Media & Communication Department
Career of the Month
The Department is proud to feature monthly profiles of Media & Communication Department Alums, describing their individual career paths and sharing tips with students on how to plan for their own future careers. Profiles focus on the wide range of careers that our liberal arts oriented program has helped to launch.
This month, the spotlight is on Brian Teta '98.
Brian Teta ‘98
Every winter, the American sport that makes the most money—football—has its championship—The Super Bowl. Every year, Muhlenberg Alumnus, Brian Teta, makes the trip to the big game. Not as a fan, but for work. He’s not a reporter or a broadcaster. Teta is a producer for the Late Show with David Letterman. He is sent as a wooer. His job is to bring the winning team’s quarterback to New York City to appear on Letterman the next day.
The process begins in January as the playoff field begins to take shape. Teta will contact the agents of the quarterbacks to set things in motion. But he will be at the game to approach the winning QB himself in the midst of the celebration and convince him to fly back to New York.
This year was no different for Teta, who flew to Texas to see the Green Bay Packers take on the Pittsburg Steelers. The feeling of being at football’s biggest game never gets old. “When you walk up the tunnel and walk out on the field, I get a rush every single time. Holy cow! Look at what I’m doing.”
Teta got his start in the broadcast industry during his Muhlenberg years. He held three internships, one each with Montel, Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee, and The Late Show with David Letterman. Internships, he says, are the best preparation for getting into any industry.
His Muhlenberg experience can be summed up as the, “Best four years of my life—The formative years of who I am and my career.” The Muhlenberg Media and Communication Department was a big part of that.
“Muhlenberg gave me the basis for understanding the terms and the language of the field.” Teta says he left Allentown with the necessary skills to get into production. He felt he was on par with students from larger institutions with more visible communication programs. Besides, much of the production training happens on the job.
While at Muhlenberg, Teta was a sports editor, entertainment editor and associate editor of the Muhlenberg Weekly. He also hosted a weekly radio show on WMUH. His experience with the Weekly, Teta says, was an approximation of how it is running a television show.
Teta left Muhlenberg attempting to break into a very difficult field. He admits it takes a bit of luck. He started out for two months as a journalist. Then Teta worked as a producer for Montel, Ricki Lake, and Judge Hatchett for five years total. During these five years, he worked 80 hour weeks and would go two months with no days off and no weekends.
After five grueling years, Teta’s dream was realized—to produce late night television, specifically with Letterman. “I have the exact job I wanted when I was 16 years old.” Not many people can say that.
He was hired as a talent coordinator, responsible for booking guests. A month into the job, Teta was on a plane to Athens for the Olympics. He was supposed to bring back one gold medal winner for each show over the next two weeks. Staying in an old cruise ship with a small porthole half covered by water, Teta got the job done.
Teta moved on to become a segment producer, responsible for one or two segments a week. A major part of his job is conducting interviews with the guests to figure out what Letterman will talk to them about. Now, Teta is responsible for one guest a day and is very involved with planning the show. One of the perks of working on the show, he says, is getting to act, too. Teta has appeared in over thirty segments including being one of Cher’s biggest fans. “It’s a job that will never get boring because each day is different,” says Teta.
Teta says that anyone who’s interested in a career in production or broadcast must show perseverance. “Look to work hard and be ambitious. Don’t be concerned about when you’ll go home or when your vacation will be.” The hours are long and demanding.
Since he left Muhlenberg, Teta found his dream job. But he remembers his time in Allentown fondly. “I became the person I am because of Muhlenberg. I desperately miss it.”