How did Jason Ross Jr. Begin?
The 23-year-old, play-by-play announcer Jason Ross Jr. is looking to change the broadcasting game forever. Born and raised in Farmington Hills, Michigan just outside of Detroit, Michigan, it almost appears it was inevitable for Ross to become a sports fanatic. The city of Detroit has a plethora of teams to choose from to support. While none of the Detroit teams have truly found success within the past 15 years, the opportunity to support and be involved was still accessible to Ross growing up. In fact, he began getting involved in watching sports around the age of five due to his father, Jason Ross. It’s safe to say, his father inspired him to attend games and watch games as often as possible. However, as he got a little older Ross began to find a passion for the sports world himself.
“My father would take me to games as a baby,” Ross states. “ We often watched Piston, Red Wings, and Tiger games. Naturally, I just began to fall in love with the environment and the players.”
Did You Know?
As he began to explore and learn more for himself about sports he began studying the games much closer. One can agree, that when one is watching sports that they may not know as well, they find small details to latch on to in order to support. Once one becomes heavily invested they understand the play calls and strategy of the game which helps one break down and digest the game much differently. Many don’t know that Ross just for fun would buy video games and turn the video down of the games and broadcast his voice over it while playing. He began deep diving and truly investing in his future around the age of 12 and 13.
“John, I often turned down the volume of the game and tried to anticipate the next play or movement within the game in order to gain mental reps.”
Ross’s Amatuer Broadcasting Beginning
Prior to joining the bigger networks, Ross attended Lawrence Tech University where he was extremely grateful to have access to so many teams while in college. During his time in college, he attended, reported, and called several games for different teams in the Motor City area. He worked for an organization called, Detroit Sports Media, which allowed him to do so. Ross mentions how important one’s location is to their development. Many may not have access to bigger organizations depending on location, however, there are plenty of opportunities still remaining. In fact, he interned with Sports Illustrated and worked a lot with the editorial side of things covering his local teams. From there, he was given an opportunity to report live at the games and this ultimately opened doors down the road. A colleague of his and now full-time Chicago Blackhawks broadcaster, Genna Rose, began broadcasting together and both are beginning to flourish. In fact, they started a podcast named “The Motor City Roundup”.
Big shout-out to Jason Ross, Jr., the first Black TV play-by-play announcer in the history of the Chicago Blackhawks. Jason held professional broadcast and web sports jobs and internships as a Media Communications student at LTU. Congrats, Jason! pic.twitter.com/Mzsa1F7K57
— Lawrence Tech Alumni (@LTUalumni) February 10, 2022
DSM reporter Jason Ross Jr. discusses the Red Wings mentality approaching the trade deadline and tonight's matchup with Calgary. pic.twitter.com/ivXCygfoha
— Detroit Sports Media Association (@TheDSportsMedia) February 24, 2020
Ross encourages any broadcasters to get as much editorial experience as they humanely can because it helps facilitate one’s flow when it comes to being able to relay a story to an audience. He admits that it was vital for his development as a broadcaster.
“I began with a blend of both writing and radio, however, those opportunities led to television. Without my writing background, I don’t think I’d be able to tell a story as well as I can right now. I believe it was vital to my development as a broadcaster!”
Making History and Opening Doors for Others
While his time in the broadcasting industry hasn’t been an extensive one as of yet. The amount of accolades and history made by Ross has been just astonishing from the outside looking in. Ross became the first African-American to call a Chicago Blackhawks game. In the past, systemically African-American broadcasters have not been permitted as many opportunities as other colleagues. Yet, Ross was given an opportunity of a lifetime and he amazed millions on the air and even more following closely. Many young broadcasters were inspired by his journey and began reaching out for advice and guidance. Ross went on to describe how surreal the night was and how much to his legacy and him personally.
“That night was surreal because that moment didn’t hit me until after the game,” Ross explained. “I started to get messages from younger African-American broadcasters emphasizing how inspiring seeing an announcer of color call that game meant. I’m glad I can prove it can be done and set the bar for millions around the country.”
Ross regularly calls the Chicago Sky basketball games and this particular night he was very fortunate to witness history once again. Future Hall of Famer Candance Parker and the Chicago Sky were taking on the Las Vegas Aces on the road. Ross witnessed the Sky fall to a 28-point deficit, however, they managed to come back and win the game. This was also the largest comeback in WNBA history and Ross was there to make every call and be a part of history. Ross has only begun but will continue to change the game from behind the microphone forever.
Naturally, if one doesn’t truly love what they’re doing they’ll never appreciate it in its entirety. With that being said, Ross’s passion for broadcasting exceeds the hours he just works. In fact, he mentions some of his favorite moments about the job are preparing prior to the game he’s scheduled to call. Being able to self-critique one’s work and attempt to get better every opportunity they can.
“I’m always trying to improve no matter what,” Ross emphasized. “There’s no perfect broadcast so I always work to better myself. Then again, it’s never worked because I truly love what I do so it always feels like my hobby.”
Jason Ross Jr.’s Career Advice
While there are always highs during one’s success stories many never realize how many lows they truly have to overcome. Ross describes in great detail while he’s reaping the fruit of his labor now, initially, this was not the case. In fact, there were moments he questions himself and even considered slowing down and switching paths. Yet, he managed to focus and he was able to determine his “Why”. He explained when a person finds their “Why” it helps them persevere and get past the tough times.
“Life’s like waves in the ocean they’re unpredictable and at times they can be smooth or rough,” Ross quoted. “However, one must ride the wave or be taken in its current; life resembles something similar.”
In conclusion, Ross is just beginning to see the multitude of successes to come. He has more strides to hit and he has even bigger goals he wishes to reach for himself. He loves what he does and hopes to inspire others to do the same and prove to them it’s possible. When asked if he wanted to offer any advice for any aspiring broadcasters and journalists, he stated:
“This field is extremely competitive, however, analyze and see if you can create your own path. Social media has allowed many various platforms to help get your name out there. If you treat this art with care and love you’ll see the benefits. In this game, you get what you put out of it.”