Persistence pays for Williams, Western Kentucky

(August 20, 2018) Brett Williams is off to a hot start in his broadcast career. Williams has been hired as the new play-by-play voice for Western Kentucky women’s basketball.

It’s a big step for the STAA member as Williams leaves a broadcast position with Queens University a year after graduating from the University of South Carolina. He learned about the WKU opportunity in an email from STAA.

“I saw the lead in late May and immediately applied,” said Williams. “A week later, I left a voicemail during my follow-up call, and I continued to follow up via email for a little while longer.”

Williams didn’t hear back for two months.

“While on vacation with my family in late July, I received an email requesting a phone interview, and I conducted that interview with Chris Bloomfield of Hilltopper IMG Sports Marketing the next day from, of all places, an amusement park! That proved to be an easy and evidently effective icebreaker, as Chris called me three days later, asked if my family and I had enjoyed our vacation, and then offered me the job.”

Williams joined Queens University as a broadcaster and multimedia assistant shortly after graduating from South Carolina. His experience is adding up quickly.

“I was fortunate to join Queens just as the Queens Sports Network, an all-encompassing live broadcasting and digital media platform, was launching. This allowed me the opportunity to call many games on a consistent basis and devote more time to honing my craft.”

Timing helps but it isn’t everything. Williams was wise beyond his years to do the research it required to become the voice of the Hilltoppers.

“I made sure to learn as much as I could about WKU. That helped me prove my interest in and commitment to the job in each piece of communication I had with hiring managers—cover letter, follow-ups, and the interview. More importantly, it prepared me to better do my job now that I have it.”

The quick rise has Williams joining a D-1 basketball program after graduating college last year. He credits STAA throughout the process.

“My STAA membership has played a pivotal role in the launch of my career. I’ve gone through the hiring cycle twice now, and almost all the openings to which I’ve applied have come from STAA job lead emails.”

“Moreover, I’ve noticed a continuous uptick in the quality and quantity of responses I’ve received from hiring managers as I’ve further applied [STAA’s] lessons. Pursuing play-by-play jobs, especially early in one’s career, isn’t for the faint of heart, and I’m very grateful to Jon and his colleagues for helping me achieve my goals.”

(Visit Bretts website).

Sheridan to broadcast Vermont Catamounts women’s hoops

(August 16, 2018) Maura Sheridan long aspired to be a TV sports anchor/reporter. However, the recent success of women in play-by-play encouraged her to reconsider her goals. Now, Sheridan is the new voice of women’s basketball for the University of Vermont.

Sheridan has broadcast play-by-play and reported for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League since early 2017

“A lot of my male friends in the industry decided on play-by-play when they were just little kids. For me that was not the case at all. I think if you rarely/never see someone like you in a certain role you subconsciously cross that out as an option for yourself. That’s what happened to me until my junior year of college. I had pretty much decided I wanted to work as a TV sports reporter,” says Sheridan.

Her thinking changed when Sheridan attended Beth Mowins’ Syracuse University/WAER Hall of Fame induction. “It clicked with me that a woman could not only do play-by-play, but be very successful at it. I only had two years left at Syracuse, but I decided to give play-by-play a try. I made so many tapes at college lacrosse games and finally called SU lacrosse’s last regular season game. I was so nervous and very green so I won’t be using that game for any of my demo reels. However, that was the first time I realized that I could someday be a woman making a career out of play-by-play.”

It is Mowins’ work ethic that first grabbed Sheridan’s attention. “I also think its especially impressive how she’s broken the glass ceiling in football. That’s probably the easiest sport for men to claim as ‘their own.’ This clearly doesn’t phase Beth at all. She approaches every game with such an immense amount of knowledge, preparation, and energy that nobody can honestly claim her voice doesn’t belong.”

In addition to the experience, Vermont women’s basketball provides an opportunity for Sheridan to broadcast the team she watched growing up. “I went to all the Catamounts’ summer camps. I even played in a state championship at Patrick Gym,” Sheridan recalls. “It’s a little surreal to think I’ll be calling games for the Cats.

“This is also just an incredible opportunity to call an entire college basketball season and really improve on my broadcasting skills. A lot of SU alums that held this job before me reached out and had only good things to say about Vermont. All the pieces just fit together and it was clear this was a great situation for me.”

Sheridan says her goal is “to call an NBA game someday. That is the ultimate dream.” She took a big step forward in play-by-play by joining the University of Vermont.

(Visit Maura’s website).

Noble’s “now or never” approach leads to Wofford College

“Jim(August 14, 2018) Jim Noble took a chance when he heard Wofford College had a position available to broadcast football and basketball. He has 20 years of experience in sportscasting and noticed a familiar place when STAA alerted him to an opportunity. Now, Noble is the new voice of Terriers athletics.

The opening was an exclusive for STAA members. It was not published publicly.

“It was a surprise this late in the summer, but I was very familiar with the school having covered Carolina Panthers training camp there for many years while I was working local TV in Charlotte” says Noble. “So I jumped on it right away.”

Noble required a perfect landing spot to add another job to his busy schedule. That’s exactly what Wofford College had to offer. After working with the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina (WBTV), Noble moved on to broadcast for ESPN, NBC Sports, TNT Sports, Fox Sports Net and the NASCAR Media Group. Working as a reporter on the biggest platforms on television, Noble always wanted to do play-by-play. The Washington and Lee University graduate knew he had to commit himself in order to accomplish his goal.

“Finally about three years ago I said ‘it’s now or never’, and started asking around the area, resulting in Davidson basketball work and calling enough local high school football to make a demo reel to start pursuing play-by-play work seriously.”

It took more than television experience to secure a broadcasting job with Wofford College. As Noble was going through the interview process he knew he had to stand out. He focuses on his strengths. “I knew they had just parted ways with a broadcaster who had been there for 29 years so I stressed the fact that younger applicants might use Wofford as a stepping stone, and at this stage of my career, I wasn’t interested in moving around a lot anymore.”

So how did Noble sell himself as a play-by-play broadcaster despite his experience as a television reporter? “In terms of football play-by-play, I pointed out that a NASCAR booth work is pretty hard. There are 40 footballs instead of one and calling football and basketball is relatively easy in comparison.”

As for the new commute, Noble has that under control as well. “It’s only about an hour and a half from Charlotte to Spartanburg, and I have given up my daily NASCAR show on SiriusXM. I plan to be on campus at least twice a week just visiting, attending practices, meeting with coaches, etc. I do plan to fill-in on some of Sirius’ other channels – ESPNU, ACC and SEC conference channels – but I can do that remotely. Technology is a fabulous thing!”

Noble has been an STAA member since 2014. Last year, he was the subject of an STAA Member Makeover where his entire job market approach was put under the microscope to determine where it could be stronger.

“The STAA makeover was like a cold glass of water in the face – and I needed it,” says Nobel. “I was definitely too complacent, thinking that my experience and name recognition would simply blow schools away – it wasn’t like that, and I needed to hear that. I’ve always felt that I was really good at DOING the job, not very good at SELLING myself to get the job. STAA pointed that out with my admittedly lame YouTube channel and the work I was presenting on my STAA Talent Page.

“I realized I had to get serious and really sell myself.”

(Visit Jim’s STAA Talent Page).

Mentors help Mauro with decision to become voice at The Citadel

(August 10, 2018) Luke Mauro has been in a job he loves for nearly three years. When another opportunity was offered, deciding to stay or leave was challenging. Mauro leaned on various mentors for guidance. They all pointed him in the same direction – his new job as play-by-play voice at The Citadel (NCAA DI) and sports talk host at Kirkman Broadcasting in Charleston, SC.

The opportunity was not posted publicly. Mauro learned of it in an STAA job leads email.

“It’s just the next step in my career and hopefully, to borrow a phrase a lot of people have used to describe the job, a ‘launching pad’ for my career,” says Mauro. “The opportunity to become ‘The Voice’ of a school like The Citadel was enough for me. But to then factor in the ability to have my own daily sports talk show, and the other perks, I felt it was certainly the right move for me.”

A 2013 graduate of Quinnipiac University, Mauro has been Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Class-A Daytona Tortugas since 2016. He also spent the past four years as the radio voice at Stetson University, a position that has been discontinued.

Leaving the Tortugas was not easy. “I loved the organization, the people I worked for and with, the owners of the club, my apartment, and even the area,” Mauro says. “It would be easy to continue to do that. After four years in Daytona, I knew the people; I knew what I had to do, how to do it, or who I needed to get in touch with to get it done, etc. I’d like to think I was good at my job. Not to sound arrogant, but it almost becomes easy after a while.

Mauro says that he had found a rhythm in Daytona and knew how to get things done. “For example, I was able to build connections to get us on ESPN and MLB Network a couple times a season, which was previously unheard of. That became easy.”

What wasn’t easy was the decision to leave. Mauro leaned on various mentors to help explore the decision. The way he chose them was as intelligent as it was insightful.

“I like to talk to people who have been [where I want to go] — those who have been in the business longer than me and have had similar experiences,” Mauro says. “For this particular decision, I wanted to talk with people from every angle – a Minor League broadcaster, a former talk show host, someone who did both – both at the same time, and individually in their career. They’ve been there, they’ve done these jobs, and they have even had to make similar decisions. It helps when weighing the pros and cons, and they’ll even help you realize things you weren’t even considering before.

“Everyone I talked to said ‘no-brainer’ about this position.”

One idea Mauro says helped push his decision over the top came from STAA Owner Jon Chelesnik. He suggested that growth comes from change. “It was time for a new challenge and the opportunity to continue to grow, both personally and professionally,” says Mauro. “I wish the Tortugas nothing but the best. They are one of the best organizations to work for in MiLB.”

Mauro first joined STAA in 2013. “This is not a paid advertisement. I am not an STAA shill,” he says. “But [Jon Chelesnik] was a great help and resource. I’ll be honest; I don’t take complete advantage of the STAA membership. But I am glad that I have taken advantage of having [Jon] as a resource. And our discussion about this decision was a big help.

“As much as I loved my time in Minor League Baseball, this opportunity was just too good to pass up.”

(Visit Luke’s LinkedIn page).

Sanderson new Corpus Christi IceRays voice

(August 9, 2018) Rob Sanderson grew up playing hockey and working at an ice rink. For the past 13 years, he has parlayed that passion into broadcasting the sport. The next stop on Sanderson’s journey is Texas where he is joining the Corpus Christi IceRays as Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations.

The IceRays are members of the NAHL.

“We are extremely fortunate to be adding Rob to our team,” said IceRays General Manager Michael Wood. “He is a gifted broadcaster who has also shown himself to be an excellent representative with local media members.”

Sanderson is the third straight STAA member to serve as voice of the IceRays, following Collin Schuck and Alex vonKeudell. When the position opened this summer, the IceRays contacted STAA. They hired Sanderson within a few days.

An STAA member since 2015, Sanderson is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia. He spent the past three seasons with the Chicago Steel of the USHL. Sanderson also has American Hockey League play-by-play experience, filling in for the Rochester Americans and Utica Comets.

From 2012-2015, he served as the Americans’ radio host, providing pre-game, intermission and post-game coverage.

Sanderson’s other hockey broadcast highlights include calling the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship in 2010 and 2015.

(Visit Rob’s website).

Nevis eager to cover WVU Mountaineers for WDTV

“Carly(August 7, 2018) Two things Carly Nevis was looking for in her next job were the opportunity to cover a college or professional team and to report on high school football. She’s found both. An STAA member, Nevis is joining 5News WDTV in Bridgeport, WV as a sports anchor/reporter.

“WDTV does a Friday night football show called The 5th Quarter where we cover the 27 high schools in our area,” says Nevis. “Where I grew up in Queens, NY, football at the high school level was non-existent, so the chance to work in an area where football and high school athletics are such a big part of the community is awesome.”

Equally awesome for Nevis is the chance to cover the West Virginia Mountaineers. “When I was looking for jobs, one thing I was really looking for was the ability to cover a college or professional team in the area, and WVU gives me that opportunity.”

Nevis learned of the WDTV opening in an STAA job leads email. “I applied, followed up with the sports director (a process that I had done so many times) and I finally got that call back I was looking for,” she smiles.

Nevis graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. from Syracuse in 2016. Since then, she’s been a sports MMJ for Columbia University athletics and News 12 Long Island. She credits persistence with helping her land at WDTV.

“Like many of my colleagues in the industry, I applied to tons of jobs and my response rate was not high,” Nevis recalls. “I stayed true to myself and knew that something would eventually come along if I never gave up and remained confident that this is what I wanted to do.

“When I interviewed for this job, I wanted WDTV to know exactly who they were getting. I have a big personality, I love sports, and I work hard. I was very transparent about my past job experiences and what I thought I would bring to the table.”

The Syracuse alumni network also played a big role for Nevis. “I know that I have a lot of people rooting for me and willing to give me feedback on my reel, help me send emails, or just give me encouragement when I need it. The Newhouse network was crucial for me in getting this job.”

Nevis has been an STAA member since 2016.

“It is hard to find a job in this industry,” she says. “STAA helps by simply getting the jobs to me right when they are posted. Jon [Chelesnik] is great about giving advice on the best ways to use the site. As I mentioned, I found this job on the job leads email so without STAA, I wouldn’t have known about it in the first place.”

(Visit Carly’s STAA Talent Page).

Friendship helps Feldman land Greenville TV sports job

(August 2, 2018) Tyler Feldman received just two replies from 40 job applications over two months. One of the two ended up being his next employer. An STAA member, Feldman is joining WITN in Greenville, NC as a sport anchor/reporter.

Feldman leaves a similar position at WBNG in Binghamton, NY. “I started researching and applying to job openings with about three months left on my contract,” he says. “I was sending out cover letters, applications and demo reels to every station I felt could provide me with more opportunities and greater challenges.”

Ultimately, it was a friendship that helped Feldman land in Eastern North Carolina. “I’m replacing Alex Walker, and he’s actually a great friend and mentor of mine,” says Feldman. “We attended Penn State together and when he told me that he had landed another gig, I jumped at the possibility of taking over for him. Alex is well aware of my work ethic, passion and ability, so he had no problem putting in a good word for me.”

Though Feldman’s new position is more than seven hours from State College, PA where he graduated from Penn State University, he has no reservations about the location. “I am a firm believer in the idea that you can’t be picky when it comes to location. This industry is far too competitive to not apply to a position because you think it’s too far away from home.”

Feldman says knowing when you are ready to leave your first job varies from person to person. “The challenge, of course, is getting out of your comfort zone and putting yourself in the right position to start making the climb,” he advises. “I’ve known for quite some time that I was ready for the next challenge. I say that because I knew I had accomplished all that I could here in Binghamton. About 18 months into my first job, I quickly realized that growth opportunities were no longer readily available. I was ready to handle more responsibilities, cover bigger teams and improve my living situation.”

When ask what he learned in Binghamton that will benefit him the rest of his career, Feldman first jokes, “Becoming an all-star at laundry with impressive ironing skills!” In seriousness he adds, “If you can figure out how to focus on the present and enjoy the moment, the future you’ve always envisioned will arrive when you least expect it.”

Enjoying the moment wasn’t always easy for Feldman in Binghamton.

“I’ll be honest, I wanted to leave Binghamton before I even arrived. I struggled during my first year because I was constantly thinking about where I wanted to be rather than where I was currently. After about a year though, something just clicked.”

Feldman says that living and working on his own prompted necessary growth. “When I learned to enjoy the moment, my on-air performance improved, my relationships with coaches, players and co-workers improved and, to my surprise, I fell in love with Binghamton and its inspiring people. Look, small market television is no easy gig, but a positive attitude with the right mindset can go a long way.”

Persistence and preparation are two keys Feldman cites in landing the WITN position. Confidence and relationships also helped.

“[With] confidence, I’m talking about believing in yourself and your abilities,” he says. “Knowing your self-worth and being able to sell yourself in order to get that job you’ve always wanted. Are you capable of being charismatic without coming across as cocky? I was hungry and ready for the challenges WITN presented, and I made that very clear when I interviewed for the job.

“[Regarding] relationships, you have to learn how to build two-sided relationships in this industry. When you connect with an established person in this business, understand that both you and that other person need to get something out of the relationship. The established person can clearly help you, but the hard part is figuring out how you can help the established person.”

Eventually, it was Feldman’s friendship with Alex Walker that made the biggest difference in his pursuit of the WITN opportunity. “Alex and I have constantly relied on one another over the past six years. It’s not like I just contacted him out of the blue. We talk on a regular basis and I used Alex’s experience as a resource when searching for a new job. I’m thrilled Alex is moving on to a bigger market and I’m extremely grateful for his friendship and mentorship.”

(Visit Tyler’s website).

Persistence earns Rew sports talk gig in Jacksonville

(July 30, 2018) Lauren Rew has spent the past X years as the second chair on a daily sports talk show in Tulsa, OK. She’s proud of what she’s accomplished but has long yearned for more. More has finally come. An STAA member, Rew is joining 1010XL Sports Radio in Jacksonville, FL as a host and assistant program director.

Rew will be part of a daily, three-person midday show. She will also co-host an all-female show one night per week and be part of the Jacksonville Jaguars pre-game show.

“Every six months or so I like to write down my goals and at the top of my list is: to work somewhere where I am valued for what I bring to the table,” says Rew. “When 1010XL approached me about this opportunity, one of the first things my soon-to-be boss [PD Steven Griffin] said was, ‘I reached out to you because…..’ and he listed off things about my work. I could tell he took the time to listen to my segments and acknowledged what made me different from other hosts.”

One way Rew knew 1010XL would be a good fit was by talking to former employees who have gone on to further their careers after their time at the station. “This was actually something my new boss encouraged me to do as he wanted me to hear from others who had worked for 1010. That spoke volumes to me,” she says.

Rew is also excited to be in an NFL market. “Being dialed into the college game has taught me so much, but it will be nice to switch the majority of my focus to the NFL,” she grins.

One challenge Rew constantly battles is sports radio being a male-dominated industry. “It is still very much a boys club,” she says. “Many women who work on opinion based programs are traditionally in the moderator role or are there to read headlines or Tweets. The idea that women in sports media can work in roles other than the traditional sideline reporter or sports reporter is still something we battle, so the opportunities for women to be in host roles are very limited.”

Rew addresses the challenges by staying true to her passion and to herself. “As simple as that sounds, it’s the truth. I don’t go on air everyday thinking I have to ‘prove myself’ today. I go on air having done my homework and being ready to talk about whatever is relevant. I tell people all the time, you can’t fake it in sports talk radio. Three hours on air can be a really long time if you aren’t prepared and if you don’t enjoy what you do. There is nowhere to hide.”

Besides the professional opportunities, Rew is equally excited about the lifestyle that Jacksonville provides for her family. She and her husband Daniel have a son and daughter who are both in elementary school.

“When we vacation as a family, we almost always go somewhere near the water,” Rew says excitedly. “Living in Oklahoma for the last 17 years has been wonderful and we’ve made some amazing friends, but the opportunity I have at 1010 affords us the opportunity for change and it just happens to be 10 minutes to the nearest beach!”

(Visit Lauren’s website).

Kuperman’s bet on self pays off in DII play-by-play job

(July 25, 2018) After nearly two years broadcasting high school sports in Macomb, IL, Sam Kuperman was ready for the next step in his career. Without having another position to go to, he rolled the dice, left his job and came up snake eyes. An STAA member, Kuperman is the new Sports Director at WQBR-FM in Avis, PA.

Among his responsibilities will be broadcasting play-by-play for Lock Haven University’s NCAA Division I wrestling and field hockey teams, and Division II football, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s lacrosse, baseball and softball.

“I first saw this job opening at the end of May when it was sent to me via STAA,” Kuperman recalls. “I immediately targeted the opening, as it was one that checked all the boxes. The combination of NCAA D1 and 2 play-by-play, writing opportunities, and the relative proximity to my hometown in New Jersey really intrigued me from the start.”

Kuperman applied immediately. “I was sure to follow up frequently with the station and ensure that the people there knew my level of interest in the opportunity.”

Leaving his job in Macomb without having another to go to was a calculated leap of faith.

“The lease on my apartment was up towards the end of June and there was already someone set to move in shortly after,” Kuperman recalls. “I was committed to finding a new job at this point anyways, so it didn’t make sense to move somewhere else then ultimately change locations again soon after.”

Kuperman spent his brief unemployment wisely. “I used the free time to visit friends and family, apply for jobs, and take notes on my recent work to find ways to improve. I did feel confident about this job opportunity though, which certainly made the prospect of jumping into the unknown a little easier to manage.”

Having a website helped Kuperman stand out in WQBR’s hiring process.

“I put together a personal website over this past winter, and I believe that was essential in marketing myself to the best of my abilities,” he says. “I was told 47 people applied for this position. To stand out in a crowd like that, having a wide range of professional experience and presenting it in the right manner is extremely important.”

Kuperman has been an STAA member since 2016, when he joined during the last semester of his senior year at Ithaca College. He has also done extensive one-on-one football and basketball play-by-play coaching with STAA’s Jon Chelesnik.

“I felt ready to make the jump to Division II broadcasting. I had received consistent feedback from Jon and others in the industry that backed up that notion,” Kuperman says. “I had an extremely valuable experience during my two years in Macomb that has helped prepare me for this opportunity.”

“Jon is always so easy to get in contact with. Whenever I have a question on something career-related he’s quick to respond and provides valuable advice. I strive to get better as a broadcaster each and every day. Being an STAA member helps me in that pursuit.”

(Visit Sam’s website).

Lancello’s next stop: KBOE/KMZN in Iowa

“Joe(July 17, 2018) Johnny Cash sings in a famous song about how his career took him everywhere across the United States. Radio veteran Joe Lancello’s career similarly features stops in many cities. The latest sticker on Lancello’s suitcase is Oskaloosa, IA where he is the new News & Sports Director at KBOE/KMZN.

Lancello, an STAA member for 13 years, replaces fellow STAA member Emery Songer who is now at 1040 WHO in Des Moines. The Oskaloosa position was emailed to STAA members in May. It was not posted on STAA’s job board. Lancello moves to Oskaloosa after eight years at KZRG in Joplin, MO.

“It’s a chance to move back into sports play-by-play and to be closer to family in Wisconsin,” he explains. “It’s a 6 1/2 hour drive from Oskaloosa to the Milwaukee area.”

Good timing was part of Lancello’s success formula. “When I made my follow-up call, [General Manager] Rick Watts had just listened to me earlier that morning and was really impressed. It’s funny how the same demo can draw, ‘Wow! I want to talk to this guy’ from one decision-maker and ‘Yuck!’ from another.”

Oskaloosa is Lancello’s 10th stop in the 28 years since graduating from the University of Minnesota. Besides Joplin, his itinerary includes four stops in Minnesota, two in Wisconsin, two in Alabama and one in Tennessee. He’s excited to be moving to Iowa for the first time.

“It will be fun!”

(Visit Joe’s STAA Talent Page).