By: Bryan Thiel
For a kid coming out of college that grew up playing and watching all kinds of sports, working in Canadian sports television would be a dream come true.
Dreaming of becoming a reporter or an anchor, or even the next national play-by-play guy is a pretty high-end dream. But as everyone will tell you, you have to figure out a way to put in the work to get there.
You’ll move to a small market, work weird hours, and you won’t make too much (if any) money. Sometimes you’ll catch a break and sometimes you won’t. You’ll ask for help along the way and, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a helping pinky or ring finger…a whole hand would be wishful thinking.
Maybe you won’t achieve your dream directly, but things can still work out for the best. Maybe you’re not at a national level when you step behind the microphone, but you’ll still find meaning in the sports you’re calling at whatever level it is. Maybe you’ll work hard enough and find a good-paying job behind the scenes at that national station, and you’ll hold on to it because you approach it with the same commitment and verve you bring to your on-air career.
Then real life will happen. Bills will start coming in, you’ll want to start a family, and things (like cars…and homes) will need repairs. The industry will shrink. You’ll keep your job, but every so often there will be a week where the hours are slim. You may feel like you want to move on in your career and explore your options. Maybe you can find something at another station, you think.
Here’s the problem: there aren’t a lot of jobs available in the industry…and there are even fewer networks to work for.
Two to be exact.
TSN or Sportsnet. If you like some of the specialty sports, then CBC dips their toe in from time-to-time, but if you want to work in Canadian sports television its one of the big two.
Don’t even bother comparing it to the market south of the border. It’ll drive you mad.
That’s the biggest flaw in my industry, and that’s why I’m here at Algonquin.
With the industry reshaping itself and shifting its emphasis, I wanted to expand my resume. I felt that I needed more skills and that, in an ever-changing landscape, I needed to make myself more valuable than ever.
The world is focusing more and more on Social Media, so it seemed like a natural transition to me.
With one more credit to go, I feel like I’ve done that…but time will tell if I’ve done enough to overcome the industry’s biggest flaw.