Over the course of just seven days, Dan Lucero went from having no job prospects to accepting his next opportunity. An STAA member, Lucero is joining Rocking M Radio in Colby, KS as operations manager, sports talk host and play-by-play broadcaster.
He replaces fellow STAA member Jackson Schneider, who left for a position in Junction City, KS.
With high school football starting soon in Kansas, Rocking M was in a hurry to find Schneider’s replacement.
“Their GM Chad Jones called a mutual acquaintance, [fellow STAA member] Adam Kadavy, who I’ve gotten to know covering K-State games and high school sports over the last four years,” says Lucero. “Kadavy knew I was looking for work and put in a good word for me, and Chad reached out to me to gauge my interest. The very next day I drove to Colby and interviewed, and I accepted the job a few days later.”
Lucero is the third STAA member hired by the Colby station in recent years. Ross Volkmer in 2011 was the first and is still with the company,
Lucero spent the past four years at the legendary WIBW in Topeka, KS before being laid-off, and eventually, let go earlier this year.
“I was furloughed in mid-April. It caught me a little off guard at the time, but I figured a furlough was better than a lay-off and certainly anticipated being able to return. August 3rd was when I found out I wouldn’t be returning.”
Lucero recalls August 3rd as an especially hard day. “I wasn’t looking to leave WIBW. I loved my co-workers and the work I was able to do there. It was tremendously disappointing to fall victim to a corporate lay-off but that’s the reality of these unprecedented times in our world. And it’s also not the first time I’ve found myself unexpectedly unemployed in my career. So I never let myself get too low. There are a lot of people out there who have it worse than I do. I have my health, and a great support system. So it was important to me to avoid bitterness and frustration, be grateful for what I did have, and make sure I was ready for whatever might come next.”
Through everything, Lucero maintained faith in his talent, experience and resiliency. He also made sure his demo and resume were up to date. “And in this I have learned that there are people I have encountered along the way that are willing to put in a good word for me. I was networking all this time while I didn’t even realize it – and all the while I had thought I wasn’t very good at networking!”
Something Lucero especially appreciates about his new job in Colby is the security that comes with being in management. “I’m very happy to have the Operations Manager title so that whether or not there’s a fall sports season, and whatever shape sports schedules take for the 2020-21 academic year and beyond, I’ll still have a steady job. I’m looking forward to adding some administrative responsibilities, as I think that will only bolster my understanding of the radio business.”
Striving to be his best
Lucero has been an STAA member for eight years. He joined for the purpose of maximizing his ability and opportunities. “When I started my professional broadcasting career I knew that no matter where it took me, whether it was doing the World Series or doing high school football for 50 years, I wanted to be the best broadcaster I could possibly be. I think I owe that to the athletes whose stories I get to tell, that I tell them to the best of our ability every single time. And STAA is unmatched when it comes to providing resources so that I can continue to hone my skills and be the best broadcaster I can be.”
Another reason Lucero keeps his STAA membership is because of what he believes it says about his commitment to success. “It’s an invaluable as a networking tool,” he says. “I believe that just having an STAA membership in common with someone is a signal that this is a person who takes the craft seriously and who is worth getting to know.”
Now a chain involving three STAA dominoes – one leaving a position, one making a recommendation and one filling a position – has led Lucero to his next opportunity.
“Colby is a great sports town, so I’m ecstatic to be the play-by-play voice of what look to be some very good Eagles teams this coming season, especially during hoops season with the opening of their brand new arena,” he says excitedly.
“This opportunity has come together so fast that it feels like it was meant to be.”