Some people dream about being in the spotlight and hosting their own shows, but sometimes it seems impossible to accomplish that dream. One of Fairfield’s own has achieved his dream—multiple times, in fact—and is now a finalist in a competition that could potentially allow him to host television in Connecticut for a year.
Steve Bottari, a senior majoring in Politics and Communication, is one of nine finalists in the MyTV9 Star competition run by MyTV9, an affiliate of MyNetworkTV which is a television service based in Connecticut.
The winner will get to represent MyTV9 for one year as a spokesperson at events, contests, and promotions.
Bottari didn’t always want to be on television. He initially hoped to become an attorney involved in politics. “Then, a funny thing happened on the way to law school,” Bottari said. He soon discovered the Media Center which housed the HAM Channel’s studio, and he knew he was in the right place the second week of his freshman year.
Bottari stated he owes Fairfield for its faculty and staff who “are really focused on helping [students] turn goals into reality.” He said, “I can assure you that I would not be in this Top 9 today were it not for the world-class communication professors and talented Media Center staff that we’re lucky enough to have.”
THE AUDITION PROCESS
Bottari came across MyTV9 by coincidence. His friend Christina Hill ’11 had seen a commercial about the competition and told him about it.
During the time of the first audition, he was on his way to Chicago. He stopped by the audition site expecting a short wait, but he ended up waiting for hours. Bottari then got in his audition and raced to Boston to catch his next flight. Luckily, the flight was delayed for two hours.
Bottari said he was grateful that he had gotten a chance to meet with the judges. The competition is a crucial step for him as a journalist.
“For me, I love hosting. If you told me that I would have to get up every day and go to work in television, I would thank you. And I hope that everybody finds that thing in their own life,” Bottari said.
The 29 finalists were narrowed down to nine. To win, they must compete in more challenges and go through other audition processes. Once the winner is picked, they will all gather at an undisclosed area to learn the results.
Bottari hopes that journalism continues to focus on the important issues. “I know when I am talking to people about journalism, there seems to be a general consensus most people have, which is that often times we get caught up in stories and hyper focus on them when there is so much going on,” he said. He gave the example of Prince William and his engagement to Kate Middleton.
“With two wars, trying to rebuild an economy and a whole host of other important issues that affect our day-to-day lives, should all the major media really be focusing all these resources on seeing William and Kate tie the knot?” he asked.
Bottari also stressed the entertainment side of journalists and the personality that they take on. He said, “I hope that my personality is fun and engaging, otherwise my TV career is going to be pretty short-lived.”
Dr. Margaret Wills, who is the chair of and an associate professor in the Communications Department, knew Bottari from her Capstone Research Methods class, and she said of Bottari: “It’s very clear that he doesn’t just envision himself as a ‘one day I’ll be a professional.’ He is already a professional who takes his career seriously. He is already doing the things that most students think about doing ‘one day.’”
Hill agrees with Wills and said, “With Steve, it’s very much what you see is what you get. When you watch him on camera, Steve talks with the same ease and comfort he has as if he were talking to a friend over lunch.”
She also considers him “versatile,” “incredibly tech-savvy” and effective at “engaging people beyond his on-air segments.”
Bottari hopes to pursue a career in television. He is currently a host for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena. He also hosted at Canobie Lake Park, a New England Amusement Park.
As for TV, Bottari serves as HAM channel’s president. He has also reported for 15 shows while covering topics ranging from health care and the Georgia-Russia conflict to Zac Efron and everything in between.
Bottari was recently awarded two major national television awards for a documentary he produced. He also has experience with ABC News’s Nightline and Story Worldwide, which is the world’s leading post-advertising agency.
The soon-to-be graduate has been admitted to the Columbia School of Journalism, which he described as an honor. He has yet to decide whether he will attend.
In the end, Bottari hopes to have a career which makes him eager to start each morning, but also noted that a career could take time to find.
“College is the perfect time for finding that; finding out what it is that you truly love to do and that fulfills you in an indescribable way,” Bottari said. “Whether it be a certain profession, being a parent or fly fishing–whatever it is–just find that one thing, hold onto it for dear life and never let go.”
The winner of the MyTV9 Star competition will be announced on April 22.