INSIDE THE ARTS, MEDIA & MANAGEMENT WORLD
OF MARC L. WATTS
INSIDE THE MASS MEDIA WORLD
OF MARC L. WATTS
AS A LEADER ON THE CORPORATE LEVEL, IN THE C-SUITE, THE NONPROFIT SECTOR AND ON A VARIETY OF MEDIA VENTURES, MARC HAS STAMPED HIS IMPRINT ON EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS, MEDIA PROGRAMMING, STORY NARRATIVES AND ON-AIR TALENT PERSONALITIES, WHO ARE OF COURSE, THE PURVEYORS OF THE CONTENT. CURRENTLY, HE SERVES AS THE VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS & NARRATIVE, AND INTERIM CO-CEO AT THE AFRICAN AMERICAN LEADERSHIIP FORUM IN MINNEAPOLIS, WHILE OVERSEEING A SPORTS BRANDING LIFESKILLS ONLINE COURSE, CALLED ATHLETE BRANDGUARD. MARC’S PERSONAL GOAL IS TO OWN AND OPERATE A TV NETWORK ONE DAY.
Marc was kind of like a player-coach to all of us at NFL Network. Most execs who run talent units at TV networks have never spent five minutes in front of a TV camera doing live television. Yet we’re supposed to buy into what they’re telling us, on how to make us better on TV. That’s like having a football coach who never played football. See how backwards that is. I’ve been given more useless advice in this arena, than on any other aspect of my entire career, on and off the field. But Marc Watts is different, because he actually spent thousands of hours on television as an anchor man and a correspondent. You could tell when he critiqued our air checks that he knew what he was talking about. (Novel concept right!) Marc hired a lot of people who would have normally been passed over for on-air jobs. All of us were unique in what we brought to the collective on-air product. I saw where he helped start up an esports network. Go figure. Marc the visionary was all over that one before esports even became a household world. He’ll create EMMY-award winning shout casters over there. Just watch. I’m not sure there is a single job at a TV network that he can’t do. Marc is a Swiss-Army knife media executive. The reason Marc has a magic touch on TV content is because he has such a complete understanding of what it takes to be a TV performer and communicate to a variety of different audiences. I’ve never worked with a person who believes so much in creating your own thing, instead of being a copy of something else.
Marc is extremely passionate about the work he is doing with the African American Leadership Forum. That nonprofit in the Twin Cities champions solutions for racial inequalities, and Minneapolis is also Marc’s second home, where he went to grad school. All six core areas of AALF’s work are different sectors of Marc’s journalism career that took him from South Central to Somalia telling the world about these problems. Now he’s on the solution side, which is a fulfilling prophecy, especially for a storyteller like Marc who spent so much time in the hood covering violence, uprisings, poverty, driveby shootings, gang warfare, police brutality, wrongful shootings, homelessness, the projects, unemployment, food deserts, mental health and poor healthcare.
He operates off of a moral compass that always points to fairness and integrity. He’s just a good dude. I’ve never seen Marc mad or ever lose his cool. I really believe he stays balanced from all those years doing live TV. It’s just not in his nature to ever be rattled. Above all he’s a good leader who’s “not afraid of being led.” He’s gonna laugh when he see this, because I stole that line from his wall. Marc also taught us all to be bold in our own leadership, or there’s no use in being a leader.
We don’t really know what to call him because he’s not really just one thing. He taught us all how to just listen and shut up, eventhough you might actually be the smartest person in the room. Listening takes patience, giving you the ability to speak more powerfully because you address other statements you’ve heard in a room, instead of selfishly speaking the first response that popped into your head. You’re not rewarded by how much you say. Communication leadership has more to do with “what” you say. You will meet very few people in this world, who have the ability to say more with such few words, than Marc. He once broke down a 25-word talking point stated by a commentator on a news show, that would have made more sense with just three of the words. That proved to us right there that most people accidentally filibuster when they speak.
Excerpt from, “The Artful Safari of a Broadcast Journalist”
WHEN YOU CAN MAKE THE CLAIM THAT YOUR NEWS REPORTING SAVED A MAN’S LIFE, USHERED THE GENRE OF REALITY PROGRAMMING, HAS BEEN PARODIED ON LATE NIGHT TV AND SPURRED AN INTERNATIONAL DIALOGUE ON A RACIAL EPITHET, THEN I GUESS YOU CAN SAY YOU’VE HAD A JOURNALISTIC CAREER OF DISTINCTION. IT’S TRANSPARENTLY OBVIOUS THAT MARC DIDN’T LEARN HIS CRAFT BY MEMORIZING A BUNCH OF MANUALS, STUDYING A BATCH OF VIDEOS OR DOWNLOADING VOLUMES OF AN ONLINE COURSE. INSTEAD HE HAS WRITTEN THE CURRICULUM WORKBOOKS, PRODUCED THE TRAINING VIDEOS AND PUBLISHED HIS OWN PROPRIETARY ONLINE COURSE. IN THIS ERA OF SO-CALLED EXPERTS TOUTING THE BENEFIT OF COMMUNICATION SKILLS, MARC HAD CARVED OUT HIS NICHE IN THE SPACE TWO DECADES AGO.
TRIAL OF THE CENTURY
TRIAL OF THE CENTURY
We watched in awe every morning, afternoon and night during the O.J. trial and seriously we thought he even slept there, because every time we turned on CNN, there he was. Impeccable and unflappable. Every tailored suit wrapped him just right. Every necktie was always perfectly aligned. Always dressed to a T, reporting from outside the courthouse. We were all J-school students who dreamed of covering thee biggest story ever! Our homework assignment was to critique the media covering the Simpson trial. “Man he reads that teleprompter smoothly,” we would say. And then we found out after the trial, there was no teleprompter at all. It was all off the top of his head. He was the closest thing to a “computer correspondent” the world had ever seen. Marc was like Siri. He was Intellectual, factual, objective, with glasses even sometimes nerdy sounding. As a correspondent he spoke emphatically projecting deep knowledge of criminal law. He never rambled and knew when to shut up. Just the facts. No opining. A stark contrast to what we see on TV nowadays, with reporters flexing hand gestures, in a way “pleading” with the audience to pay attention while peppering their commentary with the phrase “I Think.” Marc Watts never had to beg us to pay attention and never said “I Think” because he always knew.
AN ACCIDENTAL CORRESPONDENT
AN ACCIDENTAL CORRESPONDENT
MARC HAS TRAVELED THE WORLD CHASING STORIES OF ALL KINDS IN A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT GENRES. SPORTS, COURTS, CRIME, GANGS, DISASTERS, RIOTS, THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE OUTDOORS…GET MOST OF HIS ATTENTION.
He has worked with corporations, CEO’s, universities, TV networks, tech startups, on-air talent, top circuit speakers, pastors, politicians, weather anchors, actors and sports stars. I mean by this, that he has played an integral role in the development of those brands, of the people he has worked with. He has transformed nobody’s into somebody’s. No one, from a communications perspective has taught me so much in such a little amount of time, that I’ve spent with him. For all his success, however, you’ll hear very little of him tooting his own horn. That’s so antithetical in today’s world of, “Me, me, me! Look what my client did. Look at whom I’m hangin’ with! (And trust me, Marc knows all the A-listers. He’s taught many of them how to do TV!)
Marc’s social media profile as well is relatively low key. Holding a Master’s degree in political science, Marc makes no political statements whatsoever, even though he could. He used to be a National Political Correspondent with CNN. People who know far less than he does are out there on Twitter trying to portray themselves as experts. I asked Marc one time why he chooses not to create a larger social footprint. It’s obvious to all of us who’ve worked with him that he tones it down and dials it back. “I’m a very private man who has a somewhat public career,” Marc told me. LinkedIn’s vibe suits him the best, and occasionally he uploads videos ranging from his days as a roving reporter to the well-being of Africa and its wildlife, to his YouTube channel. He’s more well-versed in the art of modesty than narcissism. He has a website, but that’s no biggie because everybody has a website nowadays.
“I’ve always looked at social media as part of my resumé so I’m mindful of what I put on it,” explains Marc. “I need absolutely zero validation from others, and I’ve had my moment in the spotlight so I’m not craving to be popular. If somebody wants my opinion on something, they’ll find a way to reach me. If it’s a reporter out there who seeks my training services, they should know how to track me down and get ahold of me. If not, he or she is not a very good reporter. My public opinion post about the trivial matters of the day isn’t likely to move the needle anyway.” When a bruh commands respect and doesn’t demand it, that spells distinction.
What I’m saying is, Marc Watts chased objectivity and the truth as a news correspondent, not fame.
Excerpts from, “The Artful Safari of a Broadcast Journalist”
CASTING DIRECTORS DESCRIBE SUCCESSFUL TALENT AS HAVING THE “IT FACTOR.” MARC ASSESSES TALENT IN TERMS, THAT DESCRIBES, WHAT THE “IT FACTOR” REALLY MEANS. THE DICTIONARY DEFINES THE “IT FACTOR” AS, “AN OVERWHELMING APPEAL DEMONSTRATED BY A TALENT.” ONE DAY IN CLASS MARC DISSECTED THAT DEFINITION TO US. WHOA. LET THAT SINK IN FOR A SECOND. WHEN YOU’RE ABLE TO DISSECT WEBSTER’S DEFINITION, AND DEFINE ON-CAMERA TALENT, IN LANGUAGE THAT DESCRIBES, WHY THEY HAVE AN “IT FACTOR”, I’M GOING TO RESPECT YOU MORE AS A TRUE TALENT SCOUT. MARC FIRST SHOWCASED THIS SKILL WHEN HE BECAME A BROADCAST MEDIA TV AGENT. HE LAUNCHED A TALENT AGENCY IN CHICAGO. THEN LATER WAS CHOSEN TO HEAD THE TALENT UNIT AT NFL NETWORK. MARC FINDS THEM OR THEY FIND HIM, AND HE PUTS THEM ON THE AIR. SINCE 2013 MARC HAS SERVED AS A CENTRAL FIGURE IN THE GROWTH OF MULTI-NETWORK STAR NATE BURLESON WHO WON THE 2022 SPORTS EMMYS AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING SPORTS PERSONALITY. HE HIRED NATE AT NFL NETWORK WHEN HE RETIRED FROM PRO FOOTBALL.
THE TALENT WHISPERER
THE TALENT WHISPERER
If you’ve ever talked with him on the phone, emailed with him or spoken face to face with him about your career, he’s activated it. He facilitated your success somehow. I’m not saying you always enjoyed what he had to say, because Marc can be very direct when he critiques people’s reels or work. So biting it can be sometimes, people have even struck back at him. On-air talent get falsely enthralled with themselves from social media posts, with followers hyping them up, making them think they’re all that. Sorry to say, that’s not the standard of approval you want. Let Watts critique your work. He’ll shoot straight with you.
To challenge his talent assessment of you means you’re in denial. Yet even in denial Marc’s talent assessment has benefitted your career because you’ve set out to prove him wrong, which of course we all know, is a form of motivation and how elite coaches operate. Irony is, if he didn’t feel you had talent in the first place, he would never spend time with you or audition you. I know I’m better than most guys who came from where I came from, who do what I do. One time Marc told me I’m “doing it all wrong.” I hated that but I needed to be told that. His standards are high, very high. If you want to punch your ticket to the elite level at a network, let Marc whisper to you.
In the middle of the pandemic, July 2021, I was fortunate to receive a special knock to attend Marc’s interviewing symposium he taught in-person. A few of his bigger name clients were already seated in the room when I arrived. I thought “Damn, no wonder these guys are so good because they keep coming back to learn more, while enjoying already successful careers.” Marc taught everyone in the room that day how to separate yourself from the rest of the pack, when conducting an interview. I walked out of the symposium four hours later, feeling so stupid, yet so empowered. I couldn’t wait to go back on the air and do my podcast, to practice what I had just learned. I felt like finally someone had poured the Marc Watts special sauce all over me. All these rules of interviewing that Marc taught us, are stratagies he uses on a daily basis. Marc showed us this one clip, it’s on YouTube, in which one of the O.J. attorneys was walking through a throng refusing to answer anyone’s question. He kept blowing off all the reporter’s questions. Then Marc walked up, and the attorney Robert Shapiro did a Q & A with only Marc. Then Shapiro just drove off. The video showed that even in a combative situation, a celebrity actually respects a tough line of questioning, if it’s framed in the proper way. Marc’s reputation as an interviewer had earned this man’s respect.
Excerpt from, “The Artful Safari of a Broadcast Journalist”
THE GREATEST SERVICE A DISTINGUISHED JOURNALIST CAN BESTOW IS TO OFFER THEIR CAREER AS A WORKBOOK OF EDUCATION TO THIS GENERATION OF STORYTELLERS. IF YOU THINK YOU’RE SO GOOD AT IT PASS IT ON, AND LET’S SEE HOW MANY SUCCESS STORIES YOU CAN SPROUT INTO THE WORLD OF JOURNALISM AND MASS COMMUNICATIONS. MARC’S TALENT INSTRUCTION TREE HAS NUMEROUS LIMBS. HE TEACHES US EVERYTHING WE NEED TO KNOW NOW IN TODAYS BROADCAST, DIGITAL AND PRINT WORLD TO SUCCEED IMMEDIATELY. MARC ALSO TEACHES US HOW TO SEPARATE OURSELVES FROM THE REST OF THE PACK.
Marc has been described as a talent guru and communication virtuoso. These are descriptions from client testimonials and teaching reviews Marc has received. Today he is one of the most sought-after communication instructors and journalism coaches in the professional sector. Some even call him the GOAT, when it comes to the art of presentation and teaching someone how to communicate with impact. This book is dedicated to his story and what he does so well, to the people and careers he has impacted. Marc is a master storyteller. I don’t mean as in the sense of a novelist, such as James Patterson or Tom Clancy. Marc’s brilliant gift is helping people convey a message through a short story; a news clip, an article, a blog, a speech, a talking point for an expert analyst, a hot take from a sports analyst, seizing the moment in a broadcast booth, a power point presentation, a Ted talk and the 120-second live shot. He once told me that people consume content in electronic pulses, and that whether people read, see or listen to something, it’s useless unless it earns “consumer affinity.” That was his way of telling me a long time ago, what has since been proven by social media, that people enjoy consumption of content in bite size chunks. Marc’s lessons educate those of us who consider ourselves influencers, how to purvey content that wins affinity with those who consume it. That’s Marc’s specialty and he teaches it and practicess it better than anyone.
Excerpt from, “The Artful Safari of a Broadcast Journalist”
MARC’S SPECIAL SKILL. HOW DOES MARC DO IT?
The simple answer is, it takes one to know one. Marc has his own unique perspective. Trust me when I tell you this. There is no one wired like him. Daniel Rodriguez, the retired U.S. Army Sergeant and war hero from the famous Afghanistan Battle of Kamdesh, described it best when he said Marc is playing on a different field with a higher intellect, when he’s teaching. Daniel is one of the leading motivational speakers on the circuit and he once took a symposium Marc taught. This former soldier and NFL athlete, who is trained to pick up on the details and detect the B.S., basically said Marc put on a master class on how to stand out when speaking.
It comes down to the fact that he’s studied syntax so much, that he knows what words work and which words fail. Of course it helps that he’s done a ton of public speaking himself. So he knows all the power words and phrases to implement into someone’s speech, while getting them to gradually purge puny vocabulary. Broadcast, digital or print—Marc possesses the winning glossary depending on the type of essay the storyteller is trying to write, or narrative the speaker is trying to present. Most people are happy with common-speak. Marc is not one of those people.
THERE IS NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL
Marc goes forward with undaunted initiative on how to make someone a better communicator. A firm believer that no two people are exactly alike, he detects the strengths of someone’s communicator portfolio and builds from there.
“And all this time I thought I had to have a baritone deep voice,” a client told Marc.
“The octave which you speak, is merely one component to your voice. There’s pacing, pause, energy, sincerity and expression just to name a few that also define your voice,” responded Marc which brought music to his client’s ear.
Much has been written on public speaking, unrealistically conveying to verbal communicators that they can have it all. “Follow these five tips and you’ll master the Ted talk.” Simply not true says Marc. “There are very few five-tool players when it comes to professional communicators. Most of them only have maybe two or three of the five tools, and waste time trying to acquire the other skills, instead of building upon the two or three solid traits that already exist in their toolbox.”
Excerpts from, Stephen Ihli – Author, “The Artful Safari of a Broadcast Journalist”
THERE IS A RIGHT WAY AND A WRONG WAY TO COMMUNICATE. MARC TEACHES THE RIGHT WAY, SHOWING YOU WHY YOUR WAY IS WRONG. BISHOP DESMOND TUTU ONCE SAID, “DON’T RAISE YOUR VOICE. IMPROVE YOUR ARGUMENT.” MARC TEACHES PEOPLE THAT “HOW YOU SAY IT,” IS WAY MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT YOU SAY. MARC WELCOMES THIS, FASHIONS IT AND PROVIDES THIS SPEAKING SPECIALTY VIA TRAINING FORUMS TO CLIENTS, THUS THE “COMMUNICATIONS CONCIERGE.” SOME MEDIA TRAINERS SPEND FOUR DAYS WITH YOU, CHARGE YOU OUT THE WAZZOU, AND DON’T DO A DAMN BIT OF GOOD. MARC ACTUALLY MAKES YOU TEN TIMES BETTER, AND IF HE FAILS TO DO SO, HE’LL RETURN ALL YOUR MONEY.
3 MAIN LANES OF COMMUNICATION
I’ve been creating content on camera and in print for 25 years so I’m extremely familiar and in tune with communication strategies. I know what works, what doesn’t work, and I hunger to learn all the new tools that will work.
There are three main buckets of presentation that talent and speakers should pull from because research has taught me that audiences prefer to be moved in these three ways. Provocation. Education. Entertainment. Anyone I’ve ever taught has heard this. Depending on your role in the communication arena, there are a variety of different ways to provoke, educate and entertain. To learn all those variables you’ll have to come to my class. Focusing my instruction and curriculum along these lines is why clients keep coming back for more and more teaching. They want to taste more of the secret sauce that works.
My success stories have proved that what I’m teaching resonates. I don’t have to brag about my clientele. Their work and success speak for themselves. They know that I’ve either recruited them at one time, auditioned them (after prepping them for the audition), hired them, trained them, critiqued them, coached them, mentored them or represented them when I was a media talent agent. My greatest enjoyment is watching them perform well and thrive. I feel like a tiny piece of me is on set or on stage with them. Tight language, emphatic with no uncertainty. Speaking with impact, outshining others on the set/stage with no crutch words. P.E.E.’ing on the audience.
~Marc L. Watts from “The Artful Safari of a Broadcast Journalist”
MOST PROFESSIONAL SPEAKERS ARE BELOW AVERAGE
I’m a firm believer 75% of the people tasked with communicating in their line of work, are average to below average communicators. I don’t mean as in talkers. Most people assigned to being the mouthpiece or who view themselves as leaders are gifted with gab. They just simply fail to say anything substantive. Much of it amounts to babble, bloviation and common people speak. I’m not a big fan of crutch words, wasted words or greeting phrases in emails. With the plethora of digital content, podcasts and social media postings (people purporting themselves to be change agents and bigtime movers and shakers,) a daily new library of uploads showcases the latest batch of individuals who are doing it all wrong.
In the 25 years I’ve spent in this culture, I’ve detected everyday mannerisms and speaking patterns used by the masses, that are toxic to successful communication, even though people using them feel they sound quite profound. The reason people gravitate toward such faulty speech and syntax is because they hear so many others speaking this way. The pervasive herd mentality causes someone to adopt something into their own fabric out of a blind allegiance to conform. How else would the term “interesting dynamic” become a catch all phrase for so many things, yet mean so little? When all else fails to aptly describe something just lump it onto the category, of an “interesting dynamic.” That’s laziness.
TOP COMMUNICATORS HAVE MORE THAN JUST A VOICE
The key to longevity in the communications on-air talent space is to never be a one trick pony. To survive you’ll need a range of different voices and presentation skills that meets satisfaction of the supervisor(s) in charge. Here’s why. Most in charge of recruiting and overseeing the on-air or talking head talent are stuck in a rut, fixed upon their limited vision of how talent are supposed to present. I’ve come across my fair share of one-track minded producers who believe in cloning all their on-air talent team to operate alike. If you sometimes ever wondered why everybody often looks and talks the same, this is why. The across-the-board similarities are all well and good for the people hired who fit the specs of what that specific manager is seeking. But what happens to those on-air performers when a new talent director comes on board because the one who did all hiring and talent pairing moves on to a different media company? They’re going to have to adapt to the new manager’s style and if they can’t’ or won’t they’ll find themself out of a job. The new manager will often choose to purge one or two talent performers, just to bring in an example of the TV personality he’s trying to instill. If you’re perceived to not be able to follow suit, you might find yourself out of a job. Herein also lies the danger of having limited on-air talent or being defined by one or two sometimes extreme mannerisms. Stay flexible and specialize in more than just one thing. Don’t ever stop trying to acquire more skills.
I’ve used seven different voices in speaking professionally, never to be defined by just one. I could not dramatically change what I looked like, but I did learn an art of adapting how I portrayed myself and what I sounded like. Even today I still practice this, which amounts to “on-air presentation range,” which I also now teach in the classroom. You can’t teach something this practical unless you’ve incorporated it into your own on-air presentation and have succeeded at it. In other words, you really can’t teach what you don’t know or haven’t done yourself-when it comes to the art of training communicators.
Excerpts from, Marc L. Watts, “The Artful Safari of a Broadcast Journalist”
THE REAL STORY BEHIND O.J.’s ACQUITTAL
After being asked thousands of times Marc finally sat down and told the world what it had never heard. His opinion on what really went down in court during the O.J. Simpson trial and what led to the stunning verdict.
This is not a statement on Mr. Simpson’s innocence or guilt. It’s a reflection on what unfolded in the courtroom and what led the jury to return the NOT GUILTY verdict.
EXCUSED O.J. JUROR BREAKS HER SILENCE
Celebrity-minded, publicity-thirsty and fame seeking Los Angeles residents from all backgrounds, were doing every little thing they could to get chosen for the O. J. Simpson trial jury.
But there was one juror selected for the panel, who did everything she could to get excused from the jury. When she got released, the story dropped like a bombshell. Marc first on the scene, landed her first interview.
GANG SHOOTOUT: BROAD DAYLIGHT IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY
Reporting in hostile zones can be hazardous to a reporter’s health. It’s an occupational hazard as a reporter in the City of Angel’s.
Marc never strayed from conflict turf, and then there was this one time they started shooting guns, and Marc and his crew were right across the street. Here’s the action, through the eyes of a young boy, “Shell Shocked.”
THE “N-WORD” FEATURING N.W.A. FOUNDER EAZY-E
The N-Word is that one word on everybody’s taboo list. Should I or should I not say it? What does it mean? What if people take it the wrong way? Epithet? Of course! But to some, it’s a house-hold term of endearment.
Today it’s a staple of hip-hop lingo and culture yet a conundrum that also causes problems. In this national award-winning report, Marc conjugates the N-Word, with a lot of help from his friend, the late gangsta rapper Eric “Eazy-E” Wright.
THE ART OF REPORTING: BROADCAST, DIGITAL & PRINT
In this stream, one of Marc’s many training videos, he serves a healthy dosage of lessons and reminders to any reporter pursuing the craft. In true standup close style Marc buttons up this story, with the advice that propelled him to numerous story breaks, exclusives and awards.
A must see for any reporter. A reminder for some. A wakeup call to others, who dare to dance in this profession of journalism.
SOUTH AFRICA PRE-ELECTION DAY TERRORIST BOMBS
Marc’s reporter teaching textbook is written from the files of his own streaming library. He often utilizes this report when teaching students the art of the television “Live Shot.” At the exact moment Marc was reporting this story from atop a roof in Johannesburg, chaos was exploding around him! Bombs, gunshots, sirens.
And a CNN producer was in Marc’s ear during his live report (as he was talking) telling Marc to “stretch,” because new footage, sound and injury updates were concurrently being fed into CNN’s global control center. As the world was watching this live shot, a correspondent found calm in confusion.
JIM BROWN BROKERS TRUCE BETWEEN CRIPS AND BLOODS
Information sources are a correspondent’s life blood, and that one time the Crips and Bloods in LA decided to call it a ceasefire, one man got the call.
The call came from Marc’s source, Pro Football Hall of Famer, running back Jim Brown, #32, one of the greatest athletes of all time. The correspondent and the HOF football player discussed why this was the right time for LA’s longtime feuding rivals, to “tie rags,” which is what they call a truce in the hood. Then all the gang leaders came to Jim’s house agreeing to let Marc’s cameraman film them.
ATHLETE ONLINE COURSE
MAKING ATHLETES BETTER: IN 2020 MARC PUBLISHED HIS FIRST ONLINE COURSE CALLED ATHLETE BRANDGUARD. IT’S BRANDED AS THE DEFINITIVE ATHLETE PLAYBOOK TO SAFEGUARD ONE’S CAREER, AVOID TROUBLE AND MAXIMIZE EARNING POWER. IT TEACHES LIFE SKILLS, ATHLETE ETIQUETTE AND HAS RECEIVED THE FULL ENDORSEMENT FROM THE NFL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, WHICH HAS PARTNERED WITH MARC, IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE COURSE.
DAILY, AN ATHLETE DOES SOMETHING THAT RUINS THEIR CAREER. ATHLETE BRANDGUARD, A POWERFUL INSTRUCTIONAL TOOL, IS DESIGNED TO PREVENT THEM FROM MESSING IT ALL UP. NOT ONLY AVAILABLE ONLINE, MARC AND HIS CO-INSTRUCTOR ALSO TEACH THIS FIRST-OF-A-KIND CURRICULUM, DIRECTLY TO TEAMS FACE TO FACE IN A SEMINAR FORMAT.
DISTINGUISHED NETWORK CORRESPONDENT, COMMUNICATIONS INSTRUCTOR, MEDIA EXEC, PUBLISHER & CEO
Marc L. Watts is recognized today as one of the premier broadcast and communication coaches in the country. He has trained, taught, guided, mentored and represented-as their agent, more than 1000 people working in the media industry. His clients and trainees dot the television, digital and corporate landscape; news, traditional sports, esports, entertainment, lifestyle, talk shows, reality shows and the C-suite.
Currently Marc serves as the Vice President of Communications & Narrative for the African American Leadership Forum in Minneapolis. Marc also oversees Athlete Brandguard, a firm that specializes in developing smart disruptive curriculum to safeguard athletes and other trades. In this role Marc published a 17-module online training course known as Athlete Brandguard, which has received the official endorsement of the National Football League Alumni Association.
His zenith knowledge of the industry and cumulative success on various practical media fronts are what defines his success. Many still remember Marc as the intrepid and dashing on-air CNN newsman from his days as an international correspondent with that network. Marc has filed TV reports from nearly every state in the U.S., traveling extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Africa. His work has been published in numerous journals and he’s frequently called on to analyze and provide opinion on issues trending in the media.Over the years Marc has been honored with awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the National Cable Television Association, the Associated Press, National Association of Black Journalists, Radio Television News Directors Association, California Bar Association and Telly Awards to name a few.
As a broadcast media talent agent Marc has negotiated nearly $100,000,000(MM) in contracts for clients over the years. Prior to joining AALF, Marc served as the Vice President of Talent and Procurement at Signature Media Group, a media talent agency he created in Chicago. He also helped launch a speaker’s bureau in the Windy City. In addition, Marc headed the On-Air Media Talent unit at the National Football League Network from 2012-2015. He’s credited with building the bulk of the current on-air talent roster at NFL Media. In that role he recruited, hired and trained on-air personalities, and created a pathway for retiring NFL athletes to flourish as announcers. Many of the talented personalities you watch on the sidelines, on team cameras and in the studios are in those roles because of Marc.
He launched a broadcast academy that specialized in training on-air talent on how to maximize their in-front-of-the-camera presentation. Marc’d Academy utilized its own proprietary course curriculum to instruct talking heads how to speak, write and analyze content for broadcast and digital usage. It also provided training to athletes of all sports on how to transition to the broadcast studio. Many of Marc’s clients have gone on to write books, reality show scripts, launch streaming programs, judge shows and thrive on the speaking circuit.
Conducting seminars and journalism lectures across the country, Marc is one of the most sought-after TV talent coaches in the professional sector. He’s also served as a college professor having taught journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Marc draws his practical instructional and academic curriculum from his own on-air career. His students have described him as, “a storytelling maven”, “a presentation virtuoso” and a “communication kingpin”. Flattered by the accolades, Marc modestly expects his students to drop monikers such as these, because in class “I push them to speak differently and standout” from the rest of the bunch.
COME ALONG WITH MARC ON 24-HOUR JOURNEY!
MONDAY’S WITH MARC. ENJOY THE RIDE ON A TYPICAL DAY WITH THE MEDIAOLOGIST
With his footprint across the digital, streaming and broadcast landscape he wakes up every morning to an exciting frontier. Never before have there been this many channels; new platforms to stream stories, to create new content and to launch new networks that aggregate content.
- The diverse family network of on-air talent must be monitored; podcasts, posts, streams, shows, live reports, newscasts and daily productions.
- Text alert. “Marc, you watch my show last night?” Even though they’re pros they constantly want feedback.
- Marc sends text to Kyle get sleep on plane.
- Then there are the up and comers who want to be properly trained. They want 1-on-1 sessions and their reels critiqued. Today Jay Ticker comes in.
- When he spots a trend of too many people doing something wrong, he’ll write an article, which is really his broad-brush stroke on how talent can do it better. Nearly 1000 uniquely talented people heed this direct message. It’s code. They know it’s meant for them. Today’s post, “Illegal Usage of Hands.”
- A magazine writer seeks his input on a dimension piece and a columnist wants his reaction to a trending media issue. Two 10-minute calls. He’s quoted only as a “media observer”.
- An idea for an entirely new TV network pops into his head. (Do we really need another sports platform Marc?) “Yes” to his own question.
- A podcast hosts wants to interview Marc for 45 minutes. “I’ll give him 15.”
- Text to Jim to stop coming off so desperate on IG.
- His new baby, Athlete Brandguard, requires daily updates to its curriculum. He and ED teach it on stage and online. College in Tennessee wants to book them for a speaking gig.
- Roland is calling.
- 1-hr meeting with Brock to discuss new job opportunity at sports network
- Oh, let’s not forget the stairs, which is actually a meeting with Iris.
- Somehow he finds IPAD time to watch his FBI and CIA shows.
- 30-minute lunch break to read the latest Mitch Rapp and Jack Reacher novels.
- Pickup cold brew in drive thru at Starbucks
- Text Michael to stop yelling on the air.
- TV monitors constantly flickering in his domain; esports, news, sports, talk shows and reality shows. Hosts, anchors, correspondents and sideline reporters to keep tabs on. Who’s on where at what time? From Samsung, to Apple IMAC-27, Macbook Pro to Android Marc rolls.
- Call EY to discuss Super Bowl E-fest
- WhatsApp Note to Eboni: Well done, smart questions. Solid T’prompter reads. Proper pacing.
- CBS Producer wants Marc to negotiate his contract
- Note to self: Remind Alex to stop saying honestly…
- Pitch meeting at Bravo with Courtney
- Kevin confirms tomorrow b’fast
- 15-minute Zoom to discuss podcast idea with Roy and mega sports agent
- “Standby Dad 30 seconds. You wanted to re-shoot that intro.” Necktie, mic and suitcoat adjustment. “Good take Dad but one more time from this angle.” This never gets old. Now his son is the production perfectionist so there are two of them!
- Three websites will now have to be updated. The wordsmith wants it just right.
- Switch from laptop to desktop. Five minutes early which means on time for the Zoom meeting.
- Two schools want guest lectures on how to conduct “TV Interviewing.” Booked.
- A recent connect on LinkedIn wants Marc’s advice on sports management. Youngster gets a call. Please don’t call me “Sir.” OK Marc. Thanks young man.
- Peter from Zambia is messaging on WhatsApp. “When are you coming Bwana?” Soon.
- Logo & grafics package for nu talk show is approved. Promo trailer is lit. George will EP. Will pitch to Xfinity.
- Group text to 500, “Keep your mask on.”
- Calls Dad on way home. That’s all for Monday.
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