Who needs sleep?

elisha on the radio

My radio desk in San Francisco.

When I started off my previous post, I intended for it to be a lot longer and to really underscore the importance of a willingness to work a funky schedule in broadcasting. Now that I see the hits that post is generating and feel the need to expand on the same theme.

Scanning various personal blogs and sites such as MediaLine.com, I’m already seeing many more college students and fresh-out-of-college grads calling themselves multi-media journalists and video journalists, compared with when I graduated from college. It seems higher education is now emphasizing the importance of not only a willingness to do it all (shoot, edit, write, produce, live shots, etc, etc, etc), but the skills and ability to do it all.

And I’m sure many of these cub reporters already know they’ll be working for peanuts and missing every Saturday night party and Christmas get together. But I wrote my previous blog to highlight just how important it is to have a flexible schedule. In fact, judging by my early career, that’s all that matters.

Little did I know when I said “yes” to my new boss at KKIQ, that just a couple years later I would be doing news and traffic on some of the best Northern California radio stations. When working at Metro Networks, it was again the magic “yes” answer to the crazy scheduling that helped advance my career.

By the time I was a senior at San Francisco State University, I was working overnights on weekends and into the start of the workweek. That meant working from 10 Sunday nights until 6 Monday mornings, catching a couple winks, then starting class at 9 am. After the first class, I’d catch a little sleep in my car, and continue doing the sleep-class-sleep-class thing until 6 in the evening. That’s when I would get my big chunk of sleep, wake up, and start it all over again at 10 on Monday night, working until 6 Tuesday morning.

The schedule was crazy. Like the rest of my classmates, I was going to class half asleep. Only in my case, it wasn’t due to a massive hangover or serious crunch session (both my grades and my social life suffered for the sake of my career). But it was during one of these overnight shifts that I endured the best broadcasting boot camp I could’ve ever gone through. I was the only traffic anchor and producer on that side of the building when the MacArthur Maze Meltdown went down. It was great breaking news trial by fire, not to mention the station later won an award for our breaking traffic coverage.


About Elisha

I'm a video journalist, multimedia producer, and radio news broadcaster based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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