A year and a half out of school, my life in the broadcasting world has been a blur. The same can be said for friends and classmates. When I started working up in Prince George, someone at the TV station said “This is an industry where you either shine, or burn out.” I’ve seen that first hand as I know some great people that got their big break and have moved up quickly in the field, and are already close to being in the top group of workers. Some were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, missed or weren’t patient enough for their big break and have since dropped out, while others are still just inching their way in.
Having grown up as someone that loves playing and watching sports, I’m a very competitive person. I don’t like to lose, and I don’t like the feeling that I’m falling behind. That’s why it’s hard to stay in my spot as I see other friends moving up in. Working for a sports team, it’s tough to move up mid-season because 1) Not many broadcasters are going to quit mid-season 2) I couldn’t leave my current team out to dry mid-season and take off for another job.
As friends move up, you wonder why you haven’t yet (even if you’re already in a great spot). I’m only 21, and I have plenty of time to hone my craft, but when I see someone like John Chayka who turned 27 in June as a GM in the NHL, I suddenly feel like I need to be at the highest level in just six years. That’s an unfair load to put on my plate, and a very short window to expect that elusive big break, but at the same time, it’s a great motivator. Everyone needs their own reason to want to move up. I’m 21, and am competing for jobs with people who’ve been doing this before I was even born.
Some people who are looking to make the next step may feel pressure as well because let’s be honest, you’re generally not raking in the dough through broadcasting. In orientation for the radio program I took, the instructor was brutally honest with us. “You’re probably going to have to move away from your friends and family, and you’re probably not going to make a lot of money,” and the chuckles died off as we realized he wasn’t joking. There went my hope of getting that big break right away and going straight from school to the morning show on TSN radio.
The broadcasting industry is a grind, and as long as you’re getting reps in I have to think you’ll improve bit by bit. In a year and a half of full time hockey play by play (minus the offseason) I listen back to my games and notice a huge difference. While we’re competitive and want to move up, the a big break will come, and we just need to make sure that we’re ready for them.