From layoff to leveling up, Wheeler joins KROX

Zach Wheeler’s broadcasting career got off to a fast start. He graduated from Virginia’s Liberty University, then immediately accepted a radio sports director position in Missouri. Nine months into the job, he walked into the station one morning. He’d just broadcast a softball game the night before and had started preparing for another broadcast.

Then the wheels came flying off Wheeler’s fast career start. He was told he was among Alpha Media’s nationwide layoffs. “I learned that it might be coming about 10 minutes before it happened,” Wheeler recalls. “But I was still in disbelief when I was called up to the GM’s office for the conversation.”

Fortunately, Wheeler’s career quickly resumed its forward momentum. After less than two months of unemployment, Wheeler is back in the game as a play-by-play broadcaster and on-air host at KROX Radio in Crookston, MN. And his new position represents a step up.

Great opportunity

“The biggest draw to KROX was the opportunity to make the jump into covering and calling college games. The station covers the University of Minnesota at Crookston, and we broadcast several of their NCAA D-II sports as well as their ACHA Hockey team.

“In addition, I’ll have the chance to continue covering sports I am familiar with while taking on the challenge of covering games for sports I’ve never called before. I also loved the idea of being the morning show host since I would have several hours of daily on-air reps.”

Wheeler learned of the KROX opening in an STAA Job Leads+ email. He joined STAA after his layoff upon the suggestion of a college professor. “I learned about STAA while in school at Liberty University,” he states. “Some of my professors recommended the spotting templates and other free resources, but several of my colleagues there joined the agency while in college. One of my professors, Steve Stilwell, was one of the people who suggested I join following the layoff.

Rebounding from the layoff

“STAA offers so many great resources, especially in terms of job hunting. The layoff was one of the bigger challenges I’ve faced in my career thus far, but the guides on demo reels, résumé/cover letter creation, and even the posts about cold contacting SIDs about potential opportunities were big takeaways from my time here.

“The job leads were great too, as I landed a few interviews and a couple of offers by the time my job search was over. STAA is a great platform to network with other professionals in the industry and get advice about almost anything that a relatively young broadcaster would need to know that they wouldn’t learn in school.”

Improving his presentation helped Wheeler land multiple job interviews. “I spent a good week updating (and in some cases, creating) demo reels and some substantial time making a more appealing résumé. I think that longevity in the broadcast industry as a whole is about capturing someone’s attention, so I wanted to put a strong picture of myself in front of employers.”

Strong mindset

Several of Wheeler’s mentors reminded him that the experience he gained in his first job was far better than what many entry-level jobs would have provided. It was enough to help him take a career step forward. Keeping a positive mindset also helped.

“I understand that sometimes in life, bad things happen. But worrying about the situations I can’t control won’t get me anywhere. I also know that life won’t stop because of an inconvenient situation. In the words of my old football coach, ‘Sometimes you get sacked on 3rd and 12, but you still have to get back up and live to play another down.’”

Amazingly, Wheeler never got upset about losing his job since he had no control of the circumstance. “I was quickly at peace with the situation and begun to plan for the coming months of looking for work again.”

Now, Wheeler’s career has resumed it’s forward momentum. “Thank you for the resource that STAA is. I feel like being a part of this community helped me better prepare for my next job and take a step ahead in the business.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Previous Post
Iasimone joining sports staff at Joplin’s KSNF TV
Next Post
New Austin Bruins voice Koier takes mic from the diamond to the ice