Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Marc Zumoff: "I've Pretty Much Reached Nirvana."

When Marc Zumoff was 11 or 12 years old, growing up in Northeast Philadelphia, he would listen to the DJs on Top 40 radio stations and imitate them. That was the genesis of his career in broadcasting.

"The silly things I did as a kid lead to the realization of my gift," he said yesterday in class.

In a world with billions of people, we can seem relatively insignificant, said Marc, a broadcasting veteran who has been the Sixers play-by-play announcer since 1994. But what makes us all special are our individual characteristics and that gift we all have - that one thing (or things) in which you truly excel.

"What is your gift?" he asked.

These days, Marc sits on the sidelines at NBA games, performing what he called "the best job ever." He travels first class, stays in posh hotels, narrates the action involving some of the world's greatest athletes and he gets paid to do it.

He made it all sound so easy, right?

But he works very hard. Before evening games, he arrives at the arena around noon to begin assembling his notes for the night. He reads newspapers and websites, pours through team stats, talks to players and coaches and otherwise amasses a world of information that he uploads onto a spreadsheet, which he then spends hours mastering.

"It's very much like studying for an exam," he said.

He then works with his producers to develop the show open, as well as graphics for the game. He also participates in other programs done at Comcast Sportsnet.

He said he couldn't ever imagine having another job.

"I've pretty much reached nirvana," Marc said of his life, which includes a wife of 32 years and two children.

Here are a few of his suggestions for those looking to reach their career goals:

• Avail yourself to people in the industry you want to be in. Put yourself in places where there are other like-minded people.
• Internships are a great way to see people doing what you want to do, and learn from them.
• For your internship, arrive early, be quiet, polite and agreeable, stay late and offer to assist with everything.

• Try reaching out to people and ask if you can speak with them about their career path.
• Should you kiss their butts? "Abso-frickin-lutely," Marc said. "Ask questions. Butter people up."
• Treat those informational sessions like interviews. You are building your network of contacts.
• In addition to knowing the right people, you also need to have multiple skill sets - shooting, writing, editing, etc. "You cannot just be a talking head anymore," he said.

• You have to believe that you can achieve whatever you want.

What stood out for you?


Ashley Paskill said...

I liked that he was very willing to help us with our careers and offer advice for us. He told us to start with a general career goal and take little steps to achieve them. He also said that we have to have a wide range of skills, and that is so important. Journalists need to be able to do everything and being able to do so makes them stand out during the hiring process. He was very personable and interactive.

Lucas Medeiros said...

Something that really stood out to me was that he calls himself and likes to see himself as a "career coach" on top of all the attributes. The thing that sets him apart from everybody else is that he will actually be your career coach. He is willing to help students if they make the effort to reach out to him and really want it bad. Most people in his field are all talk and no action. Marc is all talk and all action.

Carolanne Patrylak said...

I found Marc's speech to be really inspiring. When I hear about people who love their job it makes me that much more excited to start a career I love. What stood out to me the most was his pregame rituals. Marc made his job sound like it was a piece of cake when vaguely describing what he does, but, when he explained more in depth what he has to do, it did not seem like such a walk in the park. Marc's life seems glamorous; the charter plane rides and the fancy hotels would make anyone want to pursue a career in journalism. However, I found it crazy how Marc spends almost his entire day at the stadium going over notes, stats, data, and talking to his coworkers. It just amazed me that he is willing to spend almost an entire day at his job and still refers to it as the best job in the world. Not many people will say that about their jobs.

Sarah Madaus said...

I enjoyed Marc's energy level and enthusiasm about his job. The second he started speaking, I knew he wasn't going to be like some of the other speakers in terms of his high-energy. He kept me engaged throughout the class. I found myself getting a little bit irritated when he spoke about getting free stays at 5-star hotels, getting free flights, etc. I think that piece of his presentation could've been left out, because it left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Besides that, I loved how he asked questions and offered advice to the class. He made me excited for my future, because his belief that journalism is the best field in the world radiated from him and was contagious!

Maggie Labutis said...

Marc Zumoff was an extremely inspiring speaker to listen to. What stood out to me was his enthusiasm for his job. I think his ability to make his job seem like cake, even though he spends hours going over stats and data, makes him very likable. I also think that when you're doing what you love you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to do that without complaining. Overall, I enjoyed listening to Marc speak. His advice to follow your gift was inspiring and one that I will remember.

Whitney Johnson said...

What stood out to me is that this is the dream. I personally would love to be affiliated with sports in any way possible. Listening to Marc Zumoff talk about his dream and how he made it was inspirational and pushed me to seriously think about my dream again. He discussed networking too and I realize that I need to reach out to more alumni that have graduated from this school because there are always Owls willing to help.

Robert Wurtenberg said...

I really enjoyed listening to Marc. I really think that he tried telling us exactly what we have to do in order to be successful in this business. He said the most important thing is that we all believe in ourselves and what we want to do. I really look forward to speaking with him again in the future.

Nina de Vitry said...

What stood out to me about Marc's presentation was how he made such a big deal out of the importance of "buttering people up." Although people are constantly telling you that it's important to make favorable impressions with everyone you meet, I have also always been told that it's important not to obviously cater to someone's every wish and need. Instead, I formerly would have said that it (of course) is important to treat everyone with respect and to show your admiration, but that you also need to make sure this is coming from a genuine place. I guess after listening to Marc, I realized that he must have gotten to where he is today for a reason. Maybe we should all take his people-pleasing advice to heart :-)

Jensen Toussaint said...

I was incredibly excited to meet Marc Zumoff in person! Growing up in Philadelphia and watching Sixers games for as long as I can remember, Marc was the first NBA affiliate that I remember learning and memorizing his name as a kid. I've always been a huge fan of his. The enthusiasm he shows when calling Sixers games was the same enthusiasm he gave when talking to us and I honestly enjoyed every minute of it. What stood out most to me was how he said he had "reached nirvana". He really made his job sound like the greatest in the world despite all the long hours and hard work he explained that he puts in on a daily basis. That nirvana status that Marc Zumoff has reached is where I hope to reach one day as I pursue a career in the sports world. Listening to Marc gave me a really good outlook on what I will need to do moving forward if I hope to be even half as successful as he is.

Grace Shallow said...

I thought Marc Zumoff's passion about his job was inspiring to a class full of young journalists to realize their own "nirvana" as he described it. Personally, I don't believe in kissing other peoples' butts because I've always had a pride in my independence and using my talent and natural personality to accomplish my goals.

Reagan Conrad said...

It was so inspiring to hear from Marc because he was so passionate about his career. I want to love what I do for a living and I think he was so interesting to hear from someone who "reached nirvana" in terms of their career. I also appreciated how he loved to help others who are trying to break into the business!

Tori Bulgier said...

I think that Marc Zumoff is cocky for a reason. I feel that it is a tactic he employs to try and motivate people to be successful. It may anger some at first, but I believe that it forces people to focus on "big picture" ideas. I appreciated Marc's advice and valued his time. I think that it is important for dedicated, established people, like Marc, to help groom the up-and-comers. Marc seems to really love his job, and I admire him for that. Marc's energy was great, and I thought the class was really feeding off of it. Marc was an interesting guy, and it was nice to listen to him talk about a career that I am unfamiliar with.

Thomas Beck said...

I really liked that Mr. Zumoff highlighted the benefits of working as a reporter. He seems to take a great deal of pride in what he does, and he is able to accentuate the positive aspects of the profession rather than getting hung up on what's difficult or unpleasant. He was very inspiring, and I am glad I was able to hear him speak.

Alison Elmire said...

Marc Zumoff's visit was unlike any other so far this year. I enjoyed Marc's enthusiasm about his job. It amazed me that Marc made what he does sound like a piece of cake. However, when going into further detail about exactly what he does, it was instantly clear that Marc puts in hours of work before game time. I can only hope that I will be as passionate about my job as Marc is one day. Marc's advice to us was realistic and inspiring. He seemed genuinely interested in helping us reach our career goals. I'm glad I was able to hear him speak in class this semester.

Alexis Rogers said...

I think Marc Zumoff was an interesting guest speaker. I enjoyed hearing the story of how he used to make pretend broadcasts as a child, thus leading to his career. I used to do the same type of thing when I was younger. I would interview my grandmother about the Philadelphia Phillies, thus sparking my interest for journalism. I think he had some very helpful tips regarding career advancement. He truly emphasized the importance of networking and assertion when trying to look for a job or internship. It was interesting to hear the "behind the scene" details of the role of a sportscaster. He is very passionate about his job and seems to be very content with his current position.

James Dougherty said...

I thought Marc Zumoff was an interesting guest to have. He showed us how we can progress through the field of journalism. He worked a various different media outlets through his career and now he says he is at Nirvana. He gave us an in depth look at what it is like to do his job and tried to motivate us to reach our potential. He gave us great information and secrets to having success like he did no matter what field we go into. He was able to show us a world of opportunity that a journalism degree can get you, from a small town radio station to a broadcaster for a professional sports team.

Anonymous said...

Bridget Cigler:
What stood out to me was how happy he is with his job. Most people discuss "their next step" and the fact that he's reached is final step is refreshing. Also, as a Philadelphia local, I often panic I will be stuck in my neighborhood for the rest of my life, but he gave me new insight on how you can have the best of both worlds; stay in Philadelphia AND have the dream job.

Anonymous said...

Adriana Vela
Marc Zumoff visit to our class was very inspiring. He seems very passionate about his job. You can tell with his energy that he is very successful at what he does and enjoys doing his job well. He is a great public speaker which I enjoyed since that is something that I need to better myself in. His positive energy really made me think that I can find a job that I can enjoy, I just need to pay attention to what I like doing and find my passion like he did. He really gave the class great advice about networking, I appreciated that.