Jill Savage is currently a TV and radio host for Oregon IMG Sports Network here in Eugene Oregon. An alumni from the University of Iowa, Savage has made a name for herself in the sports reporting industry and changing the way women are viewed in the highly male dominated world of sports.
1. How long have you been doing sports reporting/writing?
Jill: I have been working in the industry for almost 5 years now. I started out with Comcast SportsNet NW in the summer of 2008.
2. What are you doing now in the business? What is your current job position/positions
Jill: Currently I host a daily radio show, Duck Insider with Jerry Allen and Justin Myers, from 1-3 on 95.3 The Score and it’s also on goducks.com.
In addition to that I work for a new digital media network called Campus Insiders. The model there is to cover college football and basketball exclusively on the Internet and any mobile devices. It’s the wave of the future and I am really excited to be a part of this endeavor. Oregon was the first school that Campus Insiders chose to cover in depth and I am their daily reporter for that as well, again just covering football and men’s basketball.
Before the Pac-12 Network came along I would host all of the Oregon TV shows as well: Oregon Football with Chip Kelly, Oregon Football Live (the pregame show live from the field an hour before the game), etc.
I also do freelance work for the Pac-12 Network and was fortunate enough to cover my first NFL game this season for FOX as a sideline reporter.
3. What does a usual day look like for you when you’re on the job?
Jill: A usual day for me consists of waking up and checking Twitter. I have to get caught up on the news of the day and map out my show for the day. Football season is generally easier to fill two hours because you can talk Oregon football the entire time and people love it. Basketball is not the same way even though Oregon has a better team this year. When I get in to work I meet with my Campus Insiders team and we shoot my stories for the day around 10:30 am and then I head upstairs to the radio station and bounce ideas off the afternoon host at 95.3, Steve Tannen. I grab a quick bite to eat on the way in sometimes or have leftovers because then all the sudden it’s 1 o’clock and my show is about to start (the time flies by, especially the last half hour). Jerry is with me for the show from 1-2. We focus on mainly Oregon topics as that is his area of expertise. From 2-3 Justin comes in studio and we cover the Ducks but also the rest of the news that day. At 3 I am free to leave but that’s when I am making phone calls or sending emails to get guests on the show for the upcoming days or have a meetings with my boss (and now my agent… he takes up a lot of my time lately). Then that night I watch whatever games I think I might want to talk about the next day and it all starts over again. During football season I work 7 days a week. During basketball season it’s only 5 or 6 depending on if it’s a home or away game for the guys.
4. Have you always wanted to do sports reporting?
Jill: I always have wanted to do this. When I was in junior high I would watch the NFL games and say things before the announcers would and thought, oh I could do that. I didn’t realize how much work goes into this job when I was that age but it’s all fun. I get paid to talk about sports, enough the bad days aren’t that bad.
5. How did you get into the business?
Jill: I had a TV show in college that I did with a few friends; some wanted to get into the business and some just did it for fun. I had a couple internships and networked like crazy when ESPN was in town. (I was born and raised in Iowa and went to the Univ. of Iowa.) I put together a reel and acted as my own agent. I sent 120 tapes across the country to any sports network I could find and eventually landed a job with CSN NW in Portland. I worked on a show called “The Fan” for two years.
6. How does it feel being a female sports reporter in a primarily male based profession?
Jill: I like being a female in the industry at this time. There really are so many opportunities and networks are searching for females more and more now to cover sports. I can say that the best compliment that I get is when people tell me, “oh, you really know what you’re talking about.” It’s kind of a back-handed compliment but I will take it because there are a lot of pretty females that will get a job even if she doesn’t have all the qualifications that another male might have. I have worked very hard to make sure that I know everything about the topics that I’m covering and I will be honest and say if I haven’t heard about a topic that might have come up. I am just myself. You can’t fake it if you are on air for 10 hours every week. People will see right through you.
That being said it hasn’t all been great. I’ve had some people that I worked for in the past that were very inappropriate to be because I was a female but I straightened that out quickly.
7. Do you have any tips for aspiring female sports journalist or anything you would like to add?
Jill: Don’t let anyone tell you no. Even if they do keep bugging them. IT’S ALL ABOUT WHO YOU KNOW. Going back to the networking thing, when I worked for ESPN I was a runner for them making $100 a game but I got to know the man that is now my boss. I never saw that coming. He didn’t have this job when I met him but it all worked out.
By: Aleecia Moss