What I’ve learned after losing my sports radio job
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What I’ve learned after losing my sports radio job

A lot about myself and a lot about this industry

There have only been two times I’ve truly been without a job in sports radio.  The first time was when the sports radio station I worked for was sold to a Christian radio company and was flipped.

The other is now.

The first one doesn’t really count in my mind.  This one, obviously does.

Here are a couple of things I’ve learned about myself and the sports radio business having really lost my job for the first time in this business.

1. I didn’t take it as hard as I thought I was going to take it.  
Now my wife, Lady EZ, took it a little harder.  Her reaction, a very natural one.

“What are we going to do?”

“How are we going to make it?”

“I thought you were doing well?”

Me?  I didn’t have time to take it hard.  It was time to get to work.  I needed to find a job.  I needed to get on the phone.  I needed to talk to my next potential employer.  And I needed to do it… yesterday.  So, there was no time to be emotional.  There was no time to be pitiful.  I needed to help provide for my wife.

2. I realized how grateful I really was for the job.  
I had always said it while being employed, but it really sinks in when you don’t have a job that you were very grateful that someone thought you were talented enough to work for them and pay you for those services for that time.  That may sound corny, but now being unemployed (for now), I realize just how thankful I was to have had a job.  It’s much more fun being paid for something you love than to not be paid at all.

3. I realized how grateful I was for the support from others in my profession and from my friends.
There were phone calls and texts from people in California, Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas and many other places.  I didn’t even know I knew people in all of those places.  That’s so cool that they call to offer support or, in some cases, help my find another place to work.  And all of my friends as well.  Even though I can’t talk to all of them every day, they are the first to call and offer support when things don’t go your way.  Talk about grateful.  Those people taking the time out of their days to support me is so awesome.

4. I can do really good radio.
Some people will find that sentence pompous, and that’s okay.  It’s not meant to read like that, but that’s okay.  But when people reach out to you hours after you are let go from your previous job and showing interest in working at their spot…  Dammit, that sounds pompous, too.  I don’t mean it that way.  Let me explain.  When you get let go from a job, especially one that you love, that perpetually-negative voice inside my head starts saying “I told you that you weren’t very good at this, but you would never listen.”  That’s not fun to hear from that perpetually-negative voice.  Not fun at all.  So when you receive calls from people that are coming back at that perpetually-negative voice with a baseball bat, seemingly, it reaffirms your belief that while you’re never going to be everyone’s “cup of tea*,” at least you are still considered employable by people and stations you admire in the business.

4a. I don’t have to change.
It always pissed me off that so many radio people get so much more job security almost strictly by kissing the team’s ass all the time.  How can they do that and get away with it?  It always made me ill, and still does.  I’ve seen it in multiple markets.  But, I’ve learned that being critical and fair also has a marketplace in this business.  If it didn’t, I don’t think I’d write what I wrote in #4 above.

5. This is an affirmation of what I really like to do with my life.
I can’t remember how many times growing up, and still today, I get told “keep doing what you love, even if it you don’t get rich.”  I hear this from people that are far richer than I am, financially.  I always wonder why they say that.  Surely you can’t be that unhappy, right?  But being unemployed has made me think about that a little more.  Maybe they’re right.  I mean, I’ve never been rich, so I guess I can’t speak directly to the discrepancy in income compared to the people who say that to me, but what I do know is that I already miss not doing radio.  I miss doing what I love.  I miss looking forward to going to work.  Maybe that’s what these people are talking about.  Looking forward to work has real worth.  I don’t have that right now.  I need to get back into it.  I want to get back into it. Losing my job has reaffirmed my love for this profession.

Thanks for reading.  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

* crappy cliché, I know.

  • Kent Sterling

    Beautiful. Happiness has nothing to do with cash. I’ve made good money and bad money, and the size of the check had nothing to do with my enjoyment of life.

    From the other side of the table, I can tell you that the evaluation of talent is a very imperfect science. The inexact audience measurement methodology makes it impossible to accurately assess popularity, so the question becomes one of taste and fit, with fit being tantamount. It’s kind of like hiring a guitarist for a band. If Slash. Lindsay Buckingham, and Jimmy Page are all up for a spot in the same band, the sound of the band is going to determine who gets (or keeps) the job. That doesn’t mean the other two aren’t great at what they do. They just don’t fit.

    That should never be taken as a repudiation of talent or personal attack. It’s just business. And if the PD doesn’t see you as a fit, you don’t want to be there anyway.

    The most important thing is that you have responded to this challenge in the right way. Content creators should create content, regardless of the portal. Keep working.

    • http://collegebasketballtalk.com Zach McCrite

      Thanks Kent… Believe it or not, this has been a fun process. I’ve learned a lot about myself. Hope you are well.

  • Chuck Gifford

    Kent: You are gooooood on radio. Maybe this will help: http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2013/11/do-you-control-your-life/ … via @jaltucher

  • Tony Singleton

    Zach,
    This post is awesome!

    You will get scooped up again soon. (Hopefully, by someone back home in the ‘Ville!) In the meantime, prayers for the Lady and for you.

    • http://collegebasketballtalk.com Zach McCrite

      Thanks Tony!

  • david coffey

    zach, i hate to see anyone lose their job, especially when someone is good at it. i honestly disagreed with just about anything that came out of your mouth, but i mean that in the most respective way. can’t tell ya how many times i told you to ‘stfu’ through the radio in my work truck or in my own vehicle. but again, i mean that in the most respectful way possible. i’m sure i’m digging a 10ft grave right now. anyways, you’re thought provoking, no matter how left-field i thought you were a lot of times. cheers to you, good sir. hope you land something soon, wherever it may be.

    • http://collegebasketballtalk.com Zach McCrite

      David,
      I appreciate that note. I like that there are guys out there that can genuinely disagree and still enjoy what they’re listening. Thanks a lot for your support.

  • Joshua Aaron Moore

    Miss you in Kentucky, EZ. I didn’t even know you’d lost your gig in St. Louis. You’ll land on your feet because you’re damn good at what you do. Keep loving it!

    • http://collegebasketballtalk.com Zach McCrite

      Thanks JAM. Will do. Appreciate the support.

  • Tyler

    I switched to cbs920 for my morning station but if you get back on in the Lou I’ll be right there with ya

    • http://collegebasketballtalk.com Zach McCrite

      Thanks Tyler. I appreciate that.

  • Lisa Phillipson

    You r definitely good at radio, u r never condencending, u have the ability to have fun with over the top fans, that u deal with everyday:), I know because when it comes to the StlCards, I am that fan!. U and ur wife r building stories for ur grand kids!! Take care, Lisa

    • http://collegebasketballtalk.com Zach McCrite

      That’s very kind of you Lisa. Thank you!

  • Derrick Neuner

    There is a brand new ESPN station here in Huntsville. If you can stand SEC football, maybe it’s worth a call?? Hope to hear you on the air soon, and please keep blogging. Your insight has always been worth sharing! Take care!

    • http://collegebasketballtalk.com Zach McCrite

      Huntsville, huh? Thanks so much for the support.

  • Matt Cardinals Nut Turner

    I really enjoyed you on the show. I hope you can get back up and on the air for St. Louis again. You have a talent for covering St. Louis sports and I really liked the show.

    • http://collegebasketballtalk.com Zach McCrite

      Thanks Matt. I love STL. Such an awesome city and market. Would love to stay if the opportunity presents itself.

      • Matt Cardinals Nut Turner

        Good luck.

  • David Muccigrosso

    Zach – To be honest, I hated you when you first replaced Bob Stelton, but you won me over as a fan, and that 9-11 spot just hasn’t been the same in the last few weeks here. I think you really honed your craft at 101. Few of the other hosts ask the sort of penetrating, non-boilerplate interview questions you do, or were willing to take bold stands based on gut alone (instead of just trying to be contrarian). As the issues go, you’ve been more levelheaded than most other ESPNers, which is a nice break from the all the blowhards out there. A lot of your insights come from outside the usual box that sports analysts think in, which is refreshing even when you’re wrong. And as far as refusing to be a brown-nosing homer, I’ll gladly take 100 others like you who are willing to criticize and happy to eat crow later, because that’s what make St. Louis such a great sports town – we expect the best from our teams, we criticize them when they don’t deliver, and we complain just loudly as we cheer because it motivates them to excel.

    Hope you find your way back to St. Louis radio – whatever station it is, I’ll be listening in!

    • http://collegebasketballtalk.com Zach McCrite

      Man, that’s an awesome compliment, David. Thank you very much for that.

  • wizzmaster

    It sickens me that you are gone. I don’t listen to 101 anymore, because I cannot stand this new host. I was on vacation in NY when you were let go, and I came back with the new host. I thought maybe you were on a short vacation as well, so I gave him a week. Talk about a disaster decision by ESPN.

    • http://collegebasketballtalk.com Zach McCrite

      Nah man. It’s all good. Different strokes for different folks. Look at it this way, there are plenty of people who hated the way I sound that are now doing backflips getting to listen to 101 ESPN again in the morning. It happens. It’s all part of the experience. Stick with the new host. He may grow on ya.

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