With a TWIST!
No, we aren’t posting story pitch tips or media lists, but instead great stories from the media themselves about their lives, their work and other little known facts! Think of it as your first “networking” opportunity of the week!
Rich has been working in television for 25 years in the Phoenix market, starting as a sports intern at KPNX-TV where he would stay late into the night recording air checks with a young (and much thinner, LOL) Bruce Cooper. He worked for nine years at Channel 12 before going into the freelance world to pursue his passion, live sports. An opening with Cox Communications in 1997 enabled him to get a staff producer job. He’s been there ever since, where he’s produced high school sports, Roadrunners hockey, Firebirds baseball, ASU sports, and Phoenix Suns basketball, other live sports and long form programming that airs on Cox7 Arizona.
So, Rich, time to share!
What do you want to tell the blogosphere about yourself today?
I‘ve worked in this market pretty much all of my adult life (minus a stint parking cars and loading luggage at the Arizona Biltmore while paying my Channel 12 dues). What I’ve come to realize over my time is that, even though we work in a huge, populated market, the television circle, especially the sports arena here, is a very small, tight knit group. The medium knows few enemies and most everyone pulls and roots for one another. If you don’t know someone first hand, you know someone they work with, or have worked with. Very few people get out of the business by choice. The job (and salary) might change, but the passion remains. I once heard someone I worked with say, “this is the only industry I know of where people are dying to get in and, once they do, can’t wait to get out.” Well, that person is still in the business 20-something years later. And so am I. It takes a special breed of human, someone who can get knocked to the floor time after time, and always gets up, to survive in this business. It’s not easy. News and program directors come and go, but the people on the line still have to get the work done. The pay mostly stinks and the hours suck big time.
It’s a privilege to have worked with people in the industry that are not only true professionals, but sincere, honest people. Those people I am proud to call my colleagues and my friends. I don’t have enough space to list those people, but you know who you are. Thanks for your help, your guidance, your trust, and your respect.
The business of television, especially news and sports, has changed dramatically in my 25 years. Quality has taken a backseat to economy. The truth doesn’t always matter. Employees are viewed as necessary evils and expendable resources. Sizzle rules over substance. Knowledge is no longer king. People are given positions of power and management that either don’t deserve them or can’t handle them. Given that, we still have great people in this business that go to work every day and fight it out in the trenches to do their jobs the best they can. Great professional people with families and friends trying to make a small difference in this world. And for the most part, they are.
And, of course, hats off to the families of those of us in this crazy business. To the spouses and children who don’t see “Dad” for 2-3 days at a time when it’s busy. Who forgive us when we miss a dance recital or a baseball game. Thanks for understanding.
Good luck to all you newbies. I feel bad that you have to learn the business of broadcasting under the rules that are set in place today. I’m glad I started out when I did, when hard work, passion, and desire were rewarded. Remember, most of you have been, or will be, hired at some point to take the place of people who have helped shape the industry and the market, whether through attrition, retirement, layoffs, or just for the fact you’ll work cheaper. My advice to you is to search out a mentor, someone who has been there, done that, and learn what it takes to “make it” in this business. We all had someone like that. Hopefully, you can too. Be thankful for what you have, but don’t take any crap from the “man” or “woman.” Most of all, be true to yourself and to your craft.
Oh, and watch live high school basketball on Cox7 Thursday nights at 7 p.m. starting Dec. 9.