One of the coolest things about SMG is meeting new people. Social media today has given us the power to spread our message to a worldwide audience and helps us find awesome people like David Gascon. I got an email one day from David who wanted to get involved by sharing his story and advice with the group. David has worn many hats in this industry and works multiple gigs. He knows how to network and I think you’ll really benefit from his advice, enjoy.
Taylor Shold: Tell us a little about yourself, who are you and what do you do?
David Gascon: Born and raised in the South Bay Area of Los Angeles, I’ve been a jock my entire life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This all stems from being a multi-sport athlete up until my third year in college before injuries got the better of me. The transition from turning athlete to professional was a challenging one, but my experience has certainly helped get me to where I am at today. Even in a massive city like LA, I feel like a rarity because my passion and coverage of sports works in layers between football (NFL & NCAA), basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, mixed martial arts, and boxing.
Currently, I’m working as a play-by-play broadcaster, national anchor, and contributor on various platforms across this digital world. At FOX Sports Radio/iHeartMedia, I work as an anchor on a handful of shows that flow during a 24/7 news cycle. On the other side of the spectrum I’m a play-by-play broadcaster with FOX Sports West/Prime Ticket, ESPN3, UC Riverside Athletics, and the NFHS Network (to name a few).
Taylor: How has networking helped your career and how can people network effectively?
David: Networking was the only way I got a crack in this industry. Coming out of college I didn’t make an immediate jump into sports and because of that, I had to hit the reset button. Leaving a lot of stable things in my life behind, I decided that grad school would be the best way for me to do what I ultimately wanted to do. After earning my Master’s, I connected with a few former classmates on Twitter and from there I was able to get my foot in the door somewhere.
With how the industry is moving now I believe networking is even more vital than ever to stay in this space. While most people see networking as connecting to as many people as possible (it is a numbers game), I strongly believe that you must be engaging in order to be effective. It seems like common sense to say something like that, but you would be surprised to see how people interact in a communications based industry.
Taylor: What makes a great on-air presenter? How can people get better in front of the camera?
David: You hear the phrase “get reps” all the time and that’s the number one priority. Another way to improve on your on-air presentation is to know, learn, and understand the content you are offering to your audience. An overlooked element to being better in front of the camera is developing a rapport with those that are working behind the lens. Because I started at the basement in this industry and worked my way up, I look at every broadcast as it being a team effort. If you can’t work with the people that work behind the scenes then that lack of chemistry could be on display for all to see.
Taylor: How can people stand out these days? It’s such a competitive business, how can people separate themselves from the crowd?
David: People naturally stand out these days by what they do on social media and that could be for the better or worse. In a competitive business like this, acting professional and submerging yourself in what role you choose is critical. Another way people can stand out is by being versatile and not stuck on serving one purpose and one purpose only. If you can’t evolve in this industry then your career could be short lived especially if you aren’t a former athlete.
Taylor: A lot of our readers struggle getting that 1st on-air job, how did you convince your 1st boss you were ready?
David: Put the pressure on a potential employer to say no to you. My first job after grad school came at two local public access television stations in LA and they were unpaid. After a year of putting a tape together and gaining experience, I applied for tons of jobs until one employer gave me a small ounce of hope. After a few months of waiting and hoping, I landed a job with iHeartMedia in San Diego, which turned out to be the San Diego Chargers flagship station. My new boss said he could only promise me 12 hours a week and at the time I was still living in Los Angeles. Instead of commuting back-and-forth, I decided to move down to San Diego and show up every day for work to learn about the radio industry. The job paid me $10 an hour as a part-time board-op, but the risk was worth the reward. My first on-air job was on Christmas (five months after I was hired) after the San Diego State Aztecs normal Game Day host called out because of another assignment. Knowing those opportunities to be on air had not come yet, I decided to ditch the family and holiday festivities to work as the pregame and postgame host for San Diego State basketball. It was a small sacrifice, but it led to more opportunities.
Taylor: Finally, what’s the #1 piece of advice you have for others looking to make a career on-air?
David: Never say NO to an opportunity. Something that was told to me as I’ve continued my climb in this industry is that availability is just as important and often times, more important than ability. Just to put this in perspective for those looking to enter the industry, I bought a car four years ago and as of today I’ve driven over 100,000 miles in it.
You can find David on Twitter @DavidJGascon
MUST READ: So You Want To Be On TV?
For more great articles, features and job postings, follow us on Twitter @SholdMediaGroup
Join Shold Media Group
Joining the Shold Media Group and getting connected with other young media professionals is simple. All you need to do is ‘LIKE’ SMG on Facebook and ‘Follow’ SMG on Twitter. Once you do that, you’ll have all the great articles, videos, event invites and much more delivered right to you. Click the links below to Join.