Baker tweaks approach, lands Mobile TV gig

Robby Baker was a news/sports MMJ who wanted to do more sports anchoring. Less than one month after joining STAA, Baker has achieved his goal. He’s the new sports anchor/reporter at News 5 WKRG in Mobile, AL.

“In my new role with WKRG, I will be anchoring the sports segment on Saturdays and Sundays, co-host a high school football show and get to travel to major sporting events that include Alabama teams,” says Baker.

Baker is a 2014 graduate of Arizona State University. He’s covered the Super Bowl, the Final Four and the college football playoffs. Baker was entering his third year at KPNX 12 News in Phoenix, AZ when he joined STAA in April.

“I found the [WKRG] posting on the STAA job board and used the tips from the [STAA Members] site to formulate a custom cover letter and resume that helped attract the attention of my new employer,” says Baker.

Baker also used STAA’s Members site resources to get ready for the interview process.

“It helped me prepare for the series of phone and in-person interviews I went through over the past few weeks.

“In less than a month as a member of [STAA] I got this job, and I thank you for your help.”

(Visit Robby’s website).

Alexander new voice at Bethune-Cookman

Nolan Alexander is changing Florida addresses. An STAA member, Alexander is joining Bethune-Cookman University as the play-by-play voice of Wildcat Athletics.

Alexander arrives on the Daytona Beach campus from Jacksonville University, where he served since 2015 as a broadcaster, and as the primary public relations contact for Dolphins athletics.

In addition to the Director of Broadcast Media, Alexander’s Bethune-Cookman role includes the title of Assistant Director of Communications and assisting in the publicity of the athletics department.

Alexander previously served in the Georgia Tech Communications and Public Relations department as a student-assistant, and as the “Voice of Yellow Jackets Baseball” from 2011-14. In summer 2014, he held the role of Media Relations Manager and “Voice of the Missoula Osprey” (Rookie-Arizona Diamondbacks). His broadcasting experience also consists of ESPN3 work at Georgia Tech, the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod Baseball League, and high school football and basketball in northeast Georgia’s WDUN, where he earned the 2015 Class AA GABBY for best sports play-by-play.

An Atlanta, Georgia native, Alexander earned a Business Administration degree with high honors from Georgia Tech in December 2014. His first BCU broadcast will be during next week’s NCAA Baseball Regional, and will later handle the call when Wildcats Football opens its 2017 season against the Miami Hurricanes on September 2, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

(Visit Nolan’s website).

OSU grad Gross staying in Sooner state

After falling for the charms of the Sooner State as a student at Oklahoma State University, Max Gross is excited to start his career in his new home. Gross, an STAA member, is the new Assistant Sports/News Director for the Bartlesville Radio Group.

“It gives me a chance to stay in Oklahoma, which is a place I’ve grown to love. And, it has made relocation much easier. I will also have the opportunity to broadcast college games for Oklahoma Wesleyan, which isn’t something I expected to do right away.

“Another perk is getting to work with three other graduates of the OSU sports media program so I already have some common ground with my new co-workers.”

News of the opening was emailed to STAA members, but Gross learned about it through grapevine connections.

“The owners of the Bartlesville station reached to one of my sports media professors at OSU. I then learned that OSU play-by-play voice Dave Hunziker, who has served as my mentor over the last year, was old friends with the station owner.”

Gross has built a resume that includes radio and TV experience. He spent last summer calling collegiate baseball as the voice of the Newark Pilots.

When it came time to set himself apart in the sportscasting job market, Gross made an impression by going several extra miles.

“Something I did that I think that really helped myself was making the two hour drive to Bartlesville to give the station my demo and cover letter in person. I only spoke to the receptionist when I was there, but I got a phone call later that day just thanking me for making the effort. I think this made a very strong first impression.”

Gross is now looking forward to using his STAA membership for a new purpose.

“My STAA membership was a great resource during my job search. I was able to learn what employers were looking for. Now that I can devote myself to broadcasting full-time I plan to continue to use the site to strengthen my play-by-play. The insight provided in the members section has and will continue to be helpful.

“This is such an incredible opportunity for me to get my start. [STAA] has been a major asset to me in my job search.”

(Visit Max’s website).

Herz spending this summer on The Cape

“Jared(May 9, 2017) After months of casting lines for a baseball play-by-play opportunity, Max Herz has reeled in a gig. An STAA member, Herz will be one of two new voices for the Chatham Anglers. He’ll work alongside Syracuse University sophomore Drew Carter.

“I struggled to find full-time openings that made sense for me over the course of my senior year, and I consider this position, and the opportunity to fine-tune my broadcasting skills, to be the perfect thing for me to be doing while I continue looking for a full-time job,” Herz says.

A soon-to-be graduate of Vanderbilt University, Herz is thankful for the industry movements that made the A’s opportunity possible.

“In late March I saw the A’s broadcaster position listed on STAA and applied immediately. After two phone interviews I was told I was a finalist, and was offered the position later that week.

“The team typically returns one broadcaster from the previous season and welcomes a younger newcomer to the club, but was tasked with filling both positions this season after their returning broadcaster accepted a position with an MLB-affiliated club. I will be the first graduating senior to hold the position.”

In Chatham, Herz steps into an environment where broadcasters are set-up to flourish.

“Dan D’Uva and Bob Sherman, the two Chatham representatives I interviewed with, are firm believers in giving their broadcasters freedom to work together, get creative, and grow over the course of the 44-game season, while also providing professional caliber guidance along the way,” Herz explains.

Additionally, Herz is excited to become part of the A’s brotherhood of broadcasters.

“I’ve rapidly discovered how strong the fraternity of Chatham A’s broadcasters is, dating back to Mr. D’Uva, who started the entire web of Cape League broadcasts when he was in high school. The fraternity includes numerous broadcasters in affiliated baseball, Scott Braun of MLB Network, and Mr. D’Uva, the voice of the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch. I’m sure there are plenty of other former A’s broadcasters in the broadcasting world whom I’m not yet aware of, as well, and I’m very excited about joining this esteemed group of sportscasters.”

While studying at Vanderbilt, Herz has been taking advantage of opportunities to get reps broadcasting four different sports on SEC Network+ and VandyRadio. He’s also gained experience as a sideline reporter and in-game host.

Like many of his fellow members, Herz originally joined STAA to access a range of sportscasting positions in one place. Once a member, Herz discovered benefit in more than the job leads.

“I was struggling to find openings as I started my search for a full-time job, and STAA was the perfect place for me to see a wide variety of available positions in one place. Additionally, I had seen many of the STAA-sponsored sportscasting Q&A videos on YouTube, but did not realize how greatly I would benefit from the wide-ranging advice portals on the [STAA Members site]. My demo reels would be nowhere near what they are now without the STAA guides for creating both radio and TV reels.”

(Visit Max’s STAA Talent Page).

Multimedia skills help Williams land UNCP gig

(May 4, 2017) This month, Trevor Williams graduates from Washington State University. Later this summer, he is traveling coast to coast to begin his post-college career. Williams, an STAA member, is joining the University of North Carolina at Pembroke to be the play-by-play voice for the university’s athletic video streams.

“UNCP offered a great variety of sports to cover, including football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, soccer, wrestling, and softball. Alongside play-by-play broadcasting, there’s also an opportunity to work with and generate content for all of the 16 varsity athletic programs,” Williams smiles.

Technically, the position is an internship but it is a paid position and includes social and digital media responsibilities.

“I could tell right away that the department is committed to each of its teams, and producing high-quality content and broadcasts. I’m also excited to branch out of the Pacific Northwest and explore a new region of the U.S,” Williams says excitedly.

During college, Williams has maintained a busy schedule. His play-by-play experience includes three years as the Director of Communications for the Wenatchee Applesox and fill-in work for WSU IMG Network.

Knowing that the current sports broadcasting job market requires multimedia experience, Williams has been careful to develop his non-broadcasting skills.

“Recently, I’ve been working a lot on developing my graphic design/Photoshop skills, and I think those were a helpful thing to be able to show to an employer. Coming from Washington State University, I also believe that spending the last four years in my university’s athletic communications department, as a student assistant, helped me gain real-world skills that I could apply to my work, right away. Being able to produce and edit videos was also an important skill for the position.”

Williams learned of the UNC Pembroke opening from an STAA Job Leads email, but that’s not the only resource he’s used.

“The biggest thing STAA does for me is accumulate extremely useful content and resources all in one place. The member makeovers have been pivotal in helping me design my website, and tweak my resume and cover letters. The job leads are a huge time saver, and have helped me quickly evaluate the best places to focus my job-hunting efforts.

“It’s also been extremely valuable to be able to learn by watching and listening to all of the other STAA members out there. I love gaining insight from multiple perspectives, and having an entire community of passionate sports broadcasters to connect with continues to make me a better broadcaster!”

(Visit Trevor’s website).

Shadow transitions from legal career to sportscasting

(April 24, 2017) Two weeks after retiring from a 30-year legal career, STAA member Rob Shadow has been hired by the University of the Incarnate Word to broadcast all home baseball and softball games.

UIW plays in the NCAA Division I Southland Conference, making the transition from Division II competition. Shadow will broadcast all 27 baseball and 18 softball home games this season. The Cardinals baseball squad is coached by 13 year MLB veteran and two-time World Series winner Danny Heep.

This fall Shadow worked high school football for the Texas Sports Radio Network, broadcasting 15 football games during the 12-week season. He has also made cameo appearances in the Double AA Texas League and in the Short Season A New York Penn League.

“I’m having a great time,” said Shadow, “but I hardly feel like I have retired. Bouncing between baseball and softball is a lot of work.”

Shadow’s debut game was trial by fire when he was scheduled to broadcast the third game of a tournament, which was late getting underway. 15 minutes into his scheduled pre-game show, Shadow was handed a note that the first pitch would be delayed another 40 minutes. “I slowed down my cadence considerably, read the notes on each player, and even threw down some this day in history from the local newspaper,” Shadow chuckles. “Lesson learned – I will always have plenty of material for those unscheduled delays!”

Counterintuitive move lands Shlensky with RailCats

“Jared(April 11, 2017) When the Gary SouthShore RailCats Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations left the team in late March, they needed to move quickly to hire a replacement. They contacted STAA. Less than three weeks later, STAA member Jared Shlensky is on his way to Indiana.

“I wouldn’t have known about the opening if I weren’t an STAA member,” says Shlensky. In Gary, Shlensky follows fellow STAA member Dan Vaughan.

2017 will be Shlensky’s fourth straight summer calling baseball. In 2014, he was a broadcasting intern with the Joliet Slammers. A year later, it was onto a similar position with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Shlensky spent last summer with the Waterloo Bucks. However, Gary represents the first opportunity for the Palos Heights, IL native to be a No.1.

“I don’t have to relocate — Gary is about 40 minutes from my hometown.” Shlensky smiles.

After receiving notification of the opening in an STAA job leads email, Shlensky was quick to apply. When it came time to follow-up, Shlensky did something counterintuitive.

“Even though it said ‘no phone calls’ in the job description, I actually called anyways,” he says. “I think that got my foot (name) in the door, and ultimately, the job.”

Since becoming an STAA member in 2014, Shlensky has learned how to make himself more appealing to employers. “For example, I never would have created a website if it wasn’t recommended by STAA,” he says.

“I’ve been an STAA member since 2014 and haven’t regretted it for a second!”

(Visit Jared’s STAA Talent Page).

Vaughan leaving RailCats for T-Bones

“Dan(April 5, 2017) You never know who’s paying attention.

Dan Vaughan has happily spent the past three summers broadcasting baseball for the Gary SouthShore RailCats. Little did he know that, during that time, executives from another team within the league had their eye on him. When the Kansas City T-Bones had a sudden opening, they asked Vaughan if he wanted to move West. Now, Vaughan is the Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the American Association League team.

The RailCats have hired another STAA member, Jared Shlensky, to be Vaughn’s replacement.

Vaughan calls the move a crazy thing that happened out of the blue. “I was not looking, to be honest, except for steps up. But this was a classic case of being on someone’s radar over the years, and then things all came together one-two-three for this move.”

The new address puts Vaughn closer to his permanent home in Dallas. However, he says that alone was not enough to justify relocation. “I did not even pursue Cleburne in our league, or Grand Prairie — both shorter drives from Dallas.”

Vaughan’s resume is not typical of minor league baseball voices. He’s been broadcasting since 1992, including affiliated stops in Charleston, WV, Jacksonville, FL and Burlington, IA. Since 2012, he’s also broadcast each season in the Australian Baseball League.

One thing Vaughan credits with keeping his career alive in an industry that trends younger is his mastery of social media. “STAA gave me some great advice in 2012 about social media and the need to grasp that,” he says. “I worked hard to do just that and did some good stuff overseas and tried to improve the RailCats in that department. That will be a huge part of this new opportunity, along with the normal play-by-play which is the meat of the work.

“I am very excited for this,” Vaughan grins.

(Visit Dan’s STAA Talent Page).

McMillan lands MMJ gig with hometown STL Cardinals

(March 31, 2017) Brett McMillan’s sportscasting career is on the boomerang track. An STAA member and St. Louis native, McMillan is joining his hometown Cardinals as a Multimedia Journalist.

McMillan will be reporting for the Cardinals Insider television show and contributing to the team’s online platforms.

“My wife and I are from St. Louis so this is a dream come true,” McMillan grins.

“This job provides me the chance to tell in-depth stories which wouldn’t fit in a local newscast. It also allows me to not only cover the current roster, but the history of a tradition rich franchise too. I’m doing TV stories, and spearheading the team’s podcasting efforts. There is TV and radio in my background. Getting to do both in one role is a thrill.”

McMillan returns to the Gateway City via Kearney, NE, where he was a sports anchor/reporter at KHGI-TV for two years. Working for the Cardinals is new but known territory for McMillan – four years ago he was the Cardinals multimedia reporter and host for 101 ESPN St. Louis.

“I had a relationship with a member of the team’s communications staff, so I was somewhat familiar with their brand journalism efforts already. When I received the post for this job in an STAA email I knew it would be an exciting chance to contribute content for the club’s TV show, and online platforms.”

McMillan has sage advice for broadcasters targeting multimedia journalist jobs with professional teams.

“Understanding social media and the Internet is key. Teams have huge online audiences. It’s a tremendous place to present content. That being said, understanding what works well on the web is important. Some of the tenants of traditional broadcasting carry over, but the web is a different animal in some ways.”

After a few years in the sportscasting industry, McMillan knows what it takes to succeed.

“Success in a broadcasting job and success in the job market requires two different skill sets. STAA has equipped me with resources to grow as a broadcaster. It has also taught me how to effectively position myself as a qualified candidate. Without STAA’s strategies I wouldn’t be able to stand out in the job market.”

(Visit Brett’s website).

Cooper Perkins joins Missoula Osprey

STAA member Cooper Perkins is swooping into affiliated baseball as the Voice of the Missoula Osprey.

The Osprey are an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks and compete in the Pioneer League.

“[It’s a] great opportunity because of the chance to call full games and log raw on-air time in affiliated ball. Also a fantastic front office with a few members owning radio experience and the ability to offer high-level feedback on my work. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the location is in western-half of the country, which makes a little bit easier of a transition for my family and friends to deal with in the short term.”

The California based Perkins is a graduate of USC where he called play-by-play for the campus radio station and Pac-12 Networks Online. Perkins’ also has experience calling summer college ball with the Orange County Riptide and Wisconsin Rapids Rafters.

While he values the resources his STAA membership provides, Perkins cites the career consulting service as crucial to his success.

“I look at my membership as something of a direct line to feedback on all things oriented to my personal brand. Jon Chelesnik serves as an industry expert and a uniquely refined eye for all things sportscasting particularly as they pertain to establishing oneself as an exceptional candidate,” Perkins says.

“I have sought [Jon’s] personal input on items ranging from cover letter writing to web design. With those interactions as evidence, my view of STAA is one that is based on the team’s unique ability to help me continually develop and refine my professional brand and holistic appearance as a candidate for jobs current and future.”

Perkins attributes his current success to relationship building.

“Above all else, I think this was a result of forging genuine, quality rapport with the club’s hiring party. It was an instance where my being a good conversationalist, listening well, and owning a set of interests that is more diverse than just play-by-play and sports served me well.”

(Visit Cooper’s Website).