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Sunday, August 14, 2022

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Sportscenter anchor visits UH, offers advice to students


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ESPN anchor shares wisdom to UH communication students. | Photo by Adam Bhatty

University of Houston alumnus and ESPN anchor Robert Flores graced communication students as a guest speaker Wednesday at the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication.

Flores, a Houstonian and 1992 UH alum, arrived on campus following an invitation from the School of Communication’s Interim Director and associate professor, Temple Northup.

“(The media field) is interesting, rewarding but unusual,” Flores said. “However, I can’t think of doing anything else.”

The SportsCenter anchor followed his calling after walking out of a business class on his second day of school. Flores shared his plan to pursue a degree in broadcast journalism with then-Director of the School of Communication Robert Musburger who was doubtful of Flores’ decision.

Flores said Musburger told him of low chance of making a lucrative sum from broadcasting, but Flores thought otherwise.

“If you (choose media as a career), be willing to not take no for an answer,” Flores said. “Tell the doubters, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘Nobody can persuade me from not doing it’.”

Flores stressed the difficult that comes with a media-related career, using his experience from covering the the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Warhawks football team in a station resembling a grandma’s house as an example.

“Being the new guy, I get to work on the major holidays,” Flores said. “It got to the point that I asked, ‘What am I doing?’. But I know what the end goal is.”

One student wanted to know Flores’ proudest moment in his career.

“My first anchor (session) with Stuart Scott,” he said. “If you’re a trailblazer like that, you should be commended.”

Flores also shared one of his worst moments that got him out of work for six months: uttering profanity on live broadcast. The situation caused him to drain his finances, but then he received a call from ESPN and has been hosting SportsCenter since 2007.

“Circumstances change, and you have to be willing to adapt,” he said. “But again, ‘Next play, next play’.”

Flores said taking communication classes is crucial but unparalleled to being a part of the workplace and performing tasks with deadlines in mind. He said that now is the time for media students to show media companies what they can offer.

“Media companies love free labor, and you must have initiative to find opportunities while in school,” Flores said. “(Before, Channel 11) would never hire some punk kid to be on TV, but now they’re willing to go even younger because you guys are cheaper. (The media industry) is a young person’s game.”

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