Friday, April 22, 2005

Small Market Doesn't Mean It Sucks

This is a misconception. I've had this on a list of things to blog about for a while... just getting around to it now. I've recently written about "two and out" and reasons why people might not take that approach to working in MARKET 117.

Someone posted a while back on Jeff's blog... and I just went back to it:

Why do people stay in Peoria for years? Because they aren't good enough to
leave.
That isn't entirely true (although yes, in every small market there are people you just won't want to watch... hell, forget small, try any market).

Let me do an expanded hypothetical from the "two and out" post. This general thought applies to quite a few people I'm close to, but no one specifically.

You get a job at in MARKET 117 at one of the three stations. Maybe you're making 20K... maybe you come in at something closer to a frontline job and you're making 40K, or you're somewhere in between (I'm not talking about the people making the most money in the market).

(By the way, most people outside the biz who learn how what starting reporters make are generally stunned.)

Your spouse gets a job they like. Maybe it's with one of the great hospitals or a solid school district or one of the two Fortune 100 companies.

Time passes...

Now you've been here two or three years... your spouse is fairly happy and might be making a chunk more. Or your family has really settled in to the community... whatever it is.

You can look for a job in another market and depending on your combination of ability and marketability you might generate some interest. But if you get an offer you have to consider:

a) the way things are in the industry today, it probably isn't for a huge ammount more than you're making now in a place with a very low cost of living

b) you might not be the one making more money and depending on what your spouse/significant other does, they may have trouble finding something they like/make the money they're making here.

c) you recognize that there are several communites here that are great to raise a family

In talking to a news director about a larger market where we both know people, it was explained to me that the ballpark money my friends are making isn't always what's being offered... and most likely not what would be offered to someone coming from MARKET 117.

Let's say a reporter in a top 20 market makes 70K. But a news director, in the interests of saving money is willing to take a chance on someone from here, but only for 35 or 40K. If that person anchors weekends here and is making 30, you can see where the challenge is. If that person is single with no attachments/commitments... fine. But it'll take you forever if ever to make the money your counterparts in the new market are making. Still some people are thinking more about the destination and I can understand that.

But if your focus is more than just a market number, the choice gets tougher.

Are there some people who can't leave cause no one is interested? Absolutely. But that blanket statement doesn't ring true, especially to someone who knows first hand what many of the people who commit to staying here are capable of.

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