CBS Sports radio personality JR Jackson hosts a show on the campus radio station

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By Chris Gionta
@chrisgionta2

Prior to this school year, not a single voice had crossed Springfield’s 89.9 radio airwaves since March 2020. To make a grand introduction to the world of audio, Springfield College welcomed national radio host JR Jackson.

However, it was no more than 89.9 Springfield, for people within a 25 mile radius to hear. It was for the whole country to hear on Sirius XM on CBS Sports Radio.

Thousands of listeners tuned in at 10 p.m. EST on Monday, September 20 to hear the Geto Boys’ “Mind Playing Tricks On Me,” followed by the host’s voice exclaiming, “It’s true! It’s time for the JR Sport Brief Show here with you on CBS Sports Radio!Meanwhile, national audiences tuned in to a broadcast from Springfield College’s radio studio, where Jackson watched students walk past Abbey-Appleton Hall as he walked past addressed to the whole country.

All of this to cap off a day that Jackson devoted to his “Media for the Movement” tour, where he aimed to speak to students about what he had learned about the media industry. This opportunity came relatively quickly to Springfield College, and it also involved Springfield’s men’s volleyball coach.

“JR reached out to coach Charlie Sullivan,” said Kyle Belanger, the communications/sports journalism professor who introduced the students to the host. “And they have a mutual friend, and that was when JR was starting to plan his ‘Media for the Movement’ tour. Their mutual friend mentioned that Springfield College would be a good start – at least a good place to deliver that message. .

Students who aspire to be in the media were able to sit in the studio to see Jackson at work. In the show’s opening segment, Jackson said, “I’m at Springfield College and joined—yes, safely—among students Carley Crain, Nick Storlazzi, Daniel Johnson, and Ty Coney.”

Much of his studio appearance was related to the college tour he embarked on. He has made it his mission to help promising students, as well as himself.

“If I’m able to go out and make someone else’s life easier, then that’s fine,” Jackson said. “And if I can grow it myself for future business, that’s good. I am confident in who I am and what I do, and I have no shame in empowering others to do the same.

What the people of Alden Street hope is that students can see someone who has succeeded in the industry and see themselves in them.

“What I hope the students take away from this experience is the realization that the mainstream national media are none other than them,” Bélanger said. “I think the accessibility that JR Jackson showed in the genuine desire and enthusiasm to share how he rose through the ranks – I hope the message was really that the only difference between his career and theirs is that theirs hasn’t started yet.”

A big part of Jackson’s goal with his tour and his day in Springfield was to bond with a school and its students.

“My favorite part of my job is connecting with people,” JR Jackson said. “Being able to allow them to express themselves and tell their story – it’s connecting with people, whether I’m outdoors, on the radio or online, it’s cool to connect with people.”

Students were generally thrilled to see Jackson at work that Monday night, which led into Tuesday morning. His show ran from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and several students were able to be present for the taping at the Springfield radio station.

There, they heard one side of a battle between Jackson and a caller over where Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was in the quarterback ranks. They all tried to hold back their laughter when Jackson compared Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to the condiment, mayonnaise.

More importantly, they got to see his operation. This included opening phone lines, communicating with his producer during breaks, and following up on notes he took before the show.

Although he has welcomed and encouraged students to see how his work works, Jackson doesn’t want people to try to be like him, but rather forge their own path in the company with their own skills and personality.

“Do yourself, but do better,” Jackson said after being asked what advice he would give. “Take everything you can learn from me, and anyone else, and do it. Do something you love. Find out how you could make a living out of it, where it doesn’t feel like everyday stress. Life is stressful enough, stressful things will always happen and unpredictable things will always happen. But if you can find a core of something that can make you happy, go for it.

It was a treat for everyone involved to see a national radio show take place in a location where many students have broadcast and plan to broadcast. With this guise, the students hope to take what they’ve learned and apply it to their own respective paths.

Photo: Chris Gionta

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