Last week I had a couple of clients get jobs in big markets. They're both in their mid-twenties. Both very talented. And here's the key: both not afraid to send tapes to big markets.
I don't know who continues to perpetuate the market size myth out there, but I have a good idea. I'll bet half comes from college professors who either haven't worked in the business or did so back in the dinosaur era. And the other half comes from veterans of my generation or people who have been stuck in Palookaville so long they think everyone else should pay the same sort of dues.
So for those of you about to graduate, (and a bunch of you who've been out of school awhile) let's get one thing straight right now. Well, several things:
-You do not have to start in a market between 100 and 210.
-You do not have to sign a three year contract, as you do not need to spend that much time in a first job.
-It does not take ten years of experience to move up to a major market. Sometimes it only takes two.
-People have gotten entry level jobs in major markets.
-You can send tapes anywhere.
-Do not listen to people who say it can't be done when it comes to job hunting. Tell me you're too young to get a great job in a big market, and I'll hit you with a ton of examples of people who have done it.
-The rules of my generation have changed drastically. In fact, they're gone.
-Do not assume that because one market is bigger than another, that the bigger market has a better quality newscast, or more talented people.
-Do not assume that because a station is number one in the market that it is a quality shop. Do not assume that because a station is not number one that there's something wrong with it.
-Bells and whistles don't make a station great, and have little effect on your career. A place with a whole bunch of flatscreens might have a horrible newscast, while the place with equipment that's not state of the art might be the best place for you to learn.
-No one cares what your GPA is. (Except your parents.)
Bottom line, I have talented people call me up all the time thinking they'll be making a huge jump if they can crack market 50. And then I look at their tapes and tell them they can send them out to major markets. Guess what, there are a ton of entry level people in 50s markets. There's nothing special about that level.
Perhaps you guys need to go online and watch some newscasts in markets of varying sizes. You might be shocked to find the following:
-Big markets have a lot of young people.
-Medium markets have a lot of bad people.
-Sometimes there's not much difference between a small market and a medium market.
So forget everything you've heard about paying dues and the market jumps you have to make. Your talent is unique, and so is your career. What other people have done or are doing has absolutely no effect on you.