Women’s History Month provides us with the opportunity to celebrate women and the valuable contributions they have made in history, society, and culture. We thought this would be a great time to chat with one of our favorite Seattle Sports personalities Stacy Rost, Host of “Bump and Stacy,” on Seattle Sports Radio.
She’s intelligent and funny, knows her Seattle sports, and she’s a woman.
Although not entirely uncommon, it’s no secret that women in sports have to work harder for a respected mic’d up position and a seat at the commentator desk.
Speaking with her virtually, we asked about her career and experience as a barrier-breaker for women in a traditionally male-dominated field. We quickly learned how inspiring her story truly is. Her reflections provided us with valuable insights and reminders on how we, too, can become our own barrier breakers.
Be Open To Suggestions
Stacy, a University of Washington graduate, was initially interested in long-form writing and reporting and saw herself in a more creative writing role. At the time, sports radio was evolving into the digital world, branching out by hiring reporters to provide online content. She found herself reporting for CBS Radio in the sports office. While working on write-ups for the website and social media, she would frequently turn to her co-workers and editor and talk about what she was writing. Stacy laughed, “My editor was like, I’m begging you to stop talking! Please just stop?! Mike Salk, who was the program director at the time, would overhear my chatter. One day he came to me and said, ‘You always have an opinion, and we have all these on-air segments we need coverage for. Would you be interested in filling in?’” So she did. And after a while, her several-minute segments turned into the full-time on-air role and hosting gig she currently holds.
“It really just started with being around the right people and networking, and someone eventually saw me and my strengths and thought, ‘You’re a better fit for this,’ and I think that’s really the opportunity I needed.”
There Will Be Many Opinions, But Only Certain Ones Should Matter
“When I started working at Bonneville (the media company that owns Seattle Sports Radio), there were so many women who worked there in various roles, including producers and executive producers, that I didn’t feel like I was a barrier breaker. I felt grateful that there were all these supportive, kind women in professional roles who provided me with amazing resources that I know weren’t in this industry 20 years ago! It wasn’t until I was on air and received negative listener feedback and comments that it really hit me that being in this position and talking about professional sports was something some people were not used to.”
Stacy admitted, “I didn’t have thick skin when I entered the industry and was not used to people not liking me. It was very weird wondering, for the first time in my life, could I be unlikeable?”
Luckily, Stacy had supportive mentors who reassured her and encouraged her to care only about the opinions of those that mattered in her job, like the program director, producer, co-host, and editor.
At one point in her career, Stacy reached out to another woman sports personality and asked for advice on what she could do to become more accepted by others. “She told me, ‘I’ve been there. I can receive 100 compliments, and then 1 person will say something bad, and it sticks with me. But, the most important thing you can do is recognize that you can’t shift your emotions of the day around that one negative comment.’ If you allow too many voices in, you start caring too much about the bad ones. If you have people that you know, that know what you want to do, that care about you, or that have been there, those are the opinions that are most important.”
Find A Support System
Stacy credits her extensive support network for helping her succeed. She said, “While some people can succeed on their own, most people cannot. The sooner we admit that to ourselves, the sooner we can recognize there is support out there.” She shared that the most important element was having people around her who believed in her. And that’s the number one piece of advice she would give to any woman. She said, “Regardless of the industry, create a support system of friends, family, or another person in your job, man or woman, that can keep you from feeling alone. Because you don’t have to be.”
Be Someone Else’s Support
Stacy’s inspiration for the equity of women was palpable during our conversation. And her gratitude for those who have helped in her career development was evident as she encouraged all of us to take action for others. She said, “If you have been in your position for a while, and you see someone first starting, offer to help. Let them in on some of the unwritten rules and things to know about your job or industry that they might not realize in the beginning. Be the person who acts and is supportive of others.”
Embrace Life Lessons From Unexpected Places
Surprisingly, Stacy didn’t have the vast sports knowledge she has today when she embarked on this career. She shared she had a lack of understanding about what goes on behind the scenes in professional sports. After starting in this industry, she quickly learned how much time athletes dedicate to their sport. She said, “It’s really inspiring to actually see and be around people who are so dedicated. They are mentally tough and are singularly focused on a goal, ignoring noise, trying to compartmentalize things, and just working hard.”
Stacy shared that “When you get to play in the pros, if you start out lucky, you can only be lucky and good for so long before you have to be hardworking and good.” Seeing this reality played out on the field has helped Stacy recognize that some people who have a lot didn’t work for it, but a lot of people who have a lot worked hard for it. It has motivated her to challenge herself to go for it more.”
We want to express our gratitude for Stacy taking the time to speak with us and share more about herself and inspiring us with insights from her own career journey.
If you’d like to learn more about Stacy’s show, Bump and Stacy, check out the Seattle Sports here: Bump and Stacy | Weekdays from 10am – 2pm on Seattle Sports – Seattle Sports (mynorthwest.com)