One of the students in a sports broadcasting class I taught at Palomar College in San Diego was a kid named Jordan Carruth. Jordan stayed in touch after he graduated. He would call to ask how things were going and update me on his career. He would get me San Diego State basketball tickets through his job at a local radio station. He kept in contact.
Ten years after graduating, Jordan ended up coming to work for STAA.
Staying in touch is the most valuable lesson I’ve learned in my sports broadcasting career.
Many people refer to staying in touch as networking. I prefer to call it relationship building. Networking comes from a place of, “What can you do for me?” Relationship building comes from a place of, “What can I do for you?” Like Jordan hooking up my family with Aztecs tickets.
When Brian Hanni was a student at the University of Kansas and later called women’s basketball there, he developed a relationship with Bill Self. He stayed in touch with Coach Shelf after Brian went to Texas Tech to call basketball. When the play-by-play job at KU opened, Bill Self was one of Brian Haney’s biggest supporters for the position.
The point is to dig the well before you need the water. Build relationships now.
An applicant for a Minor League Baseball job wanted to ask a Major League broadcaster he’d met to put in a good word for him. The problem was, he hadn’t stayed in touch with the man. He hadn’t dug the well and now when he needed water, the well was empty.
When employers ask me who might be a good fit for a position, the first people I think of are those who’ve stayed in touch.
There was once an opportunity to call a college basketball game in San Diego for Learfield. An STAA member who lives in the region, and who always stays in touch, was the first person I thought of. He got to do the game.
When a top 10 market sports radio PD needed someone, the first person I recommended was an STAA member who consistently stays in contact. He got an in-person interview for the position.
Staying in touch with people is the most valuable thing you can do for your sports broadcasting career.