Pardon TJ Wengert if his voice sounds scratchy. He will be calling play-by-play for more than 150 games per year as the new Director of Digital Media/Play-by-Play Voice at the University of Lynchburg.
“It’s an awesome opportunity as a young broadcaster to get a ton of play-by-play reps as we plan on broadcasting 175 games or so for the 10 sports that are broadcasted,” Wengert enthuses.
Additionally, the University of Lynchburg is the only NCAA DIII school with a contract to broadcast their games on ESPN3.
Wengert joined STAA last year on the recommendation of Longwood University Lancers voice and former STAA member Sam Hovan. He found the Lynchburg opportunity in an STAA Job Leads email. “Once I saw the description, I immediately started to work on my cover letter and sent off my application.”
Wengert spent recent summers broadcasting baseball in the Coastal Plain League, first with the Morehead City Marlins and later the Tri-City Chili Peppers. “I love baseball, but college broadcasting was always in my mind as where I wanted to go if I got the chance. At my alma mater, Longwood University, I was blessed to call all eight sports that we streamed on ESPN+. The challenge of doing different sports was one that I wanted to have again.”
Calling 10 different sports at Lynchburg also allows Wengert to broaden his skill set. “It will push me to be a better broadcaster and storyteller overall as I will have to adapt to the sport. You don’t call a basketball game like a baseball game because the pace is so different and I love being able to do both. So for me, I wanted the chance to get back to that.”
Since graduating from Longwood last year, Wengert credits STAA with helping him overcome the growing pains of a young sportscasting career. “Just like young athletes make mistakes that can cost themselves and/or their team, I think young broadcasters do so too,” he says. “[STAA] helped me understand what qualities make up a great broadcaster and showed me the little things that we should look for in how our colleagues call games.”
Wengert adds that STAA has also helped him polish play-by-play and format his resume. “[STAA Owner Jon Chelesnik] has been so helpful with giving me feedback on plenty of play-by-play samples I’ve sent his way. He’s helped me retool my resume and he’s built a community of sports broadcasters who are all looking to help one another. So I’m beyond grateful to be a STAA member and a part of that community.”
“Jon also took my disaster of a resume and helped me make it something that won’t repel potential employers upon looking at it,” he smiles.
Scratchy voice or not, Wengert is fired up for his new opportunity. “A combination of getting to call a lot of games for a wide variety of sports and getting to do so for a high level DIII school on a great platform made it a great chance for me to improve as a broadcaster!”