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Home  > Insider profile
Eric Heenan
Associate Producer

"It can be a horrible, horrible business with horrible pay. Only do it if you love it."

As children, we're all asked the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" How did you answer?

Anything dealing with Sports.

What have been the most defining moments along your career path?

I worked for the student radio station and at a local television station. At the radio station I hosted my own sport talk show--did play-by-play on the air. At the TV station, I editing tapes for the evening news, did interviews, a lot of tedious stuff. All the stuff the anchors didn't want to do, but it was a non-union shop so I got to learn a lot of stuff.

How did you get your big breaks?

Got a job at a small NH station as the Sports Director/Account Executive--Only about 2 to 3 people doing news at the station. Was host of the morning show, the News Director, and sold advertising for the station--which I didn't do very well. The job only last six months--they couldn't afford to keep paying me. I sent out tapes again and got another job at a bigger station--WKXL--as a part time weekend board operator. Then I was promoted to full-time and hosted the morning show, covering local sports, play by play. After that, I went to another station where Kurt Gowdy was working and there was a bigger emphasis on play by plays. While I was there, I started doing part time sports flashes for WEEI, who soon offered me a full-time position.

What was the best advice you received when you were first starting out in your career?

One of my mentors once told me, it's about the P word and the V word. Preparation and Versatility. You should never go to an interview or go on the air unprepared. Know your stuff, have your voice-overs ready, etc. You need to be versatile--you may want to do sports, but you'll need to be flexible to do other stuff as well. I've done easy listening shows, traffic reports, sold ads, regular news. This is especially important at the small stations where you do everything.

What have you learned from your experience?

I went back to UNH once and talked to a broadcasting class. I told them not to have any illusions about making it to the big time. It can be a horrible, horrible business with horrible pay. Only do it if you love it. I believed I was the exception rather than the rule, and that I would make it big. But there comes a time when you realize you just might not make it and all your friends are buying houses, making money and you're still living at home with mom and dad.

What most excites you about your job right now?

Creativity. Can take a boring game and make it interesting. I like to bring humor to it. One of the best compliments I ever got was when some listeners told me that they scramble to get to their cars in the morning because I make them laugh.

On a scale of 1-10, how relevant was your academic major to your career? (1=not at all, 10=absolutely essential)

7

What would you like to have achieved by the last day of your career?

I'm also working on getting my Masters in Education, just so I have something to fall back on. Would like to possibly teach English and coach sports.

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