Just a few years ago, Robert Gibson, BA ’02, was interviewing Gryphon athletes and coaches as sports editor for Guelph’s student newspaper, the Ontarion. Today, he’s connecting with professional sports figures, executives and national sports writers as producer of Sun TV’s The CasinoRama Grill Room.
The show is hosted by Gareth Wheeler and airs weeknights at 6:30 p.m. with a different group of guests each show voicing their views on the hottest sports topics.
“It’s set in a bar, and the vibe is three or four of your buddies sitting around the bar talking sports,” says Gibson.
Guests on The Grill Room have included the likes of Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark from the Toronto Maple Leafs, the NBA’s Jalen Rose and Jamario Moon, race-car champions Alex Tagliani and Paul Tracy, as well as Paul Godfrey, former president and CEO of the Blue Jays.
“There are guys from the industry coming through our doors every day,” says Gibson. “For me, it’s a huge opportunity to get to know these guys. That’s one of the best parts of this job.”
Gibson also produces Fantasy Sports: the 411, a show geared to fans of fantasy football that airs only during the NFL football season.
For this self-proclaimed “sports geek and TV junkie,” it’s a great fit.
After graduating from U of G in 2002 with a degree in political science, Gibson enrolled at Sheridan College to study journalism. Convinced that print was where he wanted to make his mark, he found himself interested in broadcasting after being introduced to the opportunities that exist in radio and television and on the Internet.
“I gravitated toward the broadcast side because it seemed more relevant to my generation,” says Gibson, who produced his class’s weekly news webcast.
Gibson was approached by TSN before he graduated and accepted a position there when he’d completed his program requirements. Landing a job at TSN was a dream-come-true, he says. “It was the mother-load when it came to sports broadcasting.”
As an editorial assistant, he spent his days cutting highlight reels of games and digging up video footage for feature stories, operating graphics and conducting research. In 2005, he moved to Sun TV.
“I get up every day and look forward to coming to work because I’m doing something I love,” says Gibson. “I dig it because I love the medium and the content we’re dealing with. I’m really looking forward to seeing where my career leads.”
He’s also looking forward to seeing where his newest venture ─ an independent music label called Optical Sounds ─ will lead.
After moving to Toronto, Gibson met a lot of musicians and was introduced to the city’s thriving underground music scene. “I was amazed by the amount of really good music that no one knows about,” he says. Wanting to make others aware of the talent he was witnessing, he took a leap and decided he’d start managing bands and helping them to sell their music. The Hoa Hoa’s and the Disraelis were the first two bands to sign with his label.
“It’s a do-it-yourself age,” he says. “The dream of signing with a record label isn’t really how it goes anymore because of the growth of digital music, the Internet and file-sharing. I wanted to create a platform for these amazing artists to get their music out there.”