From an intern to the host of a popular television show in the Top 40 market of Upstate South Carolina/Asheville, North Carolina Jamarcus Gaston is a local social media influencer, brand storyteller and a daytime morning show personality who has made a name for himself at the CBS station affiliate WSPA-TV. An avid supporter of the arts, he tirelessly promotes local artists, musicians, restauranteurs, small business owners and charities. You might find him at a yoga/workout class, shopping for extremely fashionable clothing or hiking in the mountains. We sat down with Jamarcus to ask about his almost 15-year career in television and the secret of breaking in.
What is the best preparation for a career in television/media?
I studied Music and Communications Studies at Furman University in Greenville. I also interned at WSPA-TV during my junior year and “job-shadowed” at a few of the other local TV stations as well. I wrote for the student publication The Paladinand was involved at Furman’s student-run TV station. Perhaps the best preparation for my career was the experience of shooting, writing, and editing pieces around campus. It really prepared me for the first job of having to be self-sufficient in terms of producing work for television. It was important to my professors to closely simulate what it would be like to be in that first job, being asked to set up a story, shoot it, write it, edit it, and then present it on-air.
What’s some solid advice for anyone who may be struggling with the job they are in now?
The best advice I give to those looking for a new opportunity is to never let a door close because it’s not “the” position you applied for. Sometimes you have to take the first step before the full staircase is revealed. My first job in television wasn’t on-camera; I was producing 30-second commercials for the marketing department. While I was doing the marketing job, I continued to shoot and edit pieces and eventually I was able to move into another position.
What was the most important lesson you learned on your way up?
The biggest lesson learned on this journey is that there is no top. I have heard it said that the top of one mountain is the base of another. I am also a strong believer in using each situation as a learning opportunity. I have been in a few situations with show cancellations, etc, and it was important for me to not internalize the outcome, but to control how I reacted to it. Being flexible and adaptable in that way has been a great lesson I try to share with many of the folks interested in getting into this business.
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