Milwaukee Talks: FOX 6 sports anchor Jen Lada
Podcast: Reporter Jen Lada talks about getting starstuck in the presence of her heroes
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Milwaukee sports reporter/anchor Jen Lada pushes herself rather hard. Maybe she has to -- at just 27, she's not only the youngest sports anchor in this market, she is also expected to cover a wide breadth of topics with just two colleagues.
But the Illinois native and Marquette graduate eats, sleeps and breathes the "youthful exuberance" of sports. Whether Lada is training for a triathlon or working on a feature with a local angle, she takes her job very seriously.
Lada, who is expecting her first child in the spring, approaches her job with humility. She also feels that she has plenty of room to grow in Milwaukee television. We caught up with her this summer in this latest Milwaukee Talks.
OnMilwaukee.com: Here we are on a Friday morning, and you're not at work. But I bet you'll be at the office much later than me tonight. You work some unconventional hours, don't you?
Jen Lada: There's really no consistency at all. I work whenever there's something going on. I try to schedule as many day shifts as possible because it's beneficial to my marriage -- but I don't really have that luxury. I have to anchor many evenings, which means being at the station from about 2:30 p.m. until about 11 p.m. My husband works from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. most days, and he coaches soccer in the evening -- so we're like passing ships. It works because he's extremely accommodating, and he knows that I love my job. It's what makes me tick.
OMC: Tell me the Jen Lada story.
JL: I'm the oldest of four, so I've always wanted to make mom and dad proud. I was an athlete in high school, I ran cross country and track. I went to state several years. My dad was a coach, and he was very hard on my sister and me. He always wanted us to achieve the highest level of success.
I'm from northern Illinois, and I lived my entire life there until I went to Marquette. A ton of our time was spent outdoors. We lived on the water, and we were always boating or biking or playing tag. I think my parents were really good about striking a balance for us. They really stressed academics, too. We were in the library after school, but then we came home and went outdoors. I think that's where my love of sports came from. It's the youthful exuberance of running around outside and getting grass stains -- and all those cool things you remember about being a kid -- and trying so hard to replicate when you get older.
At Marquette, I was a cheerleader for the basketball team, and that was so exciting. Basketball is the thing at Marquette, and it was incredible to be a part of a community that would come together several times a week.
My entire time there I was interested in journalism and broadcasting. At one point, I thought I'd go the PR route, so I switched majors, and I didn't like it all. I was in it for about three months, and I said, "Oops." I threw it into reverse and really started to dedicate myself to journalism. I did some internships along the way and tried to put together something that was worthwhile.
OMC: Is that where you honed your writing skills?
JL: I've been writing forever, since I was a kid. I remember winning an eighth grade writing contest. Mine was a horror story. I always enjoyed being eloquent with the English language.
OMC: How did you wind up at Channel 6?
JL: I was in Rockford, Ill. When I graduated from Marquette, I had a horrible resume tape. The thing about college resume tapes is that you need everyone to be on their game that night. And that didn't happen very often at a college television station. I was lucky enough that there was a position available at Preps Plus, a local high school sports show. Bob Brainerd was the head guy there. He was really honest with me. He said I was not ready yet, but would I be interested in coming on as an intern? I thought I was done with internships, but I did it for an entire school year, and it was so much fun. When I was done, I had a really good tape with a lot of energy that showed I really knew sports. I sent that tape off, got a bunch of job hits, and ended up in Rockford, which was close to home. I spent a couple years there and got a phone call from FOX 6 about an opening, asking if I'd be interested. I said, "Are you kidding? I'm very interested!"
I had a little bit of trouble getting out of the situation in Rockford, because I was under contract. But persistence paid off, and I came here in January of 2006.
OMC: That's quite a jump in market size, isn't it?
JL: I went from market 134 to 33, or something like that. But I didn't realize that people put so much emphasis on that.
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She's cute. Frankly, if I have a choice of watching her or that bumbling stooge Tom Pippens, who would you chose?
I do not necessarily think that is fair to say. Maybe she was having a bad day. Any girl working in a situation where men are the predominent figures are subject to a lot of bs. I am proud of her. I went to school with her. We had our 'school issues,' and I have not seen her since. But I am glad that she is doing something that makes her happy. She has always been a hard worker. That she is living her dream one day at a time is a testament to that determination and drive that she has always seemed to have. Give her some slack. If she is 'mean,' etc. karma will figure that out.
Lada seems excited by covering sports, but seems to not to be nice to others around her. I have seen her at several sports events and she seems angry and kind of mean. That is how she appears to me.
Hmmm?? | July 15, 2008 at 10:42 a.m. (report)
Did Jen used to be a cocktail waitress on Water St??? She looks exactly like a girl that used to work at 1225 i think or maybe it was another bar.
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