Find Your Passion: A Sports-Minded Entrepreneur
By Bill Gerdes; Photos by Zach Riggins
It may be hard to imagine most 19-year-olds as veterans of their chosen profession, but not when you meet Matt Wilson.
Wilson is the vice president for production for HSTV Southeast, which televises high school football, basketball and other sporting events throughout the area.
He already has produced the past two Alabama High School Athletic Association Football Super Six championship football game playoffs, as well as the AHSAA final four basketball playoffs. Add to those accomplishments the production of last fall’s televised football game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida State Seminoles in Jacksonville, Fla., and a number of other regional sporting events.
You’re probably asking how a sophomore at The University of Alabama finds time to attend class and do all that.
“iPhone and e-mail,” Wilson says. “Without e-mail, what I do would not be possible.”
Wilson, of Jacksonville, Ala., is majoring in pre-business and pursuing a minor in telecommunication and film. He plans to focus on entrepreneurship – no surprise considering he co-founded his own company while in high school.
He said he became interested in television and event production when he visited the studios of WJSX television in Jacksonville with his father. His dad, a postal employee, was being interviewed on the station’s morning show about a charity event in which his father was involved.
“I started working at the television station when I was 13,” he says, working there until he graduated from high school. “I ran cameras, wrote copy and, at 16, I directed the 5 p.m. news.”
He became, he says, “Captivated by it. My parents said I was unbearable.
“It is amazing what the news media can do,” he says. “Television has such control of peoples’ lives.”
His immediate goal is to create his own production company and sell the productions.
“You sell the event, rent the production trucks, hire the crew, produce the event,” Wilson says.
Of course, it is not that simple. It also means coordinating the activities of 25 or more crew members: camera operators, electricians, sound personnel, the technical crew, on-air personalities, lighting and making sure the film of the talking heads matches the sound.
In the fall, Wilson does Thursday and Friday night high school football games and on Saturday moves to the Southeastern Conference games.
“Unless you love, unless you have a passion for it, you wouldn’t do it,” Wilson says. “My grandfather was a textile worker for 55 years; never late for work, never missed a day of work. Hard work runs in my family. That’s what I believe in.”
One of Wilson’s role models is Joe Gibbs, entrepreneur, a native of Oneonta and a graduate of UA’s Culverhouse School of Accountancy. In 1990, Gibbs co-founded the Golf Channel, which is now a part of Comcast Corp.
“I would like to build a company like the Golf Channel,” Wilson says, “then sell it, form my own team and work for the company.”
He’s already chosen a name. Look for Wilson Media Team.
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This story is part of the Find Your Passion series. To learn more about how you can find your passion at The University of Alabama, please visit UA Undergraduate Admissions.