So much for judging a book by its cover.
Jarrett Stastny has thrived as an anchor on the Emporia State Hornets offensive line, earning honors as one of the top linemen in the D2 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Last spring, as his junior year of college began to fizzle away, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound brute began to ponder life after school. Due to his imposing features and strength, many might suggest professional bodyguard or even lumberjack, since it looks like he can uproot a Redwood with one hand. But Stastny chose another path.
Instead, he reached out to the local radio station, asking if they needed any new fresh new voices.
“When I went in for the interview, I was told the sports department wasn’t an area they needed any help in,” Stastny said. “They needed me to work primarily as a news broadcaster and reporter for KVOE.”
With no experience in the field, Stastny was thrown into the fire to cover breaking news in Emporia, a small town in the middle of Kansas. The gentle giant isn’t on the sidelines of local sporting events, but there he was interviewing local political leaders, school board members and other newsworthy figures throughout the community.
When he began the gig in May, Stastny was overwhelmed. He didn’t know how news stories should be properly structured. He had never read copy from a teleprompter and was literally starting from scratch.
After just a few months, however, Stastny is carving out his own identity as a household voice in Emporia. He's even solidified his role as the primary on-air reporter for the Sunday morning broadcast.
Stastny’s daily workload includes anything from writing stories for the website to managing the station’s social media outlets. Just as an offensive linemen must quickly adjust in a given protection scheme, a small-town reporter must learn on the fly. Stastny has rapidly evolved into a jack-of-all-trades.
He believes his role on the football team has aided him in his new gig.
“I feel like the networking you gain being a student athlete can help you in virtually any profession,” Stastny said. “In my case of being a news broadcaster, I had already met a lot of the people I deal with or interview.”
In December, Stastny will graduate, hanging up the cleats to embark on a new chapter in life. He plans to pursue a masters degree in professional and technical communication at the University of North Texas. While he isn’t entirely sure what his future holds, radio isn’t out of the question.
“I’m not entirely sure what I would like to do when I’m completely finished with school, but broadcasting is something I might consider,” Stastny said.
Many people tune into local radio, trying to paint a picture of the voice on the other end. On Saturday afternoons, Stastny barks orders to his teammates in order to keep his quarterback protected. But on Sundays his voice is calm and collected as he reports the local news.