Driven By Podcast

41. “I Have To Start Here?” with Geoff Calkins

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My guest this week is Geoff Calkins.

This episode is a fun and valuable conversation where we cover:

Discovering his love for stories while battling leukemia as a kid
What it took for a major career change: Leaving the law firm then ending up in Anniston, Alabama
What sports can do for a city
How he learned to write
Finding your voice
And more!

After starting his career as a lawyer in Washington DC, Geoff made a major career change, attending Columbia’s School of Journalism. Geoff’s first job led him to Anniston, Alabama, then to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and finally, Geoff came to Memphis, TN, in 1996 as the sports Columnist for the Commercial Appeal. Geoff now is the lead columnist for the Daily Memphian and also hosts the Geoff Calkins Show. Geoff’s been named the best sports columnist in the country five times by Associated Press sports editors, and he’s also received many more awards.

Please enjoy this week’s episode with Geoff Calkins!


1:40 I had a much harder edge when younger

2:18 You don’t have to wake up and destroy someone everyday

2:36 I’m best suited to celebrate life where I can

2:52 People in Memphis need more lifting up than crushing

3:02 Mitch Albom- transcendent life lessons

4:00 What you learn child 8 of 9 being flexible

4:25 I pursue stories I write as aggressively as needed

4:40 I have a chip on my shoulder about the city of Memphis

5:00 Cities dismissed by people that live there

6:00 Evolution of Memphis sports

6:25 Why did you move to Memphis?

7:15 Fred Smith

7:57 I’ve been lucky to be around for so many things to write about

9:30 What sports can do for a city

10:53 Leukemia as a kid and everyone died at that time

12:50 Poodle tails

15:12 That was the expectation

15:14 I never worried about money

16:00 We were all trying to prove ourselves all the time

16:40 It’s hard to figure out what you want to do with your life

18:00 I didn’t know if it was going to work

18:15 As it was unfolding it was messy

18:57 Harvard builds a cushion

22:39 You’re better at what you like

23:09 I like people’s stories

23:57 I like being in the spotlight

28:15 Baseball players mooing

29:53 The changes of journalism

31:30 Everyone finds their own voice

32:28 Some of it feels forced

34:10 Stealing people’s ideas

35:50 How data drives stories

36:38 Stories changed with Covid

39:04 The odds of daily memphian making it

41:18 Raising the bar

42:00 Consequences of a roll up

47:15 The world is not waiting on me to get here

50:10 at the end of the day your judged on your clips

56:51 Before you have kids

58:00 side hustles

1:05:38 I have some insecurity of my work

1:09:00 The stories I want to write