• Eric Dahl

Underdog

I remember as a small child back near Peoria, Illinois watching “Underdog” cartoons on our little TV set in the living room. It always impressed me that the unassuming “Underdog” would go out of his way to help others, while remaining completely calm. Even in school, although I could get along with the different clichés, I found myself wanting to help and align with the underdogs that were frequently the smartest kids at school also. The theme continued into my work life as I usually didn’t work for the #1 station or #1 network in the market, so we had to be scrappy and smarter to get ahead. The first TV station I worked for was KBSI, and when I started there in 1984 it was an independent (meaning no Network affiliation and self-programmed). Although it eventually became a FOX affiliate in 1988, but we still only had a few hours of network programming per week. When I was eventually promoted to Las Vegas I had an independent station (KFBT Gold 33) and a WB, which evolved into a CW and My station years later. Now in Nashville I have FOX, CW and My to promote and help guide. Being an underdog and supporting other underdogs isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We must work harder for what we achieve and the wins we make are so much more rewarding. I’m certain that being #1 is nice, but it would also seem worrisome in the fact that you constantly had to worry about your competitors knocking you off your thrown. I frequently look at what the #1 people in any given field are doing and if I can add some of those traits to my library, but my goal isn’t really to be one of them but to just be a better me. The reason I prefer underdogs is that they are scrappy, relentless and don’t give up no matter how the odds are stacked against them. Even in my Rock & Review and Acme Radio Gear Gab interviews I enjoy having on artists that have struggled and worked diligently to be where they are today. If you or your parents are financially well off enough to buy a record deal and throw the money behind your latest album, congrats but then you must keep the hits coming and run with the big dogs. If you have toiled for years at the craft of songwriting and performing and finally get discovered and achieve the support of a label or your fans through Kick Starter the victories seem sweeter. I believe the artists appreciate the tiny victories more and look for ways to keep building on those. That is a positive that I see in the web and in social media for musical artists to promote themselves and find their own fans. Where, previously they depended upon radio stations and major labels to back them, play their music and promote them to the public. Social media is a promotional leveler, with an applied plan and not a lot of money, that can help an artist sell music, drive fans to their shows and to buy merch. With my shows, I always attempt to have a percentage of A listers on so that News will continue to air my interviews, but the glory for me is in helping an underdog that I believe has the potential to grow or go further and just needs a push. It is written that the meek will inherit the earth, but underdogs of the world aren’t waiting to inherit it they are fighting for their share of it now. They may not achieve the same levels of success as the A lister, but how we all measure degrees of success is a personal matter that may not reflect the original goal. Some friends and family view me as successful, although I always see my own flaws and shortcomings on the way to what I hoped to achieve. But I am also an underdog and have had to work and scrape for a modicum of success. It is upon all of us to support and back the underdogs around us and to stay vigilant in our own struggles to move forward. The cartoon character Underdog would state “Here I am to save the day!” Maybe all of us, as underdogs or underdog supporters, can’t save the day as he did but can we save and relish the moments and the small victories along the way? I would personally rather cheer with the underdogs than gloat with the #1s, because the only way to win is by helping each other along the way!

A budget version of Underdog but he is cute!