Miranda heading back home to Indiana, WTHR-TV

A well-placed connection has helped Dominic Miranda back to his home state of Indiana. Miranda is joining WTHR TV in Indianapolis as a sports anchor/reporter after two years in Florida.

“I certainly was ready to get back to the Midwest and closer to family. I had been monitoring job leads pretty religiously and looking for that kind of opportunity,” he states.

Of course, there’s also this about Miranda’s new position: ” Covering the Colts, Pacers, IU, Purdue, Butler, and the Indy 500 is a dream come true,” he grins.

Help from a mentor

Miranda has been at WCTV in Tallahassee since June 2021. In early February, a mentor of his notified Miranda that WTHR was looking. “I had seen that through the STAA Job Leads and had applied immediately,” Miranda recalls. The mentor mentioned Miranda’s name to WTHR Sports Director Dave Calabro. Miranda reached out to him. “[Dave] immediately called me and let me know he had passed my information along to the News Director, and it all just kind of went from there.”

Mirada’s story illustrates the value of relationships. His mentor is someone who once hired Miranda for an internship. “We’ve remained in contact for nearly eight years now. He has been instrumental in helping me along the way. You never know who can help you when the time is right.

“I owe it to STAA for putting this opening on my radar, and a long time connection for getting my foot in the door. Your talent is a huge part of it, don’t get me wrong. But in highly sought after positions in top 30 markets, you need some help.”

Though Miranda is leaving South Florida, he’s grateful for the growth he experienced there. “My storytelling has improved tremendously. Ad-libbing, live reporting, and overall on-camera presence has improved as well. I cannot thank Ryan Kelly, my sports director, and Sabrina Fuller, my news director, enough for taking a chance on me. The freedom I was given to really come into my own on camera was very necessary and played a huge role in my improvement.”

Focus on family

As much as Miranda enjoyed Tallahassee, he’s eager to return to Indiana and to his family. “Family is the most important thing in my life. Without them and their support, I wouldn’t feel confident in having the ability to accelerate my career to a top 40 market. They mean the world to me and I certainly wanted to move closer to them.”

There is another reason Miranda is excited return to the Midwest. “I’m getting married in September. My fiance has been so supportive of my career. She’s currently living in Chicago. I absolutely wanted to move closer to home so we could begin our life together living close to our respective families.”

Keeping current

An important factor in Miranda’s job search was keeping his reel updated. “After every sports season, I like to go back and put together a reel, just so when the time is right, I have something to send immediately. That way, I’m not wasting a day or two putting together a recent reel, and risking not getting my name in front of decision makers as quickly as possible. Sometimes that’s the difference between getting a job or not.”

Miranda’s career has been on an upward trajectory since he joined STAA in the final semester of his senior year at DePauw University in Indiana. First it was a job at WTHI TV in Terre Haute, IN. Two years later, it was onto Tallahassee. He remains an STAA member for one big reason.

“Job leads, job leads, and job leads,” he laughs. “I cannot stress enough how important getting those [regularly] has been. It allows you to jump on opportunities immediately. I think the STAA membership is worth it soley for the job leads. Not to mention all the other incredible critiques, tips, tricks, advice, and help it provides.

“Every college student that reaches out to me asking for advice, I recommend them to become a member at STAA. The growth I’ve seen in myself since I joined STAA as a senior in college in 2019 to now has been substantial. I cannot thank [STAA Owner Jon Chelesnik] enough for his help along the way. He’s so accessible and is always willing to give you advice and help you along your journey. For someone as busy as I think we all know he is, that’s pretty cool.”

He adds, “I feel extremely lucky and extremely grateful for STAA. And for my long time mentor.”

STAA baseball faces in new places this summer

For 16 summers, STAA members have been broadcasting baseball at ballparks nationwide. This year is no different. The following folks will be spending the dog days with new teams.

Some of them we’ve already written about:

Kevin DiDomenico, Reno Aces

Andrew Mild, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs

Zach Berman, Sioux City Explorers

Carter Woodiel, Kansas City Monarchs

Here are the others who are deserving of attention:

Double A

Jake Starr, Reading Fightin’ Phils No. 2

Spent last season with the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod League.

Gareth Kwok, New Hampshire Fisher Cats No. 2

Was the voice of the Frederick Keys in 2022.

Class A

Eric Bach, Fredericksburg Nationals No. 1

Elevated from No. 2 to the lead position after STAA member Joey Zanaboni left for MLS.

Tim Quitadamo, Modesto Nuts No. 1

Most recently worked as Director of Productions for the Worcester Paw Sox. Filled in a couple of broadcasts and did sideline reporting on some NESN telecasts.

Logan Potosky, Lake County Captains No. 1

Potosky will call home games at Classic Park. He graduates from John Carroll University in May.

Max Tanzer, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels No. 2

Spent last summer with Bourne of Cape Cod League.

Thomas Zinzarella, Hudson Valley Renegades No. 2

Was the Biloxi Shuckers No. 2 last season.

Derek Decker, Fort Wayne TinCaps No. 2

Called Chillicothe Mudcats summer collegiate games last season before a short stint at a radio station cluster in Western Kansas.

MLB Partner Leagues

Brendan Howe, High Point Rockers No. 1

Peoria Chiefs No. 2 last season.

Adam Bridges Boise Hawks No. 1

Scheduled to graduate next year from Boise State University.

Joey Miller, Gateway Grizzlies No. 2

Was in the summer collegiate Expedition League last summer.

Carter Bainbridge, Florence Y’alls No. 2

Will graduate this spring from Syracuse.

Summer Collegiate Leagues

Cory Sparks, Kenosha Kingfish

Graduating next month from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Be sure to say hello to these folks when you cross paths with them in the press box.

Congratulations to all!

Twins add Schweinert to pre and post game shows

Many job seekers surprisingly fail to reply promptly to correspondence from employers to whom they’ve applied. Lexi Schweinert did the opposite when applying with the Minnesota Twins. “I made sure to follow up every interview with a thank you, and respond to all their messages in a timely manner,” she smiles.

It paid off. Schweinert is the new Radio Host/Assistant Producer on the Twins Radio Network.
She will host approximately 50 Twins pre/post game shows across 85 radio affiliates and audio streaming platforms. She will also be responsible for contributions in pre and post game shows, weekly segments, and potential podcast opportunities.

Relationship building

The Twins opportunity came to Schweinert though relationship building. “It’s all about connections,” she grins. “I reached out to my friend who works for the Twins social media team. I asked her about jobs in MLB, and how she likes working for a team. She said they just had a job open up at the Twins that may be perfect for me! I went through the application process, making sure to follow up with the hiring manager over email. I got the gig weeks later!”

A warm smile and friendly personality are Schweinert’s calling cards. Simply being herself was key during the hiring process. “Some of my interviews felt more like a fun conversation than an interview and I definitely showed my personality!”

Familiar territory

Schweinert is no stranger to the Upper Midwest. She worked at ESPN Radio Madison while earning her degree from the University of Wisconsin in 2020. After graduating, it was on to WNKY 40 News in Bowling Green, KY where she was a morning show host and MMJ. Schweinert doubled as a radio sideline reporter and pre and post-game host for Western Kentucky University. It was Hilltoppers voice Randy Lee who referred Schweinert to STAA.

“He worked with [STAA Owner Jon Chelesnik] back in the day when Jon helped broadcasters put together their reels,” Schweinert states. There is one STAA membership advantage she has especially enjoyed since joining last year: “Getting the inside scoop on jobs right when they’re posted and having the emails to hiring managers at top places to work in sports,” she smiles. “Even if you’re not looking for a job, STAA is a great to make connections in the industry.”

Though much of Schweinert’s career has been on-camera, joining the Twins in a radio capacity is a good fit for her. “You can have so much fun with radio, and I love the laid-back, conversational format.”

Conversation and communication are strengths of Schweinert’s. After all, it was thank you notes and prompt correspondence that helped lead her to Minneapolis.

“Communication was key to keep me top of mind and stand out from other candidates!”

DiDomenico joins Triple-A Reno Aces

The Washington Nationals hosted a “Kids Run the Show Day” in September of 2010. Pre-teens did everything from working on the grounds crew and running the ticket booth to broadcasting. Kevin DiDomenico aspired for the radio booth. “I submitted a CD – yes, a CD — of me showing my 10-year-old broadcasting skills. I was selected! I got to go into the booth and call an inning on the radio with [Nationals broadcasters] Charlie Slowes & Dave Jagler.”

10 year old Kevin DiDomenico with Dave Jagler and Charlie Slowes.

12 years and an STAA All-American award later, DiDomenico is still broadcasting baseball. He is the new Content Creator and Broadcaster for the Triple-A Reno Aces..

“I saw the job posting on STAA Talent and applied, DiDomenico recalls. “From there I went through four interviews before getting hired. For the final round of the recruiting process, they asked finalists to make a sample ‘Aces Minute’ pregame video from a game in July of 2022.”

The Aces liked DiDomenico’s video, and his time broadcasting in the Red Sox and Yankees organizations. “I prepared really well for each interview and explained my vision for the position based on the job description.”

The content creator duties differ from other Minor League Baseball broadcasting jobs that usually include media relations. “Our business is an always evolving one,” DiDomenico states. “This season the Aces are putting more of a focus on different forms of content with the players and coaching staff. I plan on connecting with fans not only over the air, but also through the extensive content we’ll bring them through social media, the Aces website, and in-venue entertainment.”

DiDomenico is a 2022 graduate of Virginia Tech. There, he was mentored by Bill Roth, the respected Voice of the Hokies and a broadcaster on ESPN. Last year, DiDomenico earned All-America honors from STAA as one of the nation’s most outstanding collegiate sports broadcasters.

DiDomenico’s baseball resume is extensive. He was the voice of the Salem Red Sox in 2021 and 2022, and the Pulaski Yankees in 2019. DiDomenico also called Virginia Tech baseball for four seasons and has broadcast with ESPN+ and the ACC Network.

DiDomenico may one day again see Charlie Slowes & Dave Jangler in a Major League Baseball broadcast booth. When it happens, though, it will be as peers.

Zanaboni brings flair to hometown MLS team

One of sports broadcasting’s most millennial voices is heading home to where his family roots run 100 years deep. Joey Zanaboni is the new radio voice for Major League Soccer’s expansion St. Louis City SC.

He calls the opportunity “the greatest honor of my professional career.”

The Zanaboni family roots in the Gateway City date back to the early 1920s. That’s when his great grandparents immigrated from Italy. Zanaboni grew up in the city and graduated from St. Louis University High. It’s the same alma mater as Taylor Twellman, Zanaboni’s new partner on St. Louis City SC broadcasts.

This isn’t Zanaboni’s first chance to call games in his hometown. He’s broadcast St. Louis Ambush indoor soccer and St. Louis Junior Blues hockey. Mostly, though, his career is built around baseball. Zanaboni has called games for six teams, from summer collegiate ranks to affiliated ball. He was most recently the lead voice for the Low-A affiliate for the Washington National’s. In August, he was part of MLB Network’s broadcast of a Mariners-Angels game.

It is in baseball where Zanaboni’s enthusiastic calls have drawn the most attention. When a catcher stole home, Zanaboni described him as “dancin’ like a Spice Girls cover band inside an earthquake simulation.” A pitcher in the midst of a great game was “pitching smoother than a balding hedgehog slather in baby shampoo.”

Zanaboni has said, “I want to be the first real millennial sports announcer who reflects the endless optimism, relentless anxiety and glorious randomness of this generation.”

Now Zanaboni brings optimism, anxiety and glorious randomness to his hometown.

He said on Twitter, “I will do everything in my power for the opportunity, at season’s end, to look myself in the mirror and every fan in the eye and says truthfully, ‘we had the most entertaining broadcast in Major League Soccer.”

Radio vet Dunlap finds his diamond in North Dakota

Seth Dunlap was winding down an early January evening with a warm espresso during a rare multi-day freeze in New Orleans. He checked his STAA Job Leads+ email as he had done hundreds of times before. This time, though, he spotted his diamond in the rough and applied immediately. “I didn’t expect to have a reply waiting for me when I woke up with my morning coffee the next day, but boy was I excited!”

One month later, Dunlap is on his way north to Jamestown ND to host a daily air shift and broadcast play-by-play, Most important, he will soon take over as program director at KSJB radio.

“I had spoken to [STAA Owner] Jon Chelesnik and others about my narrow desires to work for a non-corporate-owned station or group,” Dunlap recalls. “I was willing to bide my time as much as possible until there was an opportunity I was truly excited about. The KSJB job listing read like my wish list.”

Searching patiently

Dunlap is a radio veteran who most recently has been working outside the industry. “Getting back into media/radio wasn’t something I necessarily thought would happen during that time. However, I felt the tinge of passion creeping up on me during the latter part of 2022.” Dunlap continues, “I reached out to Jon Chelesnik, who I had worked with at STAA for about a decade, with a brief hiatus during that year, to re-activate my profile and update my demos and work.”

And to receive STAA’s Job Leads+ emails. “The job listings for premier members are incredible,” he enthuses. “Even if you currently have a role you are comfortable and happy in, anybody would be doing themselves a disservice by not opening those emails or checking those listings. You never know when you’ll spot that diamond in the rough job that excites the heck out of you, like the KSJB job did for me.”

He adds, “These aren’t opportunities that are just lying around for us in the industry dominated by the Big 3.”

New opportunity

One part of the KSJB opportunity about which Dunlap is excited is being a program director. He’ll be in-training to start but will assume to PD role shortly. “If there is one gap in my resume and work experience in the industry it is a true PD role. I’ve had PD-by-another-name roles for various organizations, but the ability to fully round out my skills and experience in this way is something I’ve been pursing for many years.”

Play-by-play love

Another aspect of his new position that Dunlap finds especially appealing is the coverage of small, Class B high school football and basketball, including state tournaments. “I’ve had an amazing, diverse career that includes NFL game-day broadcasts to Power 5 football and basketball games and hosting big shows in Top-50 markets. My favorite broadcast memories, bar none, are doing high school sports and state tournaments. There’s something about the relative purity and goodness of sport at that age it’s truly awesome. I can say without hesitation or exaggeration that there’s likely not a single type of play-by-play I enjoy more than small high school basketball and football. Something completely and engrossingly enjoyable for the old radiohead in me.

“I grew up in a small ‘B’ town in Washington State. My single fondest memory in sports is being a kid from a town of 200 people and playing in front of 12,000 fans in a Hoosiers-like environment. My first few full-time jobs involved play-by-play for small schools like this, and one of the startups I worked for broadcast high school games year-round.”

As Dunlap shared his memories, he recalled sitting courtside at a ‘State B’ tournament early in his career with Bob Robertson, the late Hall of Fame broadcaster for the Washington State Cougars. “One night after the broadcasts we were talking over wine in his hotel room. I asked him why he was broadcasting for the small-school state tournament when he would obviously have higher profile opportunities elsewhere. Not to mention a huge pay cut! Robertson said he did those games because he loved doing those games, and loved the true spirit of sport embodied by the Hoosiers-type atmosphere these small town kids and their fans brought.

“Essentially, do the things your passionate about, what you love to do, and be-damned what other people think. A firsthand lesson from the legendary Bob Rob, a true childhood icon of mine, that will stick with me for life.”

Being genuine

Honesty and genuineness helped Dunlap’s KSJB application stand out. “Don’t try to sound, write, or talk like somebody else,” he suggests. “Don’t fluff or polish your cover letter, resume, or conversations with things that you may have heard sound or look good, but don’t reflect who you are!

“When I wrote the initial email to [KSJB GM Patrick] Pfeiffer on that cold, late evening, I just typed out exactly what I was feeling. The excitement for the job, the reasons that I truly believed it was a rare and wonderful opportunity that would be overlooked, and a small bit of my personal and professional history that related to my excitement for the opportunity. It was pretty much a fire-from-the-hip cover letter, but I believe the genuineness of my interest in the job and the market came across.”

Dunlap continues, “There’s a saying I recently heard about living and thriving New York City that applies to our industry as well: ‘You need a personality. Good or bad, just have one, and embrace who you are. Don’t be generic. Nobody wants generic.'”

Now Dunlap is taking his personality and radio passion to the plains of North Dakota. “There are so many more things than money, market size, or clout-by-proxy that drive me now. There’s nothing wrong with other people valuing those things more highly, but it’s just completely not me. Maybe that makes me a radio fool, but I’ll be one darn happy fool then!”

Mild new voice of Southern Maryland Blue Crabs baseball

During the Covid summer of 2020, Andrew Mild started live-streaming local Babe Ruth League baseball games so homebound fans could follow their teams. Fans have since returned to ballparks but Mild continues serving fans who can’t make it to ballparks. Now, though, he’s doing it professionally. An STAA member, Mild is the new voice of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League.

“It came about after I saw the note about the Blue Crabs opening in an STAA Job Leads+ email. I emailed the organization. After a few interviews I was offered the job,” Mild grins.

He adds, “The Atlantic League is one of the best independent leagues and the Blue Crabs have some pretty amazing fans.”

Strong resume

Though he graduated just last year from Butler University, Mild has already built an impressive baseball resume. In addition to three years of broadcasting Crown Point Babe Ruth games, Mild spent the summer of 2021 as the No. 2 voice of the Windy City Thunderbolts and last summer as the head of media for the inaugural season of the Lake County Corn Dogs.

Through all of his experiences, streaming the Babe Ruth games in 2020 remains an especially fond memory for Mild. “I had done games at CPBR beforehand and that’s where my baseball journey began. When COVID hit, I knew the broadcasts were going to be needed more than ever. I wanted to provide them for family members who couldn’t attend in person because of the disease. In a way, I wanted to help protect people from having to go out in public and go against the protocols being established to prevent any further spread.”

Always improving

Mild joined STAA in November upon the recommendation of Big Ten Network broadcaster and fellow STAA member Connor Onion. “I wanted to figure out how I could be better,” he recalls. “Little tips and tricks from fellow broadcasters I would have never thought of [have been helpful]. Broadcasting is not the easiest profession. There are so many things that could happen. Seeing how people deal with issues that I might run across makes me breath a little easier.”

Mild’s STAA membership has helped him address several job market questions. “What should my reel look like? What’s the difference between a good inning and a great inning? It can be hard to differentiate those sorts of things, but also finding sort of a formula to a good reel, and calls you should use, helped me organize everything and provide it to the Blue Crabs.”

“I know there are going to be some long days at the park, but I love baseball so much it doesn’t affect me,” Mild smiles.

Berman new Sioux City Explorers baseball voice

A life-size cardboard cutout of Derek Jeter adorned the wall of Zach Berman’s childhood bedroom on the Jersey Shore. “I would wake up every morning wanting to be the next Jeter,” he recalls.

There was just one problem. “I don’t have a single athletic bone in my body, so it became clear pretty early on that I had to adjust my dreams,” Berman chuckles. “I always had a passion for storytelling and developed an eventual goal to spend my adult years sitting in a MLB press box instead of standing on a MLB diamond.”

Berman is taking the next step towards those MLB goals. He is the new Broadcaster/Media Relations Director for the Sioux City Explorers of the American Association. He learned of the opening in an STAA Job Leads+ email.

A great fit

It’s Berman’s first opportunity in full-season professional baseball. He spent two summers in college ball with the Freemont Moo and the Hyannis Harbor Hawks. Berman will graduate from the University of Missouri in May.

“As someone who loves to travel and be on my toes, working a 100-plus game season was the dream out of the gate,” Berman enthuses. “I found through my time working summer ball that I absolutely adored the lifestyle of waking up in a different city twice a week and calling baseball six nights-a-week.”

The other aspect of the Explorers job that appeals to Berman is the emphasis on social media and marketing. “I spent a lot of time during my days at Mizzou working in social media, so I felt that it was right in my wheelhouse. The Explorers job just so happens to combine the two things I love the most.”

Making changes

Ironically, an NBA internship that Berman applied for but didn’t get helped him land the Explorers position. “I asked the folks in charge of hiring [for the internship] for some constructive criticism. I got some really valuable advice on improving my resume and interviewing skills that I put to use for my pursuit of the Explorers job.”

Berman joined in 2021 on the advice of fellow Missouri Tiger and current Houston Baptist University Voice Garrett Jones. “Besides STAA being the reason I found out about the Explorers job to begin with, being able to meet other broadcasters and network with them is such a valuable experience,” Berman states.

As Berman grew up hoping to be the next Derek Jeter, an aspiring sportscaster one day might grow up wanting to be the next Zach Berman.

“I’m still a work in progress and I have a ways to go to reach where I want to be broadcast-wise, but I feel that the Explorers job can help me take that next step.”

He adds, “I can’t thank the Explorers organization enough for the opportunity.”

Folta moving up from ECHL to AHL’s IceHogs

Mike Folta told an acquaintance at the 2019 Baseball Winter Meetings that something he would enjoy even more than broadcasting in the Majors would be calling NHL hockey.

That NHL dream is now just one step from reality. Folta is moving up from Atlanta of the ECHL to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs.

Folta was a finalist for the ECHL Broadcaster of the Year last season.

Along with broadcasting, Folta will lead Rockford’s media relations office and assist in communications, content and social media.

Folta has also been a broadcast assistant with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL and has called games for the ISC Sports Network and Big Ten Network Student U. He is a 2020 graduate of Purdue University.

Woodiel goes from Hot Wheels to pro baseball play-by-play

As the Ferrari 365 and the Deuce Roadster raced around the orange plastic Hot Wheels track, young Cartier Woodiel breathlessly described the action as though broadcasting the Indy 500. He’s still calling play-by-play, though now baseball is now his specialty. An STAA member, Woodiel is the new Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Kansas City Monarchs.

Woodiel is no stranger to the American Association. He spent the 2018 through 2020 calling games for the Sioux Falls Canaries before joining the league office as an on-air host and digital media producer. When the Monarchs job opened, they reached out to him. “I had mentioned to them that at some point I was looking to get back to a regular play-by-play position.”

Baseball is far from Woodiel’s only broadcasting experience. He’s finishing his third season as the voice of University of South Dakota women’s basketball and sideline reporter on football broadcasts. He’s also anchored the morning news on KELO-AM in Sioux Falls.

The Monarchs is Woodiel’s first full-time broadcasting position since graduating from the University of Missouri in 2018. A strong support system has kept him motivated in his four-year search for full-time work. “[It’s] been an enormous blessing,” he smiles. “My parents have supported my ambitions since I was a little kid doing play-by-play of my Hot Wheels cars. My amazing wife Erin has shown me what it means to be kind and supportive; she is always there for me when I need a boost, or just someone to vent to. My therapist has been incredibly helpful over the last few years, giving me the tools to handle a stressful job.”

Creating value for his employers has also helped Woodiel reach this point. “I’ve consciously worked to bring more value to a team than just a play-by-play broadcast. I’ve built up a suite of content — highlights, interviews, behind-the-scenes work — all aimed at maximizing what I bring to the table.”

While Woodiel has been bringing value to employers, his STAA membership has been bringing value to him. He joined STAA in 2018. “Being a STAA member has allowed me to keep my finger on the pulse of the job market and learn from some of the best in the industry,” he explains. “It’s also been an encouragement to see people like me moving up through the ranks as I try to advance my journey in sportscasting.”

That journey included a discouraging setback in the winter of 2020. A change in ownership with the Canaries left Woodiel without a job. “I took a weekend to be sad about it, then focused my energy on finding a way forward. About a week after I found out I was out of a job, I made a pitch to the American Association, laying out the framework of the position I’ve held for the past two seasons. It’s extremely gratifying to return to the booth after carving out a new place for myself.”

Now the guy who called Hot Wheels races as a kid has his first full-time play-by-play job.

“I truly believe this is what I was born to do, and I’m good at it. I’ve told myself from the beginning that if I put the work in and trust the process, things will work out.”