Mumbleshed Moments: Chuck Barrett Says Sometimes You Gotta 'Grind It Out'

by Mike Dunaway  on Monday, Jan. 25, 2010 12:00 am  

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“The Hogs are going to Omaha!”

“Touchdown Arkansas!”

Every Razorback fan is on high alert when listening to Chuck Barrett call the Razorback football and baseball games. His voice ushers in the fall colors of Reynolds Razorback Stadium and the spring winds at beautiful Baum Stadium.

Recently, I sat down with Chuck, and he explained his formula for success and staying out of “The Mumbleshed.”

Barrett: In what I do, you just kind of scuff around for a while and if you are good enough, you might get an opportunity to do something important. If not, you generally just fade away and find something else to do.

I was in my late 20s, early 30s, around 1993-95. I did Razorback baseball games for a couple of years with some level of confidence, but this was not a steady job with a consistent income. It was before I started doing “Sports Wrap” [a drive-time talk-radio show]. I was at one of those moments where I was questioning whether broadcasting was going to be my career or not. Do I go back to school or find a real job? There was a real anxiousness to do something right now.

I made a decision in 1994 to apply for the [football] pregame show for ARSN, which I landed. The first time on air was surely going to be my last. When I saw Joe Ferguson, who was a legitimate hero of mine growing up in Arkansas, I thought to myself, “Man, you are out of your league.” To make matters more intense, my producer was as nervous as I was and let our two-minute segment go nine minutes over. It was a disaster.

The bottom line was, it was a terrible show, and I went back to the hotel knowing I would be fired on Monday.

In retrospect, our segment was not as bad as I thought it was, but at the time I thought I had blown it. On top of that mindset, I got a phone call in my room two hours later saying they had not been able to get the radio equipment on the truck back from Dallas. I had to carry about 200 pounds of radio equipment the next day, which maxed out my only credit card just to get back home.

Not only was I struggling to pay the bills, I just seemed to be struggling with everything.

It was during this time when I learned to appreciate how important it is to grind it out every day even if you can’t get any sense at all that progress is being made.

During that period, I was kind of in a panic mode, because all I had ever done was broadcasting. To this day, it’s all I know how to do. By taking a step-by-step, grind-it-out approach, it definitely helped me achieve my goals.

I was thinking about your “Mumbleshed” concept. For me, I know that I’m a day or two away from being right back in that crowded shed. The fear of being right back in the “Mumbleshed” is a great motivator because I know how easy it is to return to uncertainty and unemployment.

Mumbleshed Man: What you said about your day-to-day recipe to get up, do your business and even though it doesn’t seem like you’re advancing your cause, you are. That life-experience statement should be on every desktop in America.

One thing I do like about sports and have been fortunate to observe almost every day is that sometimes teams, players and coaches just lose it. There are no quick fixes. You don’t wake up one day and the theme from “Rocky” is playing and you’re rearing to go. There are no shortcuts, at least that’s how it has been for me.

Would you agree that the importance of working hard every day mixed with a little fear is a solid formula for staying out of “The Mumbleshed” and becoming a success?

That pretty much sums it up.

Mike Dunaway’s “Mumbleshed Moments” appears monthly at Visit Dunaway’s Web site at or e-mail:




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