Podcast: A WC grad’s journey to ESPN
by Peter Andrade and Aaron Becker
BRISTOL, Conn.– Westminster College has successful alumni who work at ESPN. 1997 graduate Denny Wolfe, who heads the special projects division at ESPN. Rob Braunlich, from the class of 1976, is the networks vice president of remote broadcasts. And ESPN’s newest soccer correspondent, Sebastian Salazar. Aaron Becker and Peter Andrade take us to the beginning of Salazar’s journey from WCN to ESPN.”
Aaron Becker: “Sebastian Salazar had his choices narrowed down to the big school Syracuse and the small town school of Westminster College. After his two visits and comparing them, it was any easy choice for him.”
Sebastian Salazar: “I sat in Doctor B’s office, probably the same office he’s got up there in Thompson Clark now, and he told me look whatever you want to do, you can do, we’ve got a radio station, we’ve got games to call, we’ve got, you know, news segments to be read, we’ve got DJ shifts to fill, we’ve got the TV station and just that freedom and the opportunities that I thought I would get at Westminster really made it a pretty obvious decision for me.”
Peter Andrade: “Salazar singles out two professors at Westminster College. Doctor Barner and Bradley Weaver. He learned what it takes to reach success in a highly competitive business.
Sebastian Salazar: “Dr. B. and Mr. Weaver always kept it very very clear that if you wanted to do what I was talking about doing, it would take a lot of sacrifice and a lot of hard work and a lot of luck and kind of some of you making your own luck. But they definitely instilled in me kind of that work ends up in results in this business and that really kind of just keep cracking away at your craft eventually you get a shot.”
Aaron Becker: “Barner and Weaver each left their mark on Salazar. However, he left his own mark on Westminster.”
Sebastian Salazar: “I wanted to kind of brand our sports in a certain way and I thought we were obviously going to be covering a lot of Westminster College sports but we had this pretty big platform like the cable network Westminster has goes out into the surrounding counties and those counties have high school sports that have great following so, you know, additional way of getting more practice was going out shooting high school games, I would also put those games into our shows so we came up with the monic TitanTown Sports, Titan obviously for what we were covering on the Westminster end and then kind of to make sure we had the Town sports represented as well.”
Peter Andrade: “Salazar had two internships during his time at Westminster College. They gave him the opportunity to work in a professional news room. He also had the chance to meet people that would go onto be successful like ESPN’s Sage Steel and NFL Sunday Red Zone’s Scott
Hanson. All these opportunities helped him grow as a broadcaster.
Sebastian Salazar: “They would send me out into the field, I would do interviews, I got to do a one on one interview with Gary Williams, head basketball coach for the University of Maryland, as a 20 year old intern. I mean that was really a unique opportunity.”
Peter Andrade: “Salazar also interned at WUSA in Washington D.C.”
Sebastian Salazar: “I also, at Channel 9, really got to understand what a producer does, and having that experience, also having the experience at producing all my own shows at Westminster or at least my own segments in terms of, you know, the sports segment within the greater show, really just gave me an understanding of, you know, the totality of what it takes to put something on air.”
Aaron Becker: “During his undergrad years he worked in the campus television and radio stations every day, every semester.”
Sebastian Salazar: “I got to do things in college that most kids, if they didn’t go to a school that had the opportunities that Westminster had, that just weren’t exposed to and I feel really indebted to the college for having that hands on approach. I was doing my internship all while I was at college, it just happened to be at Westminster Cable News instead of Channel 9 WUSA in Washington D.C., so for me Westminster College really was a four year internship with the opportunity to do as many jobs as I could get my hands on.”
Aaron Becker: “His short time with TitanTown Sports. And working for WCN was just the beginning for his professional journey. His broadcast career has taken him all over the United States. And even overseas. I’m Aaron Becker.
Peter Andrade: “And I’m Peter Andrade.”
Aaron Becker & Peter Andrade: “For WCN 24/7.”