Mixie new voice of Astros short season affiliate

(May 16, 2019) Though Joe Mixie has spent most of the past two years broadcasting sports on college campuses, he’s longed to be the lead voice of a minor league baseball team. Mission accomplished. An STAA member, Mixie has been hired to handle play-by-play and media relations for the Tri-City ValleyCats.

The ValleyCats are the Troy, NY-based short season affiliate of the Houston Astros.

“I have wanted to spend a summer as a No.1 in the minor leagues since beginning my play-by-play journey during my sophomore year of college,” Mixie says. “After working as the No.2 during parts of the summers of 2016 & 2017 for the Bridgeport Bluefish, I got a taste of what it was like, and I’m very lucky that it lined up a couple of years later.”

Mixie spent the 2017-18 academic year as an athletic communications and broadcasting assistant at Jacksonville University in Florida. Since September, he’s held a similar position at Siena College in New York where he is the voice of Saints women’s basketball.

Mixie learned of the ValleyCats opening last fall from a co-worker on the Siena campus. “My boss is good friends with the ValleyCats’ communications director and he does part-time work at our basketball games,” Mixie says. “As the winter went on, I formally applied for the position and went through the interview process. I was able to keep the connection fresh by seeing the person who would eventually hire me on a weekly basis at basketball games.”

A 2017 graduate of Liberty University, Mixie joined STAA his senior year of college. “I was originally introduced to STAA by a professor in college and have been a member for two-and-a-half years now,” he says. “This is my fourth position that I have picked up since joining STAA. Three were jobs that were listed by STAA.

“STAA allows me to stay up-to-date with the latest sports broadcasting job postings with daily email updates, and has ample broadcasting resources that I use frequently when calling different sports.”

Before moving to Siena, Mixie was a runner-up for different full-time college communications positions three times in four months, including a position at Siena that is different from the one he has now.

“Patience, hard work and the willingness to be available have prevailed,” he grins.

(Visit Joes website).

Badders uses indy baseball experience to land Elizabethton Twins job

(May 13, 2019) There is a perception among some baseball broadcasters that calling independent league baseball is less valuable than calling games in a prestigious collegiate summer league. Nick Badders will argue otherwise. Badders has used his experience in indy ball to become the new voice of the Elizabethton Twins.

Elizabethton is the rookie affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.

“In late April, STAA sent out a Job Leads email [to members] with an exclusive tip that the Twins might have an opening, so I started doing research on the team and preparing to apply,” Badders recalls. “The next Job Leads email confirmed the opening and gave instructions for applying. I was ready to go and sent off my application fairly quickly.”

Badders is finishing his junior year at Arizona State University. He spent last summer with the Sonoma Stompers of the Pacific Association. “Most of my friends at [ASU] were off in the Cape Cod League and I was on the West Coast, broadcasting professional baseball at one of the lowest levels of professional baseball and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” Badders states passionately. “At the start of the season, I had to come to terms that I wasn’t doing that, but I am so glad I worked in Sonoma.

“It’s sad that there is a stigma around independent baseball, it was a stigma I experienced when telling people I worked for an indy team. There really shouldn’t be one. It’s professional baseball. It’s a high level of play, too. Sure, it’s not affiliated, it’s not the Cape League, but it’s a fantastic opportunity to become a better person and broadcaster. The experience is so incredible.

Badders calls his time in Sonoma phenomenal. “I’ll preach that all day and every day. I broadcasted over 80 games on my own, while handling media relations duties. There is pretty much no way to get better experience than that. It gave me a lot of time to learn about myself as a broadcaster and honestly, just get better. I even figured out how I could keep score to make my games smoother. At the end of the season, I was a completely different person and broadcaster compared to before the season started.”

Badders joined STAA last fall on the recommendation of several other Pacific Association broadcasters. “Of the eight other regular broadcasters in the Pacific Association, I think four of them were STAA members. Specifically, I talked with Geoff Safford of the Napa Silverados and Scott Armstrong of the Vallejo Admirals (both great people, but broadcasters as well) and they both spoke highly of Jon [Chelesnik] and STAA and the services Jon and his team provide.”

Improving his cover letters is something Badders believes helped him earn the Elizabethton job. “I wish I had done this with more jobs that I applied for earlier in the offseason,” Badders says. “As soon as I saw the opening with Elizabethton, I tailored my resume and cover letter to the job description, which is critical. What I wish I had done more is that I also sent it to Jon [Chelesnik] for critiques and feedback. I had done it once earlier in the offseason, but after a couple of back-and-forths this time, my resume and cover letter were where they needed to be for this position. I think that was the difference in landing me the job.

“Jon helped make sure my resume was right for the position and easy to read, plus he helped me realize I was overthinking cover letters and put me in the best possible position to succeed.”

Badders was initially hesitant to join STAA because of the cost. “I wholeheartedly believed the cost would be worth it, but any extra money spent on a monthly basis for me is worth a hesitation,” he says. “I figured it would be worth it though, I just had to find other places to save every month.

“I knew STAA would give me the best opportunity at getting [a minor league baseball] job. I had perused the job boards in the prior offseason but joined for the perks beyond that. I knew it would not only land me a job in affiliated baseball but help me stay there by improving my broadcasting and making sure my applications were where they needed to be.”

The minor league baseball job is more challenging than Badders anticipated. “I wasn’t seeing as much response to my applications as I expected and as the spring started to near, it became more and more frustrating,” he recalls. “I think I had slightly underestimated the competition there would be. But in that struggle, I had to remind myself that I had the experience and skill required.”

The experience and skill were largely developed in indy ball. “Sonoma was an incredible experience and I’m so grateful to everyone there, especially General Manager Brett Creamer, for the opportunity,

“Any aspiring baseball broadcaster should apply for jobs in independent leagues. You will thank yourself later,” Badders says. “My time in Sonoma gave me the tools to make the jump to affiliated baseball and those are tools I look forward to using in Elizabethton.”

(Visit Nick’s website).

Vareldzis lands MiLB job close to Colorado home

(May 9, 2019) Mitch Vareldzis has landed his first minor league baseball play-by-play opportunity, and it’s just 20 minutes from his hometown. An STAA member, Vareldzis is joining the Rocky Mountain Vibes as an associate broadcaster.

Local Colorado Springs TV sports anchor Rob Namnoum will broadcast home games. Vareldzis will do color at home and play-by-play by himself on the road.

Three additional STAA members who we have yet to publicize are in No. 2 positions with affiliated teams. Ray Jensen is working alongside fellow STAA member John Kocsis with the Hagerstown Suns. Matt Davis is with the Peoria Chiefs and Andrew Chapman is helping fellow STAA member Garrett Greene with the Biloxi Shuckers.

Colorado Springs is the longtime home of the Triple-A Sky Sox. When the team relocated to Frisco, TX after last season, the short-season Helena Brewers moved to Colorado to replace them.

Vareldzis, who is from nearby Castle Rock, CO, followed the movement intently.

“I reached out to the Sky Sox longtime broadcaster Dan Karcher,” says Vareldzis. “He told me they were possibly looking for a new broadcaster for the new organization. He gave me the contact of GM Chris Phillips.”

After not hearing from the team for several months, Vareldzis began applying elsewhere for fear the Vibes had moved on with other candidates. “Then about a month ago [Media Relations Director] Travis Arnold called me and asked if I was still interested in the associate position. I was ecstatic,” Vareldzis recalls.

Vareldzis is a 2018 graduate of Arizona State University. He joined STAA in February. “The STAA name had been dropped in my lap several times before I decided to join. As time passed it seemed every professional in the field I talked with about it highly suggested it. Eventually, I became so frustrated with my job pursuits I bit the bullet and joined. Boy what a great decision I made to join.

“I quickly utilized the resources to retool my resumes and cover letters. I felt more in the loop regarding opportunities in the field I want to be in. I was also able to waive my second month fees because of a job tip I shared! I can’t wait to see where this agency takes my career!

“I learned of several more job opportunities than I would have as someone just viewing the job board.”

A challenge Vareldzis is learning to address is how to communicate with employers. “I always have felt like there was something that was keeping me behind others in my field. It would make me doubt my ability to get a job in the industry.”

Vareldzis has overcome the challenge through polite persistence. “Continue to stay in their inbox at a moderate pace,” he suggests. “Continue to show your interest in the position and how dedicated you will be to the position. In between, give space so that enough time will allow for them to make a decision.

“It is easy to get self-conscious or down on your product, but you and only you can fix it or do something about it. I utilized my resources and eventually joining STAA pushed those products that extra step further.”

Something Vareldzis is especially looking forward to with the Vibes is working with Namnoum. “He and I [have] discussed our backgrounds and had a great conversation about what we are looking forward to and hoping to gain from this. I know he is a Colorado Springs icon and I can only hope to compliment his broadcasting style and demeanor.

“I’d hoped my first minor league opportunity would come at a lower level with less pressure yet many opportunities to grow, learn and build connections. I couldn’t have dreamed of a greater start for my career.”

(Visit Mitch’s STAA Talent Page).

Fourth time is the charm for Benzegala at AM 1100 The Flag

“Alex(May 6, 2019) The fourth time was the charm for Alex Benzegala. After three unsuccessful attempts to land work at AM 1100 The Flag in Fargo, ND, Benzegala is joining the station as Sports Director.

The station is in the same community where Benzegala attended college. He learned of the opportunity in an exclusive tip for STAA members.

“I was initially not going to apply because I had applied for the same position in August and did not get the job. I also attempted to broadcast on the Flag in 2015 and 2016 and it didn’t work out. I thought and prayed about it for a couple of weeks and decided to give it one more try. I’m glad that I did,” he smiles.

Benzegala graduated in 2014 from nearby Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. “I love Fargo-Moorhead,” he says. “It’s a great place to live and has a great sports scene. I started my career as a volunteer broadcaster for a local high school and semi-pro football team in Fargo.”

Something that helped Benzegala land the position is the relationship he’s built with station management over the past five years. “I first met the president of The Flag, Steve Hallstrom, when we both worked at an employee benefits company in 2014,” Benzegala recalls. “I found out that Steve had previously been a sportscaster and I arranged a meeting with him to ask for advice. We talked and he gave me tips like maybe moving to a smaller market and to practice play-by-play as much as possible.”

Hallstrom and Benzegala both left the employee benefits company in 2015. “He [went to] The Flag,” Benzegala remembers. “[Later that year] I met with Steve and Operations Manager Dustin Moore. We discussed the idea of me doing some play-by-play on The Flag. It didn’t work out so I became the voice of the Fargo Invaders and West Fargo Sheyenne High School Mustangs on a non-profit station. I broadcasted for free for two years.

“I decided to contact Steve and Dustin again in 2016 and 2017 but there were no opportunities at that time.”

Benzegala freelanced in Kansas City for the 2017 season while working at a local boarding school. “I earned my first professional radio position in November of 2017 at Alpha Media in Fort Dodge where I have been ever since,” he says.

Benzegala has been an STAA member since 2015. “There are a lot of [STAA] resources that help me be a better broadcaster,” he says. “For example, I try to take advantage of the group critiques as often as possible and I know that alone has improved my play-by-play. Also, my two professional radio opportunities came from tips I got from STAA job emails. The emails are very helpful.

“The more you invest in improving your broadcasting, the more STAA will be of use to you,” Benzegala suggests.

When the Fargo sports director job opened last August, Benzegala was a finalist for the position that eventually went to fellow STAA member Evan Giddings. Giddings left in January for a minor league baseball job.

“I think my persistence and attitude in not giving up when it didn’t work out with the Flag the first 3-4 times was very important,” says Benzegala. “My knowledge of the company and of Fargo-Moorhead was also beneficial.

“I always wanted to be a full time professional broadcaster in that town. It’s great to be coming home.”

(Visit Alex’s STAA Talent Page).

DeVine applies for one job at WDAY-TV, ends up with another

(April 30, 2019) Blake DeVine applied for one position at a North Dakota TV station but ended up landing another. An STAA member, DeVine is joining WDAY in Fargo as a News/Sports Reporter.

“WDAY gives me a great opportunity to get my foot in the door within the television industry. Working in a city such as Fargo, with a tremendous passion for prep and college sports along with an opportunity to cover the Minnesota Vikings was very attractive to me. The ABC-affiliate serves as the flagship television station in the local area and has been broadcasting since 1953. Being apart of a station with so much history and an emphasis on sports coverage was very important to me.”

DeVine initially applied for a sports anchor/reporter position at WDAY that he learned about through STAA. When Zach Staton filled from that position within, DeVine was hired in Staton’s former role.

DeVine is graduating from Florida State University in May. He was ranked the 11th most outstanding collegiate sports broadcaster in the country in STAA’s 2018 All-America program. Though sports remain his ultimate goal, he sees value in the news reps he’ll get in Fargo.

“When they offered me a news/sports reporting gig, I was initially a bit hesitant,” DeVine admits. Obviously, my overarching goal was to secure a sports reporting and anchoring position upon graduation. However, I thought about how being versatile and adaptive is vital towards success. By covering news, it’ll hopefully allow me to improve my on-camera performance and grow a greater understanding of the industry as a whole.”

A spreadsheet proved helpful to DeVine in organizing his job market efforts.

“I was advised by a friend who works in the industry to create a Google Sheet consisting of all the places I’d applied,” he says. “Not only did this spreadsheet include information on the company, location and specific job but it also kept track of the date I submitted my application along with whether or not I’d followed up in 7-10 business days. This allowed me to stay organized throughout my job hunt and was especially helpful.”

While Fargo is far from DeVine’s roots in Santa Barbara, CA, it’s much closer than Tallahassee was to SoCal.

“My father, mother and sister still live back home in Santa Barbara while my grandparents live nearby in Los Angeles. For this reason, I hope to eventually work in a major city in California. Moving to Fargo is still quite far—two flights away at the minimum—yet I still remain confident that I can thrive while living away from home.

“When I chose to attend FSU, I sought a college experience in a location completely different culturally than where I grew up. This has allowed me to feel comfortable in a distant environment.”

DeVine joined STAA last year after applying for the Jim Nantz Award. “After placing in the Top 20, I was immediately connected with many of the applicants and honorees. Through this experience, I began to realize STAA’s noteworthy network of broadcasters.

“I would’ve never come across the [Fargo] job opening if it weren’t for being an STAA Member!”

(Visit Blake’s website).

Kleimola, 36, lands first full-time radio job

“Leroy (April 25, 2019) Age is often a detriment in the sports broadcasting job market. For Leroy Kleimola, 36, his age might have helped him land his first opportunity. An STAA member, Kleimola is joining Miller Media Group in Taylorville, IL as a news reporter and play-by-play broadcaster.

“I studied news at Western Kentucky University, so this was something that I knew I could do,” says Kleimola. But being able to do high school play-by-play to better my craft is what really sold the deal for me.”

Miller Media Group owns five stations in the market; Kleimola will be doing news and play-by-play mostly for WTIM and WRAN. He landed the job after interviewing with MMG General Manager Kami Payne for another position that ended up going to someone else.

“Since she had already done all her interviews with me for the original job, this one went a whole lot smoother and in about two weeks was offered the position,” Kleimola recalls.

Kleimola’s biggest challenge in the sportscasting job market has been being a 36 year-old “rookie” with minimal tape. “Trying to sell myself has always been an issue,” he says. “I can interview well, but struggle to get my resume looked at. In 2019 I think a lot of it is how we brand ourselves and finding out what our employers are looking for.”

Kleimola used his age and family to help sell himself to Payne. “Since I am former military I have moved my family around quite a bit,” he says. “I had told my family (four children, ages 13 years to 4 months) that I would find a place to settle down for a while. I really think letting [Kami Payne] know that I had no intention to bounce after a year really sold it well.”

The majority of Kleimola’s broadcasting experience came at the student station at Western Kentucky University. He graduated last year. In addition to the work he did on campus, he has broadcast high school play-by-play, been a camera operation for minor league baseball’s Bowling Green Hot Rods and run the board for a local radio station.

Kleimola joined STAA last year after being referred by WKU women’s basketball voice and fellow STAA member Brett Williams.

“The only hesitation I had about joining was if it was worth it, and it has been,” Kleimola grins. “I joined STAA for the job market tips and for the leads. Now I love STAA because it helps me improve my play-by-play and keeps me tied to a network of professional broadcasters who’s only mission is to help themselves and others improve.”

(Visit Leroy’s STAA Talent Page).

Nguyen joins broadcast teams at UNCP & Evansville Otters

(April 22, 2019) Many folks struggle to land one job. David Nguyen has landed two. Nguyen is joining fellow STAA member Jon Gross on the broadcasting and video production team for the University of North Carolina-Pembroke Sports Network. He is also joining minor league baseball’s Evansville Otters as a broadcasting & media relations assistant.

Evansville was the first domino to fall, one week before Christmas. “It was the first break that finally paid off; the break I was waiting for ever since I changed my major from nursing to communications in the Fall of 2015 at Villanova,” Nguyen says. “From my last semester at Nova until December 18th of 2018, I’ve worked my tail off to try and get the first entry job in the business. From signing up for STAA last summer the job leads have helped me as well as the weekly advice from [STAA Owner] Jon Chelesnik.”

At UNCP, Nguyen will broadcast multiple sports and hone his reporting and video editing skills. “I’ve been told since the time I was at Villanova that the more skills I learn and have, the more marketable I will be as a candidate and it can lead to much more success in the sports media field.”

Asking other sports broadcasters for advice has been key for Nguyen in building his career. “There are men and women who are established in this field and have experienced a lot of ups and downs,” he says. “The things they have learned on their journey, do’s and do not’s they’ve witnessed, have been very helpful.”

Nguyen has used the referral request technique to grow his network of relationships. At the end of each conversation with a sportscasting mentor, Nguyen asks them to recommend another broadcaster of whom he might ask similar questions.

“For example, after receiving the offer from Evansville, I asked [fellow STAA member] Garrett Greene of the Biloxi Shuckers (who I previously talked to about his assistant position and met at the Winter Meetings) for advice about the offer. He connected me with the previous broadcaster in Evansville, [STAA member] Sam Jellinek, who gave me valuable advice about his experience as the previous voice of the Otters.”

Ironically, Nguyen is following Jellinek both in Evansville and at UNCP.

Experience isn’t the only benefit of his new opportunities to Nguyen. Both also give him a platform to inspire other aspiring sportscasters who are Asian American.

“Everyone is unique, and the unique part of me is that I embrace the fact I am Asian. It’s a part of my personality. Through my experiences in this industry so far, I haven’t noticed a lot of Asian Americans in the sports-media industry. If an Asian American kid from South Jersey can turn his dream into a reality, then I can give hope to others, particularly Asian Americans, that they can achieve success in this field as well.”

Nguyen joined STAA in 2018 after finding it in a Google search during his senior year at Villanova. “After patrolling the site, I became curious if I should become a member. After telling Jon Chelesnik about my story — ditching my scrubs and stethoscope for broadcasting Villanova football and national championship men’s basketball teams — his mission to help young broadcasters like myself find jobs in this industry sold me.”

Nguyen’s advice to new STAA members is to take advantage of more than just the job leads. “Use all the other resources STAA has to offer. The steps on how to land an interview, how to prepare for the interview, the blank game sheets for your broadcasts, and the vocabulary word lists for the main sports have been extremely helpful.”

(Visit David’s STAA Talent Page).

Surprise email leads Krull to NewsChannel 11 in Tennessee

“Jesse(April 17, 2019) Legendary Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey famously said, “Luck is the residue of design.” By that definition, luck – – and ability — have landed Jesse Krull a sports anchor/reporter position at NewsChannel 11 WJHL in Johnson City, TN.

“I’m excited to be able to cover Division I programs like East Tennessee State and the University of Tennessee, along with Bristol Motor Speedway and plenty of high school athletics,” Krull smiles.

“I think this jump will really help me enhance my skills and grow me as a journalist and person.”

Krull moves to WJHL from KCAU9 in Sioux City, IA where he has been Sports Director since July 2016.

The Johnson City opening was emailed to STAA members on January 9th but Krull didn’t apply. “With South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska getting in the thick of state tournament season with wrestling and both [boys and girls] basketball tournaments, I had a lot on my plate. Unfortunately applying for that job got pushed to the side,” he recalls.

Fate smiled upon Krull after a long day at the Iowa Boys State Basketball Tournament. “I woke up to an email from [WJHL News Director] Jay Quaintance saying he saw my reel on YouTube. He liked what he saw and asked if I was looking for job. I talked to him that week, along with [Sports Director] Kenny Hawkins and after a couple weeks got the job.”

Krull has been an STAA member since December. “I knew my contract had about eight months left. I reached out to a couple of agencies and they said they don’t represent sports talent. I wanted an agency that not only made its talent better, but also helped them along the way regarding searching for jobs. I searched and saw STAA and right away after reading the page, I knew it was a fit for me.”

A career challenge for Krull has been getting the attention of employers. “Mr. Quaintance told me that 141 people applied for my job,” he says. “When I heard that number it kind of took me back, but at the same time I knew this industry is competitive. I always know that I have to do anything to give myself the edge over people gunning for the position, so I can’t give people an excuse not to hire me.

“I was told there are two things you can’t teach in this industry: being prepared and hard work. There’s obviously other attributes that make people successful, but I feel if you’re strong in these two traits, which I pride myself on being, you’ll put yourself in a good position.”

(Visit Jesse’s STAA Talent Page).

Ambrose to spend summer calling baseball in Wilmington

(April 16, 2019) The city of Wilmington, NC has been on the mind of Robert Ambrose lately. An STAA post regarding a job with UNC Wilmington left Ambrose curious about the city. That’s when he discovered the Wilmington Sharks of the Coastal Plain League.

“I researched the city of Wilmington and noticed a college summer team (the Sharks) so I decided to reach out and inquire about broadcasting for them. One thing led to another after that.

“This is also the first opportunity I’ve had in college summer baseball or affiliated baseball that isn’t an internship in which you would have to find another opportunity at the end of the season.”

Ambrose’s baseball experience includes being the Director of Broadcasting for the North Adams SteepleCats and Internet sportscasting for CLU TV. His ultimate goal is to be a lead broadcaster in affiliated ball.

The Sharks opportunity allows Ambrose to continue calling basketball and volleyball for Augusta University in Georgia. “This opportunity with the Sharks allows me to be involved in broadcasting year-round.”

The Sharks are one of the original teams from when the Coastal Plain League was founded in 1997. “It’s a sign of hard work and dedication by the Sharks staff,” Ambrose says. “I mentioned it in the first paragraph of my initial cover letter.”

Finding his new job wasn’t an accident for the California Lutheran University graduate. Ambrose was proactive and aggressive in securing the opportunity in North Carolina.

“I think it’s important to be proactive and reach out to as many teams as possible,” he says. “I casted a wide net by reaching out to college summer league teams in addition to teams affiliated baseball.”

So what did he take away from his experience?

“The wider the net you cast, the lower the likelihood for summertime unemployment.” Ambrose points out. “I experienced that last summer and it was no fun. There are many teams that do not publish job openings, especially summer league teams. Do not wait for a job opening to be published before making your first move.”

Ambrose echoed what a wise man once said, “If you snooze, you lose.”

(Visit Robert’s STAA Talent Page).

Proactivity lands Mackey MSU basketball job

(April 8, 2019) When Zach Mackey learned there was an open play-by-play position at Montana State University, he didn’t wait for publication of a position description before applying. Good thing. Applications for the position were never solicited and Mackey is now Bobcats’ men’s basketball voice and football analyst.

The position opened in January when MSU and their previous football/basketball voice parted ways. Women’s basketball voice Jason Alvine will handle football play-by-play.

“In January [STAA] sent an email about not waiting to apply for a position that we knew was open,” Mackey recalls. “I sent my tape to the people at Montana State and to [Learfield IMG VP of Broadcast Operations] Tom Boman in January. The people at Montana State said that they were not going to look at the position until April, but three weeks later Tom Boman reached out and wanted to talk to me about the position before it was ever opened up.

“I appreciate that email [STAA] sent because I probably would not have applied until it was officially opened.”

Mackey is a 2018 graduate of the University of Iowa. He earned three Top 20 recognitions and an All-America honor in STAA’s annual ranking of the nation’s most outstanding collegiate sports broadcasters. Since 2017 he’s been the voice of Iowa baseball on the Learfield IMG Hawkeyes Radio Network.

MSU and Iowa are both Learfield schools, so Mackey will keep his job with Hawkeyes’ baseball.

“A big part of my decision [to accept the MSU job] was to still be able to call baseball and stay around a great group in Iowa, so I’m really happy everyone has agreed to let me do that,” Mackey grins.

Advice from Learfield IMG’s Boman pushed Mackey’s decision over the top.

“I have great respect for Tom, and MSU is a position that people have really enjoyed because of the fan support,” Mackey says. “It is also a situation that Tom thought was good for the next step in my career. When everyone agreed to the decision for me to also do Iowa baseball in the Spring it was the best of both worlds for me to get football and basketball experience while still doing baseball.”

Mackey believes that being a good people person also factored into him getting the gig.

“I have always enjoyed interacting with people. There are a lot of really good broadcasters out there, but to get hired you have to be able to interact with people and show them why they should choose you.”

It was through STAA’s All-America program that Mackey learned of STAA. “I knew that I wanted to apply for that award to see where I stack up and knew that STAA was a great resource.

“I used the free resources that STAA has in the beginning and found them very helpful. In 2016 I was an All-American for the Jim Nantz award. With that, I was given a couple of months free to STAA. After I had the full service I knew how helpful and informative it was and I have been a member since because of all the valuable info that [STAA] sends out.

“Someone just joining STAA should know that they have lots of info at their fingertips and make sure you read it all. There are constantly emails about different things that hiring directors are looking for and what is a good tip and what is something that you should avoid. The job leads are great and can help your career but so are the broadcasting tips to work on each week.”

Mackey says one of the toughest parts of the sports broadcasting industry is ways to set yourself apart. “There are a lot of really talented guys that could do the same job as you. I have tried to separate myself by trying to get more experiences and to meet and network with people in the industry.”

To that end, Mackey attended an STAA Play-by-Play Retreat in San Diego last summer.

Besides broadcasting baseball on the Hawkeye Radio Network, Mackey has called games for a summer collegiate team in Chillicothe, MO and broadcast various sports on the Big Ten Network’s Student U. His start in sportscasting came at Geneseo High School in Geneseo, IL.

“I think that gave me a head start before other people my age,” says Mackey. “[Instructors] Keith Kennitt and Jacob Beeth gave me an opportunity in high school to broadcast games. I approached those games like a major broadcast. That helped prepare me and give me a head start before college.”

Mackey didn’t wait for college to start sportscasting and he didn’t wait for an invitation to apply for MSU.

Sometimes, impatience is a virtue.

(Visit Zach’s website).