My parents were kind enough to send me to a good high school. Canisius High School in Buffalo, NY
But it was high school mostly know for pumping out future lawyers and doctors and CPA’s and other folks who contribute to society. This was not a school that was known for it’s media graduates who went on to be voice-over talents (was that even a job), video producers or radio production directors. The lone notable media exceptions being Tim Russert (but I believe he sort of slipped into media having graduated with a law degree) and comedian Mark Russell (but come on, he’s a comedian for goodness sake 😉
When I went there, the school did have a Media Production Center but the school didn’t really know what to do with it (the excellent teacher of the Media Center went on to join me as co-owner of a media production company after I graduated college and was a groomsman at my wedding)
With so little focus paid to media at the high school, you can imagine the school’s surprise in 1981 when I approached them about getting credits for a radio internship I fell into at a local radio station. No one had ever done that. And I helped put together a school radio station too….that evidently died after I graduated. But no, I did not have a pocket protector or tape holding my glasses together…most days.
For the longest time, I thought I was pretty much the lone media geek out of a class of about 150+ guys. Upon recent reflection, it turns out I was rather myopic in that thinking.
There were other media geeks who graduated in my class (friends then and friends now) and I’ve been now fortunate enough to work professionally with both of them! That realization simply makes me happy and I’m not sure why but who cares why. I need to enjoy happy, not analyze it!
After I came back from college at the University of Dayton (working in radio there while in school), I was surprised to find my friend Matt Young had gotten an on-air job in Buffalo radio. He sounded great and has worked pretty steady in radio ever since…in Buffalo, now as a station production director. In the past couple of years we’ve gotten to work on a radio campaign (I think it was only one series of spots but I can’t even remember who the client was — that happens in the VO business sometimes as the clients roll through).
Then this week, another talented media geek from my class – Phil Wnuk contacted me from the successful communication company he works for in Chicago saying he needed some voice-over work done and could I help him with that. Heck yea, no problem. Here’s how that project turned out:
All this reflection has just made me appreciate a couple of things. First it’s nice that some non-lawyer types succeeded out of my high school and occassionally get to work together. Second, be aware of all the unique connections you can make in life – or have already made, even in high school – and to try and remember to never (even today) to take any of them for granted.
What a long strange trip it’s been.