(December 22, 2008) The job market is about finding opportunity. Sometimes opportunity finds you. That is what happened for STAA client Matt Andrews. Andrews is in his first season as the play-by-play voice of Morehead State University women’s basketball, and as the fill-in play-by-play broadcaster/analyst on Eagles men’s broadcasts.
Opportunity found Andrews because his demo and resume are featured in the STAA Talent Search.
Andrews was sitting at home one day this fall when, out of the blue, he received a call from Morehead State Athletic Director Brian Hutchinson. The school had just lost its women’s basketball announcer. Hutchinson said he had heard Andrew’s work and was calling to gauge Andrews’ interest in the position.
“I wondered how he heard my demo,” Andrews says. “I had some connections at the university but none of them had talked to the Athletic Director.”
It turns out that Hutchinson found Andrews’ STAA Talent Page after conducting an Internet search for Kentucky sportscasters.
“It’s a credit to STAA,” Andrews says. “I’m appreciative of your services. It’s a great chance for me and opens up a whole other opportunity for me.”
Andrews is also the No. 2 play-by-play broadcaster for the Louisville Bats, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.
“I’ve always loved basketball. It was my initial love to do basketball,” Andrews says.
“It is still intoxicating. I love baseball and doing it everyday, but when I sit down and do a basketball game I realize, ‘gosh I have missed this so much.’
“I am grateful for STAA’s service. Otherwise I’m not sure [Morehead State] would have had a clue about me.”
(December 8, 2008) Adam Eichstedt knew he needed to take the next step in his career. The Daytona Cubs are providing him that opportunity. An STAA client, Eichstedt has joined the Cubs as one of two No.2 broadcasters. The team has also added Mike Silverman.
Eichstedt is the fourth STAA client to be hired by Daytona is the past two seasons. He will be working alongside Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations Christian Bruey, a fellow STAA client who has hired by the Cubs in October. Eichstedt moves to Daytona from Sturgeon Bay, WI.
“About a month ago I was looking at where I was headed and what I want to do,” Eichstedt says. “Once basketball is over here in Wisconsin, everyone sits around for three months. I needed to do something to take a step ahead. The best way to do it was to get behind the mike every day possible. I just decided to go out there and give it my all.”
In his new role, Eichstedt will be calling the middle three innings of half of the games on the Cubs schedule. He will also host a post-game show, help in sales, work on the team’s website and generally assist wherever else he is needed.
Eichstedt landed the job at minor league baseball’s job fair in Las Vegas after attending STAA’s play-by-play seminar. He postponed his return flight to Wisconsin by one day so that he could interview for the job.
“It was hammered to us time and time again [at the STAA seminar] about networking,” Eichstedt says. “For me that was kind of a challenge because I’m not a natural networker. I like to do it when the situation arises. I don’t like to force the issue. It allowed me to really get out there and meet people from several organizations.
“Being part of an organization is also a nice challenge and something I am looking forward to.”
(November 27, 2008) Scott Eddy is building a solid foundation for a career in baseball play-by-play. An STAA client, Eddy has been chosen for a broadcasting internship with the Hagerstown Suns.
Eddy will work alongside Suns Director of Broadcasting Ryan Mock as the team’s No. 2 play-by-play voice and analyst for all 70 home games. He will also fulfill a variety of responsibilities in media relations and sales.
“We’ve had great luck with STAA clients in the past, including a rising star in Christian Bruey in 2008, and we’re ecstatic about having Scott on board for ’09,” Mock says.
The Hagerstown opportunity is not the first, but rather, the latest step in Eddy’s baseball broadcasting career. He spent the past two seasons with the Jamestown Jammers Florida Marlins Class-A short season), first as Director of Media Relations, then as Director of Baseball Operations.
(November 11, 2008) You never know when a big opportunity is going to come your way. This Sunday night, STAA client Mark Pinski will put on his headset and call play-by-play for Idaho basketball at Michigan State University for the Idaho Vandal Radio Network.
Working alongside Pinski as color analyst will be his long-time friend Jordan Shiner. The two have worked together off-and-on on Chicago-area football and basketball broadcasts over the past 25 years.
Learfield Sports owns the rights to Idaho broadcasts. It was Learfield Broadcast Manager Tom Boman who called STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik when he needed to find a fill-in for the Michigan State game. Chelesnik recommended Pinski.
“I really have to thank STAA for giving me the opportunity. Jon Chelesnik knows I am in the Midwest and available to do some part-time work and that I would be thorough with my work. I appreciate everything Jon has done for me.”
Pinski is thrilled to have the chance to show what he can do on a game in Big 10 country on a statewide network.
“When you look at the properties that Learfield has the rights to, you can see that in the college landscape they are a player. Having the opportunity to prove to them that I can do the job, personally and professionally, means a lot to me.”
Pinski is currently the General Manager of a four-station cluster in Chicago, but that hasn’t kept him from putting in hours of preparation for Sunday’s game. He says it’s much harder for someone to come in and freelance for a game because you don’t have the chance to spend weeks getting to know the team.
“I may have gone a little overboard [with my preparation]. MSU has had two games streamed on the Internet so I have watched both games in their entirety. I had a tape sent to me from the SID at Idaho. I’m leaving a day early. I’ll watch Idaho practice Saturday night, I’ll go to both shoot-arounds Sunday and I’ll interview both coaches at the shoot-around on Sunday. I have also talked to the people in Idaho, the Michigan State stat guy and both SIDs.
I’ll have everything on one big scoreboard. My goal is to not look at anything that isn’t on my board.”
That’s the kind of preparation that leaves an impression.
(November 5, 2008) Andrew Baumhor has been waiting patiently for his next play-by-play opportunity. Now he has it. An STAA client, Baumhor is joining KMZE-FM in Woodward, OK. Among his responsibilities will be calling play-by-play for a variety of high school sports.
Baumhor has spent the past 14 months as a production assistant at ESPN TV in Bristol, CT. Prior to that, he served as the play-by-play voice for the Thomasville (NC) HiToms baseball club of the Coastal Plain collegiate summer league. Last winter, he was chosen by Learfield Sports to handle the University of Maine men’s basketball broadcast versus Quinnipiac in Hamden, CT.
In Woodward, Baumhor have the chance to put into use some of what he learned at ESPN. KMZE owns a local TV station. The TV station will be doing a nightly newscast with which the radio station will be affiliated. Baumhor will be handling some of the sports for the TV station.
“The aspect of radio and TV is really what I’m looking forward to,” Baumhor says. “I wanted to do both. I’ll have the opportunity there, which is great. “
“The stuff I learned [at ESPN], editing and producing, will be helpful. I’m going to have to edit and produce my own sportscasts in addition to being the talent. That experience here has been invaluable.”
Baumhor is a 2007 graduate of American University in Washington, DC. He grew up in Philadelphia but isn’t concerned about the dramatic change that Oklahoma will bring.
“It is definitely going to be a culture shock. The closest city, Oklahoma City, is two and-a-half hours away. But I’ve worked in small towns before.
“It’s a pretty big team name with Daytona,” Bruey says. “They have a weekly TV show that will be pretty cool. They won the Freitas Award in 2006 as minor league baseball’s Organization of the Year. Its an organization that has increased attendance the last four or five years. They know what they’re doing and its good to be part of that.”
Bruey succeeds Derek Ingram who resigned to pursue other opportunities. He learned of the Cubs opportunity almost by accident. A native of Florida, he wanted to move back to his home state. He cold called Cubs GM Bill Papierniak, prospecting for opportunities. Much to Bruey’s surprise, Papierniak told him that Ingram had just left the organization. It hadn’t even yet bee made public.
That was only the start of Bruey’s good fortune. Before joining Daytona, Papierniak had worked in Hagerstown with the Suns current GM Will Smith. Smith put in a recommendation with Papierniak for Bruey.
“Will’s recommendation to Bill went a long way,” Bruey says.
Bruey also thanks STAA.
“If I hadn’t found STAA I wouldn’t have got the job in Hagerstown and without Hagerstown I wouldn’t have got the job with Daytona.”
(October 15, 2008) Twice in the past three months when Sports Radio 105.5 WNSP in Mobile, AL needed personnel, they turned to STAA. In July, they hired STAA client Seth Harp as program director and afternoon drive host. Now they have added STAA client Brien Straw as morning drive host.
Straw moves to Mobile from Atlanta where he was hosting a regionally syndicated sports show.
The wheels for Straw’s relocation were set in motion in August when Harp called STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik looking for a morning show host. The station not only wanted someone who was entertaining, but they wanted someone who was already living in the South and was an expert on the SEC. Straw was the first guy Chelesnik suggested Harp contact.
“Brien Straw’s name shot to the top of the list,” Harp says. “Without the STAA Talent Search, we probably don’t find him. It’s easy to play the audio. I went into my boss’s office. I went into the GMs office; Played the audio right on the spot. The STAA Talent Search turns what is generally a three-to-four week hiring process into one week.
Harp says Straw perfectly fits the mold of what WNSP was looking for.
“He’s an SEC grad (Ole Miss), he brings a wealth of knowledge not only about the SEC but about sports in the South, he’s a big believer in talking about the stories that are on the marquee and he’s very entertaining. When I turn on the radio when Brien Straw is on the air I know I’m going to get the POKE – Passion, Opinions, Knowledge and Entertainment.”
Straw was introduced to STAA by his friend John Madani, Program Director at 1300 The Zone in Austin, TX. When Straw told Madani he was looking to further his sports talk career, Madani suggested he contact STAA.
“Without question, STAA’s service is invaluable for anyone at any level who is trying to make it in this industry,” Straw says. “I would not have this job if it weren’t for STAA. That goes without question. That alone makes it worth the cost of admission.”
I sincerely appreciate all of STAA’s help. STAA has made the world for me. This is something I really wanted to do and STAA made it become reality.
“”Mobile is a top 100 market and they are passionate about the same sports I am passionate about, namely CFB and SEC,” Straw says. “I think it’s a win-win situation, it’s a pretty good marriage.”
(October 10, 2008) Paul Roper was in the right place at the right time with the right skills. As a result, the STAA client is the new voice of the Trenton Devils hockey club of the ECHL.
Roper worked as a broadcast and media relations intern for the team in 2007-08 and provided color commentary during the team’s home broadcasts. When the No.1 job opened this off-season, Roper was immediately interviewed.
“I actually used the [STAA] Talent Page to send audio of myself to the higher-ups of the Devils after my initial interview,” Roper says.
Roper has worked as a broadcaster in both minor league and college baseball, being selected to work the New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game, as well as doing the play-by-play for men’s and women’s basketball at Seton Hall University and for high school hockey and football in New Jersey. He is also currently employed as a Media Relations Assistant and broadcaster with the Newark Bears baseball club (Atlantic League.
Roper received his bachelor’s degree in broadcasting from Seton Hall University.
“Hockey is my favorite sport and I am truly excited to broadcast for the Devils this season,” Roper says.
(October 7, 2008) Jeff Platt up in Dallas and attended college in Los Angeles. Now the 2008 USC grad is moving to Jackson, MS. Platt, an STAA client, has been hired as a Sports Anchor/Reporter at CBS affiliate WJTV.
“Its just another dot on the career map, so to speak,” Platt says. “I could have gone to Maine or Alaska if I had to to continue this career. I would have gone to Maine or Alaska if necessary. Jackson, Mississippi has been awesome so far.”
The opportunity came quickly for Platt. He mailed his resume and DVD, then followed-up by emailing a link to his STAA Talent Page. The entire process, from initial contact to job offer, took less than one week.
For Platt, landing at WJTV is a perfect situation.
“They’re really trying to enhance their web coverage,” Platt says. “There are going to be lot of stories that are posted only online or are expanded on line. They are also trying to appeal to the casual sports fans. Things like human-interest stories are entertaining to a lot of people. A lot of people want to know more than just X’s and O’s. WJTV management understands that.”
Most job opportunities to come as easily as this one came to Platt. He encourages other young sportscasters in the job market to be tenacious.
“Nobody said this career is easy,” Platt says. “This is one of the most competitive fields out there. If it takes you a week to get a job or a year to get a job, keep trying, stick it out. Opportunities will come to you eventually. Work as hard as you can to make contacts, keep in touch with those contacts and send your tape to as many people as you can. Those people can provide you with advice and feedback. I can’t tell you how many people shared advice with me and helped me put my tape together.
“I am really excited about this opportunity. I’m fired about it. Its awesome.”
(October 1, 2008) STAA client James Tully has been hired by TV3, the ABC network affiliate in Winchester, VA, as a general assignment reporter.
In his new position, Tully will wear many hats and learn a variety of skills.
“This will give me a variety of different experiences,” he says. “It’s the best thing to do.”
A 2008 graduate of York College of Pennsylvania, He was already weighing a job offer from an ESPN Radio affiliate in Maryland when TV3 called. Tully says his STAA Talent Page provided him with a clear advantage in the job market.
“Having the Talent Page was a big part of me getting the job,” Tully says. “Right away, the one thing I did was draft a short but sweet cover letter. I included my [Talent Page] link right in the email. Everyday I would send out five to 10 emails. After getting my Talent Page I even went back to stations where I had already applied and I started hearing back from them.
“When I used the Talent Page I was getting answers. Email is something you get a response from. You do. I got a lot of comments [from employers] on how my Talent Page looks. Having STAA behind me really helped too.”
Tully served internships at WHP CBS 21 in York, PA and at Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia. He begins his new job on Monday.
(September 17, 2008) The 2008 Central Hockey League Ray Miron President’s Cup Champion Arizona Sundogs announced today the renewal of their broadcast agreement with radio flagship station 96.7 FM The Wolf as well as the addition of play-by-play announcer Jordan Duvall to their front office staff for the 2008-09 season.
Duvall is a client of STAA.
“We are pleased to announce our continued partnership with Grenax Broadcasting and 96.7 The Wolf,” said Sundogs President Steve Cherwonak. “Grenax and The Wolf have been long-time supporters of our Club and we’re looking forward to entering our third year with the organization.”
As outlined by the renewed partnership, 96.7 FM The Wolf will broadcast all preseason, regular season and subsequent postseason games during the Sundogs’ 2008-09 campaign.
"The Wolf has always been a strong supporter of the Arizona Sundogs from day one,” said Greg Dinetz, President and CEO of Grenax Broadcasting II. “We are excited to continue the partnership as the official broadcast partner of the CHL Champion Arizona Sundogs as they set out to defend their title.”
In conjunction with the announcement of its renewed broadcast agreement with 96.7 FM The Wolf, the Club also introduced play-by-play announcer Jordan Duvall.
"I am excited at the opportunity to join such a first class organization as the Sundogs, and look forward to seeing this team begin it’s title defense next month," Duvall says.
"I also want to thank Jon and everyone at STAA for all the help they have provided me personally along the way."
“Jordan comes to the Sundogs with an assortment of experience in both radio and sports,” added Cherwonak. “His enthusiasm for and knowledge of the game of hockey and past experience in the CHL were all determining factors in bringing him on board for the upcoming season.”
Duvall becomes the second play-by-play announcer is Sundogs franchise history after serving as Director of Media Relations and Broadcasting for the CHL’s Amarillo Gorillas in 2007-08. His previous experience also includes serving as play-by-play announcer for the Jr. ‘B’ Helena Bighorns of the Northern Pacific Hockey League (NorPac).
“When an opportunity comes along to join a first rate organization such as the Sundogs, you jump at it, and I am excited to be a part of this great young franchise as they look to defend their title,” said Duvall. “I look forward to the upcoming season, getting to know the Sundogs faithful and becoming a part of the Northern Arizona community.”
(September 12, 2008) It is often said that success in the sportscasting job market is more about whom you know than what you know. That is the case for STAA client Scott Montesano. Montesano is the new play-by-play voice for the North Iowa Outlaws of the North American Hockey League.
The Outlaws, based in Mason City, open the new season on Wednesday.
The opportunity arose when the Outlaws general manager, a former co-worker of Montesano’s, asked Montesano if he would be interested in the position. The position includes play-by-play, media relations, promotions and sales.
“I get to do a lot of sales,” Montesano says. “I actually grew to love doing sales when I was working at Clear Channel Radio in Eau Claire. I love going around and meeting various business owners, selling my ideas and getting them to get on board.
“I have a lot of creativity that I am going to be able to showcase.”
This isn’t Montesano’s first hockey broadcasting job. He is the former voice of the Fargo-Moorhead Jets.
Montesano’s new position will be a seasonal one. He will keep his summer job calling baseball games for the Eau Clair Express Baseball Club.
(August 31, 2008) Two weeks ago, Ray Alexander had never heard of tennis play-by-play on the radio. Today, he is calling the sport at its highest level. An STAA client, Alexander is calling play-by-play at the U.S. Open.
Alexander is calling matches at the Open’s night sessions. His broadcasts are streamed live online at the United States Tennis Association website at www.usta.com. They are also heard throughout the Flushing Meadows tennis complex and on transistor radios distributed to fans in the stadiums.
The opportunity came to Alexander through STAA. When the USTA needed a broadcaster, they went online to the STAA Talent Search. USTA Broadcast Promotions Manager Brian Beglane reviewed dozens of demos and resumes, then called STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik for phone numbers of a handful of sportscasters who caught his attention. Alexander was on that short list.
“To be completely honest [Beglane] was looking for a voice he liked; someone who has experience with play-by-play in many different sports,” Alexander says. “For him you’re never really going to find a tennis play-by-play guy. He just wanted to find someone who can do multiple sports and pick up tennis play-by-play quickly.”
It is the second major freelance opportunity in one month to come to Alexander as a result of being in the STAA Talent Search. He was one of four Talent Search members to be chosen by an international advertising agency to do voiceovers for a series of McDonald’s TV commercials that aired during the Olympics. Unfortunately, Alexander’s commercial was canceled the day of his recording session.
This is Alexander’s first experience with tennis play-by-play. However he had done volleyball. He says the two sports are similar.
“For the most part, once you pick up on the terminology, play-by-play is just play-by-play,” Alexander says.
Alexander broadcasts from inside the press box at Arthur Ashe Stadium. For matches outside Ashe stadium, he uses TV monitors to call the action. He has already called action featuring Venus Williams, Roger Federer, James Blake, Lindsay Davenport, and Andy Roddick.
“The biggest trouble is pronunciations of all the European names. That was more difficult than the actual play-by-play,” Alexander says.
Alexander is the play-by-play voice for Stony Brook University football and basketball, and for Newark Bears baseball. He is hopeful his U.S. Open experience will lead to future opportunities.
“Nothing hurts. It adds another dimension to my resume. It gives me another avenue to pursue when looking for freelance or off-season work.”
Saltzman named play-by-play voice of Rice University football
(August 21, 2008) When the Rice Owls kick off their 2008 season next Friday night by hosting SMU at Rice Stadium, there will be a new combination in the broadcast booth to call the action on the Owls flagship station, Houston’s ESPN Radio 97.5 FM, The Ticket.
STAA client David Saltzman, who joined the Rice broadcast crew last year as the analyst for football in addition to handing play-by-play for men’s basketball, will move into the play-by-play chair for Owls football this season. Saltzman called the action for the Owls baseball team last June during their run to the College World Series.
“What an amazing turn of events over the last year," Saltzman says. "Thank you to STAA for your help throughout all of this. I am truly thankful.”
Joining Saltzman in the booth will be Nate Griffin, who has covered sports in the Houston area for over 10 years. He has served as a local talk show host in the Houston market in addition to working as an analyst on broadcasts for several teams.
Saltzman replaces Matt Musil, who is now calling soccer games for the Houston Dynamo.
“This has been something I have wanted to do for a long time, to make this part of my life and career," Saltzman says. "I’m just excited to be able to do Division I college football and be part of the excitement of that wile being able to describe the excitement of the fans listening. It is one of the reasons I got into this business in the first place.”
Saltzman and Griffin will be joined on the broadcast by Matt McCabe, who will cover the action during games from the sidelines. McCabe, a 2008 graduate of Rice, is no stranger to Rice sports fans, having called Rice baseball action for four seasons. He is completing his first season of calling action for the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League and will join the Owls broadcasting team once their season is completed.
Veteran radio engineer Frank Hicks will once again be behind the master controls for the Owls broadcast.
(August 18, 2008) Charleston Southern has announced the hiring of STAA client Jon Laaser as the new "Voice of the Buccaneers." Laaser will serve as the play-by-play broadcaster for football and men’s basketball, and will host the Jay Mills and Barclay Radebaugh Coaches’ Shows.
Laaser will come down to Charleston from Myrtle Beach, S.C. , where he is currently broadcasting for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Advanced-A minor league affiliate for the Atlanta Braves.
"I am extremely excited to join the great community of people at Charleston Southern," said Laaser. "I can’t imagine a better fit for me and I am looking forward to bringing Buccaneer athletics to their outstanding fan base."
CSU opens the coming football season at the University of Miami.
Prior to Myrtle Beach , Laaser spent three years at KFAN in Minneapolis, MN where he was the lead broadcaster for the Minnesota State Football and Basketball Championships, as well as the host of Prep Sports Saturday.
The 2002 Brown College graduate has also recently spent time with the Altoona Curve and the Yakima Bears.
Sportscasters Talent Agency of America (S-T-Double-A) handled the applicant screening process for this position.
(August 14, 2008) Paul Teeple has always wanted to be a hockey play-by-play announcer. His opportunity has finally arrived. An STAA client, Teeple has been hired as Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the NAHL’s Mahoning Valley Phantoms.
“I interviewed for same job last year but it went to another STAA client, Cameron Lee,” Teeple says.
Teeple leaves a sports position at radio stations WCBJ, WQXX, WLKS FM in West Liberty, KY, where he has worked since last August. He says that networking was key to him landing his new gig.
“I have just been networking with everyone I know within hockey. I have been in hockey my whole life. When the Phantoms job came open, one of the guys from the team who knows my dad called him to tell him about it. I sent my STAA Talent Page and received an invitation to interview.
“Getting to work in hockey has been my dream since I knew I wanted to work in broadcasting. I have been around game since I was three. This job is a natural, especially since it is so close to my home in Cleveland, only about an hour from my family and friends.
Teeple suggests that anyone in the job market work hard to spread their name within the industry.
“If you’re looking to work in one particular sport, immerse yourself in that sports’ community. The community links are the most important thing you can have.”
(August 13, 2008) It is said that good things happen to good people. That is truly the case for Sean Robertson. An STAA client, Robertson has been hired as a sports reporter and weekend sports anchor at WTVR CBS 6 in Richmond, VA.
“It’s a new challenge to report, to anchor, and to cover more of the Division I state schools,” Robertson says. “Its just a new challenge that I feel great about.”
(August 8, 2008) Citadel Bulldog Football fans will have a new voice on the airwaves this season as STAA client Darren Goldwater, who has done play-by-play for The Citadel Baseball for the past five years, will take over as the official “Voice of the Bulldogs.”
The Citadel Athletics Department, in conjunction with Kirkman Broadcasting, promoted Goldwater to the position after Robby Robinson, who was the “Voice of the Bulldogs” for the past eight years, accepted a position at Virginia Commonwealth as an associate athletics director for sponsorship and broadcast services.
“Darren Goldwater was a natural fit and deserving of this opportunity,” said Gil Kirkman, owner of Kirkman Broadcasting, Inc. “He has been with us for the past five years working on The Citadel Football Network as our game day host, broadcasting the baseball games and filling in for basketball. We are very excited.”
Goldwater has served five seasons with Bulldog Baseball, while working as the producer and co-host of Bobby Hartin’s FanTalk on ESPN 910 The Team. He also spent four years as the play-by-play announcer for Lowcountry high school football, including last year’s ESPN Radio High School Game of the Week and the CSS Shrine Bowl broadcast.
“I’ve seen first hand the family environment promoted throughout The Citadel Athletics department, alumni and fan base, and it’s really quite humbling to know that I have the chance to become a part of that family,” Goldwater said. “I really can’t thank The Citadel and Kirkman Broadcasting enough. Becoming the “Voice of the Bulldogs” has been a goal of mine since moving to Charleston six years ago, and I’ll do everything I can to represent the school in a manner consistent with the high values and virtues of The Citadel.”
The Citadel Sports Network, in conjunction with Kirkman Broadcasting, enters its 24th year broadcasting Bulldog Football on the radio. The Citadel Sports Network’s flagship station is ESPN Radio 910 The Team and is distributed statewide from The Team’s studio in Charleston. Robinson worked as the “Voice of the Bulldogs,” while also serving as the Director of Broadcasting for the network and the General Sales Manager for Kirkman’s four Charleston-based stations.
“It’s a tremendous honor to follow in the footsteps of Robby Robinson as the voice of The Citadel. Having spent the last five years working closely with him and the athletics department, there’s no doubt in my mind that this position is the best broadcasting job in the Southern Conference and one of the best in the Southeast,” Goldwater added.
Robinson, who will start with the Rams on Aug. 25, will serve in a multi-faceted role at VCU. He will replace Terry Sisisky, who recently retired after 28 years, in the play-by-play chair for men’s basketball games. Robinson will also head up VCU’s corporate sales.
“This is a great opportunity for Robby as he furthers his career at VCU,” said The Citadel Athletics Director Larry Leckonby. “He has shown an outstanding level of dedication and loyalty to The Citadel that will surely be missed. However, we know he will be successful and wish him and his family well as they move on to Richmond.
“Darren is no stranger to The Citadel and the Bulldog family. We are excited and look forward to him joining the staff as our new “Voice of the Bulldogs,” Leckonby added. “We have confidence that he will perform with a high level of professionalism and enthusiasm for Bulldog Athletics.”
Goldwater is a 2002 graduate of Penn State, where he majored in journalism and minored in speech communications. He was recently married to Summerville-native Ryan Nelson, host of Lowcountry Live on ABC News 4.
Goldwater will be the seventh “Voice of the Bulldogs.” His predecessors, in order, include George Norwig, Larry Ward, Tom Taylor, Ted Byrne, Craig Shemon, and Robby Robinson.
(August 6, 2008) STAA client Matt Friedman didn’t even know there was a job opportunity until he received a call from the station general manager. One week later, Friedman has been hired as a play-by-play announcer and sports talk host at 1510 ESPN in Great Bend, KS.
“Its right up my alley as far as the responsibilities and the way I’ll get to show my versatility, Friedman says. “I’ll get to do sports talk and all the play-by-play that I love doing. High school sports in Great Bend are a big deal so I’m excited to be part of that.”
Friedman is relocating to Kansas from Ohio, where he recently graduated from Ohio State University.
The opportunity in Great Bend came about when another STAA client, Chris Tubbs, left the station to accept a college football broadcasting job in his hometown of Minneapolis. Tubbs, who himself was hired by 1510 ESPN after being referred by STAA, suggested that station GM Ken Schwamborn use STAA again to find Tubbs’ replacement.
“Ken told me that Chris Tubbs had set the bar pretty high,” says STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik. “Ken needed someone in a hurry but he also didn’t want to take a step back in talent. A week before we posted the job, I referred Ken to the Talent Pages of several STAA clients who might fit what he was looking for.”
"After we posted the job, we got about 35 applicants form the STAA site and I listened to every one of them," Schwamborn says. "It made me feel better about the process if I have to go through it again. I know when I need quality talent that I can turn to STAA."
“Thanks to STAA,” Friedman says. “I was as surprised as anybody when I got a call from Ken. He seemed, for good reason, to put a lot of stock into what Jon Chelesnik had said.
“After a couple months of sending my resumes and not getting any leads, this one kind of fell into my lap. STAA had sent my Talent Page to Ken and recommended me to him. That obviously put me way ahead of the pack because Ken had already talked to me before even posting the job on STAA.”
“I give Matt credit for his willingness to relocate,” says Chelesnik. “Many recent college grads, including some STAA clients, refuse to consider a job that is outside their region. Bad mistake. Broadcasting is an incredibly tough business to break into. You have to go where the jobs are.”
Friedman says he knew before traveling to Great Bend for the interview that he liked the position. After interviewing, he was even more convinced.
“I was just impressed with them and the way they run things. I knew it was the type of station I wanted to be in and the type of people I wanted to work for. When Ken offered me the job I told him I would get back to him but I knew I was going to take it.
“It’s a job I know I’m going to love to go to every day. It’s everything I have dreamed of as a sportscaster.”
(August 4, 2008) Jeremy Babin has worked in Big 10 country. Now he’s going to get a first hand look at life in the SEC. An STAA client, Babin has accepted a sports anchor/reporter position at WDNN-TV in Dalton, GA.
“I’m looking forward to the transition of leaving the land of the Big Ten for that of the SEC conference,” Babin says.
A lifelong resident of Ohio, Babin spent the past year as a sports anchor/reporter at Fox affiliate WOHL in Lima, OH.
In Georgia, Babin will also be hosting a TV sports talk show.
“The talk show will be something different which should be exciting,” Babin says. I’m also looking forward to working with new teams and new coaches.”
STAA clients nab McDonald’s Olympic TV commercials
(July 28, 2008) Two STAA clients have been chosen to do play-by-play voiceovers for a McDonald’s TV advertising campaign that will air during the Olympics.
Geoff Witcher and George Tharalson were selected after an international advertising company, DDB Worldwide Communications Group, found them in the STAA Talent Search. They were among 13 STAA clients that DDB asked to audition.
Initially, four STAA clients were chosen by DDB to record voiceovers. However, Mark Lewandowski was on vacation and couldn’t get into a recording studio on short notice. A commercial that Ray Alexander was going to voice was canceled before recording.
“STAA received a call from DDB executive Rob Lee last Tuesday,” says STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik. “He and his assistants had already been listening to demos in the STAA Talent Search. When he called me, he had a list of 13 STAA clients that he wanted to audition.”
By Thursday, the demos were recorded and DDB made their selections. On Friday, Witcher and Tharalson were in studio recording their spots. Witcher is doing a basketball voiceover. Tharalson is voicing a high-diving script.
“I have to thank STAA for contacting me and letting me know about his,” Tharalson says. “If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have been able to do this.”
STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik says this is just one example of how the expose provided by the STAA Talent Search benefits clients.
“STAA doesn’t publicize when we have been contacted about full-time or freelance opportunities unless our clients are hired,” Chelesnik says. “Just this month though, we have been contacted by DDB Worldwide, the United States Tennis Association and more than a dozen major market and entry-level radio and TV stations and minor league teams. The Talent Search is just as valuable for sportscasters looking for freelance opportunities as it is for those who are looking for full time work.”
The McDonald’s commercials are scheduled to air during the upcoming summer Olympics, August 8 – 24.
“Its really exciting,” Tharalson says. “I never really ever thought that this is something I would have the opportunity to do. I’ve told a lot of friends about it. Hopefully they’ll be able to recognize me right off the bat.”
(July 23, 208) STAA client Eric Messersmith has been hired by KWIX-AM, KRES-FM and KIRK-FM radio in Moberly, MO. He will be doing everything, from news anchoring and reporting, to handling a DJ shift and calling a lot play-by-play.
A 2008 graduate of Penn State University, Messersmith started his job search several months prior to receiving his diploma. That is when he called STAA.
“I wanted to get started as soon as possible,” Messersmith says. “I know how hard it is to get a job in this industry. I thought if I waited too long that I would be competing with all of the other graduates.”
When Messersmith saw the Moberly opening on the STAA website in April, he acted swiftly.
“I sent them an email with a short cover letter and a link to my STAA Talent Page. It was extremely helpful. I didn’t have to spend any money on postage or taking anything down to the post office. It took 10 minutes to write the cover letter and copy and paste the Talent Page link”
Two weeks later, Messersmith was pleased to hear back from the employer. “I had planned on spending the summer job searching once school had finished.” Messersmith says.
There are 40 high schools within the three stations’ listening area, one of them a 100,000-watt blowtorch. On Friday nights during the fall, they broadcast a different football game on all three stations. During the winter, they will frequently air two different basketball games on most nights of the week. There is also a coach’s show each Friday night during the football season.
“It seemed like the kind of job I was really looking for,” Messersmith says. “It offered the chance to do a lot of football and basketball play-by-play which is what I really wanted to do.
“For en entry level job you really cant ask for a better opportunity.”
(July 18, 2008) Blake Cripps is the rare college grad to never spend a day feeling anxious about his future. After graduating in May, Cripps had a college baseball play-by-play waiting for him in Chillicothe, MO. Now, after the season ends later this month, he has another job to go to. Cripps has been named Sports Director at KUTT-FM n Fairbury, NE.
Both opportunities came after Cripps joined STAA and both came after the employers sought STAA’s assistance in filling positions. In the case of the Fairbury job, KUTT-GM Randy Bauer asked STAA to recommend sportscasters from the STAA Talent Search. Bauer listened to Cripps’ demo and liked what he heard. At that point, STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik called Cripps.
“STAA said I should talk to Randy, so I called him that night,” Cripps recalls. “We spoke the next day and scheduled an interview. The baseball team (the Chillicothe, MO Mudcats) happened to have a couple days off so I drove up to Fairbury.”
That was in mid-June. After that, Cripps played the waiting game.
“I wasn’t that nervous [waiting] because I didn’t expect to get the job,” Cripps says. “I was actually applying for other jobs because I thought I wasn’t going to get it. If you don’t think you are going to get the job then why be nervous?
“I am looking forward to getting experience [at KUTT] in a lot of different areas, not just sports. I’m going to be doing some voiceovers for weather and commercials, but I’ll also be doing a whole lot of different sports — football, basketball, softball and a lot of other stuff that might not normally get a lot of coverage, like track and field and volleyball.”
Cripps, who is from Topeka, KS and attended school in nearby Lawrence, feels lucky to get a job so relatively close to home. However, he would have moved anywhere.
“I was willing to go as far as it took,” he says. “I would have gone to Alaska if they had an opening and were willing to hire me, but it is nice to be able to stay close to home. You can see your family and go home for the holidays.”
Cripps was recommended to STAA by fellow KU grad and STAA client Jimmy Chavez. Cripps had STAA build his demo and resume portfolio package, and his Talent Page.
“Those things were crucial,” Cripps says. “This whole experience of my getting the baseball job and then this job just says wonders about what the Talent Page does. A lot of people think you need a hard copy of your resume and CD, but just clicking to the website is so easy [for employers]. When they want to save information on [a job applicant] they just bookmark the Talent Page. It is so easy to show people. You just send the link and say ‘take a listen.’
“After this experience I know I will never enter the job market without the STAA Talent Page.”
(July 11, 2008) Seth Harp can check another achievement on his list of career goals. Harp, who is represented by STAA, has been named Program Director and Afternoon Drive host on Sports Radio 105.5 WNSP in Mobile, AL.
"WNSP is a wonderful opportunity," Harp says. "[Owners] Tim Camp and Ken Johnson made me feel right at home. Mobile is known throughout the state of Alabama as a sports hot bed. I am looking forward to working with the staff."
Being a program director has been a long-time goal for Harp, 29. Meeting former ESPN Radio Network GM and current Red Zebra CEO Bruce GIlbert four years at a sportscasting seminar co-hosted by STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik fueled Harp’s motivation to learn the traits and master the skills that make great sports talk radio programs and stations. Increasing ratings, driving TSL and producing entertaining programing have become Harp’s hallmarks at each of his last two stops, in Huntsville and at 1480 ESPN in Lincoln, NE.
"The programming techniques that I’ve been taught by Bruce Gilbert and Jon Chelesnik are extremely effective. I can’t wait to get started."
Harp moves the Mobile from The Ump in Huntsville, AL where he spent the past year hosting morning drive and serving as an account executive.
"I want to thank Cumulus-Huntsville GM Bill West for the opportunity to host the morning show at 730 The Ump. I also wanted to thank Denise Vickers at WHNT Channel 19 for the privilege of being a part of their college football coverage. I truly enjoyed Huntsville. I will miss it.
"Jon Chelesnik and STAA have once again proven why they are the best in the business. The Talent Page makes the job search and process exponentially more effective. Without a doubt, STAA deserves a lot of the credit for me being where I am today professionally."
(July 11, 2008) For Kevin Vicker, his big career opportunity was sudden and unexpected. An STAA client, Vicker has been hired by the Daytona Cubs as a Broadcaster/Media Relations assistant.
Daytona is the Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Their in-season opening was unexpected and Vicker’s position is only guaranteed only through the end of the season. However, the potential exists for him to return next season.
The opportunity came lightening fast for Vicker. He was hired less than 72 hours after applying. He starts next week.
Vicker had been in the job market for more than a year without achieving the desired results. Two months ago, he asked STAA to build his demo and resume and to post them on his STAA Talent Page. Shortly thereafter, Vicker interviewed for a position at a radio station before accepting the Cubs opportunity.
"My new resume and tape that STAA set up for me helped a lot," Vicker says. "With the first batch of jobs I applied for, I noticed a big difference with the way I was being treated by prospective employers. Right off the bat, I got the near miss in Nebraska, and now this opportunity in Daytona has come through.
"It’s not just building the portfolios. I really appreciate all the phone calls and e-mails exchanges where [STAA’s Jon Chelesnik] offered me tips and relayed feedback from some of the places I applied. Your personalized effort really means a lot to me. I’m really happy that I found STAA."
A 2007 graduate of Mesa State College in Grand Junction, CO, Vicker called baseball, football, basketball and softball games on the campus radio station.
"Coming out of college with virtually no industry contacts, I really needed someone that could help me understand the unique challenges that job hunting in this highly competitive field presents. School gave me the skills, but I graduated lacking the knowledge on how to showcase my skill set on a resume and demo reel that would entice employers into making the hire. I think STAA really helped me find the starting line for what I hope to be a long and successful career."
(July 10, 2008) Adam Eichstedt, an STAA client, is moving north. Eichstedt is headed for Sturgeon Bay, WI, to join Nicolet Broadcasting in a sales and sports position.
In addition to sales responsibilities, Eichstedt will serve as the voice of Luxemburg-Casco High School athletics, including football, basketball, baseball, volleyball and softball. Eichstedt will also host a weekly talk show concentrating on Sturgeon Bay area teams, coaches, and athletes.
Eichstedt says the decision to leave his current job with Cumulus in Oshkosh/Appleton, WI, was difficult. While with Cumulus, Eichstedt had the opportunity to do fill-in DIII play-by-play work in football, basketball, and baseball at University of Wisconsin.
During his time with STAA Eichstedt has fully utilized the resources made available. “The use of your website to not only find jobs, but facilitate the ability to get the job, is second to none.”
(June 30, 2008) Learfield Sports has announced that STAA client Scott Galetti will serve as the Lobos play-by-play announcer for football and mens basketball games effective Fall 2008.
Lobo Sports Properties, a property of Learfield Sports and multimedia rights holder for the University of New Mexico Athletics, also will assume the Universitys exclusive broadcast rights in the fall that will continue on Citadel-owned KKOB 770 AM.
“STAA has been working with me and for me to get this job,” Galetti says. “Having a longtime association with STAA I can tell you first hand that they do what it takes to help you land a position in broadcasting. I am very appreciative of that.
"As long as [Jon Chelesnik and STAA] has been in business, he has been doing my portfolios”
Galetti, a seasoned broadcaster, has called games for NFL football on RSC Sports Radio Network, NCAA football and baseball on RSC; Cal State Northridge football; Wichita Falls Texans basketball (CBA); Seattle Reign basketball (ABL); Long Beach State University basketball, baseball; High Desert Mavericks baseball (A); Phoenix Mustangs hockey (WCHL); Bakersfield Fog hockey (WCHL) and Seattle Thunderbirds hockey (WHL). Galetti also has served as a talk show host for Sports Fan Radio Network and has been a television announcer for Long Beach State University basketball; Fullerton College football, basketball, wrestling and water polo; as well for Wichita Falls Texans basketball (CBA). Galetti currently resides in Oxnard , Calif. and soon will relocate to Albuquerque.
"I’m excited to have an opportunity to be a part of a community that has such passionate fans, Galetti said. I’m looking forward to being the voice of the Lobos and being able to bring that passion to the fans. I’m excited to engulf myself in the Lobo community."
Scott will be an outstanding addition to the Lobos broadcast team, said Tim Cline, senior vice president for Learfield Sports, UNMs exclusive athletics marketing partner through 2015. His experience alone speaks volumes, and we feel confident he is the right choice moving forward.
We trust Learfield Sports and know they have conducted a comprehensive search to ensure we have the right person in place to call Lobo games, said Paul Krebs, UNM Vice-President for Athletics. We welcome Scott to the UNM family and believe Lobo fans will enjoy him immensely.
In addition to New Mexico , Learfield Sports manages multimedia rights for more than 50 collegiate institutions and associations including other Mountain West members San Diego State and Wyoming . The Dallas-based company also manages the marketing partnerships for the Black Coaches & Administrators (BCA) and provides exclusive sports programming to more than 1,000 radio stations nationwide.
Learfield Sports is an operating unit of Jefferson City, Mo.-based Learfield Communications, Inc., which made its initial foray into the world of sports marketing in 1975 as the radio rights holder for the University of Missouri , a client still today. Additionally, Team Services, LLC, a Learfield Sports company, specializes in venue naming rights, marketing research and sales consultation. To learn more about the company, visit learfieldsports.com.
(June 25, 2008) The job market turned out to be a piece of cake for two recent college grads. STAA clients James Westling (left) and Heath Fanning (right), best friends from Kansas State University, have both been hired to do sports for KIUL in Garden City, KS.
Westling is the new Operations Manager and play-by-play voice for Garden City Community College, a perennial national juco football powerhouse. Fanning has been hired as an account executive and high school play-by-play announcer.
When Westling and Fanning graduated from K-State just three weeks ago, both had heard horror stories about how difficult the sportscasting job market can be. That is when they called STAA. They already knew the benefits of posting their demos and resumes in the STAA Talent Search, but they also wanted the career guidance that comes with being an STAA client. Chelesnik advised them on everything from the composition of their demo to how to write their cover letter and follow up their application.
Their decision paid off with immediate results.
Just three days after Westling and Fanning joined the Talent Search, STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik received a phone call from KIUL General Manager Danny Havel. Havel has worked with STAA in the past and he had a job opening. Chelesnik told Havel about Westling and Fanning. “I don’t know for certain that either of them will contact you,” Chelesnik told Havel. “But if they do, they are both worth considering.”
Sure enough, both Westling and Fanning contacted Havel. They made such a good impression that Havel hired them both.
“I was very impressed by their STAA Talent Pages,” Havel said.” It made it easy for me to listen to their audio. Personal contact with the client is important and STAA made that easy.
“I just think they are both great young talents. I was really impressed with the sound of their audio, and their follow up with me was just enough to keep me interested. They were enthusiastic. When hiring young talent, I am looking for people who are passionate and enthusiastic. Young guys aren’t always going to have fully developed their skills. So enthusiasm is a great thing to build upon.”
"Its a crazy situation,“ Westling says. “Heath and I talked about how you could post a map on the wall and chuck two darts and the chance of them landing on the same city were unbelievable odds. After we graduated we said its time to compete. We’re going to have to compete for the same jobs. He interviewed before me. I wished him the best of luck and then hings opened up. Obviously we’re both very excited.”
“Thank you [to STAA] for everything,” Fanning says. “I really appreciate all that you’ve done. You’ve been the biggest help and I don’t know where I’d be without signing up with you and you being able to give out our contact information. I appreciate everything.
“I truly believe without your help there is no way I would be in this position right now. I was worried forever about how hard it would be to get that first job and you have made that possible for me.”
Havel says, “I don’t think I would have found either of these guys without STAA.”
(June 20, 2008) STAA client Nicole Pytel never pictured herself on the news side of broadcasting.
Pytel spent over two years as a sports reporter for ABC 40 in Bryan/College Station, Texas, developing contacts and growing close to the community. Now, Pytel will take the reins as the station’s main news anchor/producer.
"It just seems like the logical next step," Pytel said. "I feel like I’ve gotten to know everyone in town. After all, we’ve spent the past two years bonding during what seems to be a year-round event here – Texas football!"
Pytel – a Ft. Lauderdale native and a graduate of the University of Miami – will start her new duties on June 30th.
(June 13, 2008) STAA client Paul Roper finds himself in a perfect situation. The New York resident and aspiring baseball broadcaster has joined the Newark Bears (Atlantic League) as a Media Relations Assistant and broadcaster.
In addition to his primary responsibilities of writing releases and helping to promote the team through the local media, Roper has play-by-play opportunities and fills a regular role on the Bears pre and post game shows.
For a recent graduate of Seton Hall University in East Orange, NJ, working for Newark is a perfect opportunity.
“The organization is good and (Assistant General Manager of Operations and Broadcaster) Jim Cerny is a great person to work for,” Roper says. “He has some Major League experience. He did a couple fill-in games for the Montreal Expos in 2004 when they played in Philadelphia and New York. He was also with the New York Islanders for seven seasons. To work under him and to be taken under his wing is a great opportunity for me.”
In addition to broadcasting on Seton Hall’s campus radio station, Roper has served as play-by-play announcer for the Vermont Mountaineers and the Jersey Pilots.
“I do something new every day (in Newark),” Roper says. “Its really a fun atmosphere working for the Bears.”
(June 2, 2008) For the first time in 25 years, WYO Radio was looking for a News/Sports Director for their three-station cluster in Rock Springs, WY. They hired STAA client Tim Boulware.
Boulware joined the stations three weeks ago. He is co-hosting a morning show on country station 96.5 KQSW. He also anchors newscasts and will call play-by-play for Rock Springs High School football and basketball. Boulware is excited about his new job and his new community.
“The area is growing very, very fast,” Boulware says. “The people are wonderful to work for and they have a real commitment to news and sports coverage.”
Boulware moves to Wyoming from KWOX-FM in Woodward, OK. He has also worked at stations in Ohio and Alabama, and has called minor league baseball and basketball play-by-play.
The opportunity in Rock Springs came quickly.
“I sent them my STAA Talent Page and then called them,” Boulware recalls. “They said ‘I’ll listen to (your demo) right now.’ Give me a call back in 20 minutes.” Boulware did call back and, a short time later, he was offered the job. He knows, though, that the job market isn’t usually so easy.
“Be persistent,” Boulware advises job seekers. “Develop as many contacts as you can and be patient. The job market is tough right now. It’s been hard for broadcasters because there’s not a lot of movement. Use everything at your disposal.”
(May 27, 2008) For the first time in his young career, Ben Root is the voice of an NCAA athletic program. Root has been hired as Sports Director at KTCH/KCTY radio in Wayne, NE. In his new job, Root will call play-by-play for Division II Wayne State College.
“This is a really good chance to go full bore with a lot of sports,” Root says. “Any time you have a chance to cover an NCAA team its a great chance to move up and cover some higher quality action.”
An STAA client, Root moves to Wayne from Green River, WY where he spent the last 18 months doing news and high school play-by-play for The Radio Network.
Root learned of the opportunity in Nebraska on the STAA job board. Then, like many successful job applicants, Root practiced persistence.
“I first sent my STAA Talent Page and a cover letter,” Root says. “I followed up four times via email saying I was still interested, asking if they had a timeline and asking if it had been filled. I kept sending my Talent Page as well.”
In addition to Wayne State play-by-play, Root will also call Wayne High School football and basketball, and will do some voice tracking and DJ work.
Root is a 2006 graduate of Fullerton College in Southern California.
(May 22, 2008) Who you know is sometimes more important than what you know. Ask Jimmy Chavez, the new sports director at KXXX in Colby, KS.
An STAA client, Chavez is the first sports director in the station’s history. He’ll handle local high school play-by-play and host a Monday – Thursday sports talk show and a variety of coaches shows.
KXXX is an affiliate of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas State Wildcats.
“I’m excited to do sports talk again,” Chavez says. “That is a big part of the job and I enjoy doing it.”
Chavez moves to Colby from KRSL/KCAY in Russell, KS. (His former position has already been filled). During his time in Colby, Chavez got to know KXXX GM Mike Fell. When Fell decided this spring to create the position of sports director, Chavez was the first person he contacted.
“One of the coolest things is when someone calls you because they respect your work,” Chavez says. “Mike is someone I will learn a lot from. Also, I know Mike and trust Mike and I consider him a friend.
Ironically, Chavez is the third STAA client who is also a graduate of the University of Kansas to have landed a new job in the past nine days. Rob Voelker was named sports director at KMAN in Manhattan, KS. Blake Cripps, who graduated ealier this month, is the new baseball play-by-play voice for the Chillicothe (MO) Mudcats. A total of six KU grads are STAA clients.
“I’ve had a lot of good people that have been in my corner, including (STAA CEO) Jon Chelesnik and STAA. I wish I had discovered them when I was in school. The business is tough as it is. STAA is a real blessing. Not just because of the Talent Search, but a little bit of everything. You learn a lot.”
Chavez is in the process of making the 90-minute west from Russell to Colby. He starts his new job on Monday.
“There are so many good signs about this opportunity,” says Chavez. “I’m excited to see what happens.”
(May 19, 2008) Josh Rogol, lead play-by-play announcer for the Class-A Visalia Oaks last season, is moving up to Double-A. An STAA client, Rogol is joining the Montgomery Biscuits as their No. 2 broadcaster and media relations assistant.
Rogol will work alongside veteran Biscuits announcer Jim Tocco on all Biscuits home broadcasts.
The opening in Montgomery was very much a surprise. Earlier this month, the Biscuits found themselves in immediate need of additional help in the front office. The team figured they had a better chance of finding quality help if they included play-by-play in the job description. Without time to conduct a national search, Tocco called STAA for recommendations. At the same time, Rogol was contacting Tocco on his own. They spoke on the phone and within a few days, Rogol accepted the job.
“Working with Jim is going to be good experience,” Rogol says. “I think it will be enjoyable and fun. It will be nice to be back on the air. Moving up to the Double-A level will be a nice change as well. It will be nice to see a lot of the players I saw last year in the California League.”
Rogol will meet up with team in Chattanooga on Thursday beginning official duties next week.
“It should be fun to get my hands dirty and get going,” he says.
(May 17, 2008) Playful teasing over college bragging rights helped land Rob Voelker a new job. An alumnus of the University of Kansas, Voelker has accepted a job deep in the heart of rival Kansas State University territory. He is joining Manhattan Broadcasting as Sports Director at KMAN in Manhattan, KS, home to KSU.
Voelker will be in charge of morning sportscasts on three stations. He’ll also call high school play-by-play, cover press conferences and have sports talk hosting opportunities.
An STAA client, Voelker says, “I interviewed for the same job in the summer of 2006. I didn’t get it but I kept in touch with them. I’m a KU fan and KU grad (Class of ’02) so I occasionally called (Manhattan Broadcasting GM) Rich Wartell and gave him a hard time about KU-K-State stuff. When this job came up again he asked me to send him my stuff.”
Voelker moves to KMAN from KLMJ/KQCR in Hampton, Iowa where he has been Sports Director since 2002. He hopes that other job seekers might learn from his experience.
“If you interview with an employer, keep up with them, stay in touch with them, “Voelker suggests. “That’s what worked for me this time around. Keep in touch even if you get turned down somewhere.”
As for being a Jayhawk in Wildcat territory, Voelker has already adjusted.
“You have to be loyal to who signs your paychecks. I’ll keep my KU fandom at a low profile”
Gaskins lands sports talk, play-by-play job at ESPN 1230
(May 15, 2008) John Gaskins is excited about the next step forward in his career. An STAA client, Gaskins has been hired as a sports talk host/play-by-play announcer at ESPN 1230 in Sioux Falls, SD.
Gaskins will host a daily show from 2 – 3 pm, then co-host a 3 – 5 pm show with station program director Craig Mattick. Gaskins will also anchor sports updates in the morning, call high school sports play-by-play, and serve as a fill-in play-by-play announcer on University of Sioux Falls basketball broadcasts.
‘I’ve been living in the general market,” Gaskins says. “I’ve heard the shows, I know what they’re about and it’s a good product. It is a station and a company that cares about its product and therefore is interested in investing in the proper resources.”
Gaskins moves to Sioux Falls from Three Eagles Radio in Worthington, MN where he served as the sports director for the last three years. He very much enjoyed his time in Worthington but he is also eager for his new opportunity.
“This is a big step up in market size but not so big that it is daunting.” Gaskins says. “It just feels right.”
With a population of 123,000, Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota. It is home to University of Sioux Falls (NAIA), Augustana College (Div. II), and minor league football, basketball, baseball and hockey teams. It is also within an hour of the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State.
Gaskins credits STAA with helping him advance his career.
“STAA helped get my name out there. Employers realize I’m taking this business and my development seriously. STAA’s coaching helped me get better at what I do. They helped make demos sound better. They helped with cover letters and what to say and what do to in an interview. I know that at any time I can email (STAA CEO) Jon Chelesnik with a very specific question for advice that will advance my career and know that he will have a quick answer and a helpful answer. It is beyond what I paid for.
“For me, my place in my career and my life, this job is a perfect and natural fit.”
First Notre Dame, now Evansville baseball for Vlietstra
(May 14, 2008) 2008 has been a good year for STAA client Nick Vlietstra. He has filled-in on several University of Notre Dame baseball broadcasts. Now he has accepted a broadcast position with the Evansville Otters minor league baseball club.
The Otters are members of the Frontier League.
Vlietstra will call the middle three innings for Otters home games and will be the analyst alongside Jason Troop for the other innings. He will serve as the studio host for Otters road games.
“Getting a chance to get a start somewhere is one of the things so many people talk about,” Vlietstra says. “I feel as though I’m able to have a starting point for my career and something to look forward to.”
Vlietstra, a 2007 graduate of Spring Arbor University in Michigan, learned of the Otters opening on the STAA job forum.
“Everyday, multiple times per day, I’m looking at the job postings on the STAA website.” Vlietstra says. “By using my STAA Talent Page it is pretty easy to just email people with a link to my Talent Page and they’re able to access (my demo and resume) pretty easily. It really makes it easy to make contact with potential employers.”
Earlier this spring, Vlietstra used his STAA Talent Page to land the Notre Dame baseball fill-in work. He called five home games for the Irish, one against Ball State, one versus Toledo and a three game weekend series with the University of Cincinnati.
“I was pretty much just finding any radio station I could and emailing the person and the station and sending my STAA Talent Page along with the email looking for opportunity,” Vlietstra says. “Sean Stires (Program Director at ESPN Radio 1490 in South Bend, the Voice of Irish Baseball and another STAA client) was one of those people. The baseball wasn’t something that was posted anywhere.
“It (Irish baseball) was fun,” Vlietstra grins. “The station is right in the shadow of the football stadium. They have a real nice facility.
“Thank you for the (STAA) website. It is a huge help to be able to contact a lot of people.”
(May 13, 2008) Leatherman Communications President Dan Leatherman was in a bind last Thursday. His play-by-play broadcaster for the Chillicothe Mudcats baseball team had resigned and the season was starting in just two weeks. Leatherman called STAA. Four days later, Leatherman hired STAA client Blake Cripps.
Cripps joined STAA just last month. After graduating from the University of Kansas next week, he’ll make the short move east to call Mudcats games for the summer. The Mudcats play in the MINK League (Missouri-Iowa-Nebraska-Kansas), a summer collegiate wood bat league. Cripps will call play-by-play for all 40 regular season games, plus playoffs. The games air on KCHI AM/FM in Chillicothe.
Notable MINK League alums include current and former major leaguers Trevor Hoffman (Nevada Griffins), Andy Benes (Clarinda A’s) and Chuck Knoblauch (Clarinda A’s).
As a member of STAA’s Advantage Program, Cripps was notified of the opening directly by STAA. “I received the email on Thursday from STAA. It included (Dan Leatherman’s) email address. I typed my cover letter in an email and send a link to my TP. We talked Friday and he offered me the job.”
One benefit of the job that Cripps is especially excited about is the opportunity to have his play-by-play critiqued by Leatherman.
“It is a good chance to really improve,” Cripps says. “I personally review all of my broadcasts but when you have someone else do it, it is an important component of improving as a broadcaster.
“I’m really happy to be given this opportunity. I know from friends that this isn’t supposed to be something where you go get jobs so easily. Its not supposed to happen this way.”
(May 9, 2008) Josh Hirsh, an STAA client, has joined the San Angelo Colts as their No. 2 Play-by-Play Announcer/Media Relations Assistant. Hirsch will work alongside the Colts lead announcer and fellow STAA client Frank Mentesana.
Hirsch, who graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007, is excited about the experience his new job will provide.
“Even though it is the No. 2 position, I am getting to do every home game,” Hirsch says. “That is 45 times for nine innings that I can use to gain more experience. It is a successful organization that is well run, and financially it worked out okay. They are paying for housing and it’s not a financial burden.”
Hirsch will call play-by-play for the middle three innings of home games, color for the others, and all of the play-by-play for select road games that Mentesana will be unable to attend. Hirsch will also assist with various media relations responsibilities, including writing press releases and game recaps.
Hirsch learned of the job on the STAA job forum. It was one of roughly 40 positions he has applied for since last summer. He submitted his tape and resume, along with a link to his STAA Talent Page. The Colts eventually called him for an interview.
Hirsch’s advice to other broadcasters in the job market is to keep plugging away.
“Eventually you’ll find the right opportunity. I was a finalist for one job and offered another but didn’t take it. It took me long time to get this job but if you have the patience to stick with it, what are a few extra months? Don’t give up.”
(May 6, 2008) The perfect gift for any college grad is awaiting John Thayer. A job.
Thayer, an STAA client, has accepted the position of Sports Director and on-air host for High Plains Radio in Holyoke, CO. He starts May 27th, just over a week after he graduates from Doane College in Crete, NE.
“I am very excited for this and it’s all because of the help on the STAA site,” Thayer says. “I saw the posting on the STAA website and quickly sent my resume to them. I emailed a cover letter and link to my STAA Talent Page.
“I am looking for a start in the business. There is going to be a lot of opportunity to gain experience in the commercial business so I’m excited for it.”
Thayer has lived his entire life in Nebraska but is looking forward to venturing out. “Holyoke is still just two hours from home. Its not too far into Colorado.”
“I am extremely fortunate to have got a job. It was starting to get stressful. I was worried about not having a job after graduation. It was a pretty quick decision. I liked what they had to offer. I like the town. I really think it’s going to be a good opportunity, a chance to get a lot of good experience.
“I especially want to thank STAA for providing the service. It definitely helped me get this job. I might not have been able to find a job without finding all the openings you provide on the website.”
(April 29, 2008) After 21 years, Jerry Jones feared his radio career might be over. That is when he turned to STAA. Now, just three months later, Jones has been hired as sports director for the six-station cluster of the Western Kansas Broadcast Center in Garden City, KS.
Jones replaces fellow STAA client Rob Buska who is now working for Sporting News Radio in Los Angeles.
“The biggest thing I’m looking forward to is the new challenge,” Jones says. “It’s an opportunity I have been looking forward to for a long time. It (broadcasting) has been a passion all my life and I wanted to get back into it on full-time basis.”
In his new job, Jones will be responsible for hourly sports updates each morning on all six stations. He will also handle play-by-play for Garden City Community College football, basketball and baseball, as well as Garden City High School football and basketball.
Jones’ path to his new opportunity started last year when he was told by a radio station in Salina, KS that they were discontinuing the high school play-by-play package that Jones had been doing. Not knowing what to do, Jones turned to his friend Cory Kopsa, who owns KRFS radio in Superior, NE. Kopsa suggested Jones call STAA.
“I asked Cory ‘what the heck do I need to do?’ I had nowhere to go. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever work full-time in radio again.”
STAA built Jones demo and resume, and then showcased them in the STAA Talent Search. Around the same time, Buska resigned his position at the Western Kansas Broadcast Center. He suggested that WKBC Program Manager James Janda contact STAA for help in finding a replacement.
Janda found five candidates he liked in the STAA Talent Search and asked Chelesnik for their contact information. Chelesnik then told Jones that Janda was looking. By the time Janda made the job public, Jones had already emailed his STAA Talent Page to Janda and spoken to him about the position.
“I want to thank you (STAA) very, very much for all you have done for me,” Jones says. “I know without you this wouldn’t have happened. I just took a chance. This is prime example that you don’t ever, ever want to give up.”
(April 23, 2008) Alex Del Barrio is creating a solid career for himself without having to leave home. An STAA client, Del Barrio has been hired as the lead sports anchor for Fox 2, XRIO in Rio Grande Valley, TX.
A native of the Rio Grande Valley, Del Barrio is also the radio play-by-play voice for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Developmental League. His job with the Vipers lead him to the TV opportunity.
“One of our owners for the Vipers is also the general manager of the TV station,” Del Barrio says. “They were looking for a new sports guy. They had me come in and do a screen test. I passed it and they offered me the job.
“It s a different challenge than what I’m used to doing. I’ve been doing play-by-play non- stop for the last four years — baseball to basketball, then while I’m doing basketball mixing in some hockey.
Del Barrio, who is graduating from the University of Texas-Pan American next month, is looking forward to his schedule slowing down a bit.
“I’ve been going to school and traveling (for play-by-play duties). I won’t be doing baseball this summer so I’ll have a normal work week for awhile.”
Del Barrio spent last summer calling games for the Edinburg Coyotes of the United Baseball League. He hopes his new job will move him closer to his eventual goal of broadcasting NBA games on TV.
“This allows me to get the camera time I have sorely needed for awhile and allows me to keep my play-by-play tapes fresh. Plus it is my home market. I don’t have to move anywhere.“
Del Barrio’s family is looking forward to watching him on local TV.
“My mom (Antonia) is ecstatic about it. She’s got a tape set to record. She’s going to make copies of the broadcasts and send them to my sister in Houston. She’s also thrilled that she gets to go (clothes) shopping for me now.”
(April 18, 2008) After a three month hiatus, Las Vegas sports talk hosts Casey Freelove and Corey Olson are returning to the all new Sports Radio 1140 KSFN weeknights 7-9pm.
Freelove, an STAA client, and Olson have been a sports talk staple in the Las Vegas market since their weekend show debuted in 2004. After bouncing back and forth between weekends and middays, they have found a permanent home, weeknights on KSFN.
“I’m just glad that there is still room in this business for a couple of sports loving stats geeks like Corey and myself” says Freelove. “The Las Vegas market has been good to us and it is very satisfying to return to a daily show.”
On Monday April 14th, KSFN flipped from adult oriented talk to all sports. The new lineup features Freelove and Olson, the Dan Patrick show, Sporting News Radio and Los Angeles Dodgers baseball.
Freelove and Olson have twice been recognized as the best talk show in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Electronic Media awards. The duo will continue to focus on national sports topics while mixing in local Las Vegas issues and nationally recognized guests.
(April 16, 2008) 2008 is shaping up to be a big year for STAA client Matt Gajtka.
Gajtka has been hired by the Fayetteville SwampDogs as Radio Broadcaster/Media Relations Manager. He is also getting married this fall.
The SwampDogs are the Coastal Plain League’s 2007 Organization of the Year. Gajtka will provide play-by-play for all 56 regular season games plus playoffs, along with exhibition games versus Team USA and Team Red, White and Blue. He will also host a weekly, half-hour television show on the local Time Warner Cable channel.
Gajtka is embracing the variety of the job. “The TV show once a week, 56 games plus post season, and all the written content on the website. The variety of responsibilities is most exciting,” he says.
On September 27th, roughly one month after the season ends, Gajtka will marry his fiancé Jillian Heeren. “We planned it that way because we knew at least one of us would be working in baseball,” Gajtka says. “Now it turns out both of us will.”
Heeren is the Director of Client Relations for the West Virginia Power.
Gajtka first learned about the SwampDogs job in mid-March while perusing the STAA job forum. He interviewed several weeks later. “I had about an hour long interview over the phone which I thought was promising,” Gajtka says.
SwampDogs GM Darrell Handelsman called Gajtka last Sunday to offer him the job. Gajtka was TV channel surfing when his phone rang. He recognized the 910 area code as Handelsman’s.
“I stepped outside real quick to take the call. It was just me and my dog out there. He was just sitting there kind of looking at me. Then I went in the house, told my mom, dad and grandma, then called my fiancé and my brother — all in about 10 minutes.
“From all that I have heard and seen, the SwampDogs are a very professional organization. It made taking the job a very easy decision.”
(April 11, 2008) Charlie Beattie has landed a sportscasting job with one of the highest profile minor league baseball teams in the country. And it is in his hometown.
An STAA client, Beattie is joining the St. Paul Saints (American Association) as a studio host and No.2 play-by-play announcer. Beattie is the first of two new hires who will share this position.
“There are a lot of different hats to wear and it’s a great way to get plugged into the Twin Cities media scene,” Beattie says.
St. Paul is one of the most prestigious and successful teams in minor league baseball. The team once sold out 249 consecutive dates, and every regular and post-season home game in club history has been televised locally.
The club’s ownership group includes Mike Veeck and actor Bill Murray. Veeck’s grandfather was president of the Chicago Cubs. His father Bill was a Hall of Fame owner with the St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox. Famous ex-Saints include Darryl Strawberry, Leon Durham, Jack Morris and Glenn Davis.
Not only is Beattie thrilled to be part of an organization of such renown, but also to be doing it in his own back yard.
“It is literally home” Beattie smiles. “I was born about two miles from where (the Saints ballpark) Midway Stadium is currently located. I played in the stadium a couple times when I was playing high school ball. The hospital where I was born was even called Midway Hospital.”
This opportunity didn’t happen overnight for Beattie. In 2006, he met his two future roommates at baseball’s winter meetings. Both of them work for the Saints. Last fall, they told Beattie of the team’s broadcast opening. Beattie submitted his STAA Talent Page and his tape and resume built by STAA. He was granted an interview and eventually earned the job.
Beattie’s play-by-play experience includes stints with the Wilson Tobs and the Bowie Baysox. He is a graduate of George Washington University in Washington D.C.
“They (the Saints) are great people to work with,” Beattie says. “This is a team that really puts people places. The potential for what could happen after this if I take care of business—that’s what this (opportunity) is all about.”
(April 4, 2008) When one door was closed on John Leahy, he worked hard to open another. A play-by-play veteran and an STAA client, Leahy is the new radio voice of the Kalamazoo Kings baseball club of the Frontier League.
The Kings games will be heard on ESPN 1660 AM and online at www.kalamazookings.com.
Leahy spent the past three seasons calling games for the North Shore Spirit of the Can-Am League. When the Spirit folded after last season, Leahy went into overdrive in the job market.
"After the Spirit went under, I decided to correspond with every independent league team in North America and Canada," Leahy says. "I sent out a series of emails. Of course, Kalamazoo was one of those teams. Through the course of emailing them, they asked for my CD and demo.
"When I first made contact, obviously they had questions for me regarding what my work was like. I sent them my complete portfolio from STAA, including letters of recommendation. They were immediately impressed with the portfolio. I think that is the primary the reason I got a call back. I really wouldn’t have had a chance to demonstrate my skills without a really decent portfolio."
Another key to Leahy getting the job was his consistent follow-up.
"I would say at the outset that that I followed up once every couple of weeks," Leahy says. "Then once I determined they had a real interest I was basically getting back to them on a weekly basis. By the end, I was talking to them twice a week."
Leahy’s new opportunity isn’t coming without a major sacrifice. Leahy’s wife Lori-Ann is staying behind in Blackstone, MA while her husband spends the summer in Kalamazoo.
"The notion of me being away from my wife for four months is the most painful part of the decision," Leahy says. "But my wife Lori-Ann deserves the most credit in the world for her support. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my wife. She understands my level of commit to the industry and she is always so supportive."
After the baseball season, Leahy will return to Massachusetts and will continue handling play-by-play for Merrimack College hockey.
In Kalamazoo, Leahy replaces fellow STAA client Mike Levine who is now at WQAM in Miami.
Leahy isn’t the only King with connections to the defunct North Shore team. The Kings are managed by Fran Riordan who played for the Spirit prior to Leahy’s arrival. "I have heard great things about Fran and I am looking forward to working with him a great deal," Leahy says.
"I am excited to work in a new league. There is a bit more travel in the Frontier League than in the Can-Am League. I’m also interested in comparing the differences between Midwestern ball and Northeastern ball. It’s a challenge that I’m excited about.
"Kalamazoo is also only about two hours east of Chicago so I’m hoping to catch a Cubs game while I’m out there."
(March 28, 2008) STAA client Dave Smith will be part of the newest sports talk station in Los Angeles. Smith will co-host a morning drive show with Roger Lodge at KLAA 830 AM.
The station debuts on Monday.
Smith and Lodge will do a 6-to-9 a.m. show, leading into a new syndicated version of the Tony Bruno show, airing from 9 a.m. to noon. Thursday night, Smith and Lodge were on the Angels’ radio pre-game show, as well as the FSN West telecast, to promote their hiring.
Smith, who most recently worked at the Sporting News Radio Network, tells STAA he is thrilled about the possibilities.
“We should lock up the local market because there is no other local show in our time slot," Smith says. "Colin (Cowherd) and Dan (Patrick) aren’t going to be talking exclusively about the Dogers and UCLA.”
Smith also tells STAA he is excited bout working with his long-time friend Lodge, the former host of TV’s Blind Date. “We’re very good friends and have been since he started working at 1540 (KMPC). We’ve always wanted to work together. It helps that we’re friends and know each other very well. It’s not like two strangers working together.”
Meanwhile, Joe McDonnell, the late-night weekday co-host at KLAC (570AM), said from his vacation in Hawaii that he is not up for the station’s afternoon-drive spot despite reports.
The station, which Angels owner Arte Moreno purchased in 2004, accomodated the team’s Spanish-language broadcasts the last few seasons and changed its call letters from KMXE to KLAA – an abbreviation of his Los Angeles Angels.
To accomodate the new sports-talk shows, as well as the pre- and post-game shows hosted by Steve Physioc, the Angels recently finished building a state-of-the-art broadcasting facility inside Angels Stadium for all of their original programming.
The station operates without a traditional general manager or program director. Angels team president Dennis Kuhl has been in charge of hiring and forming sports-talk related programming. John Carpino, the Angels’ senior VP of sales and marketing, is also the general sales manager at 830-AM.
(March 26, 2008) STAA client Brad Golder has been named program director for a radio station that has been purchased by Class-A Great Lakes Loons minor league baseball team. Golder is also the Loons play-by-play announcer.
The Midland-based Loons have purchased radio station WYLZ, 100.9-FM. The station’s brand name is now ESPN 100.9-FM, and format has been flipped from country music to a 24-hour sports format carrying ESPN’s national syndicated shows.
The Loons purchased the rights to the Pinconning-based 100.9FM signal for $325,000 from the Last Bastion Trust, said Golder, the Loons’ director of broadcasting and media relations and play-by-play announcer. The Great Lakes franchise plans to continue to air live broadcasts of all Loons regular-season game on 100.9FM, Golder said.
Citadel Broadcasting previously owned WYLZ, along with sister stations WILZ, WHNN, WIOG and WTKQ, and contracted with the Loons to air their 2007 inaugural regular season games on WYLZ.
But shortly after the 2007 season began, Citadel was forced to give up one station when the Federal Communications Commission enacted a new law limiting companies from owning no more than four FM stations within a specific market, said Stan Parman, program director for WILZ-104.5FM. WYLZ was then put in the Last Bastion Trust, and its format was changed to ”Thunder Country” music, until today.
Parman said Citadel suggested the Loons purchase the station to ensure a flagship home for broadcast of their games. He also noted the purchase is for ”only the stick” (the signal and tower), and does not include a building, studio or staff. Citadel is providing the Loons with on-site support during the transition, and the Loons plan to begin construction on a state-of-the-art studio at Dow Diamond after the 2008 baseball season concludes, Golder said.
”Citadel approached us about buying the station and we felt it was a great idea for us because it gives us a secure home for our broadcasts for years to come,” said Golder.
Golder said in addition to the ESPN syndicated programming, ESPN-100.9FM will carry the Grand Rapids-based ”Huge Show,” hosted by Bill Simonson. The Huge Show will air weekdays from 3-6 p.m. A future goal is for the Loons to expand further on local sports programming, Golder said.
(March 24, 2008) KSLG (1380 AM) St. Louis is shuffling the roster for its 10 a.m.-noon show, with Tim Woodburn out and STAA client Joe Zydlo (left) coming aboard. Remaining are Rich Gould, Dave Greene, Jay Randolph Jr. and Andy Strickland as they rotate days.
The program had been co-owned by the station and a marketing firm, but KSLG general manager John Helkamp said his company is taking a bigger stake in the show.
"Its more of a partnership now than it was before,” he said. "Essentially we retain a little more of the show than we did before. It was time for us to do that.”
And the station’s resident football guru, Howard Balzer, is set to appear occasionally on Fridays when NFL discussion is timely. Balzer will continuing to do his football programs on Tuesday nights and Sunday mornings.
Zydlo also will do a new baseball show from 6-7 p.m. weeknights beginning March 31.
In addition to his new hosting duties, Zydlo also calls play-by-play for NCAA Division II University of Missouri-St. Loui basketball.
(March 18, 2008) Chad Cooper enjoys broadcasting sports play-by-play year-around. He will continue to be able to so. Cooper, an STAA client, has been named Broadcaster/Media Relations Director for the North Adams (MA) SteepleCats of the NECBL.
“I’m looking forward in a lot of ways to the media relations aspect of the job,” Cooper says. “That is an area that I haven’t had to work on as one of my primary responsibilities. Writing press releases, handling credential requests, having a big hand in putting together the media guide.”
For the past two years, Cooper has been the basketball play-by-play voice for College of St. Rose. This week he is preparing for the team’s games in the NCAA Division II tournament. Last summer, Cooper called baseball for the Vero Beach Devil Rays. He is also a former baseball voice for the Traverse City Beach Bums.
Cooper will work full-time for the SteepleCats from May 26 though the first week of September.
(March 13, 2008) After 12 years, Dave DeNatale has earned a major market opportunity. DeNatale will be handling afternoon drive sports updates on ESPN 850 WKNR in Cleveland.
An STAA client, DeNatale moves to WKNR from WOBL in Oberlin, OH where he has worked as Sports Director since 2000. He is being replaced in that position by former co-worker Brian Deitz.
“Its finally the opportunity for more people to hear me,” DeNatale grins. “There are now 50,000 watts behind the words. And the fact that it’s my hometown of Cleveland is very exciting. I don’t have to go very far.”
DeNatale’s shift will be from noon to 7 pm. He’ll handle updates during the Jim Rome Show and two local shows.
ESPN 850 is owned by Good Karma Broadcasting. DeNatale’s connections with Good Karma helped him land this opportunity.
“I had interviewed with some of the Good Karma people when they had an opening in Wisconsin two years ago.” When the WKNR opportunity arose, one of DeNatale’s connections at Good Karma encouraged him to apply.
As excited as DeNatale is for his sports anchor responsibilities, his top passion is play-by-play. He will continue to serve as the play-by-play voice for Oberlin College football on WOBL. He will also be doing a game at the MAC Basketball Tournament this week for WKNR. He is hopeful that being at WKRN will lead to even more opportunities.
(March 10, 2008) A casual conversation with a friend lead Nick Sekkas to a new job. He has been hired at ESPN Radio 1450 in Fayetteville, NC.
Sekkas will be calling play-by-play for NCAA Division II Fayetteville State football, men’s basketball, and some women’s basketball. He anticipates adding a daily high school sports talk show to the mix in the coming weeks. Sekkas is also the station’s Director of Marketing & Promotions.
The opportunity came about for Sekkas as the result of a telephone call with his friend and fellow STAA client Bret Lasky. Lasky happened to be in a car with a member of the staff at ESPN 1450. Lasky mentioned to Sekkas that the station might have a job opportunity. Sekkas emailed the station a link to his STAA Talent Page and one thing led to another until he eventually got the job.
As much as he loves play-by-play, Sekkas is also excited about the marketing and promotions aspect of the job. “I’m looking forward to helping to set up a promotions team and organize events at various high school games and sporting events here, including the Fayetteville Swampdogs baseball team.
Sekkas comes to ESPN 1450 from the Aberdeen IronBirds baseball club, where he served as Director of Broadcasting for the team owned by Cal Ripken Jr.
ESPN 1450 is a young, growing station. Later this month they will be opening a new, window-front studio at a downtown restaurant. Sekkas is excited about the possibilities.
“There is a lot of room for growth here in Fayetteville. I am doing a lot of different things. We’ll be doing video podcasting. I am covering pres conferences. It’s not just minor league baseball. Its a bunch of different stuff which is exciting to me.”
Sekkas’ advice to others in the job market is to stay in touch with friends and acquaintances. “Stay interested in what other people have going on,” he says. “You never know when they might know of something down the road.”
(March 1, 2008) Kyle Hanni is willing to do whatever necessary to get his foot in the door. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force and an STAA client, Hanni has joined the team at ESPN Radio 840 in Charlottesville, VA. as an account executive and host of a weekly sports show.
The job isn’t the one Hanni originally applied for.
“The original job was a full-time sales job,” he says. “I had never done sales but I put in for it anyway. (General Manager) Aaron Marks wrote me back. He said I had on-air talent and ability but that there were other things, including sales, that I needed to work on.”
Despite being turned down on his initial application, Hanni remained persistent with Marks.
“I kept in touch—he said he might have something later. I continued to keep after him and even volunteered to do an internship. They finally brought me on part-time.”
In his first two years in radio, Hanni has done everything from working as a music director and DJ to hosting a weekly sports talk show. Even though he has set his sights on a full-time on-air career in sportscasting, Hanni is embracing the sales aspect of his new job.
“Sales are what I don’t know as well. I have plenty of experience on-air. The sales will be something that if I can learn and become good at and become a student of, its going to be something that helps me in the radio business.”
Hanni used his STAA Talent Page aggressively in his job hunt.
“I sent my Talent Page to Aaron and to most of the jobs I applied for. It was helpful because most of the time I applied to anyone, the page had most of the information they need on it. Especially the on-air stuff.”
Hanni anticipates the sales component of his new job will be the key to his future career.
“If you sell you can have a show. If you sell you can have a job.”
Suchon back in big leagues with Los Angeles Dodgers
(February 25, 2008) Josh Suchon is back in the big leagues and his STAA Talent Page played a key role.
Suchon has been hired by Citadel Broadcasting’s 790 KABC in Los Angeles as the Dodgers Reporter for the 2008 baseball season.
"I’m honored and excited to join 790 KABC and the Los Angeles Dodgers Radio Network. I have a passion for baseball and I look forward to sharing that with Dodger Fans in the Southland and Dodgers fans throughout California, wherever they may live," says Suchon.
During the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball season, Suchon can be heard in the pre- and post-game Dodger Talk on 790 KABC and the Los Angeles Dodgers Radio Network; supporting the play-by-play team of Vin Scully, Rick Monday and Charlie Steiner; and contributing featured reports on the Dodgers during regular programming on 790 KABC and Citadel’s 95.5 KLOS FM.
Suchon says his STAA Talent Page played a major role in his hiring.
“The STAA website was a huge help. When my name emerged as a candidate, on a reference from somebody else, KABC was able to look at my STAA Talent Page and hear audio clips of my work in less than a minute — before I even knew the job existed.”
After ten years in the newspaper business, Suchon made the transition from major league baseball newspaper reporter to minor league baseball play-by-play announcer. Suchon was the traveling major league baseball beat writer for The Oakland Tribune, including three seasons covering the Oakland Athletics (2004-2006) and four seasons on the San Francisco Giants beat (2000-2003). Suchon also authored a critically acclaimed book about Barry Bonds’ record-breaking, 73-homer season in 2001 titled, This Gracious Season: Barry Bonds & The Greatest Year in Baseball (Winter Publications).
Despite the newspaper background, Suchon is no stranger to the broadcast booth or a microphone. Suchon did play-by-play announcing for minor league baseball’s Modesto Nuts, high school football, and college basketball in Northern California. Suchon also co-hosted a weekday sports talk show for ESPN Radio in Modesto, along with former NFL wide receiver and UCLA Bruin JJ Stokes.
Suchon wastes no time! Today he leaves to join the Los Angeles Dodgers in Vero Beach.
(February 25, 2008) Jonathan Hays didn’t realize how much he loves broadcasting until he left it. Now, he couldn’t be happier to be getting back in.
An STAA client, Hays has joined Noalmark Broadcasting in El Dorado, AR in a sports/on-air utility role. Hays will host a mid-day shift on Mix 91, work in the production department and be part of Noalmark’s play-by-play teams, sports talk shows and coach’s shows.
A broadcaster since 2003, Hays left broadcasting in November to pursue a career in insurance. As it turned out, he didn’t enjoy insurance nearly as much as he enjoys radio.
“I’m glad to be back in it,” Hays says. “Once you are out of it you realize how much you miss it and it makes you hungry to get back in it. You appreciate it a lot more.”
Hays will be relocating to El Dorado from Jonesboro, AR, about 250 miles away. He credits his STAA Talent Page with playing an important role in his hiring.
“The Talent Page helped a lot because (Noalmark Broadcasting GM Sandy Sanford) was able to listen to all the audio samples and that got me in the door,” Hays says. “It just adds so much convenience instead of me having to burn so many different CDs. It gives me a lot of variety to throw at them too.”
In addition to his broadcasting responsibilities, there is an unusual aspect to Hays’ new job. He will work as the radio station’s Unknown Eater, anonymously dining at local restaurants then providing on-air reviews of the menu. However, it is the sports that Hays is most excited about.
“I’m looking forward to getting back into the flow of actually doing sports. It will also be the first time I am doing any voice-tracking, I have always done stuff live.”
Pauley thrilled for first affiliated baseball opportunity
(February 18, 2008) Matt Pauley moved to Burlington, Iowa last fall for a basketball play-by-play job. Now he has been named Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Burlington Bees, the Class-A Midwest League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
An STAA client, Pauley replaces Randy Wehofer, who left the Bees after nine years for a No.2 job with the AAA Iowa Cubs.
Pauley spent last summer as Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations for the South Georgia Peanuts of the independent South Coast League. He is thrilled for the opportunity with the Bees.
“This is just like in unaffiliated ball when I watched guys get signed by affiliated ball clubs,” Pauley says. “Its exciting.”
Five months ago, Pauley had never even been to Burlington. In September, he was hired by Pritchard Broadcasting in Burling to call play-by-play for Southeastern Community College (SCC) basketball. The radio station turned out to be a big help in Pauley landing the Bees job.
“The folks at the station want me to be around 12 months out of the year so they contacted the team and helped push it through. They were definitely my biggest supporter on this.”
STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik is also excited for Pauley. “I met Matt many years ago when I was still hosting my show on ESPN Radio,” Chelesnik says. “Matt was the board-op for our St. Louis affiliate. He called me off-air one night for some advice and we have stayed in touch ever since. He’s earned every opportunity that has come his way.”
In the three years since Pauley graduated from Kansas State University, he has collected a variety of addresses. His career has taken him from Manhattan, KS, to Evansville, IN to St. Louis, to Albany, GA and finally to Burlington. He is eager to finally stay in one place for a while.
“I’m excited about the fact that I’m going to get to live in the same city for 12 months out of the year,” Pauley says. “I’m so content with basketball. Now I get to do the baseball. I’ll get to do some high school football. I’m broadcasting sports 12 months a year in the same city. After moving as much as I have in the past few years, that’s the best part of all of this.”
“There are not a lot of broadcast positions that are better than this,” Pauley says. “Pro baseball during the summer and high level junior college basketball during the winter. I don’t feel there are many broadcast jobs, especially in this sized market, that are this good.”
(February 12, 2008) A last second audible turned into the perfect play for Tom Annino. An STAA client, Annino has been hired as a sports anchor and reporter at NBC affiliate KPLC in Lake Charles, LA.
Just four days before accepting the job, Annino thought he was headed for another opportunity in a different part of the country. An offer was made but before Annino could sign a contract, the Lake Charles opportunity arose. It was too good to pass up.
“I’m anchoring five nights a week,” Annino says. “It’s a lot of responsibility and there is a lot of room to grow. This is exactly what I wanted and exactly what I need to get better.”
A life-long resident of Boston, Annino feels no trepidation about relocating to the South. In fact, he is embracing it.
“I knew it as going to happen this way,” Annino says. “I’ve talked to a lot of people in the business and their answer is always the same. You get your experience and make your reputation in smaller markets.
“I have lived in Boston my entire life. I went to school, undergrad and post grad in state. It is time to move on. It kind of adds to the excitement of relocating.”
A graduate of Framingham College in Boston, Annino eared his Masters in Broadcasting from Emerson College. One of his college instructors was John Rooke, the voice of Providence University basketball and a veteran ESPN Radio Network talk show host.
Annino has been working since last spring as Production Assistant at NECN-TV in New England. He also has considerable high school play-by-play experience, including calling several Boston College High School games with fellow STAA client John Leahy. Now Annino is looking ahead to life on the Bayou.
“The more I heard about this job it was unbelievable,” he says. “For an entry level position it was as much as I could ask for.”
(February 8. 2008) Award-winning sportscaster, and Taunton, Massachusetts native, Adam Bagni has accepted an offer to become the Sports Director at WNCF-TV, ABC 32 in Montgomery, Alabama.
An STAA client, Bagni will head the ABC affiliate’s sports department in Alabama’s capital, where he will be in charge of every aspect of the station’s sports coverage. He will produce and anchor ABC 32’s sports segment every weeknight during their 10:00 PM newscast. In addition, Bagni will host Inside the Tide and the Tiger – a 30-minute sportscast revolving around University of Alabama and Auburn University athletics.
“I’m extremely excited about taking this next step in what will hopefully be a long career in sportscasting,” said Bagni. “The opportunity that Jesse and ABC 32 offered me, with the ability to run the station’s sports department as Sports Director, was too good to pass up.”
Prior to accepting the offer, Bagni was a Production Assistant at New England Sports Network (NESN) in Watertown, MA. At NESN, he worked in capacities as a writer and editor, among other responsibilities. Bagni worked on the production team of SportsDesk, as well as the pre- and post-game shows of the Boston Red Sox and Bruins. His contract with NESN ends at the end of this week, but he chose not to accept a one-year extension from the regional sports network.
“I’m very grateful to NESN and the wonderful people that work there,” said Bagni. “But I’ve always wanted to be on-air, and the opportunity with ABC 32 allowed me to not only follow my dream, but also to utilize my production experience.”
Bagni graduated in 2007 from La Salle University in Philadelphia with a B.A. in Communication, with concentrations in Journalism and Mass Communication.
In college, Bagni was the General Manager of WEXP-AM 1600. While At WEXP, Adam was the play-by-play voice for the Explorers’ Division-I athletics. His men’s basketball broadcasts earned him an award in 2006 from the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters for Best Coverage of a Local Sporting Event – an award he split with the broadcasters of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Bagni was also an accomplished columnist in Philadelphia for The Collegian and a talent on CSTV’s broadcasts of La Salle basketball. In addition, he has worked as a freelance PA for ESPN’s Monday Night Football and Sunday Night Baseball; FOX Sports’ FOX NFL Sunday and MLB’s 2006 NLCS; and for NBC at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.
Bagni is a 2003 graduate of Coyle & Cassidy High School in Taunton, MA where he was a three-sport athlete (captaining soccer & indoor track, baseball). In high school, he wrote many sports articles for the Taunton Daily Gazette and served as the color commentator for “The Game” – the annual high school football game between Taunton and Coyle on Thanksgiving.
(February 7, 2008) STAA client Brendan Wilhide is joining the Lynchburg Hillcats Baseball Club as a broadcast assistant.
The Hillcats are the Class-A Carolina League affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Wilhide will broadcast the middle three innings for 70 Hillcats games and will conduct daily pre-game interviews. He will also assist Hillcats Director of Broadcasting Scott Bacon with a variety of other responsibilities including game notes, recaps and media guides.
A 2005 graduate of York College of Pennsylvania, Wilhide spent the past two seasons as Public Relations Coordinator for the Ripken Baseball’s Aberdeen IronBirds. In 2005 he called play-by-play for the Sanford Mainers of the NECBL.
(February 5, 2008) A pair of STAA clients will be filling-in on University of Notre Dame baseball broadcasts this season.
Lonnie King will call three games for ESPN Radio 1490 at the "Whataburger Classic" March 7-9 in Corpus Christi, TX. Nick Vlietstra will handle the play-by-play when the Irish visit Georgetown in Bethesda, MD March 20-22.
Vliestra might also call up to five more games if Notre Dame’s women’s basketball team advances to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The pair will be filling-in for another STAA client, Sean Stires, while Stires calls games for Notre Dame women’s basketball. Stires also serves as Program Director for ESPN 1490.
“The STAA web site is an invaluable database for finding announcers across the country to meet our specific needs,” Stires says.
This is the third time in 12 months that Stires has turned to STAA for fill-in sportscasters. In 2007, STAA helped Stires find fill-in announcers for Irish hockey and baseball.
For nearly two years, employers across the country have used the STAA Talent Search to fill full-time positions. However, employers are now using the STAA Talent Search database with increasing regularity to find fill-in sportscasters. Since Thanksgiving, Learfield Sports has used STAA clients Andrew Baumhor, John Leahy, Tom Annino and Paul Braverman to fill-in on Division I men’s basketball games. Siena University is using STAA client Chad Cooper to call a women’s basketball game February 18th, and now King and Vliestra are getting their opportunities with Notre Dame baseball.
“Since we turned the Talent Search into a database in early December, it is easier than ever for employers to find sportscasters in the region of the country where they are needed,” says STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik. “Plus employers love that they can review the demos and resumes online.
“The Talent Search is an invaluable tool for sportscasters looking for full-time or freelance opportunities. I have also seen many times when freelance opportunities turn into something more down the road.”
Luna not waiting for graduation before building career
(February 1, 2008) Russell Luna isn’t waiting for graduation before building his baseball play-by-play career.
Luna, an STAA client, has accepted a Media Relations/Broadcasting position with the Forest City (NC) Owls. The Owls play in the Coastal Plains Summer Collegiate Baseball League.
This will be Luna’s second year broadcasting summer collegiate baseball. He spent last summer calling games for the Manchester Silkworms of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
"I am looking forward to getting another opportunity to broadcast baseball," Luna says.
A senior at Middle Tennessee State University, Luna didn’t want to wait for graduation this fall before getting started in the job market.
"I decided that I wanted to get my name out there, so I sent an e-mail to the CPL office to see if there were any openings," Luna says. "Then James Wolfe, the General Manager of the Owls, sent me an e-mail letting me know there was an opportunity in Forest City."
Luna sent his STAA Talent Page, interviewed, and ended up getting the job. He is the second STAA client this week to accept collegiate summer baseball league position. Eric Kopp has been hired as Public Relations Director and Play-by-Play Announcer for the Wilson Tobs.
"I feel that this will the most hands on position that I have had yet. It works well with my summer schedule and I love broadcasting college summer baseball."
(January 30, 2008) For the second straight year, an STAA client will handle radio play-by-play for the Wilson (North Carolina) Tobs. Eric Kopp has been hired as the team’s Public Relations Manager and Play-by-Play Announcer.
The Tobs play in the Coastal Plain collegiate summer league. The league has a track record of producing great talent; including Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who pitched for Wilson.
Kopp is excited for the variety of experience he will gain in his new position. In addition to handling PR and radio, he will also be assisting the sales department.
"This gives me an advantage as I continue a career in sports and specifically in baseball," Kopp says. "This job provides me with everything that has been missing from my resume."
During his job search, Kopp applied advice shared with him by friend and former ESPN TV announcer Harold Reynolds. "It doesn’t matter where it is or who it is, just find a place where you can all games for a full season."
"I really took the position mostly because it would give me the opportunity to broadcast all 57 of their games by myself," Kopp says. "They’re putting me up for free down there so it is really a good situation."
A 2007 graduate of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Kopp spent last summer as Media Relations Director/Play-by-Play Announcer for the Batavia Muckdogs.
Working for the Tobs wasn’t Kopp’s only opportunity this off-season. He was offered an internship with an affiliated team but chose the Tobs because of the additional mike time they offered. The fact that the Tobs job also includes a salary didn’t hurt.
Kopp credits STAA with helping prepare him for Wilson.
"Jon Chelesnik (STAA CEO) and I talked my last semester of college back in September. I had the STAA website recommended to me. Not just the postings but being able to have my Talent Page that anyone can refer to at click of button–that people can access very quickly at any time of day. It is a really valuable tool.
"I also read an article that Jon posted in the STAA blog. It was about keys to a killer baseball demo. I couldnt afford to have STAA make my demo but I made one following those exact instructions. I remember another suggestion from Jon was to include writing samples. I picked a couple really good ones to send to the Tobs. I really got a lot of helpful advice and guideance from STAA."
(January 28, 2008) Like many broadcasters, Brian Crozier faced considerable challenges in the job market. Unlike many people, Crozier refused to be defeated by setbacks. Now he is being rewarded.
An STAA client, Crozier is joining KJEL-AM/FM in Lebanon, MO. He will host a daily air shift and handle commercial production responsibilities. There is also a good chance he will eventually add some sportscasting responsibilities.
A 2006 graduate of the University of Illinois, Crozier has been in the radio job market since December of that year.
"I estimate I have applied for at least half the radio jobs that have been on the STAA site," Crozier says.
The KJEL opportunity certainly didn’t come easily. Crozier first sent his STAA Talent Page to the station in response to a job post in November. He interviewed but didn’t get the job. When he saw the job posted again several weeks later, he re-applied, this time with better results.
"There was a time or two where I doubed I would ever get a job," Crozier says, "but I knew in the back of my mind it would work out. I just had to keep trying."
KJEL is located less than six hours from Crozier’s hometown of Champaign, IL. It’s close enough to make it easy for Crozier to return home but far enough for him to feel the excitement of living in a new area.
"I’m looking forward to getting to know people in a new area. Its going to be an interesting challenge."
To help make ends meet during his job search, Crozier worked as a substitute teacher. He encourages anyone who is experiencing similar frustration in the job market to do whatever necessary to make it happen.
"Don’t get discouraged," he says. "If its not working out for you right now, try to do something to keep your boat afloat. Just because you are doing something else right now doesn’t mean you won’t be doing what you want in the future."
(January 25, 2008) Justin Shackil is excited for his first broadcast opportunity in professional baseball, and about exploring another part of the country.
Shackil, an STAA client and a native of New York, has been hired as a Broadcasting/Media Assistant with the Gateway Grizzlies of the independent Frontier League.
“I saw the post on STAA job board,” Shackil says. “I talked with my boss at my radio station at Fordham. He’s had a couple of students go into the Frontier League in prior seasons. He said it was a great league if you want to learn. That was important to me. I was told that (Grizzlies Director of Broadcasting) Joe Pott is one of the best in the league to learn from. I also heard it is a classy organization.”
The Grizzlies are based in Sauget, IL. It will be new territory for Shackil, a student at Fordham University, but he is embracing the change.
“I’m excited about getting out of New York City for the summer. I’ve never really lived in another region of the country for an extended period of time. I did work with XM last summer working Yankees and Mets games. I just feel like I wanted to do something different now. I’m waiting to see what professional baseball is like.”
Shackil’s made his initial contact with the Grizzlies using his STAA Talent Page. He then followed-up with a hard copy of his demo and resume. It was one of 10 or 11 baseball jobs Shackil applied for this off-season.
“There are always going to be employers that say no,” Shackil says. “But there will eventually be the one team that says yes. The first job is always the toughest to get. Once you get your foot in the door it becomes easier.
“The whole process is like applying for college. Once you get in, there is a sense of relief because you know what you’ll be doing.
(January 21, 2008) Christian Bruey didn’t have to wait long after his interview to learn that he landed an internship with the Hagerstown Suns.
“I interviewed Friday,” Bruey says. “Just a few minutes later they called back and offered me the position.”
The Suns are Class A South Atlantic League affiliate of the Washington Nationals. Bruey is the second STAA client in the past twelve months to land an internship with them. Last off-season, Nick Sekkas accepted a position with the Suns.
Bruey will gain a variety of valuable experience with the Suns. In addition to doing play-by-play and color commentary on 35 home games, he will also handle public address announcing for 35 home games and will help in media relations and sales.
A 2007 graduate of the University of Florida, Bruey starts his new job in February. He is excited for the chance for cal pro baseball.
“I have been doing softball, soccer and gymnastics the last couple years,” Bruey says. “It will be good to get into some mainstream sports, especially with an organization like the Washington Nationals. I can’t wait.”
The opportunity with the Suns didn’t come quickly. Bruey first leaned of the opportunity from the STAA job board back in early December. Bruey had just had his demo and resume portfolio package constructed by STAA and had just joined the STAA Talent Search.
“I sent out all 10 portfolios that I bought and that may have been No.10 that came up,” Bruey says. “I definitely could not have done it without STAA.”
(January 11, 2008) For the fourth time this basketball season, Learfield Sports has turned to STAA when they needed a fill-in on one of their Division I basketball broadcasts.
The latest STAA client to get the nod is Paul Braverman (left) of Geneva, NY. Braverman will call the University of Maine game January 23rd at Albany.
STAA clients John Leahy, Andrew Baumhor and Tom Annino have also called games for Learfield this season, all of them University of Maine road games. For each of them, it was their first time doing Division I basketball professionally.
After hiring Annino for Maine’s February 9th game at New Hampshire, Learfield Sports Broadcast Manager Tom Boman said, "When I’m in need of a fill-in talent for one of our many schools, I use the STAA Talent Search. In a matter of minutes, I can search for talent in the area I need and hear their demos. It makes the process very easy.”
Braverman’s story is especially unique. Two days before Braverman joined the STAA Talent Search, Boman told STAA CEO Jon Chelesnik that Learfield needed someone in upstate New York to fill-in on Maine’s game at Albany. When Braverman called STAA to register for the Talent Search, Chelesnik suggested he call Boman, and then alerted Boman to expect the call. Braverman ended up getting the job.
A 2007 graduate of Bowling Green University, Braverman has called BGSU sports, including basketball, on the campus radio station. He spent last summer as a media and public relations assistant with minor league baseball’s Toledo Mud Hens.
(January 8, 2008) The Connecticut Defenders, the Class AA Eastern League affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, have announced the hiring of Brian Irizarry as the team’s Director of Media Relations & Broadcasting.
An STAA client, Irizarry will be the lead play-by-play voice for all 140 Defenders games this season. He will also handle all media relations and contribute to the organizations sales efforts. This year will mark Irizarry’s fourth year in minor league baseball as a front office staff member. He began working in minor league baseball during his college days for the Hudson Valley Renegades, the short-season Class A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as the team’s Public Address Assistant.
He joins the Defenders after spending the past three seasons (2005-07) with the New Haven County Cutters formerly of the Can Am League. Irizarry was the Group Sales Manager & Broadcaster for the Cutters.
The Hopewell Junction, NY native began his broadcasting career at Herkimer County Community College (Herkimer, NY) where he handled lead duties for the soccer and lacrosse teams. Irizarry then received his bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting & Mass Communication from the State University of New York at Oswego in 2003. He covered men’s and women’s basketball, hockey, and baseball for the school’s radio and television programs.
“This is a huge step forward in my career,” Irizarry said. “I’ve heard great things about the Defenders organization and I look forward to coming in and contributing”.
(January 5, 2008) Opportunity frequently comes when it is least expected. That is how it happened for STAA client Tom Annino.
Annino has been asked by Learfield Communications to fill-in on the radio play-by-play for their University of Maine men’s basketball game Feb 9 at New Hampshire.
It is the third time this season that Learfield has turned to STAA for a fill-in on one of their college basketball broadcasts.
"When I’m in need of a fill-in talent for one of our many schools, I use the STAA Talent Search,” says Boman. “In a matter of minutes, I can search for talent in the area I need and hear their demos. It makes the process very easy.”
Annino graduated last month from Emerson College in Boston. His radio play-by-play experience includes a variety of high school sports in and around the Boston area.
“This (University of Maine game) is the highest profile game I have ever done,” Annino says. “I am excited for the whole experience. I’ve been doing a lot of high school stuff. To do college stuff is a real honor. I’m excited for it.
Annino plans on leaving no stones unturned during his preparation for the broadcast.
“I will do a lot of memorization to make sure I have the rosters down, Annino says. “I am also going to try to talk to the coaches on both sides. You don’t get opportunities like this very often, especially in my position as a new broadcaster. I’m going to try to get my hands on everything and be as prepared as possible.
“Without STAA I wouldn’t have this one. The STAA website site is great. It gives guys like me such great exposure.”
(January 3, 2008) Bryan Moses says the best thing an aspiring young baseball broadcaster can do is to attend baseball’s annual winter meetings. For Moses, his December trek to Nashville has resulted in a job with the Boise Hawks of the Northwest League (Class A, short season).
An STAA client, Moses is the Hawks new Media Relations Manager. As part of his gig, Moses will contribute on the Hawks radio play-by-play team, working behind newly hired lead announcer Mike Saffords
Last month was Moses’ first trip to the winter meetings. He interviewed with seven teams and was a finalist for another job. However, that team continued to delay its decision. When Boise offered its opportunity, Moses was on his way to Idaho.
“I couldn’t chance coming away with nothing,” he says.
A 2007 graduate of Sonoma State University in California, Moses has called baseball play-by-play for his alma mater as well as for Santa Rosa Junior College and the University of San Francisco.
“Boise is a great city and the people I interviewed with were awesome,” Moses says. “Plus I can stay in the Western U.S.
“The Talent Page STAA constructed for me has helped a ton,” Moses says. “I went to the winter meetings with CDs but I also took business cards that had my Talent Page address on them. I sent my page link all over the country. It is 10 times easier than having CDs and going to the post office.”
“A lot of young broadcasters second guess whether they should go to the winter meetings. In my experience it is completely no-doubt you should go. Even if you don’t come out with a job, you learn a ton and you can always go back. If I didn’t go to the winter meetings I probably wouldn’t have a job right now.”