It is no secret that I am a huge – HUGE – fan of sports. (Go Irish! Go Cards! Go Suns…once you get a new owner!)
And while I am neither a huge fan of orange nor red, there is a ginger-haired radio personality who I honestly think is the next big thing in Arizona sports broadcasting: Jody Oehler.
Jody joined long-time Arizona Cardinals insider Mike Jurecki and FOX Sports 910 producer extraordinaire Mike Bauer on The Drive with Jody, MJ and Bauer – a 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekday sports radio talk show – in 2013. He came from Tucson, where he hosted a popular radio program on ESPN Tucson and even tried his hand at TV sports reporting at KGUN-TV.
Since The Drive debuted three years ago this summer, the team has found so much success, in fact, that they have been asked to serve as fill-in hosts for nationally syndicated talk shows including The Dan Patrick Show and The Rich Eisen Show, among others.
Today’s Media Monday is all about Jody – so you can say you knew him when.
Jody, what do you want to tell the blogosphere about yourself today?
For most sports fans, where they are from can tell you a lot about their actual sports fandom. For me, the answer is a bit complicated.
I was born in northern California, and my earliest sports memories were with the Bay Area sports teams, and I immediately became a fan. Then, we moved to southeastern Pennsylvania where I grew up and I was introduced to the East Coast sports culture, but never switched my actual allegiances. All along, I was a fan of Arizona sports teams because my parents were both native Phoenicians, and that’s where all of our family vacations took place.
So when people ask where I’m from, it’s a five-minute conversation. It’s also probably where I developed my contrarian nature. You try being a California kid with the desert coursing through your veins while growing up in Amish country and see how you turn out.
I decided to try sports radio in college at the University of Arizona. I had red hair, a girl’s name and an oddly deep voice – so radio made a lot of sense to me. My buddies and I did our own show, and I knew I had found my passion. College is funny that way; I’m still paying for the classes I took that were only a means to find that what I really wanted to do had nothing to do with what was being taught inside.
After college, I spent a few years doing part time on-air sports radio work, and by 23 was fortunate enough to land my own show in Tucson. Over the course of eight years, I was fortunate enough to be able to develop my own style, learn from my many mistakes and all the while keep enough people listening to keep my job. I tried to maximize every opportunity that was presented – from doing sports on the local ABC affiliate to filling in on the morning lifestyle TV show to being the stadium announcer for University of Arizona football for six seasons. I was twice named one of the “Top 25 Sports Talk Show Hosts” in the country according to Radio Inc. Magazine, but was sadly left out of any Redhead Quarterly lists. J
In 2013, I hired as the host of The Drive on Fox Sports 910 Phoenix to work alongside Mike Jurecki and Mike Bauer.
It was a dream come true.
Arizona sports had always been a huge part of my life. I was at the 1987 Rose Bowl with my family (my dad and oldest brother are ASU alums); attended Phoenix Suns playoff games with my grandpa who was a season ticket holder; listened to and watched every second of UA’s 1997 college basketball national championship; and camped out to buy tickets for game seven of the 2001 World Series where my two brothers and I watched history. Having the opportunity to work in the same city where so much of my family history is – it’s something I truly value.
As far as the show, we have fun and talk sports in that order. We’ll debate and discuss all the local sports angles with the kind of unfiltered honesty that’s perhaps missing from many other versions of sports talk…and then we’ll countdown the Top Five Best ‘90s songs – or make some other odd list – on our popular #Top5Thurs segment. Or, we’ll argue about the biggest sports stories of the day during our “Top 3 at 3:30” segment…and then we’ll spend time taking phone calls on whether a man should use bar soap or body wash.
It’s not easy being asked to work with two relative strangers in radio and make the show work, but over the past three years because of the professionalism, talent and patience of MJ and Bauer, we’ve had some great times and significant successes.
Connecting with people has become a huge part of being a sports talk show host. I love the direct interaction of Twitter (connect with me @radiojody) and use Facebook, Instagram plus the streaming video of Periscope and Facebook Live to connect with our audience.
And as for me, I’ve been married to my amazing wife for two years, and we are expecting our first child this August, right before football season! I still love playing sports like basketball, softball and golf. I stay active by running, hiking and taking walks around the neighborhood. We love and live in Gilbert. Other than sports, I’m most passionate about Bruce Springsteen, Seinfeld and the band The National.
Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope to connect with some of you down the road!