For as long as I can remember, my folks have asked, “Why don’t you do TV?” To them—and, I believe, to the parents of many print journalists, seeing your kid on television is a sign of success; something to brag to the friends and neighbors about. Sure, a byline is nice. But it’s nothing like … television!!!
I always hated this. Always, always, always hated this. My love comes from writing and researching and reporting. I’ve never wanted to be recognized in airports, or stand outside a football stadium in College Station, telling viewers all about the numb-brain QB who’s half my age. No thanks.
Then, about a year ago, I started appearing somewhat regularly (every other month or so) on Jim Rome’s TV program. At first, to be honest, the appeal was much geographical as anything else. I was reporting a book on the Lakers, and Jim tapes in Southern California. In other words: Free trip. Hence, I agreed.
Now, I’m sorta hooked. I love the buzz. The jolt. The rush. You have a stance, you need to address it concisely, yet also intelligently, in a very short spell. You need to be wise with your words and brief with any temptation to blather. I’m not saying it’s E=MC Squared, but it’s harder than it looks; certainly harder than I ever expected.
Most impressive, from my viewpoint, is Jim Rome. I know some love the guy, some hate the guy—but, when the camera is rolling, the man is a friggin’ maestro. Smooth, smart, quick transitions, precise as precise can be. In a way, hosting a TV gig is like being an actor. When someone is especially good at it, you often don’t notice, because it’s so seamless (and, when someone sucks, it’s painful to behold). Jim happens to be especially good at it.
Anyhow, I don’t aspire to become a TV lifer. But I enjoy it immensely, and understand why the greats in the field are, truly, great.