Shannon Bennett (B.A. ’09)
Shannon Bennett Q & A:
What is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
My fondest memories of Hofstra revolve around the opportunities I was presented as a student in the School of Communication. In the fall of 2006, I was an intern for WFAN’s Ann Liguori at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, when my first big break came to fruition. Hofstra alumus and 1010 WINS Sports Anchor/Reporter Marc Ernay (B.A. ’91) approached me about doing updates from the Open for ESPN Radio. I auditioned with them over the phone, and landed the job! The most rewarding part of this was being able to call my family and have them share in the moment by hearing me on the radio. Not only did I have the chance to work alongside Ann, but I also was able to do some broadcasting at my favorite venue, and I will always cherish that occasion.
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing
you learned there?
My first job upon graduating from Hofstra was World News desk associate for the CBS Radio Network. I learned what hard work is in a 24/7 breaking news environment. I did that job for three years. It’s hard to know what exactly to expect when you start your first job, but I learned quick because my first shift was Tuesday through Saturday from 1-9a.m. straight, and a month later I spent Christmas and New Year’s Day in a newsroom. This really opened my eyes to how demanding this industry is. I learned that you have to be ready to work hard and hope that it pays off in the end. For the past five years, CBS Radio News has been awarded Overall Excellence from RTNDA. This is a testament to the dedication of the staff; some truly wonderful people I had the chance of learning from and working with.
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
My field of specialty is TV/Radio. I came to work in the industry after my freshman year at Hofstra doing sideline for professional softball. I was presented with this job after joining the sports staff at WRHU and the Professional-in-Residence, Ed Ingles, asked me if I was interested. Working at Hofstra’s radio station gives students an unlimited amount of access to connections within the industry. After softball was finished, I did color commentary and sideline reporting for men’s and women’s basketball in the East Coast Conference through another great connection I made from Hofstra, the late Joel Blumberg.
What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
Follow your dreams. The only person standing between you and what you want to accomplish is yourself. Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything. It’s good to have an opinion, but just make sure you have your research done before you start talking. Last, but not least, I would tell current Hofstra students not to burn any bridges. The world of media is a small one, and you’re due to see your classmates as future co-workers.
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job now is helping out viewers of CBS when they call for information. I had a doctor from Minnesota call in one day to tell me about a young patient of his who has terminal brain cancer and his last wish was to visit the set of The Big Bang Theory – I was able to help make this happen.
Who in your field do you most admire?
This is a tough question because I admire most of the people I work with due to the fact you are dedicating your life to media when you decide to work in this field. With that said, I was 18 years old when I met the person I most admire – WRHU’s Professional-in-Residence, Ed Ingles. Not only is Ed successful, but he also helps everyone around him to achieve their goals, whatever they may be. I credit my own success to Ed because he gave me a chance in the industry, and continues to help me better myself along the way.
What is the most exciting experience in your career thus far?
The most rewarding experiences in my career happened daily at CBS Radio Network. For three years I worked in a breaking news environment vying for the best sound to use on the world’s top stories and setting up the most interesting interviews to tell a future story. Whenever a task like this is accomplished, it’s exciting and very gratifying. When the story broke about the devastation caused in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami, I had to find a couple of good interviews. Situations like this I find to be the most challenging because as you’re on the phone trying to find people, you’re faced with a language barrier and a significant time difference. I ended up finding an American professor who was visiting Japan at the time who was able to give us his account of what happened, and it worked out great.