If I Was Running A Company…Pop Culture HR Award #8

For the next recipient, this person resembles what HR should do in the first half of 2010…The Candidate Pipeline.  Although the person has recently passed away, the person has left a legacy for future co-workers the person helped shaped.  I give to you the eight recipient of the Pop Culture HR Award:


Let me say first that I have met George Michael in person.  If you watch the George Michael Sports Machine and seen the local news casts in DC, you know he is loud and brass.  That is what you get when you meet him off camera.  Also, you also get a perfectionist whose tone is only for the faint of heart.

The last part makes what George Michael a broadcasting legend.  Yes, George wanted to be notice, but he wanted to maximize your potential and bring out the best out of you.  George realize he couldn’t outwit Glenn Brenner, who was the sports anchor for Channel 9 in DC until he passed away in 1991, so he asked NBC to get satellites to get footage from other areas no other local area newscast showed.  This leads to the groundbreaking George Michael Sports Machine, which was a first of its kind to show highlights from all over the U.S.  Although the set look cheesy and the highlights zoomed to see the Sports Machine logo, the show (and himself) help influence a generation in broadcasting.

For The Sports Machine, it indirectly made ESPN to what it is today.  George was a very eclectic guy and loves the main sports like football, baseball, and basketball.  However, with the Sports Machine, he made niche sports like hockey, NASCAR, Pro Wrestling, and rodeo into the sports fans’ conscience.  ESPN took that model to buy up the coverages of leagues to show it on their networks.  The Sports Machine helped made ESPN, but on the flip side, it started its downfall.

For George Michael, he had a keen eye for talent.  George wanted people to have personality and say anything on their mind, including telling him he was a homer.  With George’s unique vision of talent, he discovered a variety of people from Rick “Doc” Walker, Tony Kornheiser, Michael Wilbon, Lindsay Czarniak, John Riggins, David DuPree, David Aldridge, and Sonny Jurgensen (albeit he started on Channel 9).

Imagine a world without George Michael: there would be no ESPN (although it could be said George and Glenn spawned ESPN); no Tony Kornheiser Show; no Pardon the Interruption; no quick debates; no TV deals from hockey, pro wrestling, NASCAR, and PBR; and no best local newscast in the United States with the NBC4 crew of Jim Vance, Doreen Gentzler, and Bob Ryan.

Here’s what candidate pipelines do: setup an organization to continue success for an uncertain amount of time.  George Michael created a pipeline that is lasting a generation and still continuing.  If you see an anchor trying to make a witty comment or hear a panel yelling at your TV or the many highlights, think about who started it all…George.

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