“Marc Zumoff: ‘I’ve Pretty Much Reached Nirvana.’ ” – Journalism & Society


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When Marc Zumoff was 11 or 12 years old, growing up in Northeast Philadelphia, he would listen to the DJs on Top 40 radio stations and imitate them. That was the genesis of his career in broadcasting.

“The silly things I did as a kid lead to the realization of my gift,” he said yesterday in class.

In a world with billions of people, we can seem relatively insignificant, said Marc, a broadcasting veteran who has been the Sixers play-by-play announcer since 1994. But what makes us all special are our individual characteristics and that gift we all have – that one thing (or things) in which you truly excel.

“What is your gift?” he asked.

These days, Marc sits on the sidelines at NBA games, performing what he called “the best job ever.” He travels first class, stays in posh hotels, narrates the action involving some of the world’s greatest athletes and he gets paid to do it.

He made it all sound so easy, right?

But he works very hard. Before evening games, he arrives at the arena around noon to begin assembling his notes for the night. He reads newspapers and websites, pours through team stats, talks to players and coaches and otherwise amasses a world of information that he uploads onto a spreadsheet, which he then spends hours mastering.

“It’s very much like studying for an exam,” he said.

He then works with his producers to develop the show open, as well as graphics for the game. He also participates in other programs done at Comcast Sportsnet.

He said he couldn’t ever imagine having another job.

“I’ve pretty much reached nirvana,” Marc said of his life, which includes a wife of 32 years and two children.

Here are a few of his suggestions for those looking to reach their career goals:

• Avail yourself to people in the industry you want to be in. Put yourself in places where there are other like-minded people.
• Internships are a great way to see people doing what you want to do, and learn from them.
• For your internship, arrive early, be quiet, polite and agreeable, stay late and offer to assist with everything.

• Try reaching out to people and ask if you can speak with them about their career path.
• Should you kiss their butts? “Abso-frickin-lutely,” Marc said. “Ask questions. Butter people up.”
• Treat those informational sessions like interviews. You are building your network of contacts.
• In addition to knowing the right people, you also need to have multiple skill sets – shooting, writing, editing, etc. “You cannot just be a talking head anymore,” he said.

• You have to believe that you can achieve whatever you want.

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