Luke Martin the new voice of Southern Illinois U.

PRESS RELEASE — STAA member Luke Martin is the new director of broadcasting and radio voice of Southern Illinois University. He follows Saluki Hall of Fame broadcaster Mike Reis.

For the past six seasons, Martin was the voice for Indiana State football, men’s basketball and baseball, while also producing news and features for and the school’s digital platforms.

Martin is a 2014 graduate of Ball State’University. After graduation, he served as the broadcaster for UNC Greensboro for one season, where he also hosted weekly coaches shows, produced the school’s video content, and produced/directed ESPN3 telecasts.

SIU’s search committee screened more than 90 applicants for the position before selecting Martin, according to Tim Leonard, director of athletics for the Salukis.

“The committee reviewed countless hours of demo reels from some of the best radio talent in the country, and Luke was our top choice, not only for his distinctive on-air delivery, but for the passion he brings to this important position,” Leonard said. “Luke is an outstanding storyteller, with a love of sports and people. Much like Mike Reis, he has a warm, genuine personality that shines brightly during his broadcasts.”

Martin said it was an honor to be chosen to follow Reis, who stepped down from the broadcast chair last May after completing his 44th season of radio play-by-play for SIU.

“I won’t be filling his shoes, as only Mike could wear them,” Martin said. “I owe it to Saluki fans to honor his legacy by being who I am, while instilling the relentless work ethic I learned from watching him in my career. I can’t wait to earn the respect and trust of Salukis everywhere.”

Bowling lands radio job in Oregon resort town

Matt Bowling’s first full-time broadcasting job is in an Oregon vacation destination. He is joining Basin Mediactive in Klamath Falls as sports director.

“There are far worse places I could be doing this kind of job than a resort town in the Pacific Northwest,” he grins. “Klamath Falls is an hour and a half from both Crater Lake and Mount Shasta and there are plenty of parks and trails around the town itself. The climate is great, and the town gets 300 days of sunshine per year. It’s also a certified Blue Zones Community.”

Growth opportunity

Bowling learned of the opening in an STAA Job Leads+ email. He applied the same day, made a follow-up call one week later, interviewed and was offered the job. “In addition to play-by-play, I’ll be doing daily sports reports, contributing to the morning talk show, writing web articles, and helping with social media,” Bowling enthuses. “This job will greatly expand my career options by giving me a strong portfolio and skill set beyond play-by-play.”

Changing his approach

Even with undergrad and Masters degrees from the University of Oklahoma, Bowling found the sportscasting job market to be challenging. “I applied for full-time jobs last summer — my first out of college — and came up totally empty,” he recalls. “Only a couple even emailed me back.”

That frustration prompted Bowling to take advantage of a job market makeover package offered by STAA. “I knew it would be smart to let someone [like STAA Owner Jon Chelesnik] who’s been in this industry longer than I’ve been alive show me the best way to present myself to potential employers.

Bowling continues, “Words are a big strength of mine…visuals, not so much. The resume and reels Jon created for me were massive upgrades over what I had before and included things that I never would have thought to (or been able to) design myself. The proof is in the results. Like I said, almost nobody even emailed me back last summer. This summer, I was on track to be interviewed for a few other jobs before I accepted Basin Mediactive’s offer.”

In Klamath Falls, Bowling will be working for a locally-owned company with a small staff. “I’m not going to be in a corporate setting where I’d have to worry about potentially being caught in a wave of layoffs, among other things,” he states with relief. “In [General Manager] Rob Siems’ words, they are ‘a close knit group that helps each other,’ which is an ideal environment for someone navigating a new job and a new town.”

Choosiness pays off for Ivery in sports director job at KJAM

Drew Ivery didn’t know what the future held when he left his sportscasting job in August 2022. He wanted to stay in sports but decided to be choosy about his next opportunity. Ivery bought himself time by working as the media director for a local country club. Now, he’s found the right next step in his sportscasting journey. Ivery is the new sports director at KJAM Radio in Madison, SD.

“[KJAM] will provide me with valuable experience,” Ivery enthuses. “I missed radio and was looking to take the next step and broadcast regularly in the collegiate ranks. This position provided that. It has a very friendly staff that has been great in the interview process and in helping find housing in the area. I believe we can all help each other for the better.”

Good fit

Ivery will broadcast Dakota State University (NAIA) football and basketball, high school sports and amateur baseball play-play. He will also host a weekly, hour-long sports talk show during college sports season, and a daily air shift.

Ironically, Ivery follows fellow STAA member Caleb Gill at KJAM.

“I learned about this opportunity through the STAA website where I’ve been primarily been looking for jobs and to get better at my craft,” Ivery states. He adds, “STAA’s tools were motivation to go harder in my pursuit. It’s the best place for sports broadcasting opportunities.

Experience, patience

Ivery is a 2020 graduate of Texas A&M University-Commerce. He has extensive sports writing experience for platforms like Winsidr, FanSided and HighPostHoops. Ivery is also the former sports director for East Texas Broadcasting in Sulphur Springs, TX., and has considerable podcasting experience.

Patience served Ivery well in his sportscasting job search. “Just trusting the process, to not settle for anything less than the type of job I wanted and working consistently to pursue that,” he recalls. “A lot of jobs from all over came through, but I only applied for the things I was looking for and not just everything that popped up. The job search process is never fun, but I stuck with it and had great support along the way.”

Now, Ivery’s fortitude during his 11 months away from sportscasting is being rewarded. “I had my mind made up that broadcasting is what I wanted to do. And though KJAM is a change of scenery for me, I believe it will be a great opportunity in a new environment.”

Motivated Richardson joins Kent State broadcast team

To say that Dane Richardson is highly motivated is an understatement. He graduated from Ithaca College in May. Shortly after, he commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army through an Army ROTC program. He will be serving as a military intelligence officer in the New York Army National Guard.

But wait, there’s more.

This fall, Richardson starts a play-by-play graduate assistant position at Kent State University. He’ll broadcast at least seven different sports.

“Everyone is able to call football, basketball, and baseball. Not everyone is able to call volleyball, field hockey, soccer, etc. Having the ability to call a variety of sports will make me a more marketable broadcaster,” he states.

Military discipline

Richardson credits his uncommon determination and motivation to his mother and father. “The foundation comes from my parents and how hard they worked as I grew up. My mom is a teacher and my dad in the Army.”

Regarding his own military commitment, Richardson states, “Having the responsibility of serving my country and learning the values of leadership, discipline, and working in stressful environments pushes me to work hard and succeed.”

That motivation to work hard and succeed is how Richardson found the Kent Sate opportunity.

Anticipating opportunity

“In early May I was searching for jobs and mainly was landing interviews for MMJ or sports reporting openings. I was open to multiple avenues to begin my career, but my heart was with play-by-play. I figured the person that currently held the Kent State position at the time, Tyler Henry, was wrapping up his time there, so I sent him a DM on Twitter asking if his position was opening. Sure enough it was. He told me to reach out to their head of athletic communications, Dan Griffin.”

Henry warned Richardson there was already a handful of candidates for the GA position but Richardson says, “I reached out anyway. After a bit of waiting, Dan said he was a fan of my work and offered me the position.”

Richardson is eager to embrace the high volume of play-by-play reps he will get in a variety of sports. “Everyone in the broadcast business knows the most optimal way to improve are reps,” he states. “In two years, I will likely be able to call over 100 athletic contests. That will be extremely valuable in polishing my on-air craft.”

STAA connections

Richardson joined STAA this spring. “I am relatively active on Twitter and it was difficult not to notice STAA. I became a member as I approached graduation to help with my job search.”

One thing Richardson appreciates about his membership is connecting with other broadcasters. “Through the years, STAA has compiled such an extensive network. You never know where a connection could lead you.”

Now, a connection – one he created on his own – has led Richardson to the play-by-play opportunity at Kent State. And he’s demonstrated that he has the motivation and hard work needed to succeed.

O’Connell leaves comfort zone to join North Dakota stations

New Jersey and North Dakota are as similar as concrete and cornfields. However, when Garden State native Jayson O’Connell had the opportunity to start his sportscasting career in the nation’s upper heartland, he embraced the opportunity. O’Connell is joining KZZJ-AM and KKWZ-FM in Rugby, ND as a play-by-play broadcaster, on-air host and account executive.

He learned of the opportunity in an STAA Job Leads+ email.

“Leaving home was what made the decision such a difficult one for me,” O’Connell admits. “The job always seemed like a great opportunity for me to start my career. But North Dakota isn’t exactly an easy trip from my home in New Jersey. But throughout the interview/hiring process, [station owner Lila Harstad] continued to ask how my family, my girlfriend and I felt about potentially moving 24 hours away and if we all would be able to handle it. She really showed that she cared about my personal life and my relationships at home.”

The community of Rugby also made O’Connell feel welcome when he visited for his final interview. “I met with many residents of the town to get a feel of what it was like outside of the radio station and everyone greeted me with open arms.”

Trepidation about STAA

O’Connell is a 2023 graduate of Penn State University. He joined STAA in April after being referred by his college career advisor. “Bob Martin referred me to STAA. I had a meeting with him at the beginning of the spring semester to discuss my job search and he told me about all of the benefits of STAA.”

Even with Martin’s endorsement, O’Connell had trepidation about joining STAA. “I wasn’t too eager to join because I wasn’t sure if it would be worth it. All the features of a membership seemed helpful. But I was afraid I’d become a member and I’d still be looking for my first job for a while, or I’d be able to find a job without using STAA that much. Clearly, neither was the case and STAA was a big factor in me getting this position [at KZZJ/KKWZ.]”

Late start

O’Connell didn’t start pursuing a sports journalism career until his junior year at Penn State. Therefore, he had to work extra hard to catch up with his fellow upperclassmen in the broadcasting program. “They were starting to perfect their craft while I was starting to learn the basics. I missed out on certain opportunities because I started behind everyone else but I didn’t let that get to me.”

One example of O’Connell’s determination was earning a men’s basketball opportunity after initially not being on the broadcast schedule. “I knew I didn’t have much tenure at the radio station but I felt the work I produced and the effort I put in was enough to be given the opportunity to call a Penn State men’s basketball game. So I worked even harder for the next couple of months. After what I felt was a great call I had for the women’s team, I went to executive producer of men’s basketball and asked to be considered to be added to the schedule if there was an opening to call a game. He said he saw the effort I was putting in and gave me the opportunity to call the game against Rutgers when a commentator spot opened up for the late season game.”

The KZZJ/KKWZ opportunity is exactly what O’Connell had in mind for his first position out of school. “I wanted to start a career in play-by-play and this job will allow me to call a variety of high school sports in every season. I’ll also be getting additional experience in hosting a morning radio show and experience in sales as well. Growing as a play-by-play commentator while obtaining other skills seemed like a great opportunity.”

Great first impression leads Taylor to i3G Media

When Jayden Taylor called to follow-up his application for a sports director position with i3G Media in Valley City, ND, he learned the position had been filled. He made a good impression, though, on station General Manager Erin Tombarge. When another i3G Media station had a sports director opening just 30 minutes away, Tombarge recommended Taylor. He got the job and is moving to Jamestown, ND.

I3G Media is Taylor’s first full-time broadcasting opportunity since graduating from Marshall University in December. “This job allows me to grow as a play-by-play announcer with plenty of opportunity to call games. This was the biggest deal to me because I wanted a place where I knew there would be no question about my growth potential.

“I will also have other on-air opportunities that will allow me to grow my voice in other non-play-by-play [roles]. That is another thing I really wanted.”

The recommendation Taylor earned in Valley City provided him the opportunity to apply for the Jamestown role before it was posted publicly. “Of course I took that and ran,” Taylor grins. “I was able to interview and eventually, after a week or two, I accepted the job. On July 8th I will be moving into my apartment in North Dakota with my fiancé [Camrin] and my dog Jax.”

Play-by-play is Taylor’s passion and he did much of during college. “I called games as a play-by-play [voice] over the years for Marshall University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well Marshall baseball, softball, and volleyball.”

Taylor joined STAA in January. “[Fellow STAA member] Jake Griffith referred me to STAA,” Taylor recalls. “He let me know how helpful it can be, especially to someone like me who needed some professional guidance getting from college graduate to being a paid professional. I didn’t know how to go about just about anything. I knew I needed demos but didn’t know any sort of way to structure them. I knew I needed to learn how to write cover letters despite never doing it before. Many things like that I needed to get shaped up before being able to be considered seriously for a job.”

Now Taylor is on the move from West Virginia to North Dakota. The change will be easier with his fiancé and his dog moving with him. Taylor also knows he will be embraced by the people at i3G Media. “No bigger fear than to move across the country and feel like you’re not going to be liked as soon as you get there,” Taylor explains. “So speaking with both [Jamestown station GM Lynn] Lambrechet and Erin about the positive team culture at [i3G Media] made me feel comfortable that I3G has a positive team culture.”

Casual conversation leads Chestnut to Western Kentucky

Belmont University softball won a 2-0 game at Western Kentucky in late March. Afterward, Hilltoppers’ voice Brad Klein mentioned to Bruins’ broadcaster Reily Chestnut that he was leaving WKU at the end of the season. Klein suggested that Chestnut apply for the position. Chestnut did. Now, he is the new Voice of the Lady Toppers.

The largest part of the job is calling WKU women’s basketball and volleyball. In addition, Chestnut will do radio or video work for all games on the Hilltopper Satellite Sports Network and ESPN+. There will also be opportunities to call WKU soccer and softball on HSSN and on radio.

Working for a winner

“WKU volleyball and women’s basketball are two historically great programs who make a habit of winning,” Chestnut enthuses. “As any broadcaster knows, it tends to be a better experience calling a ton of wins. WKU volleyball has been among the mid-major’s elite in the top 25 annually for much of this millennium. Women’s basketball was one win away from the NCAA tournament last year.

“I am putting myself in a niche category since there are not many full-time radio voices doing college volleyball. In a business where standing out is key, this is one way to do that.”

Strategic approach

Chestnut was strategic when contacting WKU’s Learfield GM Chris Freeman about the opportunity. “I framed my email to make it seem like it I did not know about the opening and just made it seem like I was reaching out to be available. Plus, my supervisor from Belmont, Greg Sage, sent Chris an email on my behalf that really made a difference for me.”

Chestnut moves to Bowling Green, KY from Belmont, where he recently completed his Masters. He chose that course after being the victim of a Covid-era budget cut in his previous position. “I wanted to try and diversify my skillset in order to make myself less expendable and more valuable. So, during my two years at Belmont pursuing my master’s in sport administration, I picked-up a number of experiences by simply saying ‘I’m here and I care so allow me to be of service,'” Chestnut recalls.

Do everything

At BU, Chestnut called soccer and softball on ESPN+, he was the head of social media and sports information in the Spring 2022 for Belmont’s tennis programs, and he sold basketball season tickets. “My final year I was part of a team that set a new single season record for season tickets sold,” Chestnut beams.

As busy was he was in Nashville, Chestnut still made time to create additional play-by-play reps for himself. “To anyone who reads this, get a Sennheiser crowd mic, multimixer and some solid headsets like I did so you can create your own broadcasts through OBS studios (free). You can call softball games or mock broadcasts of basketball like I did,” he suggests.

Chestnut joined STAA in 2019. “I cannot imagine where I’d be without STAA or [Owner Jon Chelesnik’s] kind commitment to helping all of us find our next gig. STAA helped me get my first job out of school back in 2019 calling high school sports in South Dakota full-time. To be a DI broadcaster just four years later really astounds me.”

Kleindorfer stays in Terre Haute, joins DLC Media

Terre Haute, Indiana has been good to Landon Kleindorfer. It is there that he earned his undergrad degree from Indiana State. He earned his Masters at ISU and now he’s earned his first full-time job in the West Indiana community. Kleindorfer is joining DLC Media’s six-station cluster as a news and sports director.

“This with be a huge step for me,” Kleindorfer enthuses. “Not only because it is my first full time position, but also because I will be taking over as the voice of Northview High School athletics.”

Kleindorfer gained play-by-play experience in various sports on ISU’s campus radio station. He also calls games on The Valley on ESPN3, a broadcasting platform for the Missouri Valley Conference. “My experience running a college station and my broadcast experience through The Valley on ESPN was a huge benefit in the [DLC Media] hiring process,” Kleindorfer states.

A former high school football player, Kleindorfer joined STAA in March. “I was referred to STAA by Kelsie Kasper who is a fellow member and works for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.”

One of Kleindorfer’s favorite parts of his membership is the discussions within the STAA Member Community. “The benefits of STAA are limitless but I mainly enjoy hearing other people in the business give their insights and opinions on how to handle issues that come-up regularly.”

One issue that won’t be coming up for Kleindorfer anytime soon is relocation and the higher cost of living that will likely come with it. “I can stay in Terre Haute for at least [one more] year where the rent is cheap,” he grins.

Griffith named TV voice of Minnesota Aurora FC

As wonderful as a sports broadcasting career can be, it’s human nature to always want more. Jake Griffith admits, “I used to spend a lot of time focusing on what I haven’t done or where I haven’t been, so much so that I lost sight of all I’d accomplished. I saw my peers getting awesome opportunities. While I was happy for them, I kept wondering when it would be my time.

Griffith’s time is now. He has been hired to broadcast Minnesota Aurora FC games on the regional FOX affiliate and on Hulu.

The opportunity was emailed to STAA members on March 17th. Griffith applied immediately. “I heard back pretty quickly,” he recalls.

Griffith is excited to move to the Twin Cities. “Working for a professional club or team in an on-air capacity is a huge boost to the resume and demo tape. Location was also key. Minneapolis is three-times the size of the last state I lived in, there are numerous professional teams, a Power 5 university and an international airport. The location factor also meant the possibility for more freelance opportunities.”

Fueling the passion

Griffith moves to The Land of 10,000 Lakes from Huntington, WV where he was a broadcaster and multimedia reporter for Marshall University. He started there in 2017, the same year that Coach Chris Grassie took over the men’s soccer program. “Fast forward five years and he led them to their first-ever National Championship,” Griffith states. “I was fortunate to call every home match for all five of the years Grassie built the program up from sub-.500 to top of the nation. He even made sure I received a ring!”

A 2014 trip to England also fueled Griffith’s soccer passion. “I had a chance to visit Selhurst Park and watch Crystal Palace FC on Boxing Day. That was a big part of it,” he recalls.”


Versatility on and off the mic has been important in Griffith advancing his career. “While play-by-play is my favorite, my ability to report, host shows/podcasts and write, as well as work behind the camera — shoot & edit videos, manage websites and social media and graphic design — has set me apart.

“But also, my versatility on the mic is something plenty of people have pointed out. Sure, I’ve called football, basketball, baseball, etc., but I’ve also called swimming, tennis and track. It never hurts to broaden your horizons, especially in this career field. Just because you agree to a swimming or track gig doesn’t mean you’ll get pigeonholed into that forever. But by saying yes and crushing it, you just might catch the attention of someone who could give you an opportunity calling a sport you love.”

Tough choice

Before accepting the Aurora FC position, Griffith turned down an opportunity to join the sports staff at a West Virginia TV station. “I’ve known I wanted to be a play-by-play broadcaster since I was eight years old, so I’ve essentially structured my entire life around achieving that goal,” he states. “The primary reasons I quit Marshall was unhappiness and career stagnation, even though there were play-by-play aspects of it. It was definitely a difficult decision to walk away from that. But I knew it was time to gamble on myself, which is what led me to the [TV] opportunity. But before taking it, I asked myself if quitting the Marshall job to take a job that wasn’t even in the play-by-play field (and was not going to allow me to freelance) was really going to be the best thing for my career. I ultimately decided it wasn’t.”

Griffith has been an STAA member since 2018. One especially valuable part of the membership for him is the Sports TV Directory inside the STAA Member Community. It lists contact information for the executives in charge of hiring talent at TV networks across the country. “It’s been my experience that cold emailing can be really beneficial,” Griffith states. “Even if it hasn’t resulted in specific job opportunities, getting connected with those at networks and getting my reel in front of them, getting feedback, etc. has been crucial to my career growth.”

Now when Griffith reflects upon his career, his accomplishments will seem more tangible. “I want to succeed at this career more than I want to breathe. And being hungry for more is never a bad thing. But it is also okay to admit that you’ve come a long way. After all, no two people take the same path to get to the top. There isn’t a blueprint or manual to success for this.

“The saying that ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ is so true.”

Weaving taking her football passion to BCSN

The old Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ was a frequent Fall destination for young Nicole Weaving, her dad and her grandfather. The die-hard Jets fans braved the biting cold on many Sunday afternoons in support of their team. Weaving remembers the trio watching the 2011 AFC Championship game on TV, their Jets spotting Pittsburgh a 24-point lead, then nearly rallying to win in their bid for the Super Bowl. She remembers her sadness of them coming up short.

Those high times and disappointments sparked in Weaving a passion for sports that she’s turned into a career. Her next stop is Toledo, OH and a Sports Anchor/MMJ role for Buckeye Cable Sports Network.

“I found out about this opportunity through STAA, my go-to source for all new postings,” Weaving grins.

Doing it all

BCSN is a regional sports network covering high school, college, and pro sports in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. Weaving will do everything from anchoring, writing and editing, to reporting for BCSN’s flagship nightly sportscast. She’ll also contribute to digital and social media platforms.

Weaving is a 2020 Syracuse graduate. She moves to Ohio after two years with Sinclair Broadcasting in Lincoln, NE.

“This was a good opportunity for me because it had a lot of flexibility for storytelling, which was an aspect I felt I missed at my first station,” she states. “Also, the chance to anchor a 30-minute show, as well as create content for additional shows, was appealing as a way to break the mold from a standard sports block.”

Weaving received a recommendation for the BCSN position from an industry connection. She also did extensive market research. “I believe what helped me stand out was my knowledge of the area after countless hours of research, and my eagerness to bring in new ideas and find compelling local stories.”

Good timing

Weaving saw the BCSN opening in an STAA Job Leads+ email barely two weeks after joining. “I joined STAA for the elite access to job leads and the community of sportscasters who all want to help each other succeed,” she grins.

Timing was important in Weaving joining STAA, and it will be important to her joining BCSN. Her new home in Toledo is less than two hours from Cleveland. The Jets play there in Week 2 of the coming NFL season.