatant discrimination or prejudice while covering sports in college. However, I wasn’t naive and knew what it felt like to be discriminated against. I also had an African-American professor of mine remind me that hiring discrimination is a real thing and that he experienced it when he worked in the broadcasting business.

“I did struggle with being confident in my work because I had a fear that hiring managers would overlook my name because of my background.”

Mohammad joined STAA in late 2019 upon the recommendation of Camille Gear, a sports reporter for WYMT-TV in Hazard, KY. “Camille told me about STAA when I met where while covering UK Athletics,” says Ahmad. “She told me how STAA helped her find the WYMT job when she graduated from college. I also had a professor who recommended I sign up before I graduated. And let me say both people gave me some of the best advice ever!”

Mohammad’s advice to anyone just joining STAA is to utilize the resources. “Listen to all of Jon’s advice. Take advantage of the critiques! Use all of that to work on yourself and the rest will follow. Follow the job leads if you’re looking for a job. Reach out to Jon and don’t be afraid to ask questions! He is awesome and WILL help you,” Ahmad says.

Lack of diversity in sportscasting has been a major and necessary discussion of late. Ahmad’s hiring in Missoula is a step in the right direction.

“There were several callbacks and responses I never got on some jobs I applied for,” he says. “Was it because of hiring discrimination? I’ll never know. But none of that matters anymore because ABC FOX Montana took a chance on an ordinary kid from the Bluegrass!”

Schierlinger to wear many sports hats at WHVL in State College

(June17, 2020) Few TV jobs include the opportunity to do TV sports hosting, reporting and play-by-play but Kenny Schierlinger has found one. An STAA member, Schierlinger is joining WHVL in State College, PA. His title is TV Reporter/Production Assistant but his duties are much more.

Schierlinger’s responsibilities will include covering Penn State football games, practices and press conferences, hosting WVHL’s off-season football show and play-by-play for area high school football and minor league baseball.

“I knew I wanted to make the jump into a full-time television position,” he says. “I also knew I didn’t want to take just any TV job. It was important to me that the position would be in a great location and a place I could grow as a broadcaster. With this position, I’ll get opportunities to host shows, broadcast live sports and work with highly experienced professionals within Penn State athletics and Central Pennsylvania.

“I saw the job come in through an STAA Job Leads email and was immediately interested given the job description and location. After contacting them I felt an instant connection with WHVL and felt it would be a great fit.”

Schierlinger’s resume is heavy on radio, so landing a TV job wasn’t easy. However, overcoming obstacles is nothing new for him. “I got into broadcasting later than most,” he says. “Up until my junior year in college at Miami (OH) University, I was a student coach for the Redhawks football team. I decided after fall camp that I wanted to make a jump into broadcasting.”

The first steps in Schierlinger’s sportscasting career were on Miami’s student radio station. “Most of my experience up to this point has been in radio, holding positions as the No. 2 with the Daytona Tortugas and being the radio voice of the Stetson Hatters. Luckily at Miami, I was able to sideline report for ESPN3 broadcasts in addition to making feature stories for Stetson’s ESPN+ broadcasts. Fortunately that was enough to get the offer at WHVL.”

The opportunity to call play-by-play was a key part of the WHVL opportunity. “Ultimately play by play is what I want to do,” Schierlinger says. “The goal is to make it to a national network one day calling football, basketball, baseball and golf all around the country.”

A friend’s recommendation prompted Schierlinger to join STAA in March 2019. “Fellow STAA member Connor Onion said that it would be a great idea,” Schierlinger recalls. “I remain with STAA because it’s a great resource to improve your broadcasting, get inside leads to jobs and always have Jon [Chelesnik] in your back pocket if you ever have any questions or need advice.”

Schierlinger’s suggestion for anyone just joining STAA is simple. “Get on the website frequently to learn how you can better yourself as a broadcaster. You will be hard-pressed to find an organization that is as good as STAA for your career.”

(Visit Kenny’s website).