#MediaMonday – Jeff Popovich
Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from Jeff Popovich, both a digital content producer for AZ Family and the producer of the newly launched Arizona’s Family Foodie, which aims to tell the stories of chefs, pitmasters, cooks, restaurant owners, and anyone who enjoys and is passionate about food in the Phoenix Metro area.
So, Jeff, time to share!
Tell us how you got your start in writing? Tell us your story!
I discovered my love for writing and storytelling around third grade. I was inspired by a lot of books, movies, and television shows I watched like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc. I always enjoyed the process of creating a story arc with depth, detail, and natural flow from beginning to end that leaves the reader (hopefully) satisfied or having learned something new by the end. While writing news has always been a unique and thrilling challenge that I’ve enjoyed, the content matter can be emotionally heavy or tragic sometimes, so as an empath it’s made news writing a balancing act of being able to process and disseminate both good and bad news. Albeit bearing at times, I’m proud to be able to inform people about news and events happening in their communities while striving to always find the silver lining or positive stories I believe the world needs. I’ve always loved cooking and worked in several kitchens and chain restaurants since the age of 14 for about 10 years. Now that I’m able to combine my love for food and writing as the Arizona’s Family Foodie, it has become a wonderful conduit for me to share people’s stories again and inform people of some great places with great food made by fantastic people!
Tell us how you came to start working in the Valley media scene?
Two days after graduating from Central Michigan University I interviewed and got my first industry job working at a news talk radio station in Grand Rapids, Mich. I worked several positions, including weekday reporter and weekend news anchor, but knew I wanted to break into the television news side. I eventually got that opportunity after taking a job as an assignment editor with ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, Ala. After nearly two years, I accepted an assignment desk position with ABC15 in Phoenix that also included being a digital content producer, and that’s how I found my way to the Valley.
And how did you come to this outlet?
I worked for ABC15 for about two and a half years then made the jump over to Arizona’s Family in January 2020.
Tell us about the types of story pitches you want?
Definitely anything food related! I have a lot of series I aim to get to while still being very involved in the day-to-day desk and digital operations at 3TV/CBS 5. Currently, my rooftop series is about to wrap up after two more segments, and then I plan to embark on a burger series. While the series lengths will vary, my Chef series will go on continuously. I have some lists of places ready to go for eventual series on sushi, taco, mac n cheese, and ramen/pho places, so if anyone has suggestions for places to check out with cool stories to tell, send them my way!
Favorite type of music?
Electronic Dance Music (EDM) but I tend to listen to a wide range of everything depending on the mood or vibe of the moment. I genuinely believe music is a great conduit of expression and emotion and is a great way to connect with others or enhance experiences.
Favorite TV shows or movies?
I was a cinematic studies minor, so I could go on and on for this question! To keep it simple, I have always been a huge fan of anything and everything Star Wars. Some of my favorite movies are The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Cloud Atlas, Hot Fuzz and Superbad. Some of my favorite TV shows are Breaking Bad, Avatar the last Airbender, The Mandalorian, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Rick and Morty, and WestWorld, to name a few.
Favorite local restaurants or other haunts?
Since moving here nearly four years ago, Taco Guild has been a longstanding favorite! I also frequent Moira for sushi, Little Miss BBQ, Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers, Dick’s Hideaway, O.H.S.O for their brisket sandwich or PB & J burger (trust me), Spartan Pita & Gyro, and am always checking out new restaurants I hear about or discover around the Valley. What I love about the rapidly emerging Phoenix food scene is the diversity and melting pot of flavors brought here from all over. As more people continue to move to the Phoenix metro, they bring with them their cuisines that tell their stories and their history.
Least favorite food?
I would probably say shellfish. I can manage limited amounts, but it’s definitely the food I eat the least I’d say.
What would readers be surprised to know about you?
One of the many ways I process stress, especially if it’s work-related, is through meditation. I’ve practiced meditation for about six years and have always found it to be a wonderful anchoring method to the present moment albeit life’s many distractions. I’ve also been an avid weightlifter for 15 years, I’ve studied Judo, Hapkido, and Wing Chun Kung Fu for several years, have visited 38 states, love playing video games, and going to music festivals!
Contact Email: Jeff.Popovich@azfamily.com