A global pandemic couldn’t stop Hunter Baumgardt from pursuing his career goals. After months of job searching, he’s joining WJJQ radio in Tomahawk, WI, as a play-by-play announcer and show host.
Baumgardt graduated in December of 2019 from The University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. That is when he joined STAA upon the suggestion of his former employer, Dave Carney, who is the morning show host at WKTY. Baumgardt shares, “I graduated a semester early to get a head start on my career. Unfortunately after two months, the sports media industry took one of the hardest hits it ever has taken when the pandemic hit.”
Even amidst the challenges of the pandemic, he kept applying to jobs. But he didn’t stop there. Baumgardt built on his previous broadcasting experience by focusing on the sports podcast he’d started the week before the pandemic shut things down.
He sought out people who would be relevant to listeners and viewers in Wisconsin. He explains, “I ended up interviewing Sam Dekker and Olivia Harlan Dekker (together), Brian Anderson, Lisa Salters, Jeff Levering (Brewers Radio), and Jim Paschke (Bucks TV) among others. I learned so much, provided content to my followers, and got my name out there in some bigger circles.”
But after 45 episodes, the Hunter Baumgardt Sports Podcast is on pause as the host gladly focuses on his new responsibilities at WJJQ.
Eager to grow
Among other things, he’ll host his own sports show and provide the play-by-play for all Tomahawk Hatchet High School sports. He says, “Being able to call over five different sports for WJJQ will give me a wealth of experience and allow me to grow my play-by-play skills, even beyond the major sports of football, basketball, and baseball. Plus, being able to create my own sports show will allow me to continue to improve as a show host, and use my knowledge of Wisconsin sports on a regular basis.”
While he did apply for jobs all over the country, Baumgardt is thrilled to get to stay in Wisconsin. “Staying in the Midwest, specifically Wisconsin, was important to me because I have a great passion for Wisconsin and Midwest sports. My sports knowledge runs deep when it comes to Wisconsin sports, and being able to use that knowledge and overall fandom for the teams I talk about on a daily basis, is something I desired.”
The WJJQ job came to Baumgardt’s attention through a connection at a Milwaukee radio station. He says, “I can’t stress enough how important networking is in the sports radio industry.”