Hoops packs cold weather gear, heads to ESPN Radio Marquette

(September 19, 2018) As a native Iowan, Tanner Hoops likes to joke that there’s no weather he hasn’t been bred to handle. Good thing. His next stop is Marquette, MI where he is the new Sports Director at ESPN UP. The average high temperature in Marquette during the winter is 26 degrees.

“There was no way I was going to let some snow and cold keep me from an opportunity like this,” Hoops grins. “In this business, if you aren’t willing to invest in a parka and some snow boots to achieve success, you don’t want it badly enough.”

Hoops learned of the opportunity through an STAA job leads email. His duties will include hosting a daily sports talk show and broadcasting various play-by-play. Hoops is the fifth consecutive STAA member to hold the sports director position in Marquette. He follows Casey Ford, Ryan Mayer, Ryan Myrehn and Blake Froling.

Hoops believes the foundation he built over the past four years he spent at Buena Vista University in Iowa has prepared him well for the opportunity. He was the sports director at the campus radio station all four years, then spent this summer as a broadcasting and media relations intern with the Duluth Huskies of the Northwoods summer collegiate baseball league.

“I’ve always felt that I’ve prepared myself very well to be an asset to any organization I joined.”
“Sportscasting is a tough business to break in to. There are a lot of talented guys out there who hold down their jobs for a long time. I’ve always felt like I’ve had the talent to succeed at a high level, I just needed a chance to prove it. [Station GM] Tom Mogush saw something he liked in me and the opportunity to join the ESPN family less than six months after graduating college was too good to pass on.”

Hoops joined STAA in January.

“[STAA Owner] Jon Chelesnik is always helpful and quick to reply when I have questions and the job leads have helped me not only see what’s out there but who’s out there as well. I have and will continue to recommended STAA, I believe it’s a must-have in a business and a society where connections are key. Without STAA, I would not have landed this opportunity.”

Next on Hoops’ agenda is packing his parka and snow boots for the trip to Marquette.

“I believe I will have all the opportunities to continue to grow and develop while working for a first-class and highly-acclaimed organization that has set the standard in the sports media industry for nearly forty years.”

(Visit Tanner’s LinkedIn Page).

Citron leaves one Chicago team to become voice of another

(September 17, 2018) After spending last winter as a sideline reporter for the Chicago Wolves, Mark Citron will spend this hockey season as the voice of another team in the Windy City area. An STAA member, Citron is the new voice of the USHL’s Chicago Steel.

He follows fellow STAA member Rob Sanderson, who left after two seasons for a job with the Corpus Christi IceRays.

“I actually found out [that Sanderson was leaving] from Twitter. A co-worker from the Wolves tweeted something about [Sanderson] landing a new gig. I pounced on it ASAP,” recalls Citron.

After that, it was a matter of consistent follow up with Steel President Dan Lehv. “Not just over email, but with a personal touch persistently,” Citron says.

Citron will broadcast Chicago’s entire schedule. “Any reps are great opportunities to better your craft,” he says enthusiastically. “Heck, calling a cockroach race, dodge ball, it doesn’t matter. There are never enough of them.”

Something Citron especially respects about the Steel is the emphasis placed upon the professional and personal development of its staff. “I really admire that their values are set high and they are willing to be patient not just with me but every single person that works within the organization,” he says.”

Citron is also excited for the camaraderie that comes with being part of an organization. “Traveling with the boys and the coaching staff and the other team staff adds a whole other dimension to the experience!”

A 2015 graduate of the University of Tampa, Citron’s first job in hockey was calling high school games for Tampa Bay Lightning Power Play Radio. After nearly three years, it was onto the Wolves where Citron experienced major growth. “Just learning your role within an organization and communication between PR, the players, coaches, the owner, and everyone else. The Wolves are such a first class organization. I am so grateful I was able to chip in to do what I did for them.”

Citron has been an STAA member nearly three years. He pays special attention to advice from veteran sportscasters. “It is always nice to learn as much you can and hear stories from the people who have made it. I am definitely listening.”

(Visit Mark’s STAA Talent Page).

Strong first impression helps land Marek with Portland Winterhawks

(September 14, 2018) Nick Marek understands you only get one chance to make a good first impression in the sportscasting job market. He also knows how to do it. Marek’s handle on self-promotion has led him to his new job as Media Relations and Broadcast Manager for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League.

“There are some incredible people in the Western Hockey League and the Winterhawks front office,” says Marek. “Getting a chance to work with those individuals on a regular basis is going to force me to work harder. Portland has a championship mentality on the ice and I want to help make Portland a champion off the ice with everything we do behind the scenes.”

The Winterhawks opening was not published on the STAA job board. However, it was emailed to members on June 28th. Marek knew about it before then.

“When I heard that Evan Richardson wasn’t going to return for the 2018-19 season, I sent my information to [Sr. VP] Kelley Robinett to gauge which direction the Winterhawks were looking to go. Once the position officially opened, our conversations started and everything lined up seamlessly. The Winterhawks are a tremendous organization. In my opinion, the best in junior hockey.”

Marek believes making a strong first impression is key when pursuing a job. “I like to think of it as you have ten seconds to impress, whether it’s details on your resume, a broadcast reel or something else that makes you stand out,” he says. “In the sports industry, you learn that you have to be aggressive. I had a few connections to Portland while working in the NAHL and that was able to get me an interview.”

Marek’s NAHL experience came over the past four seasons with the Lone Star Brahamas, including the team’s Robertson Cup Championship in 2017. He also spent three years broadcasting hockey as a student at Arizona State University. Now Marek is heading back to the West Coast to work for the Winterhawks.

“We share a similar vision and I feel it’s going to be a great fit all around,” he smiles.

(Visit Nick’s website).

STAA pair change career paths to pursue passions

(September 12, 2018) Sometimes the road you choose to start your career is not the one upon which you end up traveling the farthest. Two STAA members who recently accepted new sports broadcasting positions are perfect examples. Tanner Barth (pictured) is the new sports anchor at WWAY-TV in Wilmington, NC. Kevin Kues is going to work as a producer and talk show host KLMR-AM in Lamar, CO.

Barth is in just his second year of television since graduating from Kansas State University in 2016. While in Manhattan, he was the sports director of the campus radio station and a host/reporter for K-State HDTV.

He started his broadcasting career as a radio sports director in O’Neill, NE. Ten months later, it was onto Colorado for a sport anchor/reporter position at KKCO/KJCT TV in Grand Junction.

Wilmington, NC is renowned as the hometown of Michael Jordan. The opportunity to cover sports in the community was emailed to STAA members on July 26th. Barth will cover UNC Wilmington, high schools and various lifestyle activities like golf, tennis and surfing that are popular in the area.

Like Barth, Kevin Kues has called a career audible. He spent the past 17 months in a variety of news and sports broadcasting roles in Farmington, MO. However, his love is sports talk radio. To pursue that passion, Kues is moving to KLMR-AM in Lamar, CO.

He will produce and co-host two daily programs – a public affairs show and a sports talk radio program.

Kues is a 2012 graduate of the University of Oklahoma. His first job after graduating was as a studio and remote reporter covering travel and destination locations across the Sooner state. During that time, he also worked as a producer and board-op at Sports Talk 1400 in Norman.

The seed for his love of sports talk radio was planted.

Kues joined STAA on August 13th. Three days later, the position in Lamar was emailed to STAA members. Now Kues is taking another step towards his sports talk passion.

Froling set to expand play-by-play experience with ESPN 100.9

(September 10, 2018) Blake Froling wasn’t looking for a new job. However, the opportunity to join ESPN 100.9 in Midland, MI as a play-by-play broadcaster and content coordinator was too good to pass up. An STAA member, Froling will be the No. 2 play-by-play voice for the Great Lakes Loons (Class-A Dodgers), broadcast high school sports, podcast, and create various digital content.

Froling moves to Midland after almost two years in Marquette, MI.

“I was just casually reading through the STAA emails, not actively looking for a new job when this one in Midland showed up,” explained Froling. “I had applied for a few jobs earlier in the year and didn’t even get an interview so I was pretty set on staying Marquette for a while. Luckily I loved my job at ESPN UP so I wasn’t in a hurry to move on and could afford to be picky with my next job.”

While working for ESPN UP was a great opportunity, Froling was hungry for more play-by-play.

“I get to expand my play-by-play even more. In the UP, baseball season is very short and our station didn’t broadcast it at all, so I had no way of getting baseball experience outside of muting the TV and practicing in my apartment,” said Froling. “This job in Midland will allow me to do at least 70 home games as the No. 2 broadcaster with the Loons and fill a big hole in my resume. In addition to the play-by-play, my responsibilities will include some media relations in minor league baseball, which is another area in which I wanted experience but had no way of getting.”

One thing Froling especially loved doing in Marquette was high school play-by-play. He’s excited to continue it in his new gig.

“A big part of the job is high school football and basketball play-by-play. That’s something I didn’t want to give up and I’m glad I get to continue to do.

“I’m extremely excited to get started and very grateful that the people with ESPN 100.9 and the Great Lakes Loons gave me this opportunity.”

(Visit Blake’s website).

von Keudell new voice of Macon Mayhem hockey

(September 6, 2018) Alex von Keudell graduated from Bradley University four years ago. Something he did during his time on the Peoria, IL campus has helped him land a new hockey play-by-play job. An STAA member, von Keudell is the new Director of Media Relations & Broadcasting for the Macon Mayhem of the SPHL.

“The SPHL is a league that is expanding and has become increasingly professional in its operations on and off the ice,” von Keudell says. “The league has taken great strides to become younger and faster, and it has become a pipeline for both players and staff to the East Coast Hockey League. If it stays on its current path, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it was an NHL-affiliated league in a few years.”

Erik Evenson has been Macon’s broadcaster the past two seasons. When he left to take over as Media Relations Director for the Walk-Ons Independence Bowl in Shreveport, LA, the Mayhem contacted STAA to help find his replacement. von Keudell was a great fit.

“Having started the broadcasting department at Bradley was a huge factor,” he says. “Also, I had three years of experience in the NAHL and had a great interview with [Macon GM] Blair Floyd. We saw eye-to-eye right away and I knew it would be a good fit.”

Macon is von Keudell’s fourth franchise in five seasons. During school he worked for the Peoria Mustangs. Since then, he’s been a media relations & broadcasting director for the Wichita Falls Wildcats and Corpus Christi IceRays. The journey von Keudell hopes leads to the NHL has reminded him that nothing worth having comes easily.

“Always be prepared to humble yourself; no work is beneath you,” he says. “What you make of the job if infinitely more important than your job title.”

(Visit Alex’s website).

Giddings puts baseball on hold to polish additional skills

(September 4, 2018) After two summers in minor league baseball, Evan Giddings decided it would be helpful to develop skills in other areas of sports broadcasting. He’s found the opportunity in North Dakota. An STAA member, Giddings is the new Sports Director at AM 1100 The Flag in Fargo.

Giddings will call more than 80 high school football, basketball, volleyball and hockey games annually. He will also broadcast sports updates and host a weekly sports show.

“I saw the opening at The Flag through an STAA job posting back in July and immediately applied,” he recalls.

For Giddings, Flag Family Media is a great fit. “They have developed a strong brand and I’m excited to contribute. Also, in addition to the numerous play-by-play opportunities, I wanted the chance to have my hand in a little bit of everything on the radio side — hosting, updates, social media, sales, podcasts etc.”

Giddings spent the past two summers in minor league baseball, first with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, then with the St. Paul Saints and their veteran broadcaster Sean Aronson. Aronson played an important role in helping Giddings land at The Flag. “Not only through guidance and support, but helping me make contacts in Fargo. It made a big difference,” says Giddings.

Giddings sees the move to Fargo as a pause to his baseball career, not the end of it.

“My passion still lies on the diamond, but this move allows me to build other skills I think will be beneficial in the long run,” he says.

Giddings says his STAA membership has helped offset the fact that the college from which he earned his degree, Willamette University in Oregon, is not a traditional broadcasting school. “Although I went to a strong, academically-focused university, there was virtually no student outlet for broadcasting. STAA has helped me overcome circumstances that others in this industry may take for granted.”

(Visit Evan’s STAA Talent Page).

Dream comes true for Worhack with Arizona Prep Spotlight

(August 31, 2018) Many broadcasters go through periods of frustration and self-doubt. Zack Worhack was no different. The recent University of Northern Arizona graduate grew discouraged after four years of college didn’t lead to an immediate opportunity.

“Over the summer I fought with my mental health nearly every day,” explained Worhack. “This industry is so competitive and when I did not have anything lined up post-graduation, I second-guessed everything. Thoughts flooded through my head that I was a failure. I felt like I was not good enough to get hired because I did not have a job in the sports broadcasting industry.”

It has all changed for the STAA member. Worhack is joining the Arizona Prep Spotlight team on Fox Sports Arizona to cover the Northern Arizona region. Separately, he will also have the opportunity to broadcast NAU women’s basketball and volleyball on TV and Internet.

“As far as my responsibilities go at Arizona Prep Spotlight, I will be creating feature stories and game recaps on a weekly basis,” explained Warhack. “My territory is all of Northern Arizona, but I will also be covering stories in the valley. In addition to this, Arizona Prep Spotlight live streams high school games throughout the state so I will have the opportunity to call play-by-play in addition to other duties.”

Having a strong support system is important for a sports broadcaster. The job is demanding, time-consuming and often frustrating. Worhack relied on family and friends to bolster his confidence.

“I am so thankful for everyone in my circle and for those who helped me along the way. I had countless conversations with my girlfriend, Meg, and she pushed me to keep fighting for what I had dreamed of since I was a child,” said Worhack. “In addition to Meg, I spoke with my mom, dad and Jon (Chelesnik) about all of my doubts and I am grateful for all of them.”

The Arizona Prep Spotlight is a perfect fit.

“It gives me the opportunity to pursue my passion of sports broadcasting. This job has so much to offer and I believe it will allow me to improve due to the fact that I have the opportunity to be a reporter and play-by-play announcer.”

(Visit Zach’s website).

Hammett jumps at D-1 opportunity with Louisiana-Monroe

(August 29, 2018) Mike Hammett spent a lot of time preparing for an opportunity that came quickly. An STAA member, Hammett is making the jump from NCAA DII to DI as the women’s basketball and baseball voice at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He will also host football pre-game and halftime shows.

The timing is right after two seasons with Southwestern Oklahoma State prepared Hammett for the opportunity.

“It was a very quick process. When I read the [STAA] job lead and saw the fast track timeline on it, I knew I needed to immediately send my resume and demo to [ULM broadcaster] Nick White,” says Hammett. “Two days later, Nick replied to my e-mail just before the closing of the application period to set up an interview. I reviewed the job interviewing tips from an STAA live chat and spent over an hour on the phone with Nick.”

The ULM opening was shared only within STAA and all four finalists who interviewed are STAA members.

Hammett started his broadcasting career in Hays, Kansas. He is a two-time winner of the Oscar Stauffer Award for broadcasting excellence. In addition to Southwest Oklahoma State, Hammett has play-by-play experience with Kansas Wesleyan University and Kansas State University.

“This opportunity at ULM allows me to reach Division I and build relationships at that level. I’m looking forward to not only building relationships with Nick White, the coaches and student-athletes at ULM, but also with fellow broadcasters and athletic department employees across the Sun Belt Conference and beyond.”

Being prepared for the job market was critical for Hammett since ULM was on an expedited hiring timeline.

“The biggest thing I did was having my STAA Talent Page and resume ready to go. I sent an email to Nick White within two hours of receiving the job lead,” explained Hammett. “Instead of asking for a cover letter, Nick wanted three sentences about why I was qualified for the job. I used those three sentences to highlight my seven years of collegiate play-by-play experience, my experience working select games for Kansas State University baseball, as well as my social media background.”

Hammett made sure to chalk up the assist to STAA.

“The listing with ULM was available only to STAA members, so without it, I would have never learned of the opportunity. [STAA’s] emails with tips on play-by-play, interviewing, social media, and how to build a resume, cover letter, and demo have all been invaluable.”

(Visit Mike’s STAA Talent Page).

Mark Shelley networks his way to ESPN Ithaca

(August 27, 2018) A familiar face helped open the door to a new career opportunity for Mark Shelley. An STAA member, Shelly is joining ESPN Ithaca as a sports reporter and play-by-play broadcaster.

Shelley has broadcast experience with Cornell University, Mansfield University and the Tri-City ValleyCats.

“I saw the STAA email with the job posting and applied almost immediately,” said Shelley. “Ithaca is relatively close to where I went to school and I love the area. I knew the Sports Director at WETM in Elmira, and he helped get me in touch with one of the broadcasters In Ithaca. I interviewed and got the job the day after my trip to the station.”

The connections don’t stop there for Shelley. His experience with Cornell made the decision easier for this broadcaster out of Mansfield University. Shelley broadcast Cornell University ice hockey and sprint football. The games aired on ESPN 3 and the Ivy League Network.

“I get to work in a market that I have a familiarity with and have strong connections in. I broadcasted women’s hockey and sprint football at Cornell, so I have existing connections in the athletic department. Also, the station is hoping to grow, and it’s exiting to be a part of this process.”

The moral of the story for the former communications assistant is, fittingly, communication.

“Networking. Networking. Networking. I use the expression: ‘I knew a guy who knew a guy.’ This is true,” explains Shelley. “It helped me get in touch with people directly at the station and helped me understand the details of Ithaca market. Smile, shake hands, and stay in touch with your contacts.”

Shelley is taking a step in his career that will allow him to be multi-dimensional. He will have the opportunity to host, write and broadcast multiple sports. He credits STAA with helping polish his job market strategy.

“My STAA membership greatly improved my job approach. I greatly benefited from the resume guidelines, to the demo reel construction, to how to send my information to a potential employer.”

(Visit Mark’s website).