September 27, 2016
The CMI hosted 1974 alum, Fred McLeod Thursday afternoon as an open panel discussion on his career as a play-by-play television announcer for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
His wife, Beth McLeod, was also on the panel. She discussed how she came to build her career as a weather broadcaster for Cleveland 19 News.
Tom McMillan, a 1978 graduate of Point Park, moderated the discussion. He is the vice president of communications for the Pittsburgh Penguins and co-director of the Pittsburgh Center for Sports Media and Marketing, who co-hosted the event with the SAEM Club.
Fred McLeod reared up as he reflected on the opening video compilation of the Cavaliers’ triumph this year during the NBA Finals.
“When you put your heart and soul into something and it finally happens, there’s a flood of emotions,” Fred McLeod said.
He told the crowd that students have to really devote themselves in the journalism industry.
“You have to live and breathe it. It’s a labor of love,” Fred McLeod said.
McMillan agreed with McLeod, “It’s the thing we are blessed with, we live our jobs.”
Beth McLeod reflected on the benefits of working a job that fuels itself on passion, but admitted it is a difficult industry to break into.
“You have to do it yourself. Keep trying to make yourself better. Do something to make yourself stand out from all of the others,” Beth McLeod said.
She also mentioned the significance of getting involved.
“Internships are so important. Do something beyond your education to set yourself apart. Make sure they can’t say no to you. Ask what you can do to help,” Beth McLeod said.
Freshman Angela Altieri found this advice essential.
“I thought the most valuable thing they talked about was how to stand out to get a job you need to get the good internships. Work hard at them so your eventual resume will stand out in the crowd,” Altieri said.
Fred McLeod built on this idea of working your way up.
“A career killer is being a know-it-all,” Fred McLeod said. “Get a taste of as much as you can. Stay humble, hungry and appreciative. Connections you build now can give you a job later.”
In fact, this is how he managed to take the job as the Cavalier’s play-by-play announcer.
“I was on the golf course when I received a call from Dan Gilbert. He was an intern for me years before. He was calling me to be the announcer for the team he now owned as a successful businessman,” Fred McLeod said.
Beth McLeod added that contacts are critical in this business.
“Never burn any bridges and seize every opportunity to make a connection,” Beth McLeod said.
Altieri found this message to be inspiring as she looks forward to a career in the communications field as well.
“I think it was really helpful that they talked about how your references will help you in the long run,” Altieri said. “Always be kind to people because it will probably help you along the way. It was nice to see that professionals even in competitive fields still value kindness and humbleness.”
Students were encouraged to actively build those connections now. The social aspect of college makes it easier to begin networking yourself.
McMillan closed the panel alluding to both his and Fred McLeod’s alma mater for the opportunities Point Park provided for them both.
“Once a Pioneer, always a Pioneer,” McMillan said.