(August 4, 2015) For a podcaster, parlaying their experience into a sportscasting job at a local radio station is a major accomplishment. Zack Spears has parlayed his podcast into a national sports talk radio gig. An STAA member and ex-Big 12 football player, Spears is joining Yahoo Sports Radio’s fall football lineup
A former offensive lineman at Iowa State University, Spears will be co-hosting YSR’s Saturday and Sunday college football shows and filling-in on the network’s other programming. He will also have limited duties on YSR’s sales staff.
Prior to joining Yahoo Sports Radio, Spears did freelance reporting and analyst work for the CBS TV and ESPN Radio affiliates in Tyler, TX. He also worked as an on-site analyst at Dallas Cowboys games, covered college basketball for 247sports, including Boston College, and aided with the coverage of Georgetown and Duke Blue Devils coverage. In addition, Spears created his own podcast network and hosted five shows a week on a variety of sports topics.
Spears accomplished all of this while holding down a full-time sales job outside of the broadcasting industry.
“I have just always felt like sports broadcasting was my calling and what I was meant to do,” says Spears. “I have always wanted to do it and I am a dream chaser that doesn’t mind working hard.”
One key to Spears’ success is his careful study of the sports broadcasting industry. “I started reading more about the business, studying other hosts, listening to podcasts and watching videos,” he says.
Spears big break with Yahoo Sports Radio came immediately after he joined STAA.
“[In studying the industry] I started noticing two things that everything always came back to, either a mentor/coach or STAA,” Spears says. “With STAA you get both, and I was very familiar with STAA . Lots of friends and people I’ve worked with use it.
“I finally signed up because I mainly wanted to start using their membership learning tools. I didn’t think I would get a phone from Jon [Chelesnik] himself or have him start e-mailing me right away checking in on me and wanting to get to know me. Jon called on Day 2 of my membership, we had a great convo, then about half way through Jon mentioned that he may have a perfect place for me to work. Literally the next thing I knew I was emailing, then on the phone with Craig Larson, Program Director at Yahoo! Sports Radio.”
Spears made a memorable first impression on Chelesnik.
“On rare occasions you meet a person who you know immediately is going to be successful at whatever they do,” Chelesnik says. “Zack made that impression on me, which is why I was so eager to introduce him to Craig.”
“Anyone can accomplish anything as long as they have the courage to pursue it and work hard,” Spears suggests.