“It really does beat working for a living,” play-by-play announcer Marc Zumoff said when describing his job working for the 76ers. Zumoff, who has worked in about every aspect of television and radio for the past 25 years, was in West Chester Thursday night to address members of the Association for Women and Men in Communication. Zumoff began by telling a story of a boy who was not in the “in” crowd growing up, but who dreamed of one day breaking into the broadcasting business. He would times turn down the television and do his own announcing. Surrounded by inspirational and supportive people, he managed to achieve his dream.
The boy in the story, of course, was Marc Zumoff. He assured the audience that it is OK to have fears and insecurities. “Trust me, I was a nobody, afraid of girls and competition.” Zumoff added that the key to success is filling one’s life with positive people. Zumoff’s career has seen him both on radio, including WHYY-FM, and television, which included an opportunity to be an anchor for WPHL-TV and PRISM, the forerunner to Comcast.
However, it is Zumoff’s most recent career with the 76ers that has allowed him to achieve his childhood dream, comparing it to an “out of body experience. I can’t tell you how fortunate I am to wake up each and every day.” He recalled the day when he received the call that he got the job: He wrote down the exact time and date on a piece of paper, and to this day has it framed on his wall. Given his highly successful career in broadcasting, Zumoff took the opportunity Thursday night to provide students who are striving to break into the business with some helpful insights.
The most important step in beginning the journey into broadcasting, according to Zumoff, is making a list of people you know, from friends and relatives, to people you met as an intern. Once you have compiled the list, begin calling, asking if they know someone, or may know someone who knows someone already in the business, so you can arrange an informational interview.
Zumoff added that the time to hustle and make sacrifices is now; whether it be staying home on a Friday night or working that much harder to be involved, it is important to make your mark on campus. “Ten to 15 years from now, you don’t want to wake up in a job that’s not you.” Once you have a list of potential contacts, Zumoff advised the audience to write a letter, comprised of three lines, since people are often too busy to read long paragraphs.
The letter should state, first, who referred you; second, that you are exploring future career opportunities; finally, that you will be in touch in the future to plan a meeting. Zumoff added that it is also important to maker sure everything is correct in the letter.Thich shows the person that you are taking the time to get things right. Other tips Zumoff offered to students included dressing properly for interviews, which”shows you are ready to do business in the business world,” asking questions to create a relationship, and emphasized the importance of “schmoozing” people.
He also compared a rsum to a “tube of toothpaste,” because, while no one understands the ingredients, they are attracted to the package. With a rsum, you are creating an attractive package for yourself. Josh Wenner, a senior at West Chester, was in attendance to hear Zumoff speak and remarked, “It was great to have a person of his stature here to convey how important meeting people is as a first step to getting a job or an internship.”
Zumoff stated that one of his biggest pet peeves is when people stop themselves and think of excuses why things can’t be done. “You can do this,” he said, offering motivation to the audience and adding that “everyone in the business has at one time been on the outside looking in.”
When asked where in his career he sees himself in the next 10 years, Zumoff replied perhaps doing some work at the national level but if that doesn’t work out, it will be more than OK. He’s already gotten the chance to do what he’s always wanted to do. West Chester University’s Women and Men in Communication is an organization open to all students and majors, particularly those pursuing a degree in communication studies. Upcoming events for the group include a trip to Philadelphia on Nov. 12-13, which will include tours of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Lincoln Financial Field, and City Hall.