After learning ropes in Alaska, Sokaitis climbs to TV success
When dozens of local sports reporters fight for position around the locker of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers for an interview, Sokaitis doesn’t sweat it because he grew up with his father coaching basketball so he knows how to box out.
This Alaskan has proven he can handle whatever comes his way in his first year as sports director at NBC affiliate WGBA in Green Bay.
“I feel extremely lucky and fortunate to be in the position that I am now in,” Sokaitis told me. “Every week I get to go into the Packers locker room and shoot interviews, ask questions, it’s a bit surreal.”
The NFL players are larger than life.
“I walk next to these giant linemen like Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews, and you don’t even feel like you’re the same species as these dudes. These are the top one percent of the top one percent of athletes on the planet,” he said. “
Sokaitis, of Monroe Catholic High fame, started his TV sports career more than 10 years at KTVF in Fairbanks, where he was the entire sports department for two years. Then he moved to Anchorage and worked at KIMO for a few months before going to KTUU.
He spent seven years in the sports department at KTUU, where he covered staples like the Iditarod, Alaska Aces and the University of Alaska Anchorage. He even covered the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Sokaitis took the job in Green Bay in the summer of 2015.
“I love it,” he said. “Getting to cover a professional team, especially an NFL team and especially an NFL team like the Packers where there is so much history and success surrounding the franchise, has been validating to me and to my career choices,” he said.
“When you work in sports journalism the hours are really long, you often times miss out on family events or you can’t go do stuff with your friends, and by getting to this level it has made it feel that all that work was worth it. I put in more than a decade on air in Alaska before earning my shot covering the pros so I am very careful not to take anything for granted.”