(July 29, 2019) Three STAA members are joining the play-by-play roster at NCAA Division III UMASS Boston. Mike O’Brien, Dana Grey and Mike Drew will help on broadcasts of Beacons athletics in the coming school year.
UMASS Boston produced over 125 webcasts for 10 sports in the past academic year. The school asked STAA for help in filling-out the play-by-play roster.
Here’s a look at the STAA members who are joining the coverage.
Mike spent seven years as the voice of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL. He moved to Boston in 2018 for family reasons and has since been keeping busy with freelance play-by-play opportunities.
Among the Beantown sports Mike has called are football, basketball, baseball, softball , field hockey, soccer, and lacrosse.
He’s also the Boston Celtics studio host on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Mike earned his undergraduate degree from Westfield State University in Massachusetts and his Masters from Syracuse. His play-by-play experience includes football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, lacrosse and volleyball.
(July 25, 2019) Derek Tate called a career audible and has scored a touchdown. After eight years in the health care and sales industries, Tate is now a full-time sports broadcaster. He is joining NewsNet & MI News 26 in Northern Michigan as a sports anchor and play-by-play voice.
In addition to daily on-camera, writing and editing reps, Tate will broadcast local football, basketball, baseball and hockey.
LinkedIn led him to his new opportunity.
“I was proactively introducing/messaging myself to higher-up employees on LinkedIn,” Tate recalls. “The President of a company called NewsNet responded to my message, which led to an interview this past November. I was actually denied the job — likely because I did not have a great demo.”
Tate thanked the company president for his interest, took every TV and play-by-play opportunity he could find, then reconnected with the employer this spring. “I updated my demo and followed up with a LinkedIn message in May. Once he saw my new demo, he offered me the position over the phone.”
Tate’s path to his new job was less-than-direct. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a B.S. in Mass Communications-TV News in 2010. A year later, he began work as a benefit consultant in the health care industry. In 2016 he transitioned to sales.
Realizing he wanted to pursue sportscasting, Tate enrolled in the Illinois Media School’s Sports Emphasis program. One of his instructors was former San Diego Padres broadcaster and fellow STAA member Andy Masur.
After Tate graduated from IMS in 2018, Masur suggested he join STAA.
“For five months I was unable to secure a full-time position in the sports broadcasting industry,” Tate says. “I overcame this frustrating period of time by simply saying yes to any opportunities I could get. I stayed consistent with updating my demos and following up religiously.
“Always continue to expand your network and hone your skills and the doors will open.”
Now, Tate is walking through one of those open doors into a full-time sportscasting job.
“The fact that I’m getting in-studio reps daily and I’m the voice of play-by-play for local station coverage feels great. The experience hopefully will make me very well-rounded moving forward.”
(July 23, 2019) Michael Foiles’ only regret about STAA is that he didn’t join sooner. One week after joining, Foiles received a job lead that was exclusive to STAA members. Now, he’s joining the broadcast team at NCAA DII Queens University in Charlotte, NC.
“Before I joined STAA, I had a really tough time finding a position where I could do play-by-play and crack into the game as a recent college graduate,” Foiles recalls.
“I applied to Queens University through the job lead emails Jon sends out and thankfully got a strong recommendation from Adam Cavalier at nearby Carson Newman University.
“My only regret was not hearing about STAA earlier because I spent about a month fishing in the wrong pond after graduating in May.”
At Queens, Foiles will handle play-by-play and color duties for live audio and video streams on the Queens Sports Network. He will also assist in production of web content.
He will work under fellow STAA member Phil Constantino. “I understand there is a lot I do not know about broadcasting, but I am eager to learn and receive feedback from [Phil].
Foiles graduated in May from the University of Illinois. His play-by-play experience includes basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball on Big Ten Plus, and occasionally re-aired on Big Ten Networks.
Foiles gained considerable production experience with Fighting Illini Productions and internships with NBC Sports in Chicago and San Francisco.
He joined STAA shortly after graduation.
“Taking advantage of the job leads STAA sends out almost daily was the best thing I did. Identifying what was a good fit and sending out applications was the best course of action toward finding a position.
“There was not much hesitation about joining STAA once I recognized the personal help [Owner Jon Chelesnik] would provide in landing my first post-college broadcasting position.
“I joined simply because I needed a job but have remained a member because I have learned a lot about how to become a better broadcaster from browsing the site.”
(July 19, 2019) Instead of waiting for opportunity, Mark Shelley seized it. An STAA member, Shelley is the new Director of Broadcasting, Media and Community Relations for the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls.
“I had been searching for a hockey-specific job for the last two hiring seasons, with very little success in finding an opening that would even give me a call or email,” Shelly recalls. “When I noticed the heads-up in the STAA Job Leads email about the current broadcaster leaving the Bulls, I decided to change my strategy and reach out to the GM before there was an official job posting. A day after reaching out, I was interviewing with [General Manager Rick Matchett].”
Shelley made certain to be timely in his replies to Matchett’s emails. “To show that I truly wanted this position,” he says.
The Bulls intrigued Shelley because of the caliber of hockey, the organization’s success and the opportunity to immerse himself in the sport. “I have an opportunity to work in media relations while also getting back into the sales side of things, something that I have missed and truly enjoy. The organization is welcoming, and I am excited to be a part of the family,” Shelley says with a smile.
Not all job applications have been as easy for Shelley as his Bulls application. “I was seeing jobs that I applied for be filled without ever getting a call or an email. Some of the jobs were jobs that I felt that I was the perfect fit. Even though I never got calls back, I didn’t get discouraged.”
A key for Shelley was establishing a network of people to give honest critiques of his work. “They told me why they would or would not hire me, and I used that to make myself better in those areas. I found that, sometimes, the most brutally honest opinions of your work are the ones that are the most constructive.”
Shelley joined STAA in 2017 upon the recommendation of Hershey Bears broadcaster Zack Fisch. “I reached out to Zack to ask for advice on getting into hockey. He referred me to STAA.
“I joined STAA because I wanted to be the best broadcaster I could possibly be. As a fresh-faced broadcaster right out of college, I needed guidance on how to go about the job search and how to prepare myself for the job that I wanted.”
Shelley has spent the past year calling play-by-play for various sports and hosting a daily talk show on ESPN Ithaca. He’s also been the voice of Cornell women’s ice hockey the past two seasons.
Shelly is a 2017 graduate of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania. He graduated Cum Laude.
His advice to someone just joining STAA is simple. “I would tell them that they made one of the best decisions of their life,” he grins. “Whether you’re looking for a new job or just wanting to get better in your broadcasting skills, STAA has the tools to help you reach your goals.”
(July 16, 2019) An employer to whom Matt Fowler unsuccessfully applied in April is bringing him on board just three months later. An STAA member, Fowler is joining R&J Broadcasting in Aitkin, MN as a sports and news broadcaster.
“They liked me and said they’d keep my resume on file,” Fowler recalls about his initial application. “Even though I didn’t get the first job, I made enough of an impression that I was one of their first thoughts for this opening.”
Overcoming challenges is part of what defines Fowler.
“I have cerebral palsy, which makes it difficult for me to walk, but I have never let it slow me down,” he says. “I always have confidence, no matter what anyone says. There have been plenty of people who have doubted me because of the disability.
“A lot of people say don’t take things like that personally, and I understand why they say that. However, it’s how you react to your criticism and shortcomings that define you. I say take it personally; use it as fuel to prove everyone wrong. Then you don’t have to brag, your accomplishments speak for themselves.”
Fowler has been an STAA member since 2017. “Danny Freisinger, Program Director for 95.7 the Game [in San Francisco] referred me to STAA,” he recalls.
“I like the tips I get in the emails and the job listings are great – my membership has already paid off,” Fowler grins. It was through an STAA Job Leads email that he learned of the opening in Aitkin.
“Although my ultimate goal is to do play-by-play in the NBA, the odds that I’ll get the ‘perfect job'” before the NBA, like a DI college basketball job, and not have to do any other sport, are very slim,” says Fowler. “This job gives me the opportunity to do basketball, but also other sports too.
“It allows me to get my foot in the door. Everyone should be willing to do anything to get that break,” Fowler smiles.
(July 12, 2019) STAA member Mark Mausner is joining Carson-Newman University as a graduate assistant for their Athletic Communications team.
Among other duties, Mausner will host pregame, halftime and postgame on the Eagle Sports Network for Carson-Newman football and basketball broadcasts. He will also broadcast Carson-Newman soccer, volleyball, baseball, softball and select basketball games, and produce the Mike Turner Show.
Mausner moves to Jefferson City, TN after graduating with his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Hofstra.
Recent Central Florida grad Zach Lange is also joining the CNU athletic department.
“These two bring a wide swath of championship-caliber communications skills to us,” Carson-Newman Director of Athletic Communications Adam Cavalier said. “Zach and Mark both set themselves apart in the application process. They are adept, creative and invested communications professionals. We’re thrilled to have them as a part of our team.”
Mausner brings a wide variety of broadcast experience to Carson-Newman. He interned with WABC-TV and Spectrum New NY1 before working with Showtime Sports as a production assistant for Inside the NFL. While in college, he broadcast Hofstra University baseball, basketball and soccer.
(June 18, 2019) It’s nearly unheard of for someone to walk off a college campus into hosting a daily sports talk show in market No. 6, but that is exactly what Matt Jarecki is doing. An STAA member, Jarecki is the new evening host on 610 Sports in Houston.
Jarecki graduated from Northern Arizona University in May. He ranked among the seven most outstanding collegiate sports broadcasters in the U.S. each of the past two years in STAA’s All-America program.
Jarecki recalls the enormity of his big break hitting him on his drive from Flagstaff, AZ to the Lone Star State. “It sunk in when I drove 16 hours to Houston and turned on 610 on my AM dial in my car. Up to that point I’d been listening through the Radio.com app.”
Jarecki was introduced to KILT Program Director Armen Williams by STAA during his junior year of college when Williams was working in Denver. “I was pretty aggressive about asking him for air checks, just trying to improve as much as I could while I was still in college,” Jarecki says. “Him and I started talking once every month or two, going over how I could improve. Not every PD would take the time to do that for a college kid. Eventually it was mutually beneficial.
“When the night slot opened up at 610, I was made aware of the job, I put my application in, and Armen had enough trust in me at that point to hire me.”
As passionate as Jarecki is about sports talk radio, he didn’t fall in love with the medium until he was 16. “I always loved sports, and of course I consumed sports media,” he says. “But when I discovered sports radio, the blend of intimacy, intensity, honesty and vulnerability with which hosts were able to surround sports topics is what hooked me. I’ve been a die hard sports talk junky ever since.”
A turning point in Jarecki’s career was when a mentor, Brian Rackham, suggested Jarecki ask former national talk radio host Ian Punnett to critique his work. Punnett became a frequent listener to Jarecki’s show on NAU’s campus radio station. The two eventually met when Punnett spoke on campus Jarecki’s junior year.
“Ian was one of the first people to tell me I had a future in the business,” Jarecki remembers. “To a young host, that is a game changer. It gave me an even greater sense of purpose, knowing that if I worked hard enough I could make a career out of sports talk. Since then, Ian and I talk regularly about career advice, show formatting, building an audience and the business side of radio. Ian’s one of a few mentors who has helped me maneuver properly as a young host. He’s also just been a great friend.”
Another visitor to the NAU campus during Jarecki’s junior year was STAA Owner Jon Chelesnik. “Jon educated us about how to properly present ourselves to potential employers as young broadcasters. He also mentioned his service, STAA,” says Jarecki.
“There were two things that really sold me on STAA. First, Jon was so genuine. He’s a no b.s. guy, but he’s also a guy who cares about helping young sportscasters. Second, I was hungry for resources to get better and further my career. STAA provided those things.”
Jarecki’s advice to anyone joining STAA is simple. “Utilize the service,” he says. “In my view, the biggest strength of STAA is that it provides improvement and employment opportunities for young sportscasters who don’t have a program director and who aren’t represented by an agent. Your name is not out there yet, so get it out there.
“My favorite part of STAA is the directory of sports radio PD’s around the country. I cold-called or emailed literally every single one of them looking for jobs throughout my senior year.”
Jarecki won’t need to be cold-calling employers again anytime soon. “Armen told me, ‘You’ve earned my trust. That’s why I hired you. The pressure’s off now. Now, all you have to do is be you.'”
Kyle Kervechal and Greg Mroz (pictured) are on the call for Pioneer League Baseball this summer.
Kervechal, a 23-year-old graduate from Arizona State, is the new play-by-play broadcaster for the Grand Junction Rockies.
“I’m excited. There’s a whole lot to be excited about.” he told KREX.
Kercheval was wise beyond his years when he reached out to the Grand Junction Rockies immediately after learning the play-by-play position was available for the first time in a decade.
“For me personally, it’s my first big break in minor league baseball. It’s a really cool opportunity for me to get my feet wet and get to know people in the organization,” says. “Everyone has been great. I can’t wait to get started.”
This is a move Kervechal worked towards after graduating from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The STAA member is in familiar territory growing up playing baseball in nearby Parker, Colorado.
“I grew up watching the Rockies,” Kervechal told KREX “It’s a blissful experience to be here now, it doesn’t feel real. I’m thankful to be here.”
His play-by-play experience includes working for the Bourne Braves in the Cape Cod Baseball .
Greg Mroz is returning to the Pioneer League this summer with a new team.
The Northwestern graduate is the new Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Idaho Falls Chukars. Mroz joins Idaho Falls after spending last season with the Helena Brewers.
“I sincerely enjoyed spending time in Idaho Falls when I was with Helena last season, and am beyond excited to call Melaleuca Field home in 2019,” Mroz said. “This is an organization of passionate people who put out a great product and have fun doing it. I’m just excited to do my part in bringing the joy of Chukars baseball to fans near & far.”
The STAA member has quickly impressed his new boss.
“Greg is a talented young man with a lot of baseball experience.” Said Kevin Greene, President and General Manager of the Idaho Falls Chukars. “We are certain that fans will love his description of Chukars baseball throughout the summer. We are happy to have him on board.”
Mroz has years of broadcasting experience with Northwestern University, Cape Cod League Baseball, Midwest League Baseball and a year of independent league baseball in his hometown.
(May 21, 2019) Steve Granado left his day job this year to focus on making his sports broadcasting goals a reality. With his bank account dwindling, Granado’s bet on himself has paid off. An STAA member, Granado is the new Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Wilson Tobs.
The Tobs are members of the summer collegiate Coastal Plain League.
“I’m excited to break into collegiate sports after covering high school sports and Minor League Baseball for the last five years,” Granado says.
Granado was the lead broadcaster for the Boise Hawks in 2016 and the No. 2 for the West Virginia Power the following summer. He’s freelanced for a variety of sports in Southern California since graduating from Cal State University Fullerton in 2015.
Granado learned of the Tobs opportunity through STAA. Earning the job represented a breakthrough after not hearing back from several employers. “It’s weird,” he says. “I have been hearing that my emails were starting to go to [employer’s] spam folders. Even the email I sent to the Tobs went to GM Mike Bell’s spam. I followed up with a phone call (as I always do) and luckily he answered.”
Besides keeping his applications out of spam folders, the hardest part of the sportscasting job market for Granado has been getting employers to review his work. “I knew if someone actually looked at my work, they’d realize I was a worthy applicant. I know my value, and that’s what’s been so infuriating in not getting positions over the last few years.”
Granado has been at STAA member since 2016. “It’s how I stay informed of the industry,” he smiles.
His advice to anyone joining STAA is to use the entirety of the membership. “Utilize the resources to improve your broadcasting. Find some new prep elements and see what you like. I’ve tied some of the elements and learned what I needed and what I didn’t need, then modified those templates to my liking (spot sheets, etc.).”
(May 16, 2019) Though Joe Mixie has spent most of the past two years broadcasting sports on college campuses, he’s longed to be the lead voice of a minor league baseball team. Mission accomplished. An STAA member, Mixie has been hired to handle play-by-play and media relations for the Tri-City ValleyCats.
The ValleyCats are the Troy, NY-based short season affiliate of the Houston Astros.
“I have wanted to spend a summer as a No.1 in the minor leagues since beginning my play-by-play journey during my sophomore year of college,” Mixie says. “After working as the No.2 during parts of the summers of 2016 & 2017 for the Bridgeport Bluefish, I got a taste of what it was like, and I’m very lucky that it lined up a couple of years later.”
Mixie spent the 2017-18 academic year as an athletic communications and broadcasting assistant at Jacksonville University in Florida. Since September, he’s held a similar position at Siena College in New York where he is the voice of Saints women’s basketball.
Mixie learned of the ValleyCats opening last fall from a co-worker on the Siena campus. “My boss is good friends with the ValleyCats’ communications director and he does part-time work at our basketball games,” Mixie says. “As the winter went on, I formally applied for the position and went through the interview process. I was able to keep the connection fresh by seeing the person who would eventually hire me on a weekly basis at basketball games.”
A 2017 graduate of Liberty University, Mixie joined STAA his senior year of college. “I was originally introduced to STAA by a professor in college and have been a member for two-and-a-half years now,” he says. “This is my fourth position that I have picked up since joining STAA. Three were jobs that were listed by STAA.
“STAA allows me to stay up-to-date with the latest sports broadcasting job postings with daily email updates, and has ample broadcasting resources that I use frequently when calling different sports.”
Before moving to Siena, Mixie was a runner-up for different full-time college communications positions three times in four months, including a position at Siena that is different from the one he has now.
“Patience, hard work and the willingness to be available have prevailed,” he grins.