4 things you can do to beat your competition

Recently, I heard from a young guy who is doing high school and small college play-by-play. He aspires to one day be the voice of a pro team, but he’s concerned with the amount of job market competition.

beat your sportscasting competition

“I am really dedicated to becoming a pro broadcaster, but it’s a bit intimidating to hear how many people are applying to jobs nowadays,” he shared with me. “I get a bit anxious.”

Totally understandable and not at all uncommon. Keep in mind, though, that you control your future. Despite your concern, keep taking steps towards your goals. Productivity decreases anxiety.
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Advice For Landing A DI Play-by-Play Job

If you were starving and needing to catch a fish, would you fish in a lake that has more than 200 fish, or would you fish in a lake with just one fish?

Unfortunately, trying to land a Division I football/basketball play-by-play job is like fishing in a lake with one fish and hundreds of people trying to catch it. One company, Learfield IMG College, manages most of the schools.

You must accept that looking for a DI play-by-play job is a process that is largely out of your control.
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Woodard moving from market 147 to network radio

Lewis Woodard(November 11, 2015) Lewis Woodard is moving from market No. 147 to a national network. After two years in Myrtle Beach, SC, Woodard is joining Yahoo Sports Radio. The full-time position will have Woodard hosting various time slots on YSR and filling in on other Gow Media platforms, including ESPN 97.5 FM in Houston.

“It’s a terrific opportunity,” says Woodard, who has been an STAA member since 2012. “Yahoo Sports Radio sees me as an asset that it wants to develop. For the first time in my career I’ll receive in-house coaching for my on-air work.”

The fact that Yahoo Sports Radio is headquartered in Houston also appeals to Woodard. “I’m moving to a city with the Texans, Rockets and Astros,” he says. “Texas A&M isn’t far away, either. As a sports fan and a talk show host, it’s exciting to know what my media credential is about to give me access to. Hosting on a national platform, you also have a much wider selection of topics to dive into on-air. And it’s a step up financially.”

Yahoo Sports Radio has hired more than 10 STAA members over the years. When Program Director Craig Larson told STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik that he had another opening, Chelesnik sent to Larson the link to Woodard’s STAA Talent Page. “Within 48 hours I had a full time contract offer to join a national network located in a top 10 market,” says Woodard.

“Simply put, without STAA this opportunity wouldn’t have existed for me,” Woodard says. “Without an education in communications or radio, I’ve had to self teach and self critique throughout the years to learn and get better. STAA’s resources have been invaluable in that pursuit. Jon has also worked with me in private and group critique settings. There’s no doubt that STAA has made me a better talk show host.”

Beedon takes unusual path to Motor City Rockers

Roger Beedon was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 1986. He played collegiately at Ohio State, then professionally for the Port Huron Border Cats of the CoHL/UHL. Roger’s son Brady, though, preferred football, basketball and baseball. “It may have also helped that my mom liked the warm gyms and the lower price tag on other sports too,” Brady jokes.

The senior Beedon’s hockey influence wasn’t completely lost on his son, though. Brady is one of the two new play-by-play voices for the Motor City Rockers.

Beedon credits his father for letting him forge his own path. “All the credit in the world to my dad. He never tried to force hockey on me and supported whatever sport I was trying at the time. Despite the fact that I never played hockey, I always would go to games with my dad, basically from birth (pictured).”

The Rockers opportunity arose in quite a roundabout way. They planned on being an expansion team for the 2020-21 FPHL season. Beedon interviewed for the broadcasting position and was told the job was his. The team, though, never got off the ground that season. Fast forward to this year, where Beedon picks up the story.

“I am just a fan at a Port Huron Prowlers game — another team in the FPHL — and I am introduced to the ownership group looking to revive the Rockers brand and take over. I spoke to them about the possibility of being a part of their broadcast team. I also formally applied when the posting came to me in an STAA Jobs Leads+ email.”

After what Beedon calls “a pretty informal process,” he ended up as a part of the broadcast team alongside Ben Szilagy.

Beedon joined STAA after graduating from Wayne State in 2020. “I found STAA through sheer luck of Googling and searching for job openings right out of college. STAA was the only place that seemed to have legit, relevant job leads,” he recalls. “It has also helped me polish my craft through the group critiques that are offered.”

Like his dad, Beedon was a standout athlete — a former fullback at Wayne State University in Detroit. While Beedon is new to Rockers hockey, he isn’t new to sportscasting. He’s the analyst on Wayne State football broadcasts and a fill-in for volleyball and women’s basketball. He also broadcasts St Clair County Community College volleyball, men’s & women’s basketball and high school football, basketball, baseball, and softball.

“I like to have a diverse skill set,” Beedon explains. “I don’t want to pigeon hole myself into just one or two sports, so the opportunity to resume doing professional hockey, and one close to home, was one I wanted to jump on.

“I hope this is not the last job opportunity I find through STAA.”

5 tips to take your play-by-play from good to great

Play-by-play broadcasters all have access to information about fundamentals – time and score, ball location, etc. What sets apart great broadcasters is discovering and implementing advice that isn’t available to the masses. A great way to do that is to ask industry pros to critique your work.

Many sportscasters have shared with me critiques they have received from some of the top play-by-play broadcasters in the industry. Today, I want to share them with you.

Here are 5 tips to take your play-by-play from good to great:
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Graf and his camera going to KNDU in Washington

David Graf aspired for a radio sports broadcasting career until he picked up a TV camera. “It’s still weird seeing myself on camera, but I love being behind the camera. Shooting sports videos and sharing highlight-worthy plays on television and social media is an unbelievable feeling,” he says.

Graf will be doing much of that as he joins KNDU in Kennewick, WA as a sports anchor/reporter. It’s the perfect position for a sports fan who is joined at the hip with his camera.

Achieving a goal

KNDU/KNDO is owned by Cowles Media. It’s a company for which Graf has long wanted to work. “I developed a relationship with the recruiter there and made it a point to check in regularly with him. When I saw there was this opening, I immediately reached out to him and asked if he thought I would be a good fit. He told me I’d be an excellent fit in the Tri Cities. I quickly sent my materials to the News Director [Stephanie Ashley]. I received an interview and took things from there.

Graf moves to the Pacific Northwest after nearly two years at KCWY/KGWN in Casper, WY. He is a 2019 graduate of the University of Wyoming.

Graf joined STAA this year upon the recommendation of Iowa Cubs Broadcaster Alex Cohen, an STAA member since 2011. “The first time I heard about STAA was when I interviewed Alex for a podcast series,” Graf recalls. “He mentioned all of the benefits that he’d received from STAA. I checked out the website more when I was searching for my new job, and I figured the worst that could happen by being a member was that I got a new job out of it.”

Job market changes

Fortunately for Graf, his tongue-in-cheek “worst thing that could happen” unfolded. He got the KNDU job, but not before making critical changes in his job market approach. “The resume and cover letter critiques from [STAA] radically changed my job search,” he states. “The tips and pointers showed immediate results. There wasn’t a job that I applied for after making those tweaks that I didn’t at least receive an interview for.”

He adds, “The one thing that was especially helpful in my job search was being flexible. I was flexible with my reel, resume, cover letter, etc. You have to be willing to change and adapt what you’re sending out into the world to try and grab people’s attention.”

Now Graf is moving to Washington State, a place where he’s long wanted to live. “I have many close friends and family that live only a few hours away from me as opposed to being pretty isolated as I’ve been living in Wyoming for the last couple of years. I’m also excited to cover high school and college sports and Minor League Baseball.”

Accompanying Graf to those events will, of course, be his camera. “When I first picked up a camera to shoot video, I didn’t have much of a clue. But now, it feels strange to be at a sporting event without one.”