Friday, March 02, 2007

Lifestyle Adjustments

Those who work full-time in broadcasting are taught that it is a lifestyle, not a job. That’s true in more ways than one. The overwhelming majority of TV/radio folks simply don’t make a lot of money. That clearly defines lifestyle. There are plenty of people in the business who make above average salaries, to be sure; but it is fair to say that applies to a small percentage of broadcasters.
The lifestyle statement also says a lot about your moment to moment activities.. If you work in news, for instance, there is an expectation that you are a naturally curious person. You should always have your eyes and ears open. Your personal radar, your “nose for news” should be engaged at all times. I didn’t realize how true that was until I achieved some distance from the business.
I’m occasionally asked to be a substitute host for a popular afternoon drive-time talk show on KEEL radio. The name of the show is “Sports Talk,” but regular hosts JJ and Ben Marshall more often than not allow themselves to talk politics and pop culture. I did a show similar to theirs for many years, and for a long time it was easy. My job, no my lifestyle, compelled me to pay close attention to sports and local events. Life was show prep. Or, was it the other way around? Did my job as a TV sportscaster and my other job as a sports radio talk show host drive my life? I now know the answer.
The fact that I feel compelled to study before I host the show tells me everything I need to know. I am still a sports fan, but I am now much more selective about what I watch, attend and read these days. Three years ago, I would read Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine cover to cover each week. I would pore over sports websites. I would watch baseball every night during the season. This time of year, I would flip between three basketball games. I ran in a crowd of sports journalists, so sports dominated our conversations. Now, I run in a crowd of health care professionals. I can usually get something started about LSU, but that’s as far as I can get.
The thing is, it just doesn’t seem all that important any more. I have become an average sports fan. I no longer force myself to be interested. I will strap in for a 12-hour day on Saturdays in the fall, but that’s the only time I even approach my former level of dedication. I think that’s healthy.
This impacts how I host the radio show when the opportunity presents itself. Now, instead of grinding details of a game or the selection process for the NCAA tournament, I have to speak in broader strokes. I can’t replicate what the Marshall brothers do. I have to be myself and just keep the microphone warm for them. The casual sports fan who is qualified to be an occasional host: it’s a lifestyle that suits me just fine.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: