(October 13, 2015) Sometimes, the toughest part of taking the next step in a sports broadcasting career is knowing when to do it.
Ross Lippman recently faced this decision. After three months of challenging decisions and anxious moments, Lippman is moving to the next stage of his career. The 2013 Jim Nantz Award winner (presented annually by STAA to the nation’s most outstanding collegiate sports broadcaster) and STAA member is joining ABC 27 WHTM in Harrisburg, PA as an all platform sports journalist.
“I’ll anchor and report in some capacity every day, and help build the station’s presence on the air and on the web,” says Lippman. “I’m excited to be working for [Sports Director] Gregg Mace, who has been at ABC27 for over 35 years. I’m also reuniting with Pat Welter, who I went to Emerson College with while he was in their graduate program.”
Lippman moves to Pennsylvania after two years at WVNY/WFFF in Burlington, VT. With the expiration of his contract rapidly approaching, Lippman had to decide whether to sign an extension at the station he loved, or play the job market and face unemployment for an indeterminate period of time.
It was a very difficult decision.
“Obviously, having a job is the best way to maintain financial security, but I also had to gauge the likelihood that I would land back on my feet, and if I did, somewhere that would allow me to continue growing and developing my skills as a broadcaster,” says Lippman. “Vermont is a beautiful place, and I felt a great deal of loyalty toward the people that gave me my first job in the business. But I ultimately decided the best decision for me was to move on.”
Lippman wanted to be sure that the way he handed his departure reflected his respect for his former employer. “I wanted to leave there on very good terms, and express my gratitude and appreciation to the people who supported me while I was there. I’ve heard too many stories about people and their sour grapes toward ‘this station’ and ‘that company.’ I didn’t want that at all,” says Lippman.
As Lippman weighed his decision then pursued his next opportunity, he leaned heavily upon several mentors for advice. “Whenever I have an important decision to make, I like to call and ask a handful of people what they think. I pick their brains and try to get both sides of the coin,” Lippman says. “Some people might see that as indecision on my part, but I like to think of it as taking the people I trust most and valuing their opinions. I have several mentors and friends who have supported me, especially Mike Curkov and Brendan Fitzgerald.
“I’ve also received a huge amount of support and mentoring from STAA. From their daily services of job leads and the updating of my Talent Page, to many lengthy phone calls with Jon Chelesnik, I was never without advice and guidance.”
Lippman admits feeling considerable anxiety over the three months of unemployment. “I was lucky to leave Vermont in July, and return to my hometown on Cape Cod. So I was greeted by a lot of days on the beach and plenty of sunshine,” he smiles. “For the first few weeks it was a much needed vacation. After that, my daily routine became the same — applying to stations and following up with anyone I may have interacted with about a job. After a month and a half went by, I started to become concerned. Once the calendar turned to September I knew I would have to get back to work, in television or not, and that’s when Gregg Mace reached out to me in Harrisburg.
“I did want to find a good place for my next job, and I wanted it to be for a station that could help me become a better journalist and storyteller. It took much more time to get there than I anticipated, but I’m very glad to have waited and not given up on finding it.”
(Visit Ross’s STAA Talent Page).