Tuesday, December 11, 2012

CAREER: Five Things I Do Miss About TV

Showtime with Chamblee & Rymer
Almost a year and a half after altering my career path and leaving the hustle and bustle of live studio television for an executive role in professional sports, I’m still amazed by the number of folks who “remember.”
I never shy away from sharing the true pleasure it was to be a part of the Golf Channel for some seventeen years and I always chuckle when stopped by loyal viewers who say “Kraig, enjoy the show!” or “Enjoy your work on Golf Channel!” or “You guys do great work at Golf Channel!” I tell them “thanks”… “but you haven’t seen me for a while – I left in September of 2011.”
Fact is, there’s not a chance I’d be leading communications and media at the LPGA if not for my twenty-five year television background and experiences at Golf Channel. But the biggest question I get is “do you miss TV?” In my travels working for the LPGA, I must get asked that question five times a week.
Masters Studio with Rosaforte & Feherty
The answer is “yes.” And I don’t mind saying it. But….there is a “but.” So let me tell you what sticks with me and what I do miss. And then I’ll answer the “but.” I'll give you five things that come to my mind quickly about television... and it doesn't matter if you're doing local sports in Ft. Myers, FL, Kalamazoo, MI.... or network shows on Golf Channel.
1. The Camaraderie and the Banter: It’s hard to duplicate people and the meshing of personalities. And believe me, there are plenty of personalities in television. From sitting in the cubicle working on a show, sharing laughs and sports stories with the likes of Brian Hammons, Scott Van Pelt, Vince Cellini, Todd Lewis, Rich Lerner and Charlie Rymer … to trading real life golf stories and watching tournament play in the “green room” with Frank Nobilo and Brandel Chamblee and Brian Hewitt … to firing playful jabs with good friends Jerry Foltz and Michael Breed…. to sitting on the set and making off-camera and on-camera wise-cracks with Tim Rosaforte, John Hawkins, Alex Micelli, Jay Coffin and Jeff Rude –those are some moments that you simply can’t replicate
Going to School with Martin Hall
2. The Rush: From the time I was a student anchor at KOMU-TV in Columbia, MO learning the ropes, the deadlines and the pressure that comes with preparing for a newscast, I always liked the idea of coming in, getting the show organized and working to creatively deliver it. As the time ticked toward “showtime”… the pressure built and the heartbeat quickened. And from the first “hello” to the last “so long, see you next time” – the pace was electric. There's nothing like it. To me, the more the live TV chaos, the better. Having producers and directors constantly talking in your ear, preparing you for your next move – while you were talking - that was the challenge and I always loved that. Some of my best friends in the business are those behind the scenes who made me better, never stopped yapping and weren’t afraid to do it.

3. Working in the Present: In television, every day is new. Every show is new. And you’re only as good – or bad – as your most recent show. Coming into work and not knowing what’s planned, or what’s going to be on the rundown was always an interesting thing for me. But the best part of it? Leaving the office/studio at the end of the day knowing you had no homework. Every night, I went home and enjoyed the first hour or two that I needed to “wind down.” Believe me… after the rush of a live show, you needed to slow the pace.

Up at 3am.. work by 4

4. The Variety of Roles: I was beyond fortunate. I learned the ropes shooting video and reporting at the local news level. Then transitioned into anchoring and found my way to Golf Channel. In that time, there wasn’t a show I didn’t have a hand in … in some way or another. I enjoyed hosting the earliest Golf Central shows, learned a ton about the game hosting instructional shows ( it helped my handicap down to a 4… but“information overload” eventually sent it to a current level of about 9 – I’m very impressionable and tweak ideas constantly), and was honored to serve as play-by-play host for three years. My favorite thing to do? Interviews and live conversations. My favorite moments were the shows with a panel… shows like the old Viewers Forum, or the Pre-Post Game shows or Grey Goose 19th Hole… or even Morning Drive which I liked as much as anything I did. Some people like to do the same thing. I’m not one of them… I felt like every opportunity helped me evolve. But there’s nothing like having a live forum for debate and questions and banter. I do miss that.

5. The “Bigness” of it all: The spotlight of being a part of a television station or network is something that takes adjusting to. At the risk of sounding vein, it doesn’t happen overnight. Being a part of the build of something like Golf Channel is something I take great pride in. And to see how fans and viewers reacted when we showed up at a tournament was special. A lot of hours were put in, a lot of sacrifice to help build and create that connection. I'll never forget interviewing the First Lady Laura Bush... and hey, time well spent even got me a bit part in the movie "Hope Springs!"  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, while at sometimes awkward, being recognized is a treat. I never took it for granted and still don’t.

I could name a lot of names here, people I’ve worked with, anchored shows with and people behind the scenes who truly do play a huge role in your comfort level. It’s a special bond – making a TV show, day after day.
But you know something… and here’s that “but”… I wouldn’t trade my move for anything. All those shows and all that experience is now being put to work in a role and a big challenge that doesn’t end each day, and start anew. I’m part of another “big build.” And the people I’m working with are as dedicated as any group I’ve been around. I’m home on most every weekend now, attending my kids’ sporting events I couldn’t squeeze in with regularity… and I’m in control of my schedule which is a luxury. Busy? You bet… there aren’t enough hours in the day…. so boredom doesn’t have a chance to set in.
Will I do TV again? Who knows…right now I love the job I have, the people I work with, and the challenge in front of me. And what the heck, some people in airports think I never left TV in the first place :)  
Line of the Day: Success is based on opportunities. Making them happen should be what drives you.
Follow me on Twitter @KraigKann

1 comment:

  1. Good piece Kraig and I miss seeing you on GC. They are changing and not all is for the better. I mis the days of the more informal style shows they did, like the Masters pre/postgame shows, the "pimento-cheese sandwich" index, and awarding Nobilo a green jacket for his predictions that was about 5 sizes too small. It was a lot of fun to watch.