“When I was 12 or 13, I can remember just watching SportsCenter while I was eating dinner and kinda leaving my family at the table and taking my food into the TV room,” DJ recalled.
His interest grew as he attended the Play by Play Sports Broadcasting camp the year before he enrolled at Staples High School. At Staples, he began working with his campus radio station, WWPT Wrecker Radio, which was named the best high school radio station by the John Drury National High School Radio Awards in 2011.
“I heard an announcement [saying] ‘Anyone interested in working in the sports department come to a meeting,’” DJ said. “So I did, and four years later I didn’t leave.”
Toward the end of his time there, DJ began his college search, which included many of the top journalism programs in the country, such as Fordham and Syracuse.
“For a while, I thought Syracuse would be the number one spot, so I visited there, I really liked it,” DJ said. “I got into the Newhouse program so I was like ‘alright that’s it.’”
However, since DJ has now spent the last four years here at Rose Hill, that was not his ultimate choice. He applied to Fordham on a whim after hearing about WFUV and its notable alumni.
“I came in one Saturday when One on One was going on, and Bob [Ahrens, the sports director] gave me the whole spiel,” DJ said. “He was walking me through the station saying ‘you’ll get the chance to cover the Knicks, the Nets, the Rangers. You’ll broadcast Fordham sports,’ and I was just blown away.”
From that moment on, DJ realized he had made his college choice.
“I’ll never forget, I walked out the WFUV doors, to the left and told my parents, ‘this is where I’m supposed to go,’” DJ said. “This is where I’m supposed to spend the next four years.”
Since then, DJ has done play-by-play and color analysis for a variety of Fordham sports, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, softball and baseball. He has served as the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Brooklyn Cyclones beat reporter. DJ has also hosted the weekly sports talk show, One on One. However, for DJ, play-by-play is his passion.
“There’s nothing like walking into an arena, feeling the intensity of the crowd. We’ve been fortunate that we’ve had some really great games over the last few years,” DJ said.
His favorite broadcasting memory was last year at the softball Atlantic 10 playoffs. He had the opportunity to do something many broadcasters will never do when he called the game winner, hit by his girlfriend, Kayla Lombardo, FCRH ’15.
“I was in the booth when Kayla hit the game winning home run in the A-10 semifinals last year over St. Louis,” DJ said. “That was funny because I had no voice — I completely lost my voice — and I was just trying to muster up any strength I had, so it’s great because it was my two worlds colliding with that. So to see my girlfriend in that moment after all the hard work she put in was pretty incredible.”
Outside of WFUV, DJ has interned at NBC Sports, CBS Sports Network and ESPN.
At NBC, DJ even stepped into the role of a producer for his boss’ radio show, which mainly required him to book guests.
“I remember calling up the NFL, saying ‘Yeah, I’d love to have Commissioner Goodell on’ and they were like ‘who are you, are you serious?’” DJ said.
DJ has also had the opportunity to travel both through WFUV and his internships.
“I always tell people I never traveled abroad, but I got to see the country in a new light,” he said.
He has spent the last two Thanksgivings with the women’s basketball team in Las Vegas and San Francisco, and this year he will be with them in San Antonio. With CBS, DJ was lucky enough to attend the Final Four in Dallas for a week last April.
“I was a runner so I did literally anything they asked me to do,” DJ said. “So I can remember I was holding up the lighting for the announcers. I even had to mop the floor for this rodeo shoot they were also doing down there.”
DJ hopes that all of this will eventually pay off in an on-air position. “I know I want to be on the air,” DJ said. “I know producing is not in my future, so I’d rather not start out there. Basically, I’ve been telling people if I have to go to Peoria, Illinois, I’ll go to Peoria, Illinois. If I have to go to a small market and cut my teeth there, then that’s what it takes.”