Cory Sparks strives for one thing each time he goes on the air. “It is my goal for an audience to have the best time of their day when they consume my work.” Listeners in Beaver Dam, WI will have that opportunity. Sparks is joining ESPN Beaver Dam and 95.3 WBEV.
Among many duties, Sparks will host an on-air shift and broadcast play-by-play. “It allows me to do a little bit of everything. My primary love of calling games is included, as I get to call a variety of high school sports on an ESPN affiliated station. Along with this responsibility, I am hosting radio shows, conducting interviews, putting together daily SportsCenter reports, writing online stories, learning the sales and marketing end of broadcasting, community relations and so much more.”
Sparks is a 2023 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. He’s said yes to numerous opportunities over the past four years, from broadcasting various play-by-play to serving as sports director for the campus TV station. Sparks’ proactivity prepared him for the Beaver Dam opportunity. “I was proactive in volunteering to broadcast games at the NCAA level, going after college leadership positions in radio/tv/newspaper, getting an internship in the Northwoods League as a play-by-play broadcaster and so much more. I diversified my skillset and am a go-getter. That’s what got me to where I’m at today.”
While proactivity has been a strength for Sparks, an occasional challenge has been receiving critiques of his work. He admits, “While critiques are necessary in broadcasting, I’ve caught myself being too negative and letting constructive criticism turn to pessimism. Through positive affirmation, more and more structured research, and remembering that I do this because I love it, I have been able to overcome that hurdle.”
Referred to STAA
Sparks joined STAA two months before graduating this year. “My professor at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Wendell Ray, introduced me to the Jim Nantz Award. From there, I did some research and learned what STAA was about and how I could use it as a resource in my broadcasting journey.
“I was a little hesitant about joining STAA when I didn’t know fully know what benefits came with joining it. However, just like with anything else, I did my research and learned that this could be a phenomenal opportunity as I transition from college into the professional world.”
ESPN Beaver Dam and 95.3 WBEV is another phenomenal opportunity for Sparks, who loves to learn. “[This job] allows me to learn everything about sports broadcasting. By gaining a broader scope of the industry, I’ll have more insight when doing the specific aspects I love most.”
Being on-air also provides Sparks the opportunity to make his listeners’ days a bit more pleasant. “At the end of the day, it’s my job to tell a story and leave a lasting impact on others.”