Van Camp lands job in Kansas town steeped in family history

Kolby Van Camp’s first full-time sports broadcasting job is going to be in a city where his family planted roots more than a century ago. After he graduates with is Masters from Kansas State University next month, Van Camp will head west to Garden City, KS to join the Western Kansas Broadcast Center.

“I have 120 years of family history in Garden City,” Van Camp explains. “My dad covers the local hospital as an interventional radiologist. My cousin is faculty at the college. My aunt and uncle live on the family farm outside of town. There were a hundred reasons for me to be in Garden City.”

Kansas roots

Garden City is less than two hours from the Kansas community after which Van Camp is named – Colby. And though he was born in Oklahoma, Van Camp considers himself a Kansan. “I grew up in Topeka and spent all my life between Topeka, Lawrence, and Manhattan. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!”

At the Western Kansas Broadcast Center, Van Camp will be the voice of Garden City Community College football, basketball and baseball. He’ll also call many high school sports and create a daily sports report to air on all Western Kansas Broadcast Center stations.

Always ready

The opportunity was emailed to STAA members on March 15th. It was never posted on STAA’s public job board. Van Camp recalls he was in New Mexico when he learned of the opening. “Funny story! I happened to be driving back from doing a podcast episode at the Very Large Array (radio telescope facility) in New Mexico over my spring break when the job came open. I had been keeping a copy of my résumé and sample cover letter handy in case a job opened up that I was interested in. What do you know, it opened up while I was somewhere in the middle of nowhere in eastern New Mexico. I applied from the side of the road.”

Van Camp’s resume is strong. He graduated from Kansas State in 2022 with a Bachelor of Music Education and a Bachelor of Music, Composition. In May, he’ll earn his Master of Science in Mass Communications from KSU. He’ll also graduate this year with a Master of Music in Music Technology – Film Music from Southern Utah University.

Keeping his demo and resume handy was especially key for Van Camp’s pursuit of the position. “I always had a copy of my résumé and sample cover letter that included my demo with me wherever I went. Whether it was on my phone, on a thumb drive on my car keys, on my computer, it was easily accessible. That allowed me to apply for jobs at the drop of a hat, and timing is everything in this business.

“The other thing was that I worked hard building relationships with the local folks who are legendary in the broadcasting industry. Not to be transactional, but to learn and sit at the feet of the masters. Ultimately, I feel that gave me a competitive advantage. I tell anyone I meet to always be open to meeting new people and learning from everyone. I’m truly humbled by the help they’ve given me over the last few years. Wouldn’t be where I am without them!”

Help from STAA

Van Camp joined STAA in January. “[STAA] helped me build a better demo, helped me crush my résumé, helped me build better relationships, helped me prepare for my interview, and helped me follow up with the folks who are now my new employers fairly early on in the interview process. There are just a lot of practical skills that were excellent to get a different perspective on.”

Now, Van Camp is moving to Garden City to dig his family’s roots even deeper. “I’d honestly been trying to think up a way to get into Garden City one way or another, and it all just worked out. I’m very thankful and humbled for the opportunity.”

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