(November 4, 2014) Even unusually talented people face challenges in the sports broadcasting job market. It happened to Ian Steele. Some changes in his approach, though, yielded immediate dividends. An STAA client, Steele is joining KIII-TV ABC in Corpus Christi, TX as a Sports Anchor/Reporter.
The second ranked collegiate sportscaster in the country in STAA’s 2014 All-America program, Steele is a recent graduate of Emerson College in Boston. He is especially excited to cover high school football in a state where fans are notably passionate about the sport.
“I get to cover Texas high school football five days a week. What’s not to like about that?!,” Steele says excitedly. “I’ve gotten a chance to research and explore Corpus Christi since getting down here this week, and it’s a wonderful, beautiful city that seems to have a lot of pride in its local teams. I walked into a convenience store the other day, and they were selling high school football memorabilia at the front counter.”
Landing his first job took a bit longer than Steele anticipated. His talent was never an issue. However, the composition of his demo was presenting a challenge.
“There’s an old saying that hiring managers and news directors will decide whether they like you or not after 30-seconds,” Steele says. “Apparently, they didn’t like me based on my first 30-seconds. My reel was very abstract at first. I hosted talk shows and debate shows mostly, and that showed my creative writing style, sure. My thinking was, ‘There are so many college news stations out there now. Everyone’s doing the same thing. Emerson has incredible facilities and the student producers there are so creative, I’m going to stick out with these kinds of looks.’”
Eventually, Steele came to realize that, by trying to be different on his reel, he was being a bit overwhelming for traditional sports anchor jobs. “That showed after a quiet summer [not] hearing from stations,” Steele says. “Even my news director here at KIII expressed concerns when he called me. Funny enough, I was in the process of putting together a more traditional, newsier reel with more highlights, readers, standups, etc. after getting advice from [STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik] and other STAA members when 3News called me. Funny how that works out.
Steele credits STAA for lending a helping hand.
“I don’t know what I would’ve done without STAA. “The service they gave me was unbelievable. I was confident coming out of college that I’d have a job by September. Obviously, it took a while, and at first I wasn’t doing the little things that Jon knows about to help me get noticed. When I was worried, I called and e-mailed Jon looking for advice and tips, and he even checked in with me. He made me feel like I was his only client. He cut the fat out of my cover letters; he helped me rearrange and restructure my reel, and even helped me with the content of it (what stories are good for what types of jobs, etc.) Even after I got the call, his understanding of media contracts put my mind at ease.”
While Corpus Christi is far from New England, Steele says it isn’t all that much different.
“Well, it is and it isn’t,” he says. “It’s far away, and I have a big family in New England that I’m sad to be away from. But in terms of sports coverage, both New England and South Texas are fanatics. Driving around, there are Cowboys flags, Texans bumper stickers, and local high school car paint all over the place. Sure, New England’s pro sports teams were unreal while I was growing up there, but here in Corpus there’s NFL-sized pride for high school football.”
(Visit Ian’s STAA Talent Page).