Communication alum, Jarrett Frazier, graduated in May 2012 and kick-started his career with a job for NBC, covering the summer Olympic games in London. Frazier, who concentrated in broadcasting and journalism with a minor in leadership, is now the Director of System Engineering and Reliability for NBC’s direct to consumer division. Comcast will be launching a streaming service in April 2020, called Peacock. Frazier and his team will be responsible for monitoring, managing and trouble-shooting the Stamford Digital Network Operations Center (DNOC) that is monitoring the Peacock app 24/7.
Tell us a little about your new project and where you see the future in the broadcasting industry?
I see the Peacock App as more than just a single project. From my perspective I see it as the very future of the broadcasting industry with more access to content and the latest entry in the increasing OTT market. It’s exciting to be involved in a new endeavor of this magnitude and involved in the new technologies for broadcasting.
The summer you graduated you got a job for NBC covering the Summer Olympic games in London. That is pretty good start of a career. Can you tell us a bit about that start and some other career highlights so far?
Since being with NBC I’ve been to four Olympics, London, Sochi, Rio and South Korea. I spent a summer in Russia covering the FIFA Confederations cup and a week in Italy visiting formula one racing. Every trip has been a building block of skills, intercultural knowledge, contacts and experiences to get to where I am today. I truly feel that my current role has been a highlight as I have been able to design and build an operations center from conception to operation.
Reflecting on your transition from college to your career, how did some of the projects, knowledge of programs and/or portfolio pieces help during this time?
This actually just came full circle with my new job in digital. My senior year I had the opportunity to work on the team that live-streamed Chancellor Belchers inauguration ceremony. Having that experience has helped because now when I am trying to communicate with a co-worker on a location site, if you don’t know how things operate at that site, it’s a completely different mindset to even try and grasp. So, by having those boots on the ground, through my time at WCU and other career opportunities, it has aided in communication and the foundation to my career today.
What is the most important principle or skill you learned while in the Communication department?
Knowing how to wrap a video cable. The final exam in my TV Production class was to just properly wrap a video cable. It seems so trivial but simple skills like this show immediately show experience and proper care of equipment. This skill still has value because people in the industry care about the little things like this and while simple, it represents a larger mindset of care and appreciation when handling gear properly.
Was there any knowledge you obtained in class that was useful to you?
Learning intercultural communication was extremely valuable. Starting out doing international jobs and already knowing non-verbal communication and other cultural norms was extremely useful. Having the skillset of intercultural knowledge, is beneficial and has proven helpful dealing with the challenges of foreign travel. It continues to be beneficial when visiting countries and working with members from different languages.I wish I knew more languages than just English, but I can’t say I’ll never learn another one. With my southern accent, I doubt I’ll ever be perfectly fluent, but some would believe the South is another language in its own.
Where did you complete your internship? What was the most important thing you learned from this experience?
I did photography for WNC Asheville. It was a good experience because it told me I didn’t want to do that type of photography again. It was, also, a good learning experience that allowed me build upon my photography skills. I thankfully have never needed a photo of a wine bottle since, but I gained a new appreciation for the hard work for the little things that go into a publication.
How would you characterize the impact of the WCU Communication department on your career?
I could not be where I am now without the groundwork that was laid at WCU. My experiences with my professors and collaborating with my classmates gave me motivation to push myself and make connections and build my career. My family is not from a broadcasting background, so I made the most of my connections with professors and professionals at WCU to network with members in the broadcasting industry. Building that network is what gave me the opportunity to build a career. Every class, every project, every assignment has been building blocks to get to my current position.
Thinking back about your time as a WCU Communication major, what is your favorite memory?
My senior year, I got to be in the first class that produced the football game for the video board. Directing the App State v. WCU football game was my favorite memory. My team held competitions on who could wrap a video cable the fastest. This made us better prepared for the production but also made us better professionals. Going from the coin-toss to the side-line, you have to be quick and if you don’t even try to practice it, there is no way you will succeed during the production. It’s those little things that made the difference. I could not be where I am today without that same level or practice and preparation to every production and project I’m involved in.
What would you tell a prospective student wanting to major in Communication at WCU?
Don’t wait for the professors to assign projects and tell you what to do. If you have an idea and a passion then there are more than likely organizations and professors that will help you either do what you enjoy, of help you find it. Like my internship that didn’t go well, it was an opportunity and at WCU there are several opportunities to discover what you are good at and what can make you happy.
At the end your connection to the Communication department and WCU goes beyond the classrooms and the learning. You met your partner and spouse and also Communication Public Relations alumna, Lauren Gray. You are expecting a baby this spring. Excited for the new adventures as a family?
I could not be more excited for the upcoming addition to our family. Our first date was over 8 years ago and Lauren has been with me through every stage of my career and I could not be more grateful for her sacrifices to allow me to do the things I have. Working multiple Olympic games sounds exciting, but each meant multiple weeks and some months apart and she has been supportive of me all the way. I have no doubt with our new bundle of joy on the way there are going to be countless adventures to come.