(January 25, 2019) Chalk-up another win for relationship-building. A referral from a friend has landed Zachary Bryan a news, sports and play-by-play position at K101 in Woodward, OK.
The opportunity was emailed to STAA members in late October. Bryan, though, found the position through a friend. “I’ve been reaching out to people for feedback on my broadcasting and one of them let me know of an opening out in Oklahoma, I visited for a few days and they offered me the job.”
The same friend who told Bryan about the job also recommended him for the position. “Once you have a foot in the door and someone on your side it makes the job process so much easier. Showing the owner what I can do and bring to the table myself made the difference. I definitely wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to do that if I didn’t have someone who contacted me about the opening,” says Bryan.
Moving to Oklahoma was necessary for Bryan after spending the first 10 years of his career in the South. “I needed to be able to grow into a more complete professional and unfortunately I was only being given contract or part-time opportunities,” he says. “I knew I wanted to go full-time. K101 gave me the chance to grow and I took it.”
Bryan graduated from Columbia State Community College in Tennessee in 2010. In 2013 he landed his first play-by-play job, calling hockey for Vanderbilt University’s club team. Since then he’s broadcast for the University of Alabama Huntsville and for the Huntsville Force of the North American Basketball League.
Last year Bryan received a criticism that turned around his career.
“I received some negative feedback from a disgruntled viewer,” Bryan recalls. “He told a good friend of mine that I was getting worse on my play by play for UAH hockey. While I knew I wasn’t worse, I realized I wasn’t getting any better. I turned that negative in to a positive. Starting to have more people review and critique my calls elevated my game. If anything, I have [the critic] to thank for giving me a reality check.”
Bryan first joined STAA in 2012. “I’m a member because the organization has stuck by me even when I was having trouble just paying the fee from month to month. I appreciate the job leads, the advice, and the resources available but the biggest thing was sticking with me even when things were roughest. I’m loyal to people who are loyal to me.”
Bryan’s advice to young sportscasters is to be tenacious. “It’s going to be a long, arduous journey,” he says. “You will have more downs than ups, but the ups will carry you through. It took me three years [after college] to get on air and another two to get back on air. Be patient and persevere.”