Vlahos joining Texas NBC station

Chris Vlahos(May 19, 2011) Chris Vlahos is proof that persistence pays. Though he is a talented young broadcaster, Vlahos spent more than one year in the job market before finally landing his first post-collegiate gig. An STAA client, Vlahos is joining KCEN-TV (NBC) in College Station, Texas as a news and sports reporter.

The station is brand new and Vlahos is thrilled to be part of the team that will launch it in October.

“We’re going to be able to write history for the station and say ‘this is how it should be,’” Vlahos says. “We’re going to set the bar, which is exciting.”

A 2010 graduate of the University of Missouri but resident of Southern California, Vlahos is eager to be returning to Big 12 country.

“One thing I’m most looking forward to is covering the Big 12 South in a college town in a sports crazed state like Texas,” Vlahos says. “One guy I was talking to told me the high schools in Texas are like small colleges.”

In the 12 months since he graduated, Vlahos has experienced the variety of frustrations that are common in the job market. He applied for dozens of jobs and had several interviews, yet was repeatedly passed over for reasons beyond his control. Such frustration leads many aspiring broadcasters to give up the dream. Not Vlahos.

“My philosophy is pretty basic — it’s something I’ve lived by for a long time,” he says. “You have to believe. If you don’t believe in your abilities, nobody else will. If you really believe in your own abilities, that is half the battle.”

During the tough times, Vlahos leaned upon STAA for guidance, motivation and support.

“[STAA] has been terrific. From a mock [job] interview we conducted to just being able to call up [STAA CEO] Jon Chelesnik or send him an email if I had a question, or just getting motivational advice. The STAA website alone is invaluable – I found this job on STAA. If not for the website and the postings, we’re not having this conversation.

“Thank you [STAA] very, very, very much for your help.”

(Visit Chris’s STAA Talent Page.)

Erik Stone named PD at KMAN

Erik Stone(May 12, 2011) Erik Stone is returning to his adopted hometown of Manhattan, KS. An STAA client, Stone has been hired as Program Director at KMAN 1350 AM.

Manhattan is the home of Kansas State University. Stone lived there from 1974 through 1980.

“I love the Wildcats. I lived there when football was awful and basketball still called Ahearn Fieldhouse home,” Stone laughs. “I’ve kept up with them through the years so to be around them every day is going to be awesome.”

Stone moves to Manhattan after six years assistant News and Sports Director at KLMR AM-FM in Lamar, CO.

“While I won’t be doing a lot of play-by-play anymore I will be co-hosting the morning show along with a public affairs Program, and I will also be heavily involved in coverage of K-State sports including helping to produce the football pre-game show, “Powercat Gameday.” I will also be attending football, basketball and other games along with post-game press conferences and related work,” Stone says.

The Kansas Association of Broadcasters named KMAN Station of the Year in 2009 and 2010. Stone learned of their PD opening through a tip from a friend.

“I remember [STAA] had a [Live Chat] on going after unadvertised openings and I found out about this one by word of mouth so that path really does work,” Stone says excitedly.

“[STAA] has been very helpful to me the last four years since I’ve been a member and I am very appreciative.”

(Visit Erik’s STAA Talent Page).

Kelner new Chico Outlaws voice

Marshall Kelner(May 6, 2011) Marshall Kelner’s first pro baseball play-by-play job includes an attractive bonus. An STAA client, Kelner is joining the Chico (CA) Outlaws as play-by-play broadcaster and account executive.

The Outlaws are members of the first-year North American League, which includes a team in Hawaii. “A nice little bonus is that we have six games in Maui at the beginning of the season,” Kelner says.

Kelner found the Outlaws opportunity through cold prospecting. He emailed Outlaws GM/Manager Mike Marshall a cover letter and the link to his STAA Talent Page. Marshall called Kelner, scheduled an interview, and eventually offered Kelner the job..

“The Talent Page made it easier because everything was in one place –my resume and demo. I didn’t need to send them anything separate,” Kelner says. “It made it easy for them to have everything in one spot.

“Thank you so much [to STAA] for all of your help. I really appreciate it. My talent page was one of the main reasons I got hired.”

The Outlaws opportunity is exciting to Kelner for several reasons.

“I get to be with a professional team and be around a lot of people who have been in baseball a long time, including some former major leaguers. Mike Marshall won two World Series. To get in 96 games and get in that many innings right away is awesome,” Kelner says.

Kelner is graduating from the University of Southern California this month. While at USC, he has gained considerable broadcasting experience, including broadcasting Trojans baseball on campus station KXSC. He has also served internships in his hometown of Minneapolis at KFAN AM 1130 and CBS Radio.

(Visit Marshall’s STAA Talent Page).

Foedinger fourth STAA client to join NMB

Kevin Foedinger(April 29, 2011) At first glance Havre, MT doesn’t stand out as a Mecca for radio. For STAA clients though, the small town in north central Montana is increasingly becoming a launching point for sport broadcasting careers. Four STAA clients have now joined New Media Broadcasters in Havre in the past 18 months, with Kevin Foedinger being the latest.

NMB is a four-station cluster in Havre. Foedinger follows fellow STAA’ers Jim McCabe, Alan Faul and John Herrick. All four have been hired in broadcasting and play-by-play positions.

NMB Program Director Geoff Cole says one commonality among STAA clients is they usually make a good first impression.

“The STAA clients will come in and have stuff packaged very nicely,” Cole says. “They send me their cover letter email introducing themselves and [presenting] their Talent Page. I can review the demo and resume very easily. There’s not a lot of audio clogging up my inbox — I like that.

“A lot of the guys are also pretty professional. They’ll call and follow up with me.”

Another interesting way Cole uses STAA is to cross reference job applicants with STAA’s annual All-America Top 20 list. The list features the top collegiate sports broadcasters in the country.

“These guys have been evaluated on a national level before even getting to us,” Cole says. “There has been an evaluation process before I even look at them. They’ve impressed people on a national level. That’s a good place to start.”

Foedinger also tips his hat to STAA.

“Through STAA I was able to make myself marketable through the brand name recognition that STAA carries. If you’re paying for STAA and you’re not using it, you are really not getting the full experience. They’ve been helpful at improving my day-to-day relations, the live chats especially. My play-by-play and cover letter writing have definitely improved through STAA.”

Foedinger graduates from Penn State in May. One thing he did in the application process that especially impressed Cole was to thoroughly research the station, NMB and the market.

“He shows a lot of initiative,” says Cole. “I think he had more questions for me during the interview process than I had for him. He had done a lot of research. He came into the interview process extremely prepared.”

For Foedinger, being prepared is routine.

“You want to tell an employer you know about the station,” he advises. “You want something that stands out. Employers want someone who cares about the station and the job. Doing research proves you care about the station and know what you are getting yourself into.”

Two things that impress Foedinger about the opportunity with NMB are how technologically advanced the stations are, and the variety of job responsibilities.

“They’re already moving into digital HD radio and I’m going to be able to wear a number of different hats. It is certainly a step in the right direction as I begin my career,” Foedinger says.

(Visit Kevin’s STAA Talent Page).

Elken lands with Astros affiliate

Erik Elken(April 26, 2011) When stuck between two job possibilities, sometimes the best option means taking a risk. STAA client Erik Elken took a risk and it has paid off with a #1 broadcaster position with the Tri-City ValleyCats.

The ValleyCats are the Houston Astros New York-Penn League Short Season Class-A affiliate.

“I’ve been itching to get into baseball and this is an all hands on deck experience,” Elken says. “I know it will be challenging, but I’m confident I will put out a great product. It’s also a great organization made up of a group of people I’m excited to work with. I grew up in the area, so I have seen the organization grow from its opening season to what it is today.”

Elken will broadcast all 38 of the ValleyCat’s home games and select road games. Elken will also assist in media relations, where a key part of his responsibilities will be expanding the team’s YouTube channel.

The opportunity to join the ValleyCat’s came about as a result of Elken’s own hustle.

“There were no postings and I didn’t even know if there was an opening at first,” Elken says. “I simply called the team up back in February to see what its plans were for the upcoming season and express some interest.”

STAA submitted Elken’s Talent Page for another opening in North Carolina. The New York based Elken interviewed for that job, but decided to stick it out and hope the closer-to-home ValleyCat’s job worked out.

“STAA has also been a huge help in bringing job opportunities to my attention that I would not have otherwise known about,” Elken says.

“I’m still relatively new to STAA as a client, but I can’t overstate how easy it makes the application process. It’s nice to be able to send a link to any potential employer and have them be able to see my talent page.”

A 2010 graduate of Syracuse University, Elken spent last year broadcasting football and basketball at the University of Albany. He also completed internships with ESPN and NBC Olympics.

(Visit Erik’s STAA Talent Page).

Zimmerman joins Fort Myers Miracle

First Last(April 19, 2011) You never know when opportunity will knock. For Brice Zimmerman, it was during a skiing trip. The call led to Zimmerman’s new job as a broadcasting and multimedia assistant with the Fort Myers Miracle.

The Miracle is the Class A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.

When Zimmerman saw the job posted as a stealth position on the STAA job forum, he immediately submitted his application, including his STAA Talent Page and a link to his online graphic design portfolio. Many weeks passed before he finally heard from the team.

“I was driving up a mountain on a mini ski trip and got a call from Steve Gliner the GM,” Zimmerman says. Gliner and Zimmerman played phone tag but finally did speak and Zimmerman was eventually offered the position. However, before accepting, Zimmerman and his wife made a weekend road trip from their home in South Carolina to Fort Myers to be sure the city was a good fit. They liked what they saw.

Zimmerman moves to Florida from Newberry, SC where he spent the past four years broadcasting play-by-play for NCAA Division II Newberry College. He also worked in the college’s Sports Information office, where he honed the graphic design and video skills that impressed the Miracle.

“One of the things I’m most excited about the [Miracle] job is the video content aspect,” Zimmerman says. “I feel like a have a creative yearning. To be able to put together pieces on the team and get to know the players and relay that information to the fans is part of the job I am really excited about.”

Zimmerman is also looking forward to the broadcasting.

“The ability to go from D2 athletics to high-A pro baseball is a tremendous opportunity to get my foot in the door of pro baseball and maybe streamline by path in broadcasting. At D2 I was doing multiple sports. Now I can concentrate on baseball specific.”

Zimmerman appreciates STAA’s assistance.

“Your advice and the services of the website have been very helpful,” he says.

(Visit Brice’s STAA Talent Page).

Travagliante to take swing at baseball

(April 13, 2011) Victor Travagliante’s career master plan includes having play-by-play options in each of the three major sports. His has been building his football and basketball experience over the past several years. Now he is getting the opportunity to develop his baseball play-by-play and TV skills. An STAA client, Travagliante is joining the Fayetteville SwampDogs as Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations.

The SwampDogs are one of the premier organizations in the summer collegiate Coastal Plain League and the 2007 Organization of the Year.

“It’s a good opportunity because it gets me into a different market and into a new field of baseball in which I have limited experience, Travagliante says. “It is also an opportunity with the SwampDogs to expand my networking.”

The opportunity came to Travagliante when the SwampDogs called STAA to help fill the position. “We agreed with the SwampDogs to not post the position publicly because we knew we have enough clients on the STAA roster to find a great fit for this position,” says STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik.

Travagliante is the fourth STAA client to work for the SwampDogs in recent years.

“I found out about the job through an email from STAA,” Travagliante says. “I appreciate the opportunities STAA has been able to give myself and to all of their clients.

“STAA is very, very helpful. It is almost as if you can’t put a price on it. The [monthly] eBlasts give you great tips and they don’t beat around the bush. Also, [Jon Chelesnik] and I have had conversations where we’ve analyzed parts of broadcasts I have done and I’ve been able to transfer the advice to all of my broadcasts.”

Travagliante has spent the past six years broadcasting University of Findlay (OH) football and basketball, as well as high school sports in Northwest Ohio. For now, he plans on returning to Ohio for football and basketball seasons.

Besides the baseball in North Carolina, he is also looking forward to warmer weather.

“I’m freezing right now in Northwest Ohio,” he grins. “I’ve been checking the weather in North Carolina and it’s 80 degrees.”

(Visit Victor’s STAA Talent Page).

Herrick goes where the job is

(April 7, 2011) The late sportscaster Charlie Jones used to advise young sportscasters to “go to Boise,” meaning go wherever the job is. John Herrick is following that advice. An STAA client and native of Greenwood, Indiana, Herrick has accepted a broadcasting and play-byplay position with New Media Broadcasters.

NMB is a four-station cluster in Havre, MT.

“I’m definitely excited to just do everything, to just learn everything about all the facets that go into a radio station,” Herrick says excitedly. “That’s the great thing about working at a small station like this, you become versatile and multi-faceted. You do everything from news and sports to running a board.”

Herrick is the third STAA client to join NMB in the past 18 months, joining Jim McCabe and Allen Faul, who are both still with the company.

A 2010 graduate of DePauw University in Indiana, Herrick ranked in the Top 20 of all collegiate sportscasters in the United States each of the past two years in STAA’s annual ratings. He joined STAA following graduation.

“Thanks for all of the great advice [STAA has given to me], not to mention all of the great work the folks at STAA do,” Herrick says. “I would have never gotten my name, demo, and resume in front of [NMB Program Director] Geoff Cole if it were not for you. I know he wouldn’t have seen me or heard of me if STAA hadn’t put together my Talent Page.

One of the keys to Herrick landing the job was his cover letter.

“I took all the advice STAA gave me, applied the cover letter writing tips, and made sure I personalized the heck out of the letter. I let them know I knew all about their station, how they recently transitioned to HD radio and how they are part of a four-station cluster. I tried to personalize it as much as I could.”

Herrick remembers seeing an NMB job on the STAA forums last summer when Faul was eventually hired. “I don’t think I applied for it the first time but I remember seeing it again thinking it seems like a great fit for someone coming right out of college.”

Another smart thing Herrick did was to follow some of the job-hunting suggestions Geoff Cole shared last summer on the STAA forums.

“I just followed Geoff’s advice,” Herrick grins.

(Visit John’s STAA Talent Page).

Morse joins fellow STAA client in Joliet

(April 6, 2011) Aaron Morse will be spending this summer very close to where he recently spent four years in college. An STAA client and 2010 graduate of Northwestern University in Chicago, Morse is joining the Joliet Slammers as Media Relations Coordinator.

An independent team known as the Jackhammers, and members of the Northern League prior to a recent change in ownership, the Slammers now play in the Frontier League. Morse will be performing media relations and broadcasting duties.

“I’ll be like a utility player,” Morse says. “They told me I’ll be like the guy swinging the bat in the dugout getting ready to go into the game.”

Morse spent last season as a broadcaster with the Huntsville Stars. With Joliet, he will have pre and post-game hosting responsibilities and will handle play-by-play when needed. He will also do a lot of work in media relations.

The Slammers No. 1 broadcaster is Morse’s fellow STAA client Mark Vasko. Morse credits a third STAA client, his friend Adam Young, with helping him get the gig. Young is entering his first season as voice of the Frontier League’s Gateway Grizzlies.

“I wouldn’t have known the Slammers job even existed without the email Adam sent me back in December,” Morse says.

“I’m looking forward to working with the crew; Mark has a ton of experience in minor league baseball and is a great announcer,” Morse said. “It’s going to be a fun year bringing Slammers fans lots of interesting interviews and stories.”

(Visit Aaron’s STAA Talent Page).

Vasko to broadcast Slammers baseball

Mark Vasko(April 5, 2011) The Joliet Slammers are partnering with 1340-WJOL to bring fans every game over the air and on the web for the 2011 season.

STAA client Mark Vasko, a long-time Chicago sportscaster, will team up with Slammers President and former Texas Lutheran baseball player Bill Waliewski to call the action.

“I’m excited about getting the chance to come back to Joliet,” Vasko said. “I love what the Slammers have done so far, bringing back so many local names, and I feel like we’re in for a special year.”

Vasko spent four years working as a broadcaster for the Joliet Jackhammers. He brings a total of 12 years of professional baseball play-by-play experience to the table. Vasko also spent time broadcasting for the Kane County Cougars and has experience in the Frontier League with the Cook County Cheetahs (now known as the Windy City Thunderbolts).

Vasko has also excelled as a sports talk show host during his career. Most recently, he hosted a national show on the Sporting News Radio Network. His reporting is well known to Chicago fans as he’s handled the scoreboard updates for Boers and Bernstein on the “Score.” Vasko’s earlier experience as a beat reporter gave him the chance to cover the Chicago Cubs and the 1998 home run chase for WBBM. The Southern Illinois University-Carbondale graduate has been covering sports in the Chicago area since 1985. He currently does play by play for a variety of sports at Lewis and Benedictine University.

(Visit Mark’s STAA Talent Page).