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Backstage Experts

The Key to Finding Success as a Broadcaster? Specificity

The Key to Finding Success as a Broadcaster? Specificity
Photo Source: @ljcohen14 via Twenty20

If you don't already know the following, you should: the days of being a jack of all trades is coming to an end when it comes to broadcasting. The generalist role is getting smaller and smaller, and while it will always exist, the number of slots are consistently decreasing, especially on TV.

Gone are the days of regional reporters making the kind of money they could retire with. In our lifetime, we will see a drastic shift from TV to digital since the internet is where you can find everything and anything, no matter how obscure.

What does this mean if you want to be camera-facing? Pick a subject and master it. Whether it’s football, cooking, cars, gardening, science, technology, music, movies, fashion, politics...whatever it is, pick a lane and become the best in that lane. Make sure that whatever you choose is something you’re truly passionate about because you’ll be immersing yourself in the subject for what could be your entire career.

Don't get me wrong; I’m not saying only stick to the subject you choose. There are plenty of examples of people who have had their cake and ate it too. What I am saying is that those people are no longer the rule—they’re quickly becoming the exception as that route to broadcast success is getting more difficult by the day. Becoming an expert in one area will give you the best chance at succeeding on air because the content is hyper-targeted.

READ: Dealing With a Co-Host You Don’t Get Along With

If you establish yourself as an expert in a topic, you have several platforms to share your knowledge: social media, YouTube, podcasts, blogs, magazines, TV/radio appearances. There is no shortage of avenues to which you can contribute. These places are looking for experts, like the host of a cooking show being the resident subject matter expert on all things food and cooking on a morning show.

Once you climb the ladder and reach the top one percent of the bubble you choose, that's when you’ll have an easier time jumping to other bubbles. By then, you’ll have a healthy following, which is enticing to advertisers, casting directors, and executive producers. You’ll also have media experience and the ability to adapt and cover things outside your comfort zone. I built a name for myself in sports, but at this point in my career I contribute on a variety of topics and can add other things that interest me to my plate.

The role of being a generalist host that does a game show, commercial, sports show, reality show, and technology show will always exist, but spots are filled more and more by people who are endemic to that world as opposed to people who are good on air and know the subject matter only a fair amount.

So if you haven't yet, pick a subject you can Malcolm Gladwell (i.e. put at least 10,000 hours into), become an expert, be good to people, work hard and you'll establish yourself very well.

Arda Ocal is a broadcaster with ESPN, MSG Networks, an analyst with TRT World and a panel host/moderator for SAG AFTRA. Arda is also a social media consultant for brands and personalities. Follow him on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook @ArdaOcalTV.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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