Listeners of KSUN may not realize the amount of behind-the-scenes work that goes into each show. However, graduating senior Tommy Call III is more than familiar with the effort it takes to produce a successful piece of work.
A Sebastopol native and die-hard Oakland A’s fan, Call attended Santa Rosa Junior College for two years after high school before transferring to Sonoma State University as a junior. Originally hoping to pursue teaching, Call entered as an English major, but a passion for sports talk radio led him to join KSUN with communications Professor Nate Campbell.
Call explained that he originally joined KSUN for fun, but after two semesters with the program he transitioned to the position of sports department head. It wasn’t until his experience with KSUN that Call considered pursuing a career in radio.
“I owe a lot to Nate. He taught me a lot about the radio business and how it’s more than just having fun sports knowledge and a voice,” said Call. “I was able to meet and interview a lot of people I looked up to on my show, which led to an awesome internship at 95.7 The Game.”
Along with his work for the campus radio station, early-on in his time at Sonoma State Call became involved with the campus newspaper as a staff writer.
“Tommy and I met in the STAR just over two years ago now when he was a sports writer. At the time he was quiet, and kept to himself a bit more. But he was always consistent with his work,” said Sonoma State alum Brandon Stachnik. “I didn’t really form a closer relationship with him until our sports editor position opened up. We came to Tommy and offered him the opportunity to take it.”
Stachnik, who still considers Call to be one of his best friends, worked as editor-in-chief above Call on the newspaper for two semesters.
“Tommy has honestly accomplished so much in the short time that I’ve known him… Just his work on the STAR alone was impressive. His ability to take the two pages he had responsibility over in the sports section and take them to the levels he did was awesome,” Stachnik said.
After spending time on the STAR staff as a sports editor for a full year, Call took over as executive editor and the head of the social media team for the spring semester. However, his professional experience extends far beyond campus media outlets. After holding internships at the Press Democrat, NBC Sports Bay Area and 95.7 The Game, Call is now a producer at 95.7 for their “NBA This Week” and “Inside the Bigs” segments.
“He is a very hardworker. He has three jobs while he is going to school, which is crazy. So he is very passionate about what he does, and when he is passionate about it he will do whatever it takes to become the best,” said Amanda Courdy, Call’s girlfriend of five years. “He is always working hard, but he’s [also] one of the sweetest people ever.”
Courdy, a junior at San Francisco State has known Call for about seven years now and has seen him evolve as a both student and a professional.
“When he was at Santa Rosa Junior College he didn’t know what his passion was yet. Then he went to Sonoma State and found the STAR and KSUN, and he just fell in love. When we first met he was just going through the motions with school, then something switched when he went to Sonoma State. He found a passion and drive, and ever since then he’s been so motivated,” Courdy said.
Call’s motivation and passion for journalism, is part of what led him to pursue so many opportunities while in school.
“He’s dominated his college career as far as I’m concerned. If you know Tommy you’d be just as excited as I am to see what he has in store after graduation,” Stachnik said.
While much of his success has stemmed from his personal drive and dedication, Call credits his professors and classmates with providing him the keys to success.
“I learned a lot from not only the teachers, but the different people I met in communication outlets. I was able to make a lot of mistakes and learn from these mistakes by industry professionals in Paul Gullixson and Nate Campbell,” Call said. “Earning their trust and taking leadership positions really boosted my confidence and pushed me to be more creative.”
“Tommy has been a leader in so many ways – as a writer, a section editor as well as our executive editor. It’s been fun to see him grow in confidence in his own abilities and his leadership on the STAR staff. He is a respected, go-to guy, and I am confident he will succeed in whatever he puts his mind to,” said Paul Gullixson, STAR adviser and editorial director at the Sant Rosa Press Democrat.
Although his college career may be coming to a close, it’s clear his success are far from over. Call will be honored at graduation with a distinction from the communications and media studies department for his work throughout the campus outlets.
With his approaching free time Call hopes to travel outside of the Bay Area and continue to write more. An avid Oakland A’s and Miami Dolphins fan, Call will most likely be found in the stands cheering for his favorite players.