Scully, Lawler, Miller fuel Ibrahim’s path to Iowa Media Network

Zak Ibrahim started getting into sports in fifth grade. He was tall for his age so he gravitated towards basketball, though he enjoyed football as well. He marveled at the athletes he saw on TV, but it was the announcers who especially captured his attention. “Growing up in Los Angeles meant hearing some of the most iconic voices in sports, such as the great Vin Scully, Ralph Lawler and Bob Miller, Ibrahim recalls. “All three spoke of how fortunate they were to be doing be doing what they loved, so I knew that if I ever got the chance to try it, I’d likely fall in love with it too.

Ibrahim, indeed, fell in love with play-by-play. And now he has his first professional job. The recent Indian University grad is joining Iowa Media Network as a play-by-play broadcaster and host. He learned of the opening In an STAA Job Leads+ email.

“This opportunity checks a lot boxes in terms of what I was looking for in my first job,” Ibrahim smiles. “With play-by-play being my passion, this position gives me the opportunity to call games fulltime as the voice of Clarke High School, calling up to eight different sports on quality broadcasts throughout the year. In addition, I’ll host a weekly morning show about the community in Osceola, IA which will help me hone that skill of being a talk show host while learning about the amazing people in the area and providing them with a platform.”

Early start

Once Ibrahim realized his interest in sportscasting, it didn’t take him long to get involved. *I got my first chance to broadcast as a junior in high school,” he remembers. “I did color for our basketball team the first few times I was on air and I loved it. I never had more fun in my life. The positive reinforcement I received from coaches, players and my family helped me gain confidence to continue and eventually take that into my first play-by-play rep later that year. After calling an incredible state playoff overtime basketball game, I knew that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

It was also during his junior year in high school that Ibrahim discovered STAA. *I found out about STAA shortly after that first play-by-play rep. Once I told my parents I wanted to go to school for sports broadcasting, they urged me to research some of the best programs to attend. STAA had recently released a list of the top 20 sports broadcasting schools in the country. Among Syracuse, Missouri, Arizona State and others was Indiana University, a school I had multiple cousins attending and planned on touring that spring. That list was how I first stumbled upon STAA. It stuck with me throughout my application process and is a big reason my desire to attend IU was confirmed.

Ibrahim continues, *While applying to schools, I continued digging around STAA’s website and learned about how it helped broadcasters find jobs. STAA was clearly legit and professional. I’d go on to follow the content it produced all throughout college until ultimately becoming a member my senior year.”

Rapid Growth

While at Indiana, Ibrahim continued developing his play-by-play skills. He broadcasted various Hoosiers sports on Big Ten Plus and on IU student radio. During two of his summers, he called baseball for the San Luis Obispo Blues of the California Collegiate League. The reps he gained during college prepared him well for his new opportunity with Iowa Media Network. “That program [at IU] prepared better than I could’ve imagined,” Ibrahim enthuses. “It gave me the opportunity to call almost every sport at some point during my four years, and to call Big Ten athletics. The reps were invaluable.”

Also helpful was Ibrahim’s first job, which ironically, was not in broadcasting. “It happened to be in sales, which my new position also entails. I sold kitchen cutlery. I never knew how much I was helping myself down the road by having sales experience and learning early on how to communicate effectively before I really started broadcasting. My dad used to always say, ‘Son, right now you’re selling knives but after college you’ll be selling yourself.’ And boy was he right.”

Ibrahim was certainly successful in selling himself to the Iowa Media Network. And now the man who grew up listening to Southern California’s great broadcasters will be sharing his own passion for play-by-play with sports fans in Iowa. And perhaps one day, an Iowan will say his love of broadcasting came from growing up listening to Zak Ibrahim.

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