Joey Zanaboni’s life philosophy could be, “Have mike, will travel.” His sportscasting career has taken him many places, including Mississippi, Florida and Tennessee. Now, it has taken him home. The St. Louis native is in his first season broadcasting St. Louis Junior Blues hockey.
“The Gateway City is the Mecca of American sports broadcasting,” Zanaboni grins.
“I found the Jr. Blues job through STAA,” Zanaboni recalls. “Growing up in St. Louis, I had been to multiple Jr. Blues games and had friends who played for the organization. It’s first-class all the way.”
The Junior Blues is Zanaboni’s first opportunity to broadcast hockey professionally. “I have called hockey games on and off through the years the old-fashioned way: buying a ticket, showing up in the stands and recording myself doing the game. When the Blues job came up, I was able to carve together a demo tape from these experiences.
Also key to Zanaboni getting the job was his media relations experience. “Five years in NJCAA and NCAA sports information offices have given me a strong background in Photoshop, Premiere, social media management and press release writing. A good portion of the role revolves around these areas, so my experience has certainly come in handy,” he smiles.
The stickers on Zanaboni’s suitcase are numerous. His career includes baseball stints in Wichita, River City, Rockford and Grand Prairie (TX), community college sports in Clarksdale, MS, and NCAA sports in Pensacola.
One constant in Zanaboni’s journeys is STAA. He’s been a member since 2014. “STAA is a tremendous resource. I love finding new opportunities and new adventures. STAA is really the fountain that these spring from,” he says gratefully. “Jon [Chelesnik] is a great guy, and I appreciate the advice he has given to help me sculpt my career. There’s no more valuable resource for young broadcasters. I will definitely stay with STAA for a long time to come.”
Zanaboni references the classic novel On the Road when explaining his sportscasting career.
“I see my sports announcing journey as being a bit of a Jack Kerouac novel. I’m Dean Moriarty – or at least Sal Paradise. I’ve relished the opportunity to become part of communities across the country, from Clarksdale, Mississippi to Pensacola, Florida to Johnson City, Tennessee.
“I don’t consider myself a traditional sports broadcaster. I see myself more as an itinerant poet, learning about other communities and cultures and letting my love for them electrify my broadcasts.
“My travels have taught me many things – now I have the chance to bring them to my hometown. It’s a pleasure.”