Imagine yourself getting a play-by-play job at the highest level of minor league baseball or hockey (Triple A and the AHL) without any experience broadcasting either sport. That is what happened when Craig Elsten was hired this month as the voice of the AHL’s San Diego Gulls.
And you know what? Craig earned and deserved it.
I have known Craig for 20 years, since he was an intern when I worked at XTRA Sports 690 in San Diego. Although he has never broadcast hockey, he has called football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. He has been a sports update anchor, reporter and talk show host. And he has done radio and TV.
And you know what else? After moving to San Diego for college, Craig never left.
Elsten understood the opportunities that come in a major market for someone who works hard.
Craig worked his way up from intern, to board op, to producer, to air talent. And now he is broadcasting just one step below the NHL.
Regular followers of STAA know that I am a huge advocate of getting into a major market. That is where the best opportunities are found. Want more examples?
- I parlayed part-time work in San Diego into my own show on ESPN Radio Network.
- Jared Sandler turned a sports update anchor gig in Dallas and two seasons of Class-A baseball into a play-by-play job with the Texas Rangers.
- Wayne Randazzo was broadcasting Class-A baseball but he was doing it in Chicago and working at one of the local sports stations when the New York Mets hired him.
The best talent is in major markets, so that is where top employers look to fill openings.
Small pots are perfect for young plants. The plants are protected while they establish themselves and grow. Eventually, though, the plants need bigger pots.
Big plants don’t grow in small pots.