Thursday, January 15, 2015

What Does the Fox Say? Ring-Ding-Ding You Suck!

An example of the Kids Club Coordinator 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

Twenty years ago I was a senior at Southeast Missouri State University.  Even though I had a major, Mass Communication, I had no idea exactly what I would be doing once I graduated later that year.  I wanted to go into TV or radio, but because there was no broadcasting major at the time, I wasn't sure how to reach that goal.

The actual ad from the Southeast Missouri
August 1995

The Summer of 1995, I came across a job opening at the Fox affiliate in Cape Girardeau.  KBSI was looking for a Kids Club Coordinator.  It was an on air position, paying $7.00 an hour plus benefits.  Remember, it was 1995.  I was a college student, working as an assistant manager at Chuck E. Cheese making $5.50 an hour and no benefits.  I was one the verge of graduating and getting married less than two years later.  Plus, this was going to give me a chance to get my foot in the door in the world of broadcast journalism.

You can see the job duties in the ad.  I thought I could relate to kids because I loved cartoons.  I was writing for my college newspaper, The Capaha Arrow and thought, even though I lacked the on-air experience, I'd be able to pick it up easily.  I sent in my resume and cover letter and eagerly waited to hear back.  I was so excited that day when the creative service director called to set up an interview.  After a quick trip to the mall for a sports coat and tie, I was ready to claim my new job, or so I thought.

I went through the interview and thought things were going great. Then we headed to the studio.  This was my first time visiting a TV station studio, so I was in awe for a few moments.  Then I was humbled after he turned on the camera.  My future boss (as I was thinking) stood beside the camera with cue cards in hand.  He told me to read what they said and they'd be recording me.

Cindy Brady tripped up by the camera.
The little red light mesmerized me much like it did Cindy Brady decades earlier on episode "You Can't Win Them All."  My nerves got the best of me and my brain and mouth couldn't agree.  I remember finishing up thinking it was horrible, even though the director shook my hand and said nice job.  In my heart of hearts I knew it was far from a nice job, and the reality set in a few weeks later when I got a rejection letter in the mail.  Looking back now, since I had experience dressing like Chuck E. Cheese, I could have totally been the guy in the fox costume who worked with the Kids Club Coordinator.  

One of the foxes on Fox
It was that experience that opened my eyes to what it's like to be on camera and the struggle it is to perform.  There were parts of that script I felt foolish reading and instead of getting into the role, I let my insecurities get the best of me.  I certainly had a better appreciation for the men and women I had watched for years on the news.  It also made me determined to get better and step out of my comfort zone if I was ever going to achieve my dream.  

Nine years after that audition, I returned to this market and became a co-anchor on the morning news.  While far from perfect, I've come a long way through the years and hope to continue to improve.  If only I could have gotten my hands on a copy of that audition...

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