A natural in front of the camera, John Fanta '17 spends his days with a microphone in hand after landing his dream job as a sports broadcaster.
As on-air talent for the Big East Digital Network and Fox Sports Network, the College of Communication and the Arts alumnus hosts a weekly men's basketball show named "Shootaround," featuring behind-the-scenes, in-depth stories from the Big East Conference's 10 member schools.
When he's not interviewing players or talking about the game with the coaches, Fanta spends his time preparing for his next upcoming broadcast. He jumps on conference calls, makes note of key points to share during his broadcast and gets ready for the most anticipated games of the week. Other days, he covers play-by-play commentaries for other sports including women's basketball and Olympic events.
Before the camera starts rolling, Fanta already understands who the athletes really are before he shares their story with a nationwide audience. "Building relationships with the athletes is what I enjoy the most," commented Fanta. "I love all the people, and I'm thankful for every interaction I have. Those shared moments remind me that the players are also human. It's important to keep sharing that side of the story, especially with the audience."
Adding to his impressive list of accomplishments, Fanta was recently added to Fox Sports' college basketball play-by-play roster and recognized as a "Sportscaster to Watch in 2018" by the Sportscaster Talent Agency of America.
Originally from Westlake, Ohio, Fanta had his eyes set on a broadcasting career since high school. He came to Seton Hall University as a Journalism major, excited at its prime location next to the New York City area. "I did broadcasting when I was younger and knew I wanted to take that to the next level," said Fanta. "When I visited Seton Hall, I was struck by how welcoming the people and the environment were. Being so close to the New York media market was an added bonus I knew I had to take advantage of."
During his undergraduate studies, Fanta was easily recognized as the face and voice of the Pirate Sports Network, the video content provider of Seton Hall Athletics. He started as a freshman, jumping at the opportunity to announce a women's soccer game.
"I didn't know much about the sport, but they asked if I could try and broadcast the game for them," recalled Fanta. "In that moment, I knew Seton Hall was a place of opportunity and a place that made you feel comfortable. I was given challenges, but I always learned from them. I would not be where I am today without the opportunities that Seton Hall presented me and because of those same challenges. I felt the people on campus believed in me, and that feeling was unbelievable, and gave me confidence."
Fanta credits Patrick Lyons, Vice President and Director of Athletic and Recreational Services, for being such an important mentor throughout his Pirate journey. "Pat's motto is to prioritize the student athlete first," said Fanta. "While I wasn't a student-athlete, Pat extended that sentiment to every person that was a part of the athletics family. The doors he helped open for me were invaluable, and I honestly cannot thank him enough for all that he did and continues to do as a mentor."
Later joining WSOU 89.5 FM and Pirate Television, Fanta channeled his learnings from the classroom into new, creative environments. But, those experiences wouldn't have been possible without the encouragement of the College's staff, he reflected.
"My experience in the program really fell back on not being afraid to take the leap and make the most of the opportunities at my fingertips. Each of my professors encouraged me not to be afraid of failure, take challenges and apply what I learned in the class," said Fanta. "That spirit starts and ends with the leadership in place, and Dean Deirdre Yates was a great ambassador to look to for advice and inspiration."
Curious to see Fanta in-action? Be sure to tune in and check out his line-up below!