Non-traditional ways to start your sportscasting career

radio studioThe traditional path to a sports broadcasting career might not be for you.

The common route is to earn a degree from a four-year school, start in a small market, and work your way up. That is certainly the most reliable path.

But it isn’t the only path.

If you don’t have the time or money for four years of school, take a sports broadcasting curriculum at a local community college. Just be sure to choose a school that has a campus radio station. You’ll want the on-air reps for your demo and resume.

Here are three additional game plans you can try:
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You must follow-up

A client recently called me to vent about the job market. He’s been a small and mid-market sportscaster for more than a decade but has struggled to earn bigger opportunities. I asked him what he was doing to follow-up his applications. His answer stunned me. In short, he said he doesn’t follow-up – that his ability should speak for itself and that he didn’t feel he should have to “brown nose” anyone for the sake of getting a job.

Wow! My jaw nearly cracked when it hit the floor.

cell phone

It’s called the job market for a reason. You have to market yourself. The top 15% of applicants for any job are all equally talented. What are you going to do to set yourself apart within that group? Many employers intentionally make the application challenging as a way to separate the industrious from the indolent.
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Grant to broadcast Bellingham baseball

“Dave(February 4, 2014) Dave Grant’s sports broadcasting career has been following a northward path, up the west coast. Next stop, Washington state. An STAA client, Grant is the new voice baseball of the Bellingham Bells.

The Bells are members of the West Coast League. “I am very grateful to be calling the action for a really reputable summer collegiate baseball team in Bellingham and look forward to the future,” says Grant.

Grant’s play-by-play career began in Southern California at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo. He is currently broadcasting a variety of sports for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The opportunity to pack in more than fifty game reps over the course of the two and a half month collegiate summer season is invaluable for a young career.

“This is very similar to minor league baseball, where there is a continuous flow of broadcasts on a consistent basis,” says Grant. “It also affords me the opportunity to work in a reputable front office and grow not only my resume and experience, but the Bells broadcasting experience as well.”

Grant applied immediately after receiving notification of the Bells opening through STAA’s job emails. Vigilance and early application is a practice he highly recommends if you’re on the hunt.

“Do not wait to apply and be aggressive. The sooner the better. This was something that Jon Chelesnik stresses on a regular basis, and trust me- it works. The longer you wait, the more applicants become interested. Get your foot in the door early– it’s easy to say and even easier to do.”

Grant is also an advocate of self-critiques as a way to improve, ultimately making yourself a more marketable broadcaster.

“Listen to game tapes. Make your own critiques about your broadcasts. You will learn so much about yourself as a broadcaster this way. Plenty of fans and listeners will tell you good things about your call, but very few will be completely honest. This is where your critique comes in. Be critical of yourself. Trust me, you will have better calls down the road because of this simple, yet tricky, advice.

“I want to STAA Talent for providing this opportunity to me. I will continue to count on STAA for the future of my broadcasting career.”

(Visit Dave’s STAA Talent Page).

Member Testimonials

View Employer Testimonials

How many of your friends are STAA members?

“Jon Chelesnik and his services at STAA have been immensely helpful in landing this job. His coaching and counsel over the past two years aided me in positioning myself favorably and accentuating the best of what I have to offer. With such significant insight into our industry and what employers are looking for, he’s a fantastic resource for sports broadcasters seeking that next job.”


Play-by-Play Broadcaster, Kansas University

“Without my STAA Premier membership, I would never have known about the job.”


Play-by-Play Broadcaster, Montana State University

“[STAA] has coached me up through the whole process. How to design letters, emails, phone call preparation, resume design, and demo DVDs. “[STAA CEO] Jon Chelesnik has given me, and continues to give me, outstanding guidance and advice as I seek each and every year to improve my skills and network as a college basketball analyst. Jon has pushed me to go outside of my comfort zone and the result has been growth and confidence in my abilities. Jon always calls me coach, but Jon Chelesnik is the true coach in this relationship!”


College Basketball TV Analyst

“STAA and Jon Chelesnik provide an outstanding service to sportscasters. The audition tape is the best I’ve ever come across and the assistance with potential employment is outstanding. I would highly recommend STAA to any broadcaster looking for employment.”


Play-by-Play Broadcaster, Colorado Rockies

“Jon called on Day 2 of my membership, we had a great convo, then about half way through Jon mentioned that he may have a perfect place for me to work. Literally the next thing I knew I was emailing, then on the phone with Craig Larson, Program Director at Yahoo! Sports Radio.”


Sports Talk Host, Yahoo! Sports Radio Network

“Having the ability to find out about jobs that are out there before the general public finds out gives you a chance to beat everyone else.”


Reporter, Atlanta Braves Radio Network

“[STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik has] been an invaluable resource to me. All the phone calls that we have had, the advice, the recommendations, settling me down when I became flustered, were so important. I cannot thank [him] enough.”


Sports Talk Host/Anchor, Sports Radio 610 KILT, Houston, TX

“This opportunity would not have been possible without my STAA Talent Page. When the job opened up, Tom Boman at Learfield used it to advise the people at Zimmer (Radio Group) of potential candidates.”


Play-by-Play Broadcaster, University of Missouri Women’s Basketball

“Thanks for your service STAA. It’s been a boon to me and my career.”


Sports Director, ESPN Radio, Marquette, MI

“A couple of months ago I was contemplating canceling my STAA account to save a little money. If I had done that I would not have this opportunity.”


Sports Director, KVHT Radio, Yankton, SD

“I wasn’t sure if signing up with [STAA] was the right move, but I’m pretty sure this means I was a jackass for not doing it two years ago.”


Play-by-Play Broadcaster, East Texas Pump Jacks Baseball

“Simply put, I would not be where I am today without STAA’s help. No other organization has the job postings that STAA has, and that doesn’t even include all of the personal critique, input and advice that [STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik] has given me over the years. It’s so nice to have someone in the industry that I can call and simply bounce ideas off of or ask for a sincere opinion on a position.”


Play-by-Play Broadcaster, Hickory Crawdads Baseball

“The career planning and consulting is really worth being a part of something special like [STAA].”


Anchor/Host, WCBS News Radio 880, New York City

“I mean this is in all sincerity — if STAA didn’t exist I would feel overwhelmed about the job search.”


Morning Drive Co-Host, Rip City Radio, Portland, OR

“Jon and STAA have been paramount in allowing me to pursue my career and passion. The Talent Page is an incredible tool to allow potential employers to see and hear my work without jumping through a lot of hoops. I appreciate so much that Jon has always returned my calls and provided me with incredibly well intentioned advice. There is no way I could have [landed this job] without STAA, I am forever grateful.”


Sports Talk Host, News-Talk 1320, Lawrence, KS

“STAA has been incredibly helpful to me over the last couple months. There are so many job lead emails about jobs I’d never know about. Thanks again [to STAA]. I definitely couldn’t have done it without you.”


Broadcaster, K101/Z92, Woodward, OK

“There’s an enormous amount of credibility with STAA in the industry as I learned along the way.”


Sports Director, KATE 1450 AM, Albert Lea, MN

“STAA seems to be constantly looking for new ways to gives clients a positive experience. I would not have achieved some of my short-term goals without [STAA’s] guidance and I will be a client for a long time to come.”


Play-by-Play Broadcaster, Rockford Aviators Baseball

“Having STAA by my side was critical to my success. Having [STAA CEO] Jon Chelesnik to guide me through the proper steps of an application was a massive help. I didn’t realize how some of the little mistakes I was making were possibly costing me jobs. I wish I had sought his advice sooner and more often.”


Play-by-Play Broadcaster, Wenatchee AppleSox Baseball

“Since I re-entered the broadcasting field full-time a year ago August I’ve gotten both of my professional broadcasting jobs through [STAA]. How could I not be more grateful? [STAA] has changed my life.”


Sports Director, KUTT Radio, Fairbury, NE

“I have been a member of STAA since my junior year in college and it’s helped prepare me for every step of my career.”


Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations, South Carolina Stingrays

Shander second STAA’er to join NBC

Eytan Shander(August 29, 2012) Many years of hard work, odd hours and several stops has paid off big for Eytan Shander. An STAA client since 2008, Shander is joining the daily talk lineup at the new NBC/Dial Global Sports Radio Network.

Shander is the second STAA client to join NBC Sports Radio and the third to land a network sports broadcasting job since April. Karen Kay has been hired by NBC as a sports update anchor; Jimmy Chavez joined Yahoo! Sports Radio in April as an anchor and host.

At NBC, Shander will co-host weeknights from 10pm to 1am ET with former New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer.

“Eytan has been ready for this job for some time now,” says STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik. “He’s worked at both the Philadelphia sports stations, he’s hosted on Mad Dog Radio and he’s one of the most intelligent people I’ve met in broadcasting. News talk stuff he did four years ago is as good as his sports.”

In addition to the quality of his work, Shander has also earned a reputation for paying great attention to detail and always striving to improve.

“STAA has built several demo and resume packages for Eytan, and he has regularly sought our coaching and critiques of his work,” says Chelesnik. “The extent to which he is motivated to succeed is truly unique.

“Eytan has genuinely applied himself over the years. He couldn’t be more deserving.”

In announcing the addition of the Shander/Toomer show on August 28th, NBC/Dial Global also announced the addition overnight host Dan Schwartzman and update anchor Kay Adams.

Executive VP/GM Chris Corcoran said, “We are collecting some excellent young talent who are ready for the big stage in their careers. Not only are we adding a second Super Bowl Champ (along with Rodney Harrison) to our roster who has been training for this big moment, but we’re selecting talent that will make a big impact on a national level for our affiliates and our advertisers.”

(Visit Eytan’s STAA Talent Page).

Godett joins Texas Rangers affiliate

Joel Godett(February 6, 2011) After two years in the sunshine state, Joel Godett is migrating back north to South Carolina to join the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. An STAA client, Godett is the new Media Relations Manager and Play-by-play Broadcaster for the Pelicans.

The Pelicans are the Class-A Advanced affiliate Carolina League affiliate of the Texas Rangers.

When it came time to find a new lead broadcaster, the Pelicans sent the job lead to STAA and requested that it be sent exclusively to STAA clients. Godett credits STAA not just for the sending him the lead, but also for helping evaluate his options.

“The biggest thing is [STAA] is a great place for getting job leads and information. I most likely wouldn’t have known about Myrtle Beach if it weren’t for STAA.

“The second thing would be the conversations I’ve had with [STAA CEO] Jon Chelesnik in terms of the sounding board he provides. I trust his insight and his knowledge. He is a good person to use to try to sort things about and put yourself in the best position to get into those spots.”

Technically, this is Godett’s second opportunity with Myrtle Beach. He was offered the No. 2 position in the summer of 2009 but declined in order to accept a position with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.

“Myrtle Beach has always been attractive to me,” Godett says. “When I first got into pro baseball I was in Winston-Salem. Myrtle Beach was always one of my favorite road trips because the fans come out in droves to support the team and it is an unbelievable atmosphere. You also get the feeling everybody enjoys working there. You walk in the door and think ‘this place is awesome.’”

After a season with Buffalo, Godett moved south to call play-by-play for the University of South Florida. Most recently, he was the lead broadcaster for the Bradenton Marauders, Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Godett spent those years wisely, working hard to develop his skills to become capable of handling lead voice duties.

“The biggest thing just comes down to self-improvement. Work on yourself every day and work on your skills every day. If you go to the ballpark every day and put your best foot forward on every broadcast and you ask others to critique you and you critique yourself, you are going to end up someplace you want to be in the long run.”

(Visit Joel’s STAA Talent Page).

Spero's plan pays off with SJSU job

Michael Spero(June 21, 2011) In spring 2010, Michael Spero was graduating from the University of Kansas and wondering when and where his first job would be. After a whirlwind 12 months, he has landed the football play-by-play job at San Jose State University.

“This was my goal at KU,” Spero says. “I wanted to get to the Division I level as soon as possible. There are broadcasters I have kept in touch with who reached this level when they were young.”

While Spero’s ambition is admirable, the fact is only a tiny handful of sportscasters are doing Division I play-by-play within one year of graduation. Of that group, almost none are at schools with Division I, non-FCS football programs.

“Coming from KU I’ve been around major college athletics so I understand the expectations and demands,” Spero says.

As notable as the SJSU gig is for Spero, it isn’t his first Division I job since graduation. He spent this spring broadcasting Stanford University baseball, and last winter was the voice of women’s basketball at Santa Clara University.

“When I landed D-I work my goal was to keep getting DI work, which I have been able to do,” Spero smiles.

Spero learned there was an upcoming Division I play-by-play job weeks in advance of the San Jose State job being made public. “I first reached out to [STAA CEO] Jon Chelesnik about something else. He mentioned there was something coming down the pipeline in which I would be interested. When I saw the San Jose State opening on the STAA job board, I asked Jon if this was the job he had alluded to and he said it was.”

An STAA client since June 2010, Spero has taken full advantage of STAA’s range services.

“STAA has been a big help,” he says. “Initially I think I reached out to [STAA] before I was a client. [Jon Chelesnik] did a critique with me. Just being able to call or email [Chelesnik] and ask about whatever I need is helpful. Through the San Jose State process, we spoke for about a half hour to prepare me for the interview process. Having Jon throw out ideas and concepts as I prepped for the interviews was a big help. I felt very good about how I presented myself.”

Spero’s game plan for putting his career on the fast track began in college. One key has been taking advantage of opportunities and utilizing all available resources.

“Get involved with student radio,” Spero recommends to college broadcasters. “Although I earned my degree in business, I took journalism courses geared towards sports and the broadcasting industry.”

Spero also got to know many broadcasters in the state of Kansas. “I went to [Kansas Association of Broadcasters] day in Kansas City. I met [KU Voice] Bob Davis and [K-State Voice] Wyatt Thompson. I took advantage of any opportunities that came my way, even if it didn’t pay. If it gave me experience and exposure I jumped on it.”

Another of Spero’s strategies is networking with broadcasters who are where he wants to be. Among his contacts are Los Angeles Clippers broadcaster and fellow KU alum and STAA client Brian Sieman, and Spero Dedes, who landed the Los Angeles Lakers job in 2005 when he was just 26.

“I’ve sat down with Brian and watched him broadcast a game. I’ve been able to learn from those guys, and to have discussions with them to find out how they got to where they are and what I need to [best] position myself.”

Spero also regularly critiques his own work and sends it to other broadcasters for their suggestions. All of the effort eventually paid of with Spero landing a job at a university that could hardly be a better fit.

“I’ve been familiar with the school for a while,” Spero says. “I’ve had family come through San Jose State. A lot of the alumni I know are excited about the school and have pride in the school. That was attractive to me.

“The Bay area is where I wanted to be, so I’m glad I get to stay put,” Spero grins.

(Visit Michael’s STAA Talent Page).


Here are interviews and articles about and including STAA and Owner Jon Chelesnik.

To schedule Jon for an interview, send an email to


Matt McConnell asks Jon for advice, tips and information about the sports broadcasting job market. You’ll also learn a bit about Jon’s not-so-glorious Kansas State U. basketball career. 10/06/2020.

Ken Thompson interviews Jon about his own sports broadcasting and his time working with Jim Rome and Lee Hacksaw Hamilton at legendary San Diego sports talker, XTRA Sports 690. 03/13/2020.

Jon critiques the play-by-play calls of legendary fictional announcer of the Cleveland Indians Harry Doyle. We go through all of his clips from Major League 1 and 2. If you are faint of heart there is a bit of colorful language in this podcast, mostly from Harry himself, you are forewarned. 01/28/2016.

Jon appeared with host Korbid Thompson to discuss Jon’s own sports broadcasting career and how his career challenges led to the creation of STAA. Chelesnik calls it “the most insightful interview anyone has ever conducted with me.” 03/11/2013.

Jon appears with host Jeff Biggs to discuss Jon’s own sports broadcasting career, and the founding and success of Sportscasters Talent Agency of America. 01/13/2009.

Jon visits with The Coach Jon Cohn and The Big Dogg Joel Radwanski about how to create a career in sports broadcasting. 12/06/2008.

Gary Ayd chats with Jon about how STAA helps sports broadcasters advance their careers and how sportscasters can help themselves. 12/27/2011

Jon appears with Greg Bicouvaris and Keith Bennett to discuss women in sportscasting, the new Monday Night Football broadcast team and how Sportscasters Talent Agency of America helps professionals transition into sports broadcasting careers from other fields. 6/27/2009.

Jon appears with Ben Heisler to discuss the impetus for the founding of Sportscasters Talent Agency of America and how STAA works to help its clients get jobs. 12/08/2008.

Print Media

St. Cloud State ranked top sports broadcast school in the nation – St. Cloud State University
BSU College of Communication, Information, and Media Nationally Recognized For Esports, Sports Broadcasting Programs – Ball State University
Syracuse is the citadel of college sports and broadcast training; How about smaller schools? – Sports Broadcast Journal
Best Indiana schools for a sports media education – Inside Indiana Business
St. Cloud State ranked top sports broadcast school in the nation – St. Cloud State University
MLB reaches significant inflection point with streaming broadcasts – Southern California News Group
Adam Copeland joins Tom Tolbert as new afternoon drive-time co-host on KNBR – KNBR
Sports Talker Dino Costa is going rogue. Will others follow? – Forbes Magazine
Students meet sports broadcasting employers at media conference – TCU 360
Emerson College becomes launching pad for sports broadcasters – Boston Globe
Why Tim Tebow could be the next great thing . . . on television – Yahoo! Sports
K-State alum is the founder of STAA – The Kansas State Collegian
TV’s most influential sportscasters – Forbes Magazine
Chelesnik featured in Radio & Records Magazine – Radio & Records
Brewers choose Brian Anderson for TV – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Calling all auditions for Brewers – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Mariners hire Aaron Goldsmith – Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Virginia continues search for new sports voice – Charlotte Daily Progress
Boise State narrows play-by-play search – Idaho Press Tribune
STAA helping Otters fill radio position – Erie Times
STAA All-America Program (Various)
Teaching sportscasting from behind the mic – Palomar Telescope
Campus station debuts sports talk program – Palomar Telescope

Why Join

STAA members are hired by top employers

Not sure how to move your career to the next level?

New to the job market and wondering how to make yourself stand out?

Working so much that you have little time for trying to move up?

Struggling to find unpublicized job openings?
Not getting responses on your applications for jobs?
Trying to stay connected with the industry despite being in a small town?
Wanting to improve your on-air abilities?

You need a strategy for landing your next level gig.

If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.

There’s a simple plan to get the job you want

Get job openings emailed to you

Stop wasting time searching for jobs. Instead, be among the first to apply.

Fix your application strategy

Not hearing back from employers? You’re dropping the ball in at least one of five areas. Guaranteed. Identify where, then learn how to fix it.

Get help meeting employers

STAA sends your demo and resume to jobs in your region. And employers can find you in our Talent Search database.

Imagine the exhilaration when you tell your family and friends, “I got the job!

Our plan has a proven record of success

After joining STAA, Brett McMillan landed a dream job in his hometown as a multimedia journalist for the St. Louis Cardinals. Watch the video below to hear how an STAA membership helped Brett get the sportscasting job he wanted.

Our plan works because we’ve been where you are

Like you, I will always be a sportscaster. Over 18 years, I sometimes struggled to pay my bills. I fought self-doubt when my career didn’t unfold as fast as I wanted. I persevered, though, and ended-up spending four years at ESPN Radio. You can achieve your goals, too. Looking back, I regret that I didn’t do everything I could to go as far as I could. It wasn’t lack of desire. It was because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. You don’t have to experience those regrets. Helping you avoid them is why I started STAA in 2006. You have ability. To take the next step, you need to know where the jobs are and how to get them. STAA will help you.

Jon's signature Jon Chelesnik CEO, STAA

Enjoy personal service

You’ll have support and resources to ensure you get the most from your membership.
  • A welcome call upon joining
  • Weekly emails featuring career advice
  • A standing invitation to contact Jon Chelesnik with questions. You’ll usually receive a same day reply.

Real Sportcasters. Real Success.

“I joined STAA hoping to land a job doing play-by-play for a college or pro hockey team. STAA has certainly done so by helping me land my current opportunity at Yale.”

Bridgette Proulx
Yale Women's Hockey, ESPN +

“Jon Chelesnik has been an invaluable resource to me. All the phone calls that we have had, the advice, the recommendations, settling me down when I became flustered, were so important.”

Patrick Creighton
ESPN Houston

“I’ve noticed a continuous uptick in the quality and quantity of responses I’ve received from employers as I’ve further applied STAA’s lessons.”

Brett Williams
Western Kentucky U. Women’s Basketball

“I quickly utilized the resources to retool my resumes and cover letters. I felt more in the loop regarding opportunities in the field. I learned of several more job opportunities than I would have as someone just viewing the job board.”

Nick Vareldzis
Rocky Mountain Vibes

“Having the ability to find out about jobs before the general public finds out gives you a chance to beat everyone else.”

Kevin McAlpin
Atlanta Braves Radio Network

“STAA helped me land my gig with Mississippi in 2017 and I have STAA to thank for my job in Austin.”

TJ Chillot
Austin Bruins

“There is a wealth of broadcasting knowledge on the site that makes STAA much more than just a job board.”

Dan Doherty
ESPN Ithaca

Discover the value YOU bring to sportscasting employers

Your work, evaluated

Learn how your work measures up against other sportscasters in STAA’s monthly Group Critiques. Use the feedback you receive to make your work even better.

Know your next step

Knowing what targets are reasonable boosts your chances for job market success! STAA’s career planning services will help. You’ll also know if there are intermediate steps required to get from where you are now to where you want to go.

Benefit from STAA’s Private Member Community Resources

  • Member directory to connect you to people who can help advance your career
  • Discussion groups for advice and camaraderie
  • Directories featuring contact info for the people hiring talent at sports radio stations and TV networks
  • 17 guides for improving your job market success
  • 18 guides for polishing your play-by-play, sports radio and TV anchor/reporter skills
  • Monthly Group Critiques featuring work of STAA members
  • And much, much more!

Take control of your sportscasting career

Fine tune your approach to job searches. Get job listings first. Building camaraderie with your colleagues. Improve your craft.
These are just a few of the benefits our members say they love about STAA. But don’t take our word for it, watch their stories below:

Get Started Now

If you’re ready to take your sportscasting career to the next level, join STAA today.


per month Includes a $70 initiation fee. No contracts. No commissions. Join STAA Now

» Click here for help getting the sportscasting job you want «

Frequently Asked Questions

Our members have accepted more than 1110 jobs since 2007. That’s not a percentage, but it’s a pretty awesome rate!
On the radio side, everything from entry level jobs to network PBP, sports talk show hosting, and anchoring. For TV, sports anchor and/or reporter positions in all market sizes across the country. You’ll also receive contact info for employers of TV PBP talent.
Yes, regularly! In fact, many employers have hired multiple STAA members.
Assuming you have the ability and experience for the jobs for which you are applying, your chances are directly proportional to how much effort and strategy you invest into your job search. We can help you put together your best strategy for an aggressive career plan.
Roughly 10% of the openings are exclusively for members, but members receive 100% of our openings before we post them publicly.
When an STAA member has demo samples that fit a job opening within 300 miles of their location, we send a link to their STAA Talent Page or personal website to the employer.
In addition to everything detailed/outlined above, you will have access to the exclusive members-only section of the STAA website. It features a treasure trove of resources to help you get you next job and to help be better in your current job.
Jon hosts a monthly group critique of radio and television demos. (It’s one of our most popular members-only features!) This way, the advice offered to one benefits many. The programs are archived in the STAA Members site.
Absolutely not! Correspondence from STAA members has priority and is answered before all else. Email or text STAA Owner Jon Chelesnik and you’ll usually hear back same-day; never more than one business day. Phone appointments are also available. The number of STAA members actually benefits you – it’s a large network that you get to tap into. “I’m a fellow STAA member!” is an easy, effective door opener. Camaraderie with fellow members is a valuable part of being on the STAA team.

Get The Sportscasting Job You Want

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