By Tim Ferguson
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Upon entering the Syracuse University Sigma Chi fraternity house, you discover it only has one resident this summer, Mike Carter. His membership with the organization assisted his living situation.
Your first inclination is you’ve been transported to National Lampoon’s Van Wilder (a film about a guy who never left college), but interviewing Carter is more fascinating than a Hollywood script.
He actually spent his undergraduate career in the shadows of Hollywood at Loyola-Marymount University.
“I wanted to leave home in New Hampshire, and Los Angeles seemed like a shining city on a hill and it was the promise of Hollywood and getting involved in media,” Carter said.
Experiences in L.A. led to internships at NBC, but his recent goals include earning a master’s in broadcast journalism at Syracuse. His appetite for sports is illustrated in the stories he might one day cover.
“I think if I could choose any sporting event in the world to cover it would probably be the World Cup, just because on a global scale there’s so much passion involved,” Carter said.
Program: Broadcast & Digital Journalism
Hometown: Bedford, NH
High Schools Manchester West HS
Colleges: University of New Hampshire (Sports Kinesiology)
Loyola Marymount (CA) (Theatre)
Syracuse University (NY) (Communications: BDJ)
Opening: Tim: Thanks Mike for joining me for your interview.
Tim Ferguson: When we talked you said you started college at the University of New Hampshire, but what drew you to transferring to Loyola Marymount out in California?
Mike Carter: Well, growing up in New Hampshire, kind of small town, not in the middle of nowhere, kind of grew kind of 45 minutes north of Boston, southern New Hampshire is a much different setting than northern New Hampshire for sure, we kind of everyone I grew up with if you grew up north of Concord forget about it that’s the boonies, you mine as well live in Canada … But, at the same time growing up in New Hampshire I had a great upbringing, it was a classic New England setting, but when it came time for college I came here actually to Syracuse, drove here with my father, it took two days getting here, and definitely in hindsight affected me and my perception of distance, like I wanted to leave home but it takes six hours from where I live and we drove four hours and then work up and drove two hours in here into town, it found like we had traveled day and night and it felt like a whirlwind and I had traded one place in the middle of nowhere for another place in the middle of nowhere and it was like boy if I am going to go anywhere if I mine as well stay close to home and I chose the University of New Hampshire and quickly realized in my first semester there that yeah I want to leave home and Los Angeles seemed like a shining city on a hill and it was the promise of Hollywood and getting involved in media and anything I wanted to do it seemed like I could do it there, and I decided to pack up and go to Los Angeles … It was kind of a trade-off, Loyola is a small school and part of me always regretted not seeking a bigger school like Syracuse has a real there’s a sense of school spirit like the sports teams mean a lot not only to the student body, but greater Central NY … I didn’t have that in college, and it wasn’t the main reason, but definitely one of the reasons why I chose Syracuse, not only want to do sports journalism but I want to attend a school that has a big time college basketball team and get that level and energy from the student body and the population of the surrounding towns that I didn’t get as an undergraduate.
TF: Knowing that you’re a Red Sox fan, let’s hear your favorite moment that you attended as a Red Sox fan, whether it was at Fenway or on the road, your most memorable moment.
MC: Most memorable moment … as a Red Sox fan … I have two actually, ironically enough neither happened in Boston, well I’ll say this in 2003 and 2004 I remember watching both of those Yankees’ series in the ALCS and both of those came to game 7s and in 2003 I remember being at friend’s house and watching Aaron Boone hit a home run and being absolutely crushed … And thinking life as I knew it was over … His cousins were there and they were Yankees and Mets fans … At one point the at the start of the game the Mets fan was on my side and at the end of the game when Boone had hit the homerun, he had somehow morphed into becoming this ‘oh I am from New York and I am going to cheer for the Yankees’ and it was one of the most miserable times of my sporting life and then you fast forward a year later and I remember being down 0-3 and I remember the Red Sox just climb back …just climb back into it and then I remember vividly when the first pitch of Game 7 at Yankee Stadium on the first pitch Johnny Damon hit a home run and I was like I think we are going to beat the Yankees and this is going to be the most incredible come back ever … Then when they ultimately won that game it was just like an incredible book ending to that year in my life where baseball has never as meaningful and hasn’t been as meaningful since … Those two seasons were so much fun to watch with so many characters like Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez … It was just a very special outcome in both years at the same place … In one year you have a heartbreak and then the second time you have the most incredible come back ever … I don’t think baseball will ever be that fun again.
TF: If you were to put together your golf foursome, you and three others, and maybe someone to caddie for fun, who would they be?
MC: Are these people that I know or from life?
TF: It could be anyone from anywhere, no limits on this.
MC: So, four people.
TF: One is a caddie.
MC: My golfing buddies, my best friend Chris Robinson from California … My brother … My father and Rob Gronkowski.
TF: (Laugh) “Gronk” would certainly add something to that, he may want to hit a few just for fun. Where would you want to play, what course would it be?
MC: St. Andrews, I would like to play St. Andrews one time, Scotland, right? I think that would be fun … Having Rob Gronkowski there would make it that much more fun.
TF: When you said you had worked at NBC, what TV personality did you have the most interaction with that you thought was a really cool, genuine person?
MC: Sure. The person that I had the most interaction with … interesting … well we work as pages when Jimmy Fallon was on the late night show and I had a chance to interact with him several times … From the time, we were essentially like ushers, we dealt with tickets for people, we were essentially the face of NBC for people coming to Rockefeller Center … Working that show and getting a chance to meet Jimmy Fallon a few times and seeing him he is probably the most genuine person … I also think he is one of the most talented people in entertainment … There’s very few people made for their job as well as he is hosting the Tonight’s Show … It’s watching him, there’s clips of him auditioning for Saturday Night Live and to see how he came from this goofy kid from Upstate NY to kind of like find his niche on SNL and figure out that the movies thing wasn’t working … But having made it on SNL and having been a popular personality and being able to morph that skill set into a late night host … I think that’s interesting … The people in life that I find most interesting are that find their niche … It’s always like wow how did this person who seemed so perfect for this job … What was their path? … I like investigating people’s path, I think that’s why I find broadcast journalism so interesting.
TF: I am sure his demo tape of Fever Pitch is what really got him that! Alright, we will get you out on this last question. What sporting event, if there was anyone that you could cover, and answer however you would want to cover that event, what do you think it would be? Anywhere in the world, United States, or wherever.
MC: (Pause) See my tendency is probably to say the Super Bowl, but I feel like if my Patriots weren’t playing in I wouldn’t care as much … I mean it’s fun to watch that game, but I think if I could choose any sporting event in the world to cover it would probably be the World Cup, just because on a global scale there’s so much passion involved in that … I didn’t really grow up a soccer fan, and I still wouldn’t call myself a soccer fan … But, soccer has really grown on my the last five to ten years, especially the last couple World Cups I have really gotten into them, and seeing people who are really passionate about the European soccer and seeing that culminate in the World Cup that would be a really cool event to cover just because people care so much about that … I like the idea of big events that people care about and I think that’s what drives me to the sport realm with sports journalism because we are covering stories in which hundreds of thousands if not millions of people really care about … People get their news, but they don’t necessarily care about their news … They need the news alright if there was a huge accident blocking the highway and I can’t get to work this morning than I need to know that … But, I don’t really know if you need necessarily care about day to day news … That’s what’s so great about sports, people have a passion for it … and they care about the outcome.
TF: Thank you, I appreciate it!
MC: You got it.