More than a decade ago, Jason Goff was known to WSCR-AM 670 only as a passionate caller named “Jason from Evanston.”
Starting Monday, the Evanston Township High School graduate will co-host the station’s midday show with Matt Spiegel.
Goff, 34, spoke to The Tribune about his new job, returning to Chicago and the challenges that lie ahead. Here is an edited transcript.
Q. How did the caller “Jason from Evanston” rise to become a midday cohost?
A. Some hard work and some breaks, and some people that cared about my growth. I interned when I was 19, and it was a different time with internships. I interned for a longer period than people usually do now, and got hired while I still was interning. I got myself a part-time producing shift with Dave Baum on Saturday mornings at 5 a.m. … I slowly but surely worked my way up, picked out little things in the craft that I thought applied to me, and tried to find my voice along the way.
Q. What else were you doing while you were interning?
A. I had come from (Southern Illinois University in) Carbondale. At that time, I was working a couple of jobs, but I knew radio was it for me. So after my freshman year at Southern Illinois, I came home and told my mom, “I’m not going to get it just sitting in somebody’s classroom. I have to intern and figure this out.” When I came home, I actually enrolled myself in DeVry University because I was told I needed college credit, but I didn’t really stick to the DeVry curriculum. I was just doing it to get in the door and be close to the station. Three times a week, I took two busses and a train for six months. There was an Oakton Community College thing in there as well, but that was short-lived. Everyone in there was sort of a weirdo; I didn’t think it was the best atmosphere for me. It was pretty much The Score or bust for me.
Q. What about sports radio was so appealing to you?
A. Neither of my parents are from this country (both are from Belize). My mom used to listen to a lot of talk radio in the house, and as a kid I grew up listening to WLS at all times, people like Don Wade and Roma and Catherine Johns. It was permeating through the house. … I was fascinated by the art of connecting with someone through a radio without pictures, instead painting those pictures and just having fun with a listener.
Q. What about Chicago as a sports city?
A. Chicago is different because of the connection and passion that the fans have to their sports teams, but the knowledge as well. Being in Atlanta for 21 months (hosting an evening radio show), it was different from a standpoint of, “the teams were there, so you couldn’t speak badly about them.” There were of course fans that understood that being objective about your team didn’t make you a bandwagoner, but Chicago’s knowledge of the intricacies and some of the things that happen business wise gives it a different feel.
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