Southeast Missouri State University alumnus Eric Dahl of Jackson, Missouri, has carved out a successful career in television promotions while moonlighting as a song writer, musician, published author and writer.
Eric is the regional promotion supervisor for Sinclair Broadcast Group, overseeing stations in six states. He also recently published his debut book, “B.B. King’s Lucille and Loves Before Her,” which helped launch him into a niche in the magazine writing world. He is now working on a second book and hosts the “Rock and Review” for Nashville, Tennessee’s FOX TV 17, a dream come true for him.
“I derive a lot of my inspiration from relationships and major life events that shape us all. Plus, a good story always helps. There is a new incentive for me to write more music now. That would be so I can take my eight-year-old daughter Taylor to some singer/songwriter nights with me. I’ve gone from playing cover tunes at casinos in Las Vegas to being Taylor’s backup guitarist and also playing at church more,” he says.
With Sinclair Broadcast Group, he’s responsible for stations in Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin and Georgia. He’s the promotion manager of record for FOX 17, CW58 and MyTV30 in Nashville, Tennessee, and in Quincy, Illinois, for KHQA CBS/ABC. He is the regional supervisor over both of those markets plus Cape Girardeau’s FOX 23 and My49, Des Moines, Iowa’s FOX 17, Madison, Wisconsin’s FOX 47 and Savannah, Georgia’s FOX 29. In his regional capacity, he works with promotion managers on location, helping them promote the stations to achieve the best ratings.
“I really enjoy helping out the promotion managers I work with, guiding them and hopefully being a mentor to them as some of my past managers have been for me. What makes me feel successful is seeing managers that I have worked with succeed and move on to bigger markets and take their skills further. It is very satisfying, and I feel lucky to be able to guide them with some of my experiences,” Eric says.
Additionally, he writes freelance articles for Maverick Country Magazine in the United Kingdom, Collectible Guitar, Christian Musician, Worship Musician and Iluvlocalplaces, located in Cape Girardeau. His favorite genres are blues, classic rock and country.
“My articles are typically focused on new music gear releases, artist interviews, music book reviews and some album reviews. It is a true blessing to have the opportunity to write about something you personally enjoy and are passionate about and even get a little money for doing it. I also perceive it as way to continually sharpen and hone my writing skills for the next book I plan to write,” Eric says.
In addition to his other passions, he also hosts the “Rock and Review” series. The FOX 17 “Rock and Review” airs every Wednesday from 8:30-9 a.m. and then is posted to YouTube and Web video, which he says go into more depth. Archives can be accessed online at https://www.youtube.com/user/rockandreview17.
“I never would have thought in a million years that I would be having such talented musical guests on TV with me to talk about their music gear, new albums and books. I came up with the idea not long after I first moved here to Nashville and I kept pitching it to the News Department until they finally said, ‘Nobody knows enough about music gear except you, so why don’t you just do it,’” Eric says.
He says he contacts music equipment manufacturers, and they send products and information. His show also features music artists.
“We don’t use a teleprompter for my shoots, so I memorize everything and keep it very conversational for the artists. It’s really all about them, and I’m just the warmup act to introduce them,” Eric says.
His experiences have allowed him to meet Jerry Seinfeld at one of his Las Vegas comedy shows, and in Nashville, he regularly bumps into music stars at the television station.
“I also met Dog the Bounty Hunter here at the station,” Eric says. “In either market, you just never know who you’re going to run into or meet and that is pretty exciting.”
Eric graduated from Southeast with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication with an emphasis in television/film and a minor in music.
He chose Southeast because of its location and its excellent academic programs.
“After high school graduation I moved to Nashville and attended Belmont University for a semester to become a rock star. As I realized there were a lot of starving rock and country stars with four-year degrees in music city, I decided I should go into an area that had a more consistent income. Both of my parents were still living back in the area, so I transferred back to Southeast and started studying mass communication — originally with an eye toward radio until the TV bug bit me. Also, I knew that Southeast was beginning to expand their entire communications program, so the timing was perfect. My mother got her degree from Southeast and I had a number of friends attending there as well. Plus having attended there earlier, I knew I could achieve an excellent education from the University,” Eric says.
He says he enjoyed learning from his professors and applies what they taught him in his daily life, career and freelance work.
“My mass communications courses were very hands on and real-life based, thanks to Herb Taylor, Fred Wyman, Jim Dufek and Tammy Baldwin. I have applied my writing and journalism courses by writing thousands of commercials, promotional spots, press releases, TV show scripts, articles and even a book. Even my philosophy professor, Dr. Hamby, opened my young mind and helped me to view the bigger picture of life. Jerry Richardson, my college guitar professor, was inspirational to me as a musician, and I still apply many of the techniques he taught all those years ago. I’m indebted to the great instructors that I had at Southeast and the investment of time they made in me while I was a student there,” he says.
Outside of work, he dabbles in wine making, a Dahl family tradition started by Eric’s great-grandfather in Peoria, Illinois. Eric also owns a Harley Fatboy motorcycle and enjoys rides through the country when he has time.
To Southeast students, he offers this advice:
“Treat the courses at Southeast like a buffet and sample a little of everything. Everyone must declare a major when we begin college, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the degree you graduate with. I started out with a music performance degree that eventually led me through radio and on to television. I believe we are all students of life and I continually strive to learn and grow within my career, freelance work and hobbies. If you study and immerse yourself in something you are passionate about then you’re a winner no matter how much money you make at it. Don’t pursue a degree you feel obligated to. Chase the subject matters that you enjoy and excel in. There are many great professors and classes to try at the Southeast ‘buffet of knowledge,’ so don’t settle for the Brussel sprouts.
“Don’t be afraid to ask your professors in-depth questions or have conversations with them in and out of class. All of my teachers were very giving of their time and knowledge and they increased my intelligence by sharing theirs. If you are excited and want to dig deeper into a subject or project, I promise you the instructor will be thrilled to give you more. College gives you back what you personally put into it. I feel that my degree and education stacks up to others and may exceed them from the hands-on education I was able to achieve at Southeast,” Eric says.