Browsing Tag: career

    Miscellany

    Young Pepperdine Sportscasters (Circa 1989-1990)

    July 19, 2020

    This photo is a snapshot of what hope and dreams looks like … or looked like … back around 1989 or 1990.

    That’s me on the left and my Pepperdine sportscasting partner, Kent Justice, on the right, at a men’s basketball game. I really have no clue when and where the photo was taken, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s from March 1989 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. That’s the night Pepperdine beat New Mexico St. in the first round of the NIT tournament. Kent and I somehow got the Communications Dept. to a) let us travel to New Mexico to broadcast the game on campus radio KMBU-FM, and b) pay our expenses!

    We were both full of high hopes and dreams for lengthy careers in sportscasting. For me, the dream lasted about 7-8 more years. I got out of TV and radio sports in 1997 after being told by news directors in two bigger cities that I was their #1 sports anchor candidate, but they couldn’t hire me because I was a white male … and they were under orders to hire a female/minority. Seeing the writing on the wall, I got out of the business altogether, taught myself how to build and market websites online and the rest is history.

    Kent, IIRC, has been in and out of the TV industry just a bit, but has settled in Jacksonville for some time now, and is currently the political reporter and weekend news anchor at WJXT-TV in Jacksonville, Fla. We spoke a few months ago and he’s happy and doing well.

    That makes two of us.

    Life doesn’t always lead where you hope or think you’ll go, but that doesn’t mean you won’t end up somewhere great.

    Miscellany

    To clarify: I didn’t “leave SEO” (or the search industry)

    July 25, 2017

    In the past 10 days since news came out of my career changes, I’ve received a number of very kind messages from colleagues in the search industry congratulating me and wishing me best of luck in the future. I’ve appreciated every one of those messages and I’m grateful to know such thoughtful people — thank you all!

    Some of the messages, though, have also expressed sadness that I’m “getting out of SEO” or “leaving the search industry” or some such thing.

    Thing is … that’s not the case.

    Let me set the record straight:

    1) I left Third Door Media. That’s all. I’m not necessarily leaving the search industry or getting out of SEO.

    2) Re-starting my old SEO consulting practice is very high on my list of career options at the moment.

    3) I’m also very open to opportunities with marketing agencies and/or corporate in-house teams.

    4) I’d be happy to consider new journalism opportunities at other media outlets, too.

    To be clear, if a great opportunity outside the search industry comes along, I’ll certainly give it my utmost consideration. But I haven’t left SEO or the search industry. You guys aren’t getting rid of me that easily. 😉

    Miscellany

    The Start of My Writing Career: “The Flame” (my HS newspaper)

    July 13, 2017

    An old friend emailed me not long ago — a guy named Joe Madgey that I knew in high school but hadn’t heard from since high school. (For those of you who don’t know me too well, high school was a loooooooong time ago.) He had Googled my name and found this blog and used it to get in touch. It was great to hear from him.

    Joe described himself as a “pack rat” and told me that he’d been going through old stuff he had saved, and found a copy of The Flame, the newspaper that we produced at our high school, Holy Ghost Preparatory School. He scanned and sent it along because there were two articles in it that I’d written. One was a review of a Bryan Adams concert that I’ll share in another post soon. But first I’ll share the article I wrote after 14 of us took a senior class trip up to Harlem, NYC.

    I remember the trip vaguely now. But re-reading the article brought back a bunch of memories that I’d long since forgotten. I lived pretty comfortably in the Philadelphia suburbs, so seeing some of the poorer areas of Harlem was very eye-opening to 17-year-old me.

    (You can click for the larger versions of each image if you need to.)

    It’s not the first article I ever had published in the HS paper, but it’s pretty close to the start of my writing/journalism career — and probably the oldest piece of my own writing I’ll ever find. Unless, of course, Joe keeps digging through his old stuff and finds more!

    Thanks for passing this along, Joe.

    Miscellany

    My ESPN book … My ESPN story

    July 22, 2012

    espn-bookI told him that I had interned with Keith Olbermann at KCBS-TV in Los Angeles.

    And when I said that to Al Jaffe in 1993, the man who hires all on-air ESPN talent, it undoubtedly ended any chance I had of ever working at ESPN.

    I didn’t know it at the time, but it all makes sense now that I recently finished reading Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside the World of ESPN (aff link), the mammoth book that came out last year. If you have any interest in sports and/or broadcast journalism, I highly recommend it to you.

    It’s really, really good.

    There’s very little narrative in the book — it’s an oral history that relies very heavily on direct (and lengthy) quotes from 500+ people that were interviewed for the book. There’s some juicy stuff in there about the early days, about newsroom behavior/antics and about some of the feuds between personalities. There’s a lot about the business side, and how ESPN grew from a network that aired Aussie Rules Football almost every night to the biggest cable network on earth.

    The book has changed my opinion about some of ESPN’s talent; Mike Tirico, for starters.

    But it also confirmed a few things for me — primarily that Chris Berman is a self-absorbed blowhard. (There are so many situations where he’s quoted, and the quotes quickly shift from him talking about the event/story to talking about himself.)

    The other thing it confirmed for me is just how much Keith Olbermann is/was hated at ESPN. I’d heard some of the stories about his time there, but the book had so much more background on how badly Olbermann had burned all the bridges with people at ESPN.

    I remember him being very arrogant when I was an intern at KCBS in Los Angeles in the late 1980s. (He wouldn’t remember me from Adam — or Eve — and I doubt he spoke to me more than a handful of times.) So none of the things that have happened to him more recently come as a surprise to me.

    But, of course, I didn’t know any of this in 1993 when I was desperate to find a way to start working at ESPN.

    I hated my weekend sports gig in Idaho and, after getting a few pep talks from friends in the sportscasting industry, I worked up the nerve to cold-call ESPN and ask for Al Jaffe. His secretary did a deft job of deflecting me at least once, and probably a couple times. But I was persistent and kept calling when she said he might be in his office.

    And finally, he was.

    I told him that I was planning to visit family on the east coast, and that I’d love the chance to come audition in person for him at ESPN headquarters. That was only half-true: I didn’t have any specific plans to visit the east coast … but I’d book a flight to see my parents on a moment’s notice if he gave the go ahead.

    I don’t remember much about the phone call. He asked a few questions, one of which was about my background, or maybe about my influences, or what sportscaster I took after … something like that.

    That’s when I mentioned Keith Olbermann. I said that I had interned for him in Los Angeles and that, like Olbermann, I also considered myself a strong writer with a good sense of humor. (My news director in Idaho loved me and laughed at all my on-air humor.)

    I never said that I liked or admired Olbermann, but after reading the ESPN book, I’m convinced that just mentioning his name was my death knell. I think Jaffe said they weren’t doing any auditions soon, and may have said that he’d call me if that changed.

    He never called.

    But that’s okay, because we’re very blessed with how things worked out.

    paycheck
    Miscellany

    One Reason Why I Left TV Sports

    May 16, 2012

    When I tell people that I used to a TV sportscaster, some of them are dumbfounded that I’d ever leave such a job. TV sports is fun! You get paid to watch sports and tell people the scores! You get to show highlights and crack jokes!

    That’s all pretty true.

    But today, I was reminded of one of the reasons that I did get out of TV sports in 1997.

    While going through some old files and paperwork (still unpacking stuff at the new house), I came upon this:

    paycheck

    That’s a bit hard to read, but it’s my last paystub from the TV sports job. And, as you can see from the red arrow, I was making a whopping $9.25 per hour.

    Can you imagine??

    Granted, this is a pretty small town as far as TV goes, but still … I was the Sports Director, the primary sports employee who anchored the 6 pm and 11 pm weeknight sportscasts for a CBS affiliated station.

    There were several other reasons why I got out of TV, but salary was certainly a big one. We were four months away from having our first child and there was just no way I could support a family on that paycheck.

    Heck, I don’t know how anyone can support him/herself now on that salary. The drive-thru guy at McDonald’s must be making more than that….