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After Rebecca Schulte worked her way up the ladder in Fox Sports’ marketing department, she told her bosses that since the promotions she had been producing were the equivalent of mini-programs, she wanted a crack at being a producer on an actual show. “I had really terrific bosses there, and they gave me a shot on The Best Damn Sports Show Period,” Schulte says.
Now the senior VP and general manager of Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Schulte says each step along that path was crucial to her current success. “The only reason I have this job now is that I did all those things along the way,” she says. “It’s good for a general manager to have multiple disciplines.”
Of course, once she earned the spot in the boss’ chair, she had to learn to shift her focus. “It was an adjustment,” she says. “For a type A, detail-oriented person, you have to learn to pull yourself out of the weeds and look at the big picture.”
And it remains tempting to plunge back in headfirst. “For my staff, it’s a great thing and a horrible thing that I have all this promotional and production experience,” Schulte says. “Last week, someone asked me to look at a promotion and I said, ‘Really, are you sure you want me to?’ I don’t want to do drive-by work on their projects.”
These days, Schulte is too busy to really indulge in such hands-on fun. Over the last two years, she has overseen a studio upgrade that was part of a full-scale switch to high-definition and launched two Websites, CSNwashington.com and CSNbaltimore.com, while also expanding the network’s presence in social media and on mobile outlets. “It’s like running two businesses,” she says of juggling the network and the online operations, adding that she is now just as likely to be looking over blog content as video production. “There are some bridges, but there is different talent, different sales staff.”
Schulte, who also helped map out a new relationship making CSN “the official cable network of the Baltimore Ravens” (to complement its relationship with the Washington Redskins) says that as a woman she has encountered some “skeptical good ol’ boys” in sports but that in the television industry she has always been judged only on her work, not her gender.
“I never felt I had to break new ground for women,” she says.
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