A Passion for Passion
Marcus Gamble is set to graduate from Radio Connection and become a rising star within sports radio. I sat down with Gamble to talk life, career, the program, and his aspirations for the future.
What originally drew you towards production?
I started in television. I was writing and performing music, doing shows locally here in San Diego. I ended up being introduced to these guys who were producing a local hip hop television show called Blast TV… kind of like Yo! MTV Raps or Hits from the Streets on BET… That was my introduction to journalism. I [was already comfortable on a microphone] and my stage presence was there, but I really fell in love with [conducting interviews] and [research]. I hadn’t been to a traditional school, I was just kind of doing it.
What was the television show like?
We had [a couple] segments. One was called ‘Rythm of the Streets,’ where we’d go out to festivals or any kind of music show and interview hip hop artists. We had another called ‘Put ‘Em on Blast,’ where we’d interview a local artist who was doing something great—it didn’t have to be hip hop. One time we interviewed a guy who owned an art studio and would let kids graffiti inside his studio to keep them out of trouble.
What drew you towards radio and away from television?
After Blast TV I started a podcast called SoPolitiCal. We did the template and did a lot of work for it, but we probably only uploaded a few promos and maybe one or two segments. I’m just in love with being behind the mic. I listen to a lot of radio, a lot of AM stuff, political commentary, sports commentary. As I got older, I realized how [my interests and radio] just go hand in hand.
Do you have any favorite radio programs or podcasts?
One of my favorites is Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. It’s one of those podcasts where people call in with spooky ghost stories or aliens. It could be healers or people who think they’re psychics. On the sports side… I really like Keyshawn, JWill & Max.
How did you find the RRFC program?
A couple years ago I started really thinking, ‘what do I want to do?’ I wanted to go back to school and I needed to get together some money. Long story short I went into the National Guard. At 34 years old I went to bootcamp, and I report one weekend a month, and one month in the summer for training. They help me with money for college. When I got back from bootcamp I had the money [I needed for school]. I knew I wanted to go into broadcasting… I found [Radio Connection] online while doing research into music and broadcasting schools… I like how Radio Connection looks at education from a trade point of view. They put you in real life situations with real [professionals], so that you can get a hands-on experience.
I like how Radio Connection looks at education from a trade point of view. They put you in real life situations with real [professionals], so that you can get a hands-on experience.
Who is your mentor?
My mentor is Craig Larson, Jr. he’s the COO of Gow Media, SportsMap Radio Network.
Once you were in the program, what was your lesson plan like?
My lesson plans vary from typical radio knowledge and broadcasting terminology [to more complex concepts]. Where we really got into the meat of things, was advertising. I made my own commercials. Craig got to see my energy, my local range. He got to see my ability to pull [a listener] in. [At another point] he had me do about 20-30 minutes with someone who’s already on the radio in Houston named Jake Asman with ESPN. We did three segments, and I did really well, especially by the third segment, I was the one kind of pushing the conversation forward.
That last assignment seems like a big opportunity, do you think he does that for all of his students or do you think he just did it for you because he saw something special in you?
I think he does it for all of his students.
When you are finished with the program, you’re off to go work for your mentor’s (Craig) company, right?
Yea, so Craig has had a huge impact on me. His expertise and more than 20 years in the business. He offered me a job. I haven’t even finished my last test and he offered me a job as a producer/ host for SportsMap Radio… in the fourth largest market. I’m moving my whole family to Houston, Texas. I’ll probably end up hosting a local sports show, but what Craig really wants me to do is bring my energy to everyone in the office… I’m always high energy. I’m supposed to be the Draymond Green of the team. I want to focus on transmitting my energy and passion to everyone in the office.
You’re quite a bit older than your average student, do you see any advantages to going for a later-in-life education?
Yea, I’m 35 and I’m getting a job fresh out of school—it’s not a big salary, it’s still an entry level salary for someone who has four children—but the benefit about all of this is that I know myself. I know what I’m good at. I’m not 22-23, feeling out if I like radio, I know how to talk, I’ve had voice coaches, I’ve toured. That stands out… I’m able to drive the conversation… [In my exercise with Jake] we got to talking about food and he asked me if there are any foods I don’t do. [I launched into a story about] deviled eggs and thanksgiving and how my uncles would eat deviled eggs and then hold me down and fart… I don’t eat them, they’re disgusting to me, they have this trauma in my mind. So, I told that story and Craig was like, ‘man, I listened to that story with my wife and we pictured your house on thanksgiving, you took a national story, and you made it both personal and relatable.’ That’s the kind of thing that comes with [confidence] and experience.
What’s your dream career trajectory?
I love sports. If my sports career took off and I was able to do sports commentary [full-time] I would do it. But if I could do something else, at night or something of my own, [I idolize] Tavis Smiley. He’s a sort of Larry King. I would love to be on trajectory to be like Larry King or Tavis Smiley. To be someone who is able to hold, whether sports or politics or music, interviews with people from all arenas. Really interview high public figures, and not just ask mainstream questions but conscious questions that provoke thought. Would love to have a late-night show where I provoke my audience to think and have their own perceptions of things.
Do you have a dream interviewee?
Of course, Obama. If you gave me ‘dead or alive’ I’d have a million names, but of who’s alive right now, Obama would definitely be my number one. I really like The Rock and Lebron James too.
Well, Obama seems like he might give a better interview than The Rock.
You know, I grew up watching WWF and those guys give the best interviews. It was like they were hyped up on…. Monster energy. [So much energy]. If you want to talk about really embodying a character. If you study them, it’s like ‘that’s how you give an interview, that’s how much passion you need to have.’
Are you attracted to that kind of pageantry for your personal radio persona?
I would really like to do multiple projects, and not get stuck in just one [persona]. Anything I do, I want to bring humor to, even if it’s a bit more serious. I want to be versatile. [Even when I’m doing homework with my daughter] I’m very goofy. My energy is why I got hired.
Do you have any advice for students who are looking at the program?
I would say, make the best out of everything you do. You may have talent… but don’t take opportunities for granted. These are real opportunities. Know yourself. The more you know yourself the more you know if this is going to be worth the effort, time, and money. And if you know yourself, I think that passion will automatically come. Keep passion number one, take advantage of opportunity number two, and know yourself. Know thy self!
Make the best out of everything you do. You may have talent… but don’t take opportunities for granted. These are real opportunities. Know yourself. The more you know yourself the more you know if this is going to be worth the effort, time, and money. And if you know yourself, I think that passion will automatically come. Keep passion number one, take advantage of opportunity number two, and know yourself. Know thy self!
Is there anything we haven’t gotten a chance to talk about that you really want to touch on?
I really want to highlight Craig. I think that I came in with experience, but he had such an impact on me. He was a mentor that allowed me to be myself, and he’s opened up [a great opportunity for me with this job offer]. All of his experience and testimony and allowing me to be part of his team. It’s like a dream come true. He is a huge asset to the program.
I really want to highlight Craig. I think that I came in with experience, but he had such an impact on me. He was a mentor that allowed me to be myself, and he’s opened up [a great opportunity for me with this job offer]. All of his experience and testimony and allowing me to be part of his team. It’s like a dream come true.