INSIDE THE MASS MEDIA
OF MARC WATTS
INSIDE THE MASS MEDIA
OF MARC WATTS
Currently Marc serves as the Sr. Vice President of Programming and Talent for ESTV. ESTV/Esports Television is the first linear and streaming 24/7 esports network in the world. It’s based in Los Angeles. Concurrently, Marc also runs Undefeated Talent Management, Incorporated. The firm 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 UTM Inc, 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. Still functioning today, Marc’d Academy utilizes its own proprietary course curriculum to instruct talking heads how to speak, write and analyze content for broadcast and digital usage. It also provides 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.
This 45-time award winning journalist credits his best skill as that of listening, describing himself as a “conversation analyst”, someone who has a uniquely trained ear and eye to evaluate and formulate the power of one’s message.
“I teach and coach talent how to communicate effectively. I train them to drill deep into the consciousness of the listening and viewing audience.” Marc believes most talking heads are just average communicators. “First, I show them why they’re average, then I teach them how to excel far beyond that. It’s basically like learning a new language within the purview of English. It involves all the subtle nuances of the non-verbal along with proper verbiage. Once a talent starts to comprehend the new language they’ll immediately surge ahead of the average pack.”
Marc’s unparalleled experience in practical media platforms gives him a widening competitive edge over other communication instructors and defines why his talent base does exceedingly well in the professional industry. His long-term goal is to launch and operate his own TV network, provide jobs for elite communicators and brand it as an outlet in which viewers can tune into and get educated, entertained and provoked at a much higher level than the average network. “That’s the reason I want to train and instruct so many people because one day I want to hire them all to work at the network!”
Emerging from the University of Washington with a B.A. in Communications/Journalism and then a Masters from the University of Minnesota in Political Science/American Politics, Marc found himself working on the air as a reporter for WCCO-TV in Minneapolis within two years of finishing school. From there it was off to Houston’s KHOU-TV, then L.A.’s KCAL TV, CNN and PBS. The story goes that Ted Turner, CNN’s founder, hand-picked Marc to lead the network’s coverage of the “Trial of the Century”, the O.J. Simpson case. On some days, Marc would file reports for 16 straight hours during the trial, because news producers from early morning to prime time requested his presence in their newscasts. Many observers credit Marc’s gripping coverage of the Simpson trial, as the media show that green lit reality television. The “character of Marc” has been parodied on “The Tonight Show,” and comedians such as the Wayans Brothers often worked Marc’s name into standup routines. All in good fun of course, for his relentless pursuit of the news.
Many Hollywood filmmakers requested Marc’s presence, as a newsman, in movies they produced. But CNN’s then journalism standards prevented Marc from appearing outside the network, as a correspondent. Today, CNN correspondents are often seen in Hollywood blockbusters.
L.A.’s turbulent 1990’s catapulted Marc on center stage from numerous assignments. Besides the O.J. Simpson Trial, there was the Rodney King Beating, the L.A. Riots, the Menendez Brothers Murders, the Northridge Earthquake, and catastrophic brush fires to name a few, the kept Southern California in the global breaking news spotlight. L.A.’s murder rate skyrocketed from gang warfare and Marc’s reporting cast him front and center to it all. During one assignment in South Central Los Angeles, Marc and his news crew captured a gang shoot out in progress.
In Marc’s earlier years, a series of reports he filed led to a death row convict being released from prison, after new evidence that Marc uncovered, proved the black man who’d been convicted, never committed the murder that a Texas jury had sentenced him to die for. But of all Marc’s reports, the story of another man who was behind bars at one time, touched him the most. For Nelson Mandela’s election in South Africa, Marc was assigned to CNN’s Johannesburg bureau for nearly three weeks, pre-during-and post-election. There was a wave of bombings and violence prior to the election designed to scare Black voters from the polls, but nothing would intimidate Black Africans from voting, the first time ever they’d been allowed to vote in the country’s 400-year existence. Marc brought the news to the entire world, reporting from rooftops from tall buildings. He anchored coverage of South Africa’s historic flag ceremony, which permanently brought down the flag that represented apartheid, while raising the prominent sideways Y flag representing unity, which ushered the once imprisoned Mandela to the presidency. On assignment in South Africa, Marc filed what’s believed to be the first television live report from Soweto, since the infamous “Soweto Uprising” in 1976.
Impact when storytelling is something Marc teaches, and it is a special report he produced and narrated on the “N Word,” that has delivered the most impact to this day. When a line producer allots a reporter 8 minutes 30 seconds, to tell a story; anchor toss intro, reporter intro, packaged report, tag and Q & A, that’s considered more than 1/3rd of the content for the entire newscast in some markets. That 8:30 is exactly what Marc got, and because of additional Q & A from the anchor team he technically went over in time allowed. It was warranted. The report detailed all the nuances of how people use the “N-Word”, why, and its impact on society resulting in hate crimes. Marc drove the story home through an interview that featured the late Eric “Eazy-E” Wright, who formed the influential the hip-hop group N.W.A. (Niggaz Wit Attitudes). “Eazy” explained how an epithet to some can be a term of endearment to others. Back at this time, N.W.A. was trending on Billboard, and still to this day Marc gets calls and emails from people across the globe, requesting permission to air the story at symposiums discussing race and usage of the word. The “N Word” special report landed Marc the journalism award he cherishes most in his career. First Place honors in the Hard Feature category in which Marc faced off against two of his mentors, the late Ed Bradley of CBS and NBC’s Bryant Gumbel. Marc received this award from the National Association of Black Journalists.
Marc’s latest project, Athlete Brandguard, resulted in the publication of his first online teaching course. It’s a comprehensive instructional curriculum to keep athletes on a safe path throughout their careers and a guide to maximizing their earning power. In addition to the online offering, Marc teaches the presentation in a seminar format, on stage in front of athletes.
2021 brings promise that Marc will stay busier, with plans for a podcast, an interview show and a teaching position at a university. Marc has a son, a recent college graduate, and they live in Southern California. They enjoy adventure, hiking, the outdoors, F1 auto racing and road trips.