Sports broadcaster Jay Ingber has gone a long way since calling college basketball on the radio – nearly 4,400 miles, to be precise.
The New Hope resident was recently chosen to cover the St. Louis Rams as a Virgin Atlantic “Red Hot Reporter” during the team’s Oct. 28 game against the New England Patriots at Wembley Stadium in London. The University of Kansas broadcast journalism grad earned his spot through a talent search after proving his “super fan” status through YouTube videos and Twitter posts.
“I said it was my dream to be a sports broadcaster,” he said, referring to the 1-minute-and-40-seconds-long video he submitted. “I was stunned when I found out I had been picked. I thought they were looking for someone who would paint their face like a ram.”
Ingber, 23, was able to invite a guest along for the trip. He chose his brother, Brad Ingber of Minneapolis, 26.
“He called me a week before we left and said, ‘Do you want to go to London?’” Brad said. “I jokingly said, ‘Let me think about it.’”
The two brothers departed Oct. 25 and landed in England the following day. They attended a Rams practice after checking into the hotel and met other media at the event. Much of Oct. 26 was spent at an NFL fan rally in Trafalgar Square. Jay talked to fans, spent time with the other Virgin Red Hot Reporter and interviewed a few former football players during that event. The evening closed with a performance by the band Train.
Sunday began with a fan event outside of Wembley Stadium. During the game, Jay and Brad enjoyed the game in a Virgin suite, while the Rams ended up losing 45-7. Hurricane Sandy delayed the brothers’ departure from London for two additional days, and Jay said they enjoyed their “hurrication.”
Virgin Atlantic took care of Jay comfort-wise, but also gave him something worth more.
“(They) provided me a platform to display all of the things I’ve learned in school,” Jay said. “Not many people I graduated with could say they represented anyone at an international event as a member of the media. Every minute of every day (there) I couldn’t believe what I was experiencing.”
The 2008 Armstrong High School alum graduated from college this spring. In addition to media-related class work, he also spent time covering the school’s team, the Jayhawks, for TV and radio. He followed the team to this year’s Final Four. To think he could top that, as he did in London, is “beyond belief.” But he’s more than a sports reporter.
“At the end of the day, I’ve always considered myself a siren-chaser,” he said. “Whatever it might be, if there are questions to be answered, I love to ask them. I’m a passionate sports fan, but at the end of the day, I just love the news.”
The trip offered Brad more than just a chance to see England. He was also able to see his brother do what he does best.
“I’ve seen all of his work through school – watched online and listened to him on the radio,” he said. “It was so cool to see him in his element, live. To be there when he was taping, to see his passion and how he connected with people he was interviewing, was very cool.”