Longtime contacts help Lancello to play-by-play role in Minnesota

Two longtime acquaintances helped Joe Lancello to his new job as a play-by-play broadcaster for R&J Broadcasting’s KRJB FM in Ada, MN.

Lancello met R&J Broadcasting Owner Jim Birkemeyer when Lancello was early in his career. “He was kind enough to let me use a production studio to make a new audition tape after I lost my first job,” Lancello smiles.

When Lancello contacted Birkemeyer about the KRJB opening, he learned that R&J had purchased radio stations in International Falls, MN. Coincidentally, that is where a general manager for whom Lancello previously worked is now employed.

“My old boss talked about me a lot and that seems to have helped my case,” Lancello grins.

In his new job, Lancello will be hosting an online coaches show and covering games throughout Minnesota and North Dakota. “I’ll be kept busy doing play-by-play.”

Lancello is a 32-year radio veteran and a 2006 charter member of STAA. Though he’s broadcast in cities like Nashville and Huntsville, Lancello has spent most of his career in small markets with names like Thief River Falls, Warroad, Shawano and Hibbing. He spent the past four years in Oskaloosa, IA

“Small towns are very passionate about their teams, so that’s a plus for me,” he smiles.

Also a plus for Lancello are the friends he’s made throughout his career, two of whom he can thank for his newest opportunity.

Keaton Gillogly setting down roots at Montana State

After eight years of spending his time between Lansing, MI and Modesto, CA, Keaton Gillogly is setting down roots in one place: Bozeman, MT. Gillogly is the new voice of Montana State University football and basketball.

“I’m thrilled to join MSU Athletics at this moment in Bobcats history,” he said in a press release. “Taking on the role as Voice of the Cats is a responsibility I’m excited for and do not take lightly.”

Gillogly follows fellow STAA member Zach Mackey in Bozeman. Mackey is now at Virginia Tech.

Gillogly has been the voice of Michigan State University women’s basketball since 2012. Two years after accepting that position to fill his winters, Gillogly took over Modesto Nuts (Class-A) broadcasts to fill his summers.

His resume also includes baseball for the Kane County Cougars, Lansing Lugnuts, Gary SouthShore RailCats and Green Bay Bullfrogs. Among Gillogly’s TV credits are the Big Ten Network and the Horizon League Network.

Gillogly is a Chicago native and a 2011 graduate of Valparaiso University. He joined STAA in 2012 at the suggestion of Adam Seidel, who was then a broadcaster for the Missouri Valley Conference.

Gillogly is the sixth STAA member to accepted a DI play-by-play job this off-season. They are:

  • John Fitzgerald, Illinois State
  • Keaton Gillogly, Montana State
  • Blake Olson, Northern Colorado
  • JW Cox, Northern Iowa
  • Zach Mackey, Virginia Tech
  • Brad Klein, Western Kentucky

Decker second STAA member this month to join The WKBC

Before June, Derek Decker had never lived west of Indiana. Now he’s carving out a sportscasting career in the Midwest. Decker is joining The Western Kansas Broadcast Center as a play-by-play broadcaster.

It’s the second job Decker has accepted in the region in less than two months. In early June, he took a seasonal position calling Chillicothe (MO) Mudcats summer collegiate baseball.

“I saw the opening on STAA, and to be honest, I just took a shot,” Decker recalls.

Expanding his horizons

“I’d never been west of the Mississippi before this summer, and I loved my time in Missouri with the Mudcats. I needed something post-college and this seemed like a great opportunity. [WKBC President] Mark Yearout was so friendly when we chatted, and he offered me the job. It was very hard to say no, so I didn’t!”

Decker will be headquartered in Dodge City, KS. “[I’ll be the] play-by-play voice of Dodge City Community College football and basketball, Dodge City High School football and basketball, the Southwest Kansas Storm arena football team, and the Dodge City A’s summer collegiate baseball team. I’m sure to stay busy!”

Decker is the second STAA member this month to join The Western Kansas Broadcast Center. Baylen Hite recently joined the group’s cluster in Garden City, KS, not far from where Decker will be in Dodge City.

Investing in his future

Decker is a 2022 graduate of Indiana University. He joined STAA midway through his senior year. “It was suggested to me by a couple upperclassman broadcasters at IU,” he remembers. “I’ve been so overwhelmingly pleased with the results so far, and it’s certainly something I’m planning on staying a part of for years to come!

“I’m a big believer in making investments into your future,” Decker continues. “Sports broadcasting isn’t usually a glamorous profession, but investing in a group that can help you find the openings that others don’t know exist is a hard thing to pass up, especially when it’s a dollar a day. I never would’ve found the jobs in Chillicothe or Dodge City without STAA. The resources too are so helpful, as is the ability to connect with others in the same career stage or higher through the platform.”

Two months ago, Decker might have admitted to some trepidation about moving to a new part of the country. Not anymore. “The summer just opened up my personal concerns about getting too far away from home in Indiana. I feel like I grew immensely in the summer to the point where I’m comfortable going just about anywhere now.”

Pauley follows father’s footsteps to KMOX

Matt Pauley’s father Bill worked at legendary St. Louis radio station KMOX in the 1960s. Listening to Jack Buck, Mike Shannon and Joe Buck doing Cardinals games ignited the younger Pauley’s love of baseball, baseball on the radio, and radio in general. Today, kids growing up in the Gateway City will listen to Matt Pauley on KMOX. He’s joining the station as the host of the nightly Sports Open Line show and as host of the St. Louis Cardinals radio network.

“Growing up in St. Louis, I have always viewed KMOX as the gold standard of radio stations. Now I am working for the station. It’s amazing,” Pauley enthuses.

Pursing a goal

Setting a target, then proactively pursuing it, is what led Pauley to KMOX.

“Working for KMOX had always been a dream so I had reached out to their Operations Manager Steve Moore just to fully introduce myself in case they ever did have something open in the future. We had a great introductory Zoom call. A few months later this job opened and I went for it and they were already somewhat familiar with me.

“It’s a credit to Steve Moore for taking the time with me. He’s really busy. But if we don’t have that Zoom call months ago, I am just another name on a pile of demo’s.”

In addition to hosting the Cardinals Network, Pauley is also fired up for Sports Open Line. “Hosting Sports Open Line is incredible! It’s one of the most iconic sports-talk shows in the country with an amazing list of people who have come before me to host it. And now I am on that list. Sometimes it is hard to believe that I have THIS job.”

Looking for change

Pauley moves to KMOX after six years as a sports talk host at WTMJ in Milwaukee. He loved the station. However, those duties, coupled with freelance responsibilities elsewhere, sometimes bordered on overwhelming. “It had become clear that was not going to change as long as I was in Milwaukee so I had started to put my focus on how to get into a new position where I could both advance my career and have a better work/life balance,” he states.

Faith has played an important role in Pauley’s career, especially recently when an opportunity for which Pauley felt he was a great fit, didn’t go his way. “As frustrating as that was, when people say everything happens for a reason, this is a great example. I have come out so much better on the other side,” he says.

“God opens doors and closes doors for a reason and we don’t always know those reasons. It’s really hard to just trust what’s happening. I struggled with that. But just a few months later I am sitting here with one of the best sports-radio jobs in the country, hosting an iconic show, working on the network of the baseball team I grew up rooting for and working with people who are just wonderful. I wish I was better at just trusting God and knowing at the end of the day, I am going to be placed where I am supposed to be.”

One place Pauley has been for 15 years is with STAA. “I will always be a member because of [STAA Owner] Jon Chelesnik. Having Jon as a resource is worth every penny. I know I can call up Jon and have a meaningful conversation about anything going on. I am always going to get good and truthful advice. In good times and bad times, Jon is there to talk me through whatever I am dealing with.”

When Chelesnik asked Pauley what excites him about his new opportunity, Pauley replied without hesitation, “First off, it’s KMOX!”

Pivnick moving up to AHL’s Coachella Valley

Evan Pivnick’s rise to minor league hockey’s highest level has been simple: grab college diploma, spend five seasons in the ECHL then move to “The A.” That path has taken Pivnick to the expansion Coachella Valley Firebirds as Director of Broadcast & Communications.

His career path almost wasn’t so straightforward. Pivnick graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2017. He interviewed that fall with the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder. Had Pivnick not been offered the job, his fallback was an internship with an AHL team. He nailed the Adirondack interview, though, and was hired as a broadcaster and account executive. One year later, he was promoted to the same position he now holds with Coachella Valley.

Pivnick’s five seasons in Glens Falls prepared him well for the AHL. “This community and fanbase has been great and welcomed me since day one,” he stated in a press release. “Glens Falls is a special place and it has been an honor getting to start my professional broadcasting career in this great hockey town,” he smiles.

If Pivnick’s career continues on the same straightforward trajectory, his next stop is the NHL.

Finding his “only” leads Klein to Western Kentucky U.

Identifying his “only” has helped 2022 Syracuse graduate Brad Klein to a Division I play-by-play job. He is joining the broadcast team at Western Kentucky University.

The position includes play-by-play for soccer, softball, volleyball and women’s basketball. There will also be radio and TV show hosting duties and Broadcast/Digital Assistant responsibilities with Hilltopper Sports Properties.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for so many reasons,” Klein raves. “For one, everyone in the Learfield office and the athletic department is unbelievably welcoming and kind. I have come to realize that, regardless of the business you’re in, you need to enjoy working with the people you work for.”

Long shot

Klein calls his WKU application a Hail Mary. “I know how highly coveted collegiate jobs are, especially for such a versatile program like WKU. I saw the opening through the STAA membership, and decided to throw my hat in the ring. The truth is, I have had my eye on WKU since well before I graduated from Syracuse this past May.”

Finding his “only” was helpful to Klein in his application. “Something I would constantly tell underclassmen at Syracuse is that you have to find your ‘only.’ When you go into a job interview, you need to be able to say that you are either the best at something or that you have a unique skill that separates you from the rest of the applicants, in a respectful way. For me, the opportunities at WAER and the Newhouse Sports Media Center were invaluable. I got the chance to do about 30 full-scale TV broadcasts before I graduated. I happened to fall in love with volleyball, and WKU is a powerhouse in the sport. That’s why I had my eye on the program, and I would like to think that my passion for the sport was my ‘only.'”


Klein earned Second Team STAA All-America honors this spring as a Syracuse senior. He joined STAA midway through his junior year. “STAA has a strong reputation at Syracuse,” he states. “I learned about it after arriving on campus. Many of my mentors ahead of me had success finding good leads. So, when it was time to apply for jobs, STAA seemed like the way to go.

“There are so many talented broadcasters out there,” Klein continues. “One of the appeals of Syracuse is that there is always someone right next to you working his or her tail off. That pushes you to outwork them. STAA is like a nationwide Syracuse in the sense that instead of a campus of hard workers, it’s an entire country. How can you take a day off knowing that there is someone one click away that will be outworking you if you kick back?”

Kicking back is not in Klein’s DNA. But finding his “only” is, and it’s landed him a job calling Division I play-by-play athletics.

Six STAA members have accepted DI play-by-play jobs this off-season; five have been announced. They are:

  • John Fitzgerald, Illinois State
  • Blake Olson, Northern Colorado
  • JW Cox, Northern Iowa
  • Zach Mackey, Virginia Tech
  • Brad Klein, Western Kentucky

Grady embracing change, joining KCHI Radio in Missouri

Many people don’t like change. Trevor Grady, though, embraces it. The Ohio native and Penn State University grad is moving to Missouri to join KCHI radio in Chillicothe.

“My title is Sports Director/Afternoon Drive Host,” Grady smiles. “My responsibilities include providing play-by-play coverage for Chillicothe High School’s football, basketball, baseball, softball and soccer teams. I am also the on-air host for afternoon drive.”

New places

Moving to Missouri carries some trepidation, but even more excitement for Grady.

“There are certainly daunting parts of moving to a state that I have never lived in, but I am always excited to meet new people and see new places. I grew up in Ohio, but was eager to get a change of scenery for college. I feel similar at this point in my life and am very excited for the next chapter in Missouri!”

Good timing

It’s the second time the KCHI position has opened in recent months. The previous hire left after several weeks to be closer to family. Grady moves into the job less than one month after joining STAA.

“Trevor made a good impression when I spoke to him upon joining STAA. His experience matched what KCHI needed, so I suggested that station owner Patti Leatherman contact him,” recalls STAA Owner Jon Chelesnik.

Grady joined STAA upon the suggestion of his college roommate. “Jake Starr referred me to STAA. He is a member and is always using STAA to further his career.”

I joined STAA because I saw how many valuable job leads, broadcasting tips, and resources that STAA provided and I knew it would be extremely helpful to have access to them myself,” Grady recalls. “My thoughts were validated quickly as I found my first job within a month of joining!”


Grady graduated from Penn State this spring. During his time in Happy Valley, he called radio play-by-play for 11 PSU varsity sports and TV games on Big Ten Network+.

The variety of opportunities is what drew Grady to KCHI. “Getting to provide play-by-play coverage while also getting tons of experience live on the radio everyday was extremely enticing,” he grins. “I also had the chance to come out to Chillicothe before accepting the position, and it is definitely a family at KCHI.”

Cox moving up to DI U. of Northern Iowa

One of JW Cox’s favorite books is Zig Ziglar’s personal growth classic, “See You At The Top.” Cox is taking another step towards the top of college sports broadcasting as the new voice of the University of Northern Iowa.

The move up to NCAA Division I is notable for Cox after spending the past 10 seasons broadcasting at Division II St. Cloud State University. Cox follows legendary voice Gary Rima at UNI.

“Gary Rima is impossible to replace, but I’m excited for all the Panther fans to get a chance to learn who I am,” Cox enthuses.

Cox’s journey to Cedar Falls has been long but impressive. The Southern California native is a 2009 graduate of Arizona State University. That is also when he joined STAA. In 2011 Cox was named the Northwood League’s Broadcaster of the Year, and joined SCSU. Three years later he was recognized in the People’s Choice category as one of the nation’s top young talents in STAA’s “30 Under 30” list. Cox added St. Cloud Saints baseball to his resume in 2014. Now it’s on to UNI.

“This is an opportunity I’ve worked towards my entire career and I can’t wait to get started,” Cox grins.

You can bet that Cox’s upward rise isn’t finished. As Ziglar wrote in his famous book, “Go as far as you can see, and when you get there you will always be able to see farther.”

Six STAA members have accepted DI play-by-play jobs this off-season; five have been announced. They are:

  • John Fitzgerald, Illinois State
  • Blake Olson, Northern Colorado
  • JW Cox, Northern Iowa
  • Zach Mackey, Virginia Tech
  • Brad Klein, Western Kentucky

Re-energized Hite joins Western Kansas Broadcast Center

The pandemic left Baylen Hite feeling burned out on sportscasting. It was 2021; he was a junior at Ball State. Just over a year later, Hite is re-energized and starting his new job as sports director at the Western Kansas Broadcast Broadcast Center in Garden City, KS.

“Covid changed the structure of sports and the way they are covered,” Hite recalls. “Don’t get me wrong, I love covering sports, but in the spring of 2021 when almost all sports were pushed to a span of four months at the college level, things were very challenging for me.”

Hite overcame the mental fatigue by looking at the big picture. “Just taking a step back and looking at the career as a whole and looking at what I loved the most about it. This helped reignite my passion for broadcasting and helped me get where I am today.”

Great opportunity

Where Hite is today is covering sports in the Jayhawk Conference, arguably the nation’s top community college conference. “This is a great opportunity for me based on the freedom of the position to really grow as a broadcaster. Also, the opportunity to cover a large high school in Garden City and one of the best junior colleges in all of the NJCAA in Garden City Community College. This was something I just couldn’t pass up.”

Hite is a native for Fort Wayne, IN and a 2022 graduate of Ball State. He joined STAA in April. “The opportunities to connect with other broadcasters and get help from those working in the industry to further my career were the biggest reasons I joined.”

Two weeks after joining, Hite applied for the Kansas opportunity after it was published in an STAA Job Leads email. “After about a week they contacted me about the position,” he smiles.

Impressive credentials

Despite being a recent college grad, Hite brings considerable experience to western Kansas. “Something that really helped me in this [application] process was my experience working in high school for Summit City Sports, and then in college being able to cover Ball State at such an extensive level with Ball State Sports Link. I feel like these experiences were invaluable to me leading up to looking for a job. These opportunities prepared me for a wide range of things in the job market.”

With Covid fatigue in the past, Hite is ready to hit the ground running.

“I feel like this is a perfect launching point for me in my career,” he grins.

Fitzgerald returns for second stint at voice of ISU Redbirds

John Fitzgerald is returning as the voice of the Illinois State University Redbirds, a position he held 18 years ago.

Fitzgerald previously served as Voice of the Redbirds from 2002-2004. This time around, he will call play-by-play ISU football and men’s basketball. He’ll also host coaches shows and the new Illinois State Athletics “In the Nest” podcast.

“I have felt a great affinity for Illinois State and the Redbird community since I first held the position,” Fitzgerald beams.

His resume is truly unique. It includes 15 years of Division I play-by-play at ISU, Loyola-Chicago and the University of Chicago. There is another 15 years as a head baseball coach at North Central College, University of Chicago and Lewis University.

Fitzgerald has also broadcast minor league baseball and spent seven years as a network sports anchor and talk show host on Sporting News Radio. He’s excited now to follow a line of legendary ISU voices that includes Joe Tait, Jim Durham, Art Kimball, Mark Johnson and Dick Luedke.

“The opportunity to return to the area and serve in this role is one that I truly cherish,” Fitzgerald smiles.

Six STAA members have accepted DI play-by-play jobs this off-season; four have been announced. They are: