The first time I met Tim Parochka was during college. He was refereeing one of my intramural basketball games.
With about six minutes to go in the second half, I stole the ball from an unsuspecting point guard and raced the other way to go in for a dunk. As I took my last dribble and elevated, a member of the opposing team caught me from behind and reached for the ball, in the process hacking my arm and taking the ball away.
The next second passed, and no whistle came.
Instead, the opposing player took the ball and retreated the other way.
“What the fuck, Tim!” I yelled halfway across the gym, but he luckily didn’t hear me, or else I surely would have been slapped with a technical foul, and a lecture from one of the intramural managers regarding my profane language.
That was five years ago. A lot has changed since then. Some things have bounced my way, and other parts of my life haven’t gone to plan.
Such is life.
The same can be said for my friend Tim Parochka, who like me has spent his time post-graduation trying to be a somebody.
We sat down recently on a chilly April morning to discuss his career in radio broadcasting and podcasts. Like everyone I’ve ever interviewed, there’s a story behind what drives to Tim to be successful in a such a cutthroat industry.
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“I don’t remember, Tim,” I say as my teeth chatter next to Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “What did you go to school for?”
“I originally went to school without an idea of what I wanted to do,” Tim admits, crossing his fingers as his story is about to unfold. “I went for a sociology degree because I was good at it, but I didn’t know what I was doing because it was a bunch of bull.”
“And then I switched degrees halfway through college and graduated as a mass communications major with an emphasis in radio broadcasting.”
“What got you into radio?” I ask.
“I always had a passion for it when I was younger. I used to listen to KFAN in the car, to guys like PA and Dubay, The Common Man, Dan Barreiro. That’s what started it, and then when I was looking at colleges, I learned St. Cloud State had a great radio program, so I dived right in.”
After graduating from St. Cloud State in 2014, Tim took a job as a sales associate at Town Square Media, a local radio station in St. Cloud. The salary and hours were awful, but Tim saw this as an opportunity.
He quickly approached his bosses about giving him a slot to do his own radio show so he could begin building a brand.
On three different occasions, they refused, even though Tim was willing to host the show for free.
Still, Tim’s dogged determination would shine through.
“I went to a radio station in Pelican Rapids and interviewed,” he says, going on to explain how even though he had no interest in the job after learning what it entailed, he still went back to Town Square with a new proposal.
“I told them [Town Square], I’m going to take this job in Pelican Rapids if I don’t get the radio show that I want, and am willing to do, for free,” Tim recalls.
A day later, Tim was given a Saturday morning slot to host his own radio show.
This gave him the opportunity to explore his passion:
Over time, Tim built up enough contacts and sent out enough emails, and soon famous athletes, broadcasters, and radio personalities from around the country were calling in to his radio show to be interviewed.
Names like Paul Allen, Kevin Harlan, Ernie Johnson, Torii Hunter, and Chuck Knoblauch were all guests on his 9-10 A.M. slot each week.
“I just went after it,” Tim says of what prompted him to seek out interviews with such popular names.
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“Young people are looked at like they don’t know what they’re doing,” Tim says.
His sentiment reminds me of a lesson I learned from a buddy last year: just because someone is OLDER than you doesn’t meant you should assume that they KNOW more than you.
Creative differences and a lack of shared passion for Tim’s goals ultimately left him looking to move on from Town Square Media. Tim scanned the internet and filled out dozens of applications, until eventually he found a company that would send him on an entirely different adventure.
“I got a job offer at Sirius XM to be a producer for their PGA Tour radio show,” he shares.
Tim immediately wanted the job, even though doing so meant he had to move out to Washington, D.C.
He accepted the offer, and consequently the new adversities that would soon hit.
“I took it as the same challenge I had with Town Square Media. I had to prove myself and earn my stripes,” he says.
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