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  • Writer's pictureEric Dahl

Career Longevity as a Goal?

In the past week, I received a very nice award certificate from my company, management and peers for 35 years of services in broadcast television. My GM presented the award to me last Sunday at our holiday party in Nashville, TN and with a busy work schedule and some illness I finally installed it on a wall of my office on Friday. The only other awards in my office are my 20-year Hall of Fame Award from Nevada Broadcasting Association and a replica of the Aliens Egg that I won from Guy Farris in a WB Las Vegas News contest. I did not expect the outpouring of congratulations from friends, family co-workers, and bosses that I received on social media and it humbled me to my core. My Grandpa Dahl worked for Caterpillar in Peoria, IL and gave 35 years of service and my Grandma Dahl provided the same years to Ma Bell there. My father received a gold Hamilton watch from Firestone for his twenty years of dedication and had he of lived longer I’m certain it would have been more. When I first got into television back in 1984 at KBSI I found it mystifying to be on the other side of the screen working in a medium I had grown up watching. Like many of you to move up in my career it necessitated taking on more responsibility, management roles and eventually moving to other markets to prove myself. Each step on the ladder of this media business opened my eyes and mind to possibilities I had not seen or thought of before. The win was that I brought knowledge from different departments in the station such as Master Control, Commercial Production and Live Sports Production, but I think it also proved to others that if I could do it they could do it. Being selected to go do Promotions in Las Vegas, NV from Cape Girardeau was a huge leap geographically and in a bigger picture view of what we do in media. I learned volumes in a decade spent in the desert that I still reflect on. In turn, being offered the CSD chair in Nashville, TN over three stations, a full news to promote and live sports was a giant leap – and still is some days. I find myself constantly wanting to learn and grow more and faster with social media and new marketing methods to promote my shows, stations and on-air talent. Some traditional media methods are still great and some must be left behind to embrace the new norm. I try to engage in all the new media outlets so that I can be more knowledgeable and understand how everyone is partaking in them and how they will evolve in the future. Besides being allowed and encouraged to be creative daily I embrace the fact that every day in media is going to be different in some manner. New shows, new coverage, new talent, new faces and new methods of promotion. I think for my grandparent’s generation and possibly even for my parents that longevity in a career was a goal. But I fear in this day and age we live in it is a hollow and unfulfilling goal unless we remain in a growth pattern throughout all of it. My 12-year-old daughter has no idea what broadcast television meant or means today. She views her favorite programs through Netflix, on her iPhone and occasionally over the air. Taylor knows the network names and that some of her shows are on them or are created by them, but to her a television station is just somewhere her father goes to work each day. Instead of just being proud of the 35 years I’ve worked for SBG (so far) I’m more reflective on all the great people that have impacted me through these years and how they are pushing me forward today. One of my past GMs, Steve Engles, stated “Eric some people have one experience seventeen times and others have seventeen different experiences.” It took a few years for that to sink in to the young twenty something me, but it has now and I have tried my best to expand with the experiences. Longevity and time in a career or with a specific company is applaud worthy for all of us. But, we should keep in mind that if we are not becoming better and we aren’t making the people around us and the company better then are we only repeating a single experience? I don’t personally feel that I have finished learning or growing and I find that very exciting as a pursuit. Here is hoping that all of you achieve your career and life goals whatever they may be or however many years they may require!

Reminds me of Dad's 20 year Firestone watch!


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