Grasping the degree of sacrifice required for a successful sports broadcasting career was challenging for Zach McKinstry. Now, though, the pieces are falling into place. Just months after being hired by a summer collegiate baseball team, McKinstry is adding more college sports to his resume. He will be the Director of the University of North Carolina-Pembroke (UNCP) Sports Network for the coming season.
UNCP offers McKinstry the chance to broaden his skill set. “Not only do I get to expand my broadcasting range, calling several different sports for the school, but I also get to work on some video production, creative media, and marketing and promotional projects.”
Following up his application was crucial in McKinstry earning the job. “I thought the interview went well, but when I hadn’t heard back in a while I stayed persistent and it helped get me the position.”
Learning the sportscasting industry
A 2021 graduate of the University of South Carolina, McKinstry admits to not initially understanding the discipline required for success in sportscasting. “It was really challenging for me to embrace and understand the grind it takes to be in this business,” he recalls. “At school I would sometimes feel like I was missing out on time with friends to work on my craft on a broadcast late Friday night or the weekend. My last year of school, and this long college summer ball season, has helped me find how to balance the two. It’s helped me stay passionate about following my dream.”
The UNCP position fits neatly with McKinstry’s summer schedule calling baseball for the Western Nebraska Pioneers of the Expedition League. “After I accepted a seasonal position with a summer league baseball team, I wanted something that could allow me to work into the spring. I looked for all the school broadcasting positions I could, and this seemed like the perfect fit.”
Help from STAA
McKinstry joined STAA this year upon the recommendation of his college roommate and fellow STAA member Dillon Clark. “Both jobs I have had post-grad have come from STAA,” he says. “The league I’m in now, every broadcaster is in STAA. And it’s relieving to have a space where we can share professional thoughts about the industry together, and also pick up pieces of advice from colleagues to make us better.”