In Their Own Words: Sports Podcaster Brandon Cadiz ’20 on Creating His Own Career Opportunities

He built broadcast chops doing play-by-play of SMC Women’s Basketball. Amid COVID lockdown, he launched a sports podcast with friends. Then a former SMC journalism professor offered him a spot hosting on a nationwide sports network.

by Jordan Sapp | April 9, 2024

In Their Own Words is a series in which we introduce you to the Gaels you need to meet—students, alums, faculty, and staff—and let them tell their stories, in their own words.

Meet Brandon Cadiz ’20: a Bay Area native who transferred to SMC in 2018, earned his BA in Communication and Media Studies, and got his start broadcasting SMC Women’s Basketball games. Today, he cohosts a Golden State Warriors podcast on the Bleav Network and creates sports-related content through Welocalize, a company that supports brands worldwide. He plans to pursue an MA in Sports Journalism at Arizona State beginning Fall 2024.

The Journey from on Court to on Mic

Student Brandon Cadiz and report Kara Tsuboi at Oakland A's game
Bill King scholar: Brandon Cadiz talks with Kara Tsuboi, Oakland A's reporter for NBC Sports / Photo courtesy Brandon Cadiz

I was born and raised in the Bay Area, in San Mateo. My whole life has revolved around sports, honestly. In addition to playing basketball, I did mixed martial arts and got my black belt in kung fu. 

I spent my first semester of college at Arizona State University, then came back to the Bay Area to go to Dominican University in San Rafael. I always knew I wanted to go into sports broadcasting, and Saint Mary’s has a really good basketball program. I thought, Hey, let’s see what their broadcasting opportunities are. That summer, I had also received the Bill King Scholarship from the Oakland A’s, for students majoring in journalism and broadcasting. So I transferred to Saint Mary’s for my last year and a half before graduating in 2020. 

On Air Opportunities

I came in as a Communication major and minored in Digital Media as well. Before I transferred in 2018, I made sure to take a tour of Saint Mary’s to meet with Lori Erokan, the administrative assistant for the Communication Department. I sent the department reels of work I had done at previous colleges, and we were able to set up broadcasting opportunities for me with SMC Athletics. That was really, really nice. 

Through Athletics, I covered Saint Mary’s Women’s Basketball for the West Coast Conference. I did play-by-play broadcasting, meaning I was the main guy on air talking about what was happening live during the game. At the time, Saint Mary’s was partnered with the WCC Network, so when people tuned into their site to watch the game, it was my voice they’d be hearing. 

I also edited videos for social media for Women’s Basketball. I got to shadow the main basketball and baseball play-by-play broadcaster, Alex Jensen ’08; he worked with me and gave me feedback on my reels. He even let me cover his baseball broadcasts sometimes when he wasn’t on air. 

Connecting During Quarantine

I graduated in January of 2020, right before COVID really hit the US. It was crazy time career-wise, especially in sports, because everything was shutting down. I applied to a bunch of different jobs that were still within the field of communication—probably 60 or 70—some of them sports-related but many of them not. I heard nothing back. It was tough to keep the  faith up, honestly.

After graduation, I reached out to two of my best friends, Darren Jeong ’21 and Garrick Garcia ’21, a year younger than me at Saint Mary’s, to start a sports podcast. I told them, “Here’s the deal: Everyone’s podcasting now, we’re in COVID, and I currently don’t have a job. Podcasting can help me have more reels to show when I do start applying places.” So we created a podcast called Shooters Only. We did it for almost a year and a half; the show was mainly about basketball but we expanded it to talk about the MLB and the NFL and different topics throughout the week.   

Brandon Cadiz's advice to current and future Gaels? “Attend office hours, ask questions, and speak up in class. You get what you put in, and professors can tell when you put your all into it.”

The Warriors and Building Relationships

I’m a podcast host on the Bleav network for the Golden State Warriors. My show is called Strength in Numbers and it’s part of the Rick Barry’s House channel. I try to get a podcast out every week, where I talk about what’s happening with the team. The podcast I did with my friends during quarantine helped me get this job, as did a former sports journalism professor at Saint Mary’s, Cyrus Saatsaz. After he was hired by another network, he was looking for someone to take over his spot. He thought of me because I had built a strong relationship with him in class and had shown an interest in the field. Because of him, I got to run with it.

What’s Next?

Student Brandon Cadiz and Women's Basketball player Megan McKay at microphones
Live from Vegas: Brandon Cadiz with SMC Women’s Basketball player (and future Australian pro player) Megan McKay at the West Coast Conference Tournament, 2019 / Photo courtesy Brandon Cadiz

I’m planning to go to grad school at Arizona State for sports journalism. Two of my former Communication professors whom I’m still in contact with—Ellen Rigsby and Aaron Sachowitz—wrote letters of recommendation for my application. I want to be a beat reporter for a Bay Area sports team or professional league—maybe even a sports reporter for a news station—and a year at one of the best sports reporting programs in the country would definitely help with that. 

Advice for Future Sports Journalists?

My advice to those interested in sports broadcasting is to talk to your professors and your department, because you never know; they can connect you with someone off campus or create something on campus for you. More so than other professions, I truly believe sports can come down to who you know and not what you know. Attend office hours, ask questions, and speak up in class. You get what you put in, and professors can tell when you put your all into it.  

Try to get as many repetitions as you can by starting a podcast or doing your own shows, even if your school doesn’t have a particular broadcasting or journalism program. By repetitions, I mean getting experience and hours on air. Sometimes when you're first starting off, you either talk really fast or you talk really slow, or you're just nervous. Try to get those jitters out early on. By doing multiple podcasts, even one a week, you'll be more professional. And you’ll find your voice and your audience that way.  

(This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.)

Jordan Sapp MFA ’25 is a graduate editorial fellow with the Office of Marketing & Communications at Saint Mary’s. Write her.