ICB Reflection…10 Years Later [Abridged Version]

Image by Jorge Guillen from Pixabay

From My Facebook Page

June 8, 2009
Cam P is informing everyone that as of Now THE SILVER MIC will not be happening because North Beach closed today…sorry we just got the news today

That post above came at the worst possible time. It was part of a snowball effect of “bad” that I was hoping would lead to some good and soon. Let me start somewhat from the beginning.

North Beach was a night spot in Downers Grove. I had assembled a team that I thought really wanted to help me further my rap career through throwing theme parties. We had two successful shows, but by the 2nd show, it was clear a couple people didn’t mess with me and the decisions I was making. Add that to me not taking a dime out of the first party earnings and putting it all into the 2nd party and well, people showed their ass in ways that was very unbecoming. Things go from bad to worse as I get info about an underage drinking bust that happened that would temporarily close down the venue. What does that have to do with my ICB reflections? Well, I was planning on using my cut of the money to pay for school.

I was a fresh 28 years old and even though I pretty much hated school, I had just recently enrolled at the Illinois Center for Broadcasting’s Lombard Campus. Why? Because I hated retail! I was tired of my life as it was. Plus, music wasn’t really as fun as it used to be. By 2009, I felt many people bailed on me in many aspects. I was going to broadcasting school because, it was a new avenue and a new chance to make something out of myself doing something I felt was cool.

I kicked 2009 off flirting with the idea of getting my Masters. Long story short with my retail schedule and financial status, I had no idea how I was going to make that happen. That thought and a conversation would lead me to meeting with a guy named, Tim White. He would kick a bar to me that would truly change how I lived the next 10 years. “Cameron, if you really want to be in radio or television, I can get you there with less time and a lot less money spent with getting your Masters.” Say no more, I’m sold. I’m broke, but I’m sold!

I really entered ICB with a lot of hope. My original plan on Day 1 in class was to get all the info and knowledge I could and land myself a radio gig in Dallas, Texas. That truly was the plan. I learned Day 1 of class that Dallas is a “Top 10 Market” and that I truly may need to be great to get that look. That didn’t shake me, it motivated me. And from there, I was off to the races!

“It’s not what you know or who you know; It’s who knows you” – Rich Renik

Looking back personally, 2009 was a really depressing and life changing year. I was truly in search of something that would keep me in positive spirits and make me happier with life. What I found was the heaviest drinking year of my life, unhealthy weight gain, erratic anger, sex as a healing and coping mechanism and more debt from a new school. The silver lining of it all was I was enrolled in ICB and love me or hate me, I was killing it! I became a standout student to know of, in a very talented class of individuals. I really felt I was pushing my creativity to another level in another avenue and it made me a better person for it. It felt good to excel in another lane but in an entertainment connected industry. But much like other instances in 2009, when it felt good and I thought I did right, something would go left, even in school. My mouth and my passion for what I do and seizing opportunity almost got me kicked out of school. Some “lady” was trying to go out her way to “humble me in the radio game” because she didn’t like the fact I told her and anybody who had anything to do with me not being able to do N.L.E Radio with J.R. Bang on a very important day to Kill Themselves. If I remember right, she printed out the FB post and gave it to the director of the school, potentially going out of her way to “end my career before it starts”. The very cool thing about me is knowing how to make people feel a written word I’ve given. My apology was overwhelmingly strong and kept me in school, despite her wish to have me gone. From that day, it was clear that I would have to overdo this because even if I felt it came easy, some people were destined to make it hard.

I went from Broadcast Enemy number 1 to Best Broadcaster Male, with perfect attendance. I felt I was respected on a whole new level. I was deemed one of the students that would definitely “make it” out of our class. Which is the best class in ICB history, June Days 2009.

I would go on to finish ICB, have an internship and land a full time radio job with a classmates assist in 12 months. That’s still considered remarkable based on how hard it is to get an “in”.

Truly I was beyond blessed considering the state I was in physically, mentally and emotionally. Did a make a lot of mistakes? Yes. And I’d make them all again because they all put my survival mode to the test. Real life, I’d make a few more. That’s another post for another time. I didn’t tell y’all about things like the girl we thought got nabbed by the Craigslist Killer, the slanderous vmail from a dude that was dating my co worker from a job I held, 6 years prior. We didn’t discuss “The Purple Dress night” the 4am call, or the day my daughter was conceived and how one persons lie had me speaking and living false truth. SPOILER ALERT! That’s probably all going to make one of my next books. No way I can give you my full ICB experience and everything that surrounded it in one post. I do look forward to sharing with you soon though.

A lot can happen in a year and I didn’t realize how real that statement was until 2009. I’ll elaborate when the time is right.

5 Years Ago, I was on TV

I hopped on Facebook this morning and the first thing I see was this picture. It was 5 years ago since I posted it. As I look at this picture, I’m reminded of a story that I really never shared before. So, no time like the present.

IMC TV was a local 24 hour music channel in Indianapolis, Indiana. It played videos round the clock and featured radio personalities from all of the stations I worked for. I wanted to be on that station. Especially when some personalities let me know that they didn’t really want to do their shows. I figured that was the perfect lob to get me in. That wasn’t the case.

Time would move forward and more features would get added to the station. The only thing that was for sure is, I wouldn’t be apart of the features. Why? Well I have my own personal thoughts, but let’s just leave it at, the Program Director didn’t think I would be a good fit for the station. It was also because I didn’t have a radio show. I wasn’t on air for any of the radio formats and the thought was “nobody knows me”. To me that’s still a lame excuse but it’s what I had to take at the time.

After weeks and maybe even months of round and round about being on IMC TV, I was finally given a shot. It was through a feature called “Man On The Street.” I had to hit the block with a cameraman and ask random people questions. I got very little camera time, but I absolutely loved doing the feature! Especially as I got more comfortable. It really wasn’t about getting the face time. It was about doing the work and being apart of the station.

As I get in my groove with that, the PD would unveil a website segment called “The Web Attack”. However, it originally wasn’t given to me. It was given to the morning show producer and a part time talent on the Top 40 station. Can’t lie, I was salty. I’m the Online Editor. I put the content on the sites. Why would a “web guy” not be called to do a “web attack”? Grant it, for a while I was only seen as “The Web Guy”, which I always felt was a “dig” or a shot at my skill-set and personality, but this feature is obviously made for someone like me.

To shorten the story, I won the war of attrition. Changes were made, personalities were let go and I was still around to do whatever I could. This is the part where I thank Lisa, Woody, Jennifer and Steve of IMC TV. Because they were the people at IMC that always tossed my name in the hat. The were the people who said “Well, Cam actually wants to do all this” and kept me in conversations. It also probably helped that I was easy to work with and didn’t mind listening to them. Well I hope they feel that way, lol! I approached it all as a novice. That’s what you do when you fall into an opportunity. I couldn’t go in their stunting and fronting like I was hot ish. I wasn’t the top choice. I wasn’t a choice. The PD didn’t want me on the station.

In the end, I ended up being all over that station. I did “Man on the Street”, two web attack segments and I did so many fill-in shows there where some days you would see me every hour! I was super happy and proud of myself. It’s truly a top 3 highlight of my media career.

The time with IMC gave me a chance to see the city of Indianapolis and interact with the people. I got a chance to be apart of Super Bowl week and go to NFL Honors. I also got a discount at Boogie Burger! The cashier was so mad I was given one though. Then asked me if I was famous. Hater. The most shocking moment was when I was in Marsh and some kid stopped me and asked, Hey, aren’t you the guy on IMC? I still don’t believe that happened.

IMC TV would “close” in 2013 and I would be in search of my next on screen media opportunity. I’ll never forget that time and what it meant to me. I never mailed it in. Not one segment. I was happy to do the work. Happy to belong to something. Sure, I wasn’t accepted from the door, but I feel if nothing else, I earned some respect. And that will always be good enough for me. Love.

I Want To Be Great For Vain Reasons

I want to share a personal flaw with you. I want to share with you this bad habit I have of calling out people that I feel suck or are inferior when it comes to their profession or craft. This isn’t me yelling at the TV during my favorite sporting event or even me critiquing rappers, which I also love doing. This is more personal. This is me looking at the broadcasting industry I choose to be in and the people in it and the work put in or lack there of.

Do I ┬áthink I am the best? Hell no! In fact, I would love to get more game, insight and have more people to call mentors as I build what I hope is a 20, 30 and beyond year career. I just get upset when I see people not taking full advantage or squandering an opportunity. Daily and hourly, I listen to media personalities. Some are super dope and really putting in work and making the most of their time. Others not so much. The not so much people are the ones that bother me. They are the ones who have gotten a great opportunity and feel the race to be great is over. At least it sounds like that to me. They don’t mind being mediocre, going through the motions or doing just enough. It irks my soul and somedays, I can’t let it go and say nothing about.

We live in a time where “popular is the new talent” and now a huge following will make people see a skill-set in you. To a degree, I’m not upset at that. What upsets me is when you get that opportunity and you don’t try to become at least “pretty damn good” at what you were given an opportunity to do. I was told within my first week of media school that it’s about “Who Knows You” and how that will be a huge part in your future opportunities. I’ve watched that happened. Sometimes I can salute it and say “great work!” Other times I’m like “it’s been X amount of years and you’re still not even pretty good at this; Why?”

My last gig, I wanted to be at bare minimum pretty damn good at everything. I learned my job, the basics of other people’s jobs and then wanted to try my hand at doing those positions or helping. Now, that definitely rubs people the wrong way. Hence why I call it a personal flaw. However, I just think that’s how it should be. We should want to be great and know all that we possibly can in our chosen industries. How will you stay in if you don’t know more than your current job?

One day, I’m going to have a social media following so huge that I will get handed a TV or Radio Show just because “I’m popping right now”. When that happens, I’m not going to mail it in. I’m going to practice even more. I’m going to gain more information, write, rehearse and repeat and consume myself with being great at the opportunity provided. I’m going to do that for my right to critique. It’s not even a competition thing for me. I want to be great, so I can say “Dude, you suck!” and the only thing that can be said in return is “Well, everybody can’t be you” or just an insult. I can deal with that. That means the work ethic, the skill and the talent is all there and I am maxing out on it. So when I make a statement of your lack of effort or quality, it really should be taken to heart. The best isn’t always number 1 in this media game, so I don’t feel the need to focus on that. But when it comes to men and women in this game making the most of their time and opportunity. That’s a completely different ball game. That ballgame should always be played to win. Cause now more than ever, there are no guarantees and a wasted opportunity will lead to less chances taken in the future. For years I’ve heard stories of how “so and so” did this and that left a bad taste in my mouth so now “I won’t waste time doing this again.” You’re right, it shouldn’t be that way, but it is. That’s why I hate to see others half ass great opportunities. Opportunities that I would never take lightly or slack on a day.

Yeah, I want to be great for vain reasons. I’ve come to accept that about myself. However, notice how I don’t ever hope or wish anyone fails or never gets a shot. Understand this is me saying that I just want people to try harder. I’m not a hater. I just like to listen, watch and associate myself with quality work. I don’t like this “Popular, Green Ribbon Era”. I’m not out here to earn completion points. I’m trying to be remembered as a legend in whatever I put my effort into. I just wish everybody else felt that way.