In the three years since Mark Concannon left the FOX 6 "Wakeup" morning show, the reporter, producer and writer has kept himself busy. In addition to launching his own video production company, the Philadelphia native but longtime Milwaukee resident has freelanced for OnMilwaukee.com and other publications, but perhaps most visibility, has served as a sideline reporter for Milwaukee Brewers TV games.
Now that he’s not waking up at 2 a.m. anymore, we sat down with Concannon – during normal business hours – to talk about the transition from morning TV to his new career as a communications jack-of-all-trades.
Enjoy this latest Milwaukee Talks.
OnMilwaukee.com: A lot has happened since you departed the FOX6 morning show. It seems like yesterday, but when was it?
Mark Concannon: March of 2010. Three years plus.
OMC: You look more well rested these days.
MC: Well, there have been some different professional activities and challenges there, but definitely not missing the 2 a.m. alarms. I still get up a little earlier than most people, probably around 5 or 5:30. But certainly I’ve adjusted.
OMC: You started out in sports, and now you’re doing it again. Tell me about how that happened.
MC: I started here in 1987 as the weekend sports anchor, and then to "Wakeup" in 1990, when it started. Even when I was on "Wakeup" as a news anchor, sports was always part of the conversation in this market. I would always be the guy in the morning who would handle these sports stories.
After leaving Channel 6, I talked to a lot of different people in the community, and one of those people was Rick Schlesinger from the Brewers. There was an opportunity in June of 2010 for some substitute work, and Rick connected with Fox Sports. I did a couple of games with them and really loved it. Being part of a live event is really tremendous. It just clicked.
OMC: Was it a natural transition for you? You already knew something about the Brewers.
MC: When you’re involved with a live broadcast, you really have to have a depth of knowledge and get deeply into what’s going on with the players and coaches and managers. The beauty of it is that it’s live TV without a script or teleprompter. I love that.
OMC: You’ve traveled with the team and really embedded yourself with the broadcast. What’s that like, as a team partner, but also as a reporter?
MC: Being part of the team broadcast crew is definitely different than being a beat writer or a sportscaster. It’s a different relationship, but it’s great to be with these guys every day. There’s so much programming; pre-game, game and post-game. You have all that time that you’re not going to find in a two-minute sportscast.
OMC: How many games are you doing this season?
MC: I did a bunch of games in April, because that’s the Bucks-Brewers overlap, and it’s all hands on deck. Probably in the neighborhood of 30 and 35.
OMC: But this isn’t all you’re doing, right?
MC: I own a video company, Concannon Communications, and we produce videos for businesses and individuals. That’s a focus of a lot of my time, cultivating relationships with clients. We’ve had a lot of success producing very high quality work at affordable rates. We pass our low overhead on to our clients.
It’s neat to get some businesses doing video who didn’t think they could afford it. We have some higher profile clients, like Brunswick Billiards, the University of Iowa and Andretti Motorsports. It’s a nice mix. I’ve also written for M Magazine. It’s all part of my continuing education. It’s been neat to broaden my horizons.
OMC: Three years ago, 10 years ago, did you possibly envision your career heading in this direction?
MC: Certainly not 10 years ago, but it’s an ever-changing landscape out there. There have been so many opportunities for me in the last three years, that it has been very gratifying.
OMC: And you’ve been able to mix and match all of your skills into this new career.
MC: I’m a storyteller at the end of the day. I’ve always loved that part of it. It’s who I am, and I’ve developed a way of doing that over the years, and by sheer experience, I’ve gotten pretty good at it.
OMC: A lot of former TV people in Milwaukee have told me that years after they were last on the air, people still come up to them and think they’re still on television. Does that happen to you?
MC: Sure. I was there 23 years, and it’s really cool. The morning show has a very personal audience that feels like they really know you. A number of people told me they’ve grown up watching me. Does that make me feel old? No, it makes me feel privileged. If I’ve been part of this community that I love, that’s just an honor. I love this town, it’s my home.
OMC: To that point, you didn’t move to another TV market after FOX6.
MC: I don’t want to live anywhere else. This is the perfect place. My wife and I love it here.
OMC: But you’re not originally from Milwaukee, right?
MC: No, I’m from Philadelphia. This was my sixth stop in my TV tour. We had a pretty good feeling that we’d like it, and we really fell in love with it. We had a couple of interviews in other markets during my long run at Channel 6, and even when I was talking to these stations, I was already missing Milwaukee. I couldn’t imagine living.
OMC: Does that resonate with you fans, who now watch you on Brewers games?
MC: Sure. It’s kind of cool now to have a different audience. When you work with those folks on the telecast, these guys are so accomplished at what they do. Folks behind the camera, folks behind the camera. You feel that extra bit of inspiration to bring your "A game."
OMC: If anything, even more people watch you now.
MC: It’s a statewide audience. It’s a challenge for them to almost all the games for the Brewers and the Bucks. I’ve done a few Bucks games, too.
OMC: What’s happening in your non-work life?
MC: I love the written word, and I’m a huge reader. It’s a different schedule, not going to work in a brick-and-mortar headquarters every day. The hours are fluid and you have to be very flexible and be able to say yes on days off you have planned. Also, we enjoy Milwaukee culturally. We check out bands and stuff like that.
OMC: Is this what you’ll keep doing?
MC: I’d like to see this through moving forward. In this business, you never know. But for right now, I’d have to say yes.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.