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).

Doty networks his way to Class-AA

Graham Doty(April 1, 2011) Once again, networking proves to be the best way to achieve success in the sportscasting job market. STAA client Graham Doty is joining the Mobile BayBears as a No. 2 broadcaster as a result of his networking efforts.

The BayBears are the Arizona Diamondbacks Class-AA affiliate. With them, Doty will work alongside Director of Broadcasting and fellow STAA client Wayne Randazzo.

In addition to his role on the play-by-play broadcasts for BayBears home games, Doty will work in sales and media relations, and will help on the BayBears website.

After spending last season as a No. 2 with the Class-A Hickory Crawdads, Doty is excited for his move up the minor league ladder. “I’m at the Double-A level and I’m doing a little bit of everything,” Doty grins.

Doty created his new opportunity by being aggressive.

“Last fall I sent out emails to a lot of Double-A and Class-A teams seeing if there would be any possible openings,” Doty says. “One of the teams was Mobile.”

The BayBears have not had a No. 2 broadcaster for the past several seasons and GM Bill Shanahan told Doty they weren’t sure if they were going to have one this year either.

Doty maintained contact with Shanahan, but several months later, still did not have a commitment. Again, Doty decided to be proactive. On his way to Mobile in late December for college football’s senior bowl, Doty stopped by the BayBears office.

“I got to the stadium on a Friday at 4:30, seriously doubting Mr. Shanahan would be there,” Doty says. “He came out of a meeting to talk to me and pretty much interviewed me right on the spot. Then I got a tour of the Hank Aaron museum and home [next door to the BayBears offices].”

Even though Doty felt encouraged after the visit, he still didn’t have an offer. Finally, after two more months that included an in-depth conversation with Randazzo, Doty was offered the job.

Doty credits STAA with assisting in his pursuit.

“STAA is helpful for a bunch of reasons,” he says. “Your Talent Page is online and it’s easy for people to go online, look at my resume and review my demo material. Number two, [STAA] is helpful because [CEO] Jon Chelesnik is always there for you no matter what you need and he always give you the best advice. Listening to what Jon says, especially about networking…good things will happen if you take his advice.”

(Visit Graham’s STAA Talent Page. Graham has also had his demo & resume constructed by STAA).

Contacts lead Oster into affiliated baseball

(March 31, 2011) The job market is frequently as much about whom you know as what you know. For Aaron Oster, the ‘who he knows’ has led to his first job in affiliated minor league baseball. An STAA client, Oster has been hired as the No. 2 broadcaster for the Lynchburg Hillcats (Atlanta Braves, Class-A).

The Hillcats opportunity came suddenly to Oster and developed quickly. The chain of events started when veteran Hillcats broadcaster Scott Bacon accepted a position with Longwood University. That led to the promotion of Erik Wilson, who the Hillcats had hired earlier this off-season to be their No. 2 broadcaster. Oster was recommended to replace Wilson by Frederick Keys announcer and mutual friend Adam Pohl.

Oster first learned he was being considered for the position when one of his references told Oster the Hillcats had contacted him.

“I got excited,” Oster recalls. “I figured if they were contacting my references even before contacting me, I must have at least a decent shot.”

The Hillcats contacted Oster on Friday March 25th. He interviewed by phone on Monday, did a second phone interview Tuesday morning and was offered the position later that day.

“It was really a mixture of good connections and dumb luck,” Oster smiles.

Oster moves to the Hillcats after spending last summer with the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League.

“It’s my fist chance in affiliated ball,” says Oster. “While I’ve done college and independent ball, as far as the minors go, affiliated is one of the big hurdles you have to clear. It’s what I’ve been wanting for the past year.”

(Visit Aaron’s STAA Talent Page. Aaron has also had his demo & resume constructed by STAA).

Caray's new play-by-play job includes unique twist

(March 30, 2011) By the time this summer ends, Josh Caray will have done just about everything there is to do in minor league baseball. An STAA client, Caray is the new play-by-play broadcaster for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

Caray will also serve as Director of Media and, in an unusual twist, Traveling Secretary. Caray’s minor league baseball resume includes plenty of broadcasting, media relations and sales, but traveling secretary responsibilities are a first.

“It’s a job that is not usually associated with broadcasting/media relations but it is another interesting caveat to put on my resume,” Caray says. “I know [Jim Weber] in Toledo does this for the Mud Hens and my dad’s (Skip) old partner, Pete Van Wieren, was the traveling secretary and broadcaster for the Norfolk Tides way back when.

“I really look forward to the level of play in the Atlantic League,” Caray says. “I understand the talent level is between AA and AAA ball. We even have some guys who have Major League baseball experience. Jose Herrera, formerly of the Oakland A’s, is one of our outfielders and pitcher John Halama used to be a member of the team, although not anymore.”

Caray spent last summer as Director of Media Relations with the San Angelo (TX) Colts. He is a former TV voice of the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves.

(Visit Josh’s STAA Talent Page. Josh has also had his demo & resume constructed by STAA).

Ludlow follows baseball passion to Lugnuts

(March 29, 2011) Many people choose sportscasting careers so they can watch their favorite sports everyday. That has long been one of Kyler Ludlow’s motivations and now his dream is becoming reality. An STAA client, Ludlow is joining the Lansing Lugnuts as their No.2 broadcaster and media relations assistant.

The Lugnuts are the Toronto Blue Jays Class-A affiliate.

“I’m excited to watch baseball every day,” Ludlow says excitedly. “It’s just something I’ve literally dreamed about since I was younger. Just the opportunity I’m going to get to share my passion for the game and try to bring it to life for the people listening is something I am really, really, looking forward to doing.”

Ludlow will broadcast three innings of play-by-play and six innings of color commentary during Lugnuts home games. He will also assist in hosting pre-game and post-game shows, conduct pre-game interviews, write post-game recaps, and participate in the team’s social networking.

Ludlow applied for the job after seeing it posted on the STAA forums. The baseball demo he submitted was from an Internet broadcast conducted via cell phone. The audio quality wasn’t what Ludlow preferred but it was all he had. After interviewing with Lugnuts Director of Broadcasting Jesse Goldberg-Strassler, Ludlow thought he might be able to strengthen his candidacy by submitting cleaner audio. He sat in the stands at a Cedarville University game, recorded a couple of innings, and sent it to Goldberg-Strassler. The next day, Ludlow was offered the job.

“I just thought if I could get another sample to [Goldberg-Strassler] that was better quality and do it quickly, that would show some initiative my part,” Ludlow says. “I really did want the position. I was fortunate enough we had a home game where I could do it.”

A senior at Cedarville, Ludlow is set to graduate May 7th. Always determined, he is considering making the five-hour drive to Lansing to participate in the broadcast of that night’s Lugnut’s home game. After all, going the extra mile is what helped earn Ludlow the job in the first place.

(Visit Kyler’s STAA Talent Page).

Hasty achieves goal of returning to home state

(March 25, 2011) When Dan Hasty left his home state of Michigan two years ago to pursue sportscasting opportunities in North Carolina, he told his mother it was with the intent of preparing himself to eventually return to a full-time job in The Wolverine State. Hasty’s plan has come to fruition.

An STAA client, Hasty is joining the Traverse City Beach Bums as Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations. The Beach Bums play in minor league baseball’s Frontier League.

“Any opportunity is good if that opportunity allows you to not only validate, but exceed expectations. It’s not everyday you get the chance to do exactly what you want to do, in the place where you want to be.”

Unique challenges frequently arise during any job application process. When they came up for Hasty, he relied heavily upon STAA for guidance.

“The whole STAA thing has been amazing,” Hasty says. “The one-on-one counseling through this whole process has been outstanding. Thank you [STAA] a thousand times.”

Hasty is no stranger to minor league baseball in the state of Michigan. He spent the summers of 2007 and 2008 as a broadcast and media relations assistant for the Class-A Great Lakes Loons. In 2009, Hasty moved to North Carolina to accept a No. 1 broadcasting position with the Wilson Tobs. He later landed part-time work as a college football and basketball studio host with ISP before eventually joining WSJS in Winston-Salem last fall as a morning show producer and sports anchor. While he has very much enjoyed the past two years of his career, Hasty is eager to be heading home.

“This is very exciting,” he says. “I think they had a record-high temperature of 12 degrees today. Normally, this is tank-top weather in Michigan.”

Hasty is a 2008 graduate of Central Michigan University. He has been an STAA client since January 2008.

(Visit Dan’s STAA Talent Page. Dan has also had his demo & resume constructed by STAA).

Gagalis to get lots of innings with Worcester

(March 24, 2011) Nick Gagalis is ready for the grind of broadcasting more baseball games this summer. An STAA client, Gagalis is joining the Worcester Tornadoes of the Can-Am League as Marketing Manager and Radio Broadcaster.

A native of Boston, Gagalis moves to Worcester after spending last summer in Wappingers Falls, NY with the Hudson Valley Renegades of the New York Penn League.

“The biggest thing about [the new job] is it’s a slightly longer season, 94 games instead of 76,” says Gagalis. “It’s more games but with more off days. It’s a different environment but its closer to home.”

In addition to broadcasting, Gagalis will be taking care of social media, sponsorship fulfillment and the production of marketing materials for the Tornadoes.

“It’s another opportunity for me to get out there, prove what I’m worth and grow,” says Gagalis. “It’s the same opportunity I had with the Renegades but more. I’m getting into sales more than I’ve been before.”

A graduate of Boston University, Gagalis has also broadcast play-by-play for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League, and served internships with 890 ESPN Radio Boston and New England Sports Network. He has considerable experience in social media, PR and marketing.

(Visit Nick’s STAA Talent Page).

Kunkel fired up for TV gig in Fargo

(March 22, 2011) Will Kunkel’s first post-graduate sportscasting job is taking him from Chicago, IL to Fargo, ND. Based upon Kunkel’s excitement, there is little difference between the two cities.

An STAA client, Kunkel has joined Fargo’s KVRR Fox TV as a weekend sports anchor.

“It’s a great sports market,” Kunkel says excitedly. “It’s a small market but for sports you have UND Fighting Sioux hockey which is ranked No. 1 in the country, you have a USHL team, an independent league baseball team and North Dakota State University right in Fargo, and football is their big sport. You get all the sports, so it’s a blast. Getting to cover the number-one Division One hockey team in the country in your first job is not too shabby.”

Kunkel says his only prior knowledge of Fargo came from the 1990s movie of the same name.

“It’s much more of a city than I thought,” he says. “It’s a great college town. There are a lot of young professionals, so that makes it fun.”

A 2007 graduate of St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY, Kunkel spent two years at ESPN in Bristol, CT as a production assistant before earning his masters from Northwestern University in Chicago in 2010.

A unique turn of events led Kunkel to Fargo. He had applied for a job in North Carolina. The employer wanted a more experienced broadcaster but Kunkel made such a good impression that the employer referred Kunkel to the news director in Fargo.

“Its great to see people helping each other out and lending a hand like that,” Kunkel grins. “I don’t mind being the recipient of that.”

Kunkel says networking is the key to success for anyone.

“Be persistent. It’s beating down doors and networking. Never not talk to somebody. It doesn’t matter who it is. Just keep talking to people. It’s who you know. People are willing to help others.”

Kunkel started his new job last month.

“I love it,” he says with a huge smile. “I know this is what I want to do for the long-term future. It’s a great time.”

(Visit Will’s STAA Talent Page).