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).

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).