Jake Hibbard is heading to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. That is where he’ll be calling games as the new sports director for The Mitchell Radio Group.
Hibbard is thrilled to fill the shoes of broadcasting legend Tim Smith, who has been the voice of Mitchell High School and Dakota Wesleyan University for nearly 50 years. He says, “That comes with a lot of pressure, but it also means I will be coming into a sports crazed community with a stellar radio reputation.”
After a few seasons of trying to make the jump to college sports, Hibbard is excited for the chance to call college football and basketball.
He’s currently the voice of the Green River Wolves, a 4A high school in southwestern Wyoming. His new position will allow him to continue to call high school games at Mitchell High. He adds, “I also love the environment of high school sports, so it will be great to be able to stay involved in that sphere as well.”
Perfecting his application
Hibbard heard about the sports director position in early February, but the application deadline wasn’t until the end of the month. He took advantage of that extended deadline to update his website, add new clips, and redo his resume. He even listened to an entire girls’ college tournament game. He admits, “I was a little worried that taking too long would mean that I would be an afterthought by the time I actually applied.”
He also added some personal touches to his cover letter, a tip he learned from STAA. Hibbard studied up and learned that Dakota Wesleyan basketball games are played in The World’s Only Corn Palace. So he decided to open his cover letter with “Get me to the Corn Palace!”
He shares, “I went back and forth on whether I should keep that opening. I ultimately went for it — and in my final interview, my GM asked me, ‘Well, what is it going to take to get you to the Corn Palace?’”
An STAA member since 2017, Hibbard advises new members to use the resources STAA provides. He explains, “I love the daily tips, reminders and anecdotes that Jon [Chelesnik] puts together. I took advantage of the 2020 Sportscasting Summit and was able to learn from some of the industries’ finest like Kevin Harlan and Bob Costas. The job tips are invaluable and worth the cost of admission alone for anyone hoping to land a job in the industry.”