(December 16, 2014) When California native Luke Tanaka graduates from college in Chicago next spring he’ll be headed for a summer of baseball in Michigan. Tanaka will be the 2015 broadcaster for the Battle Creek Bombers.
The Bombers play in the Northwoods League.
“This is the perfect opportunity for me to gain experience as a full-time broadcaster. Also, I am very excited about the freedom that I will have to prepare for the broadcast and make sure that the on-air product is as good as it can be. On top of the broadcasting, I’ll also be helping out in the media relations department, which will give me invaluable training and experience.”
With his senior year at Elmhurst College approaching, Tanaka spent the summer months preparing to enter the job market. A chance encounter with a childhood friend granted Tanaka the opportunity to record his demo with a broadcaster’s view at an Oakland A’s game.
“When I wasn’t interning at KNBR, the flagship radio station of the San Francisco Giants, I was practicing my play-by-play in front of the TV. Then, I contacted Bob Rose, the PR Director of the Oakland A’s, through his son who I played Little League baseball with. He allowed me to use the vacant Spanish broadcast booth twice over the summer, where I recorded my mock broadcast with my own equipment.”
“My encounter with Bob Rose’s son was complete chance. We are both college students studying far away from the Bay Area (me in Chicago and him in New Orleans) and ended up bumping into each other in the Oakland Airport’s security line. After talking about our career interests, he mentioned his dad and that he would be willing to connect me with him. I cannot thank him or Bob enough.”
Once his demo was recorded, Tanaka decided the next play was to join STAA—a move that directly led to the Bombers gig.
“I kept tabs on the STAA job boards, but felt that it was time to join because play-by-play broadcasting, specifically baseball, is my passion. Upon joining the STAA a couple of months ago, they connected me with Kelly Cartner of the Kalamazoo Growlers. I sent her my cover letter, resume, and demo tape, talked to her on the phone, and was offered the internship a couple of weeks later. I realized that this is the perfect first step for me in the business and took the job.”
In addition to the internship with KNBR, Tanaka has packed in the broadcasting and athletic experience while at Elmhurst. He is the News and Sports Director at WRSE, a play-by-play and color commentator on BluejayTV and works in the Sports Information office.
Despite the youth of his career, Tanaka has a couple sharp observations that should encourage fellow job hunters to be bold in the market.
“Most of my opportunities came about because I made the extra effort to make a good impression on those around me and ask for the opportunities that I wanted.
“This summer, I met five different sets of play-by-play broadcasters. I was taken aback with how willing the broadcasters were to meet with me and answer my questions. I would have never guessed this, but all I had to do was ask through my connections. I feel so fortunate that I was able to meet these people and I could not thank them enough for their time and advice.”
(Visit Luke’s website).