He may be the “new guy on the block” but Dario Melendez has already become a fan favorite. Dario joined Fox Sports Wisconsin in March of this year. His coverage of the Milwaukee Brewers has been nothing short of fantastic. Alongside Jerry Augustine, Brewers Live quickly became one of the more entertaining parts of the Brewers broadcasts.
He joined the Fox Sports Wisconsin team at the right time. 2018 was one of, if not the best, seasons ever for a Milwaukee Brewers team. Now, he gets to cover the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks have been on the rise for the last couple of seasons as we all know, and now, Dario Melendez will bring Bucks coverage to Wisconsin sports fans on Fox Sports Wisconsin as well.
I was fortunate enough to sit down with Dario.
Kyle Hoffenbecker: How did you get involved in journalism and ultimately sports journalism?
Dario Melendez: I was always involved in sports. I was blessed to receive a scholarship from Sacred Heart University to play football. I always had aspirations to play in the NFL but once I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I wanted to find a career where I could still be active in sports. I ultimately channeled my energy into journalism. This career is not for someone who won’t work hard. Participating in sports helped give me that work ethic to succeed in this business.
KH: What led you to work for Fox Sports Wisconsin?
DM: After I graduated from Sacred Heart, I traveled down to Fort Myers, Florida to be a part-time producer for a TV station. From there I’ve worked for ESPN, Fox Sports Radio in the Fort Myers area, WISN in Milwaukee, and New York 1 News. I came back to work for Fox Sports Wisconsin because I was familiar with the area after working for WISN.
KH: What is your favorite part about your job? Also, what is your favorite memory from the business?
DM: I loved working in Fort Myers right after I got out of college. After working all day, everyone would go out and party at night. I was making about $13,000 at the time, so I was living off of 7-11 and Little Caesar’s pizza too. It wasn’t glamorous but it was definitely a fun time.
KH: You interact with fans a lot on social media. Is that something you have always done in your career? Or is that something you have started to do recently?
DM: I’ve always interacted with fans throughout my career. Social media has allowed me to do it more often than ever before, but I’ve always done it. I’m fascinated by how curious fans are in the information I give them. I’m always interested in what fans have to say as well. One thing I have to watch out for is internet trolls, though. I’ve encountered my fair share of them over the years.
KH: What is the coolest sports event you’ve ever been able to cover?
DM: When I was working for WISN, I was able to cover the Packers 2010 Super Bowl run. I was fortunate enough to travel with the team to Dallas to watch them win the Super Bowl. In Fort Myers, I covered the Super Bowl when it was in Miami and Tampa Bay, but I never covered a specific team in the Super Bowl.
KH: You mentioned earlier that you worked for ESPN. What was it like working there?
DM: ESPN was a huge part in my career. I met my wife at ESPN. One of the coolest things ESPN does for its on-air talent is provide classes that help you improve as a broadcaster. I took advantage of those optional classes and use the advice I learned in my work today.
KH: One of my favorite moments from the Milwaukee Brewers season was the 12-game win streak. For those who may not know, you wore zip-tie cufflinks for every game during that stretch. How did that all start?
DM: It was actually a brain fart on my end. I normally don’t wear cuffed shirts, but I decided to wear a one for a Brewers/Pirates game one day. I forgot cufflinks for the shirt, so I had to scrounge around the Fox Sports Wisconsin studios looking for something that I could use instead of cufflinks. I tried paper clips, but those didn’t work. I eventually found some zip-ties and they just happened to work.
— Dario Melendez (@Dario_Melendez) October 1, 2018
KH: What made you keep wearing them? I’m sure the zip-ties weren’t the most comfortable thing to have on.
DM: The Brewers were going through a rough stretch at the time. They were five games or so back in the NL Central race and they were barely hanging onto a wild card spot, after they won that game, the inner athlete came out in me. I was superstitious as an athlete and I became superstitious with the zip-ties. I didn’t mention it to anyone until the Brewers swept the Cardinals to earn a playoff berth for the first time since 2011. The Brewers kept winning, so I kept wearing them!