By Jimmy Sullivan
Jackson Heil, FCRH ’21, came to the university to get involved with broadcasting and, more specifically, the school’s radio station, WFUV. He has accomplished that mission in 14 months.
“When I came to check out Fordham, I really enjoyed the campus and I loved the radio station, which was the biggest attraction for me, along with meeting the great Bob Ahrens,” he said.
Ahrens is the longtime former sports director and current executive producer of the station’s sports department.
The sophomore from Long Island is well ahead of things at WFUV. In just his second year, he is one of the station’s most active broadcasters. He has called softball, baseball and women’s and men’s soccer games for the station; he will also add football and women’s basketball to his portfolio in the next couple of weeks.
He is not just an on-air talent for WFUV, either; he has served as both an on-site and in-studio producer for multiple games and other broadcasts, including New York’s longest-running sports call-in show, “One on One,” on Saturday afternoons. But, in addition to all this, the man is still, somehow, doing much more.
Heil has always been a die-hard New York Rangers fan and his interest in the team led him to write for several websites in high school.
He eventually got in contact with the New York Rangers Public Relations department. After a tour of the team’s offices in the summer of 2017, he told the team’s staff that he would love to apply for an internship with the organization if one became available.
Right before the season started, Heil walked into way more than he expected.
“They said they didn’t have anything open at the time, but then a few months later, they reached out right before the season started and told me they had an opening on their game night staff,” he said. “I was stoked, and I’ve been there ever since.”
He said the biggest challenge in this job was to putting his life-long fandom aside as he believes the opportunity to learn what it means to be a professional was invaluable.
One of his favorite parts of the experience has been his interaction with some of the NHL’s best broadcasters.
“Being able to see the ins-and-outs of how professional broadcasts work and interacting with guys who I look up to, such as (Rangers broadcaster) Sam Rosen, Doc Emrick and (Vegas Golden Knights TV voice and Fordham graduate) Dan D’Uva, has been really enlightening.”
Heil is also extremely involved in the Fordham chapter of the Society of Baseball Research—SABR, for short — and it does exactly what it sounds like it does.
His interest in advanced baseball analytics started in his senior year of high school (according to him, out of “sheer boredom”), and once he found out Fordham had a SABR club he could not resist.
“I decided to just go explore Fangraphs to see what some of this stuff is all about,” he said. “I began reading up on the likes of wRC+, WAR, FIP, etc. and it was like a light bulb turned on in my head.”
After getting “hooked” on SABR and going to college, he’s participated in Diamond Dollars, a competition in which different schools try to solve a statistical, baseball-orientated case.
But for as much fun as he’s had with baseball statistics and the Rangers, he still came to Fordham for one reason and one reason only.
“I came to this school because of the history of WFUV and the incredible broadcasters the station has produced, such as Vin Scully, Mike Breen, Michael Kay and countless others,” he said. “I hope my time here can aid me in getting to that level some day.”
The sophomore with a dream has been operating well ahead of most of his peers and we will see where his time at WFUV takes him.