For each benefit of a career in the sportscasting business that you experience, there will also be a challenge to meet.
Mel Proctor is a former MLB and NBA voice and a friend. In his more than two decades as a sportscaster, Mel experienced many challenges of a career in the business.
In his book I Love The Work But I Hate The Business, Mel provides valuable insights into surviving a sports broadcasting career. Here are four things I learned about our industry from Mel.
1. Loyalty is often a one-way street
When Mel was the radio voice of the Washington Bullets, he had opportunities to do national NFL and college basketball broadcasts for several radio and TV outlets. The General Manager of WTOP Radio wouldn’t let him miss a game for even a single network assignment that would have expanded his career.
2. Be concerned when the person who hires you leaves
Mel had been hired in San Diego by his friend, Padres President Larry Lucchino, who had also hired Mel in Baltimore. Five years later, when the Padres parted ways with Lucchino, they also parted ways with Proctor.
Proctor says the writing was on the wall when an in-game promo about an off-season Padres cruise was changed from “Join Mel Proctor” to “Join Mark Grant,” Proctor’s broadcast partner.
3. Broadcasters get fired for two reasons
They either make too much money or somebody doesn’t like them. Proctor believes one reason the Padres didn’t renew him was because he priced himself out of the market.
As for losing a job because someone doesn’t like you? That is why you should always treat people well.
4. Nothing is guaranteed until it’s in writing
The president of the Texas Rangers told Proctor they wanted to hire him – give him a five year deal to start with the expectation that he would be a Ranger for life. They just had one other person to interview as a favor to someone. The one other person ended up with the job.
Some other things I learned from Mel’s book:
- How he convinced a local radio station to hire him for high school play-by-play despite having no prior experience.
- How he talked another station into letting him do sales even though he had no experience with that, either.
- How Mel created his own play-by-play opportunities at another local station.
- How Mel convinced a business owner in the poor part of town to sponsor his broadcasts.
If you are careful and prepared, you can survive the challenges of working in sportscasting with the same good humor that Mel has.