From Great Falls to ESPN – Jaymee Sire
Thousands of media outlets across the globe are dedicated to delivering up to the second sports coverage. These range from high school radio networks all the way to the quintessential ESPN network. We as fans spend countless hours following our beloved sporting franchises and favorite players, but how often do we think about the lives of those that deliver sporting news to our door steps and televisions?
You may have heard about how it is much harder to make the Major Leagues as an umpire than as a player. There are 99 active MLB umpires compared to 750 Major Leaguers. An even more exclusive profession is that of sports broadcasting. Without question, the “Major Leagues” of sports broadcasting is the coveted Sports Center which airs 8 times a day on the ESPN family of networks.
Here’s a quick tutorial on how media markets work in the United States:
-There are 210 Media Markets in the US
-The bottom of the list includes destinations such as Glendive MT / North Platte NE / Juneau AK
-The top of the list includes New York NY / Los Angeles CA / Chicago IL
-Media Markets are ranked in order based upon population reach for television programming. IE: The New York market includes 7.5 million homes with televisions compared to 4,260 in Glendive.
The US media market can be likened to the hierarchy of Minor League to Major League baseball. Sports broadcasters move within regions, always seeking the next best market. For many in the broadcasting industry, like in baseball, it can take years to establish one’s self in a marketplace that even pays a living wage. For very few, the trajectory is pointed towards the sky and this is where we introduce original #BuschBabe, Jaymee Sire.
We met Jaymee when she moved to the Bay Area to take a new post as anchor and San Francisco Giants reporter for Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area. Any time you meet a TV personality a few thoughts typically run through your mind. “She sounds different in person than she does on TV.” ” I’m a little nervous because she’s basically famous and I’m a desk jockey that loves sports.” “There’s no way she could possibly be cool and be so talented at the same time.”
Our first real “hang-out” experience with Jaymee was a 4th of July celebration in Lake Tahoe which is the mecca for Northern Californians on “America’s Birthday.” If you’re not familiar, just picture 70 degree weather, boat docks, pier drinking, bikinis and muscle bound meats. Jaymee was likable from the get go and I think she won the hearts of all of us when she handled a 3 deep beer bong of Coors Light like a seasoned champion.
Jaymee’s talent was always apparent from a viewer perspective. Watching her anchor for CSN Bay Area, she brought a kind of zeal that you normally wouldn’t find on a regional network. Her sports highlights delivery, good use of humor and of course her ‘girl next door’ charming looks always left the viewer thinking there were bigger and better things waiting for the girl from Great Falls, MT.
Let’s look at the chronology and share some insights about what it takes to move up in an industry that only has a relative handful of broadcasting anchors in its equivalent to the Major Leagues. Jaymee Sire is the epitome of small town girl done good. She hails from Great Falls, MT., which is 191st on our media market directory. Jaymee knew in high school that broadcast journalism was for her and she got her feet wet with the prototypical programs high schools offer such as the school newspaper and the yearbook. From Great Falls, Jaymee chose Washington State University to maximize her potential with the stellar communications and journalism programs offered there.
After her sophomore year at ‘Wazzu,’ Jaymee interned at KRTV, Great Falls; shadowing professional broadcasting and drafting and actually delivering her own news. By junior year in college, she was a paid intern, working 20 hours a week, wearing a multitude of hats and essentially doing the job of a seasoned newswoman. “During my time in college , my sister made more money than I did working as a lifeguard in the summer getting a tan,” Jaymee remarked. Needless to say, there isn’t a lot cash to spread around in a small town newsroom.
Out of college, Jaymee moved home to Montana and was hired full-time at KRTV but soon needed to make a jump. The CBS affiliate, KFMB in San Diego had an opening for their High School football show. Jaymee was young, fit the mold and was hired. “I suspect I was brought on because KFMB could pay me virtually nothing.” But, of import is the jump in markets Jaymee made with her move to San Diego. Normally, small market broadcasters move to mid-markets first, so catapulting from 191 to 26 might just have been the formula necessary to continue her lightning fast upward mobility.
After a couple of years covering San Diego high school sports, the Padres and Chargers, it was time for another jump. This time, Jaymee moved from 26 to 7 in the San Francisco Bay Area. “I interviewed with 4 networks: Big 10 TV, Boston local, NYC Local and I landed in San Francisco with CSN Bay Area.” Jaymee had jumped from a local to a regional market and with it came fame and big monetary implications. Bay Area professional sporting franchises have done so well lately that you could argue Jaymee’s vision quest was a perfectly woven tapestry; combining her talent with viable teams to report on. Jaymee cited CSN as her “dream job.” She loves the City, loved the job, embraced all of her assignments with the regional network and really had zero intention of ever leaving. Then ESPN came calling.
Jaymee took the interview with ESPN to keep her options open and potentially leverage an offer with her then current employer CSN Bay Area. For those unaware, broadcasting “talent” have agents who line up interviews, pass guidance and negotiate contracts much like that of professional athletes. “I just wanted to keep my options open. I loved CSN. But when the offer came from ESPN, everyone I talked to thought I was crazy if I didn’t move forward with a move to Bristol. I was close to declining the offer, but then I thought, I just cannot turn down an offer for ESPN. I have to take this leap.”
Without question, Bristol, CT. is not the kind of place San Franciscans migrate to. But in the sports broadcasting world, ESPN is the desired locale for many. ESPN airs 8 Sportscenter shifts, covering 18 hours of sports news every single day. It has most major sporting markets cornered, offering live coverage of anything from women’s softball to PGA Tour Major events. When it comes to staffing Sportscenter anchors, there are just 37 active at any one time. Quite an elite group of professionals.
When asked about what a day in the life looks like, Jaymee stated, “It’s extremely exciting. Whenever the show is, you come in 5 hours before to prep…meeting with anchors, producers, getting a feel for news of the day, how it should be covered, ideas, what should we keep, what (news items) should be left in. Once the run down is complete you start writing to add context to the highlights. The effort is to build more context to why a particular performance was a big deal that day.” When asked about her wow moment, Jaymee said “it was my first Sportscenter as an anchor when the ‘da na na da na na’ rolled and I’m anchoring Sportscenter!!”
Jaymee was on the Sportscenter desk when the Aaron Hernandez saga unveiled itself , which was certainly a riveting moment for a new ESPN TV personality, but Jaymee says every day is a challenge and provides the kind of excitement that can’t be found anywhere else. Jaymee expects to be at ESPN for the foreseeable future even though she has aspirations to work someday as a Food TV personality. She currently owns and operates a food blog: “E” is for eat.
We were happy Jaymee took a little time out of her busy schedule to sit down with us because after all, she is an Original Busch Babe and we’re claiming her as our own before Bleacher Report, Barstool Sports.com or any of these lesser sports sites runs a feature on her. We suspect people will come knocking so they too can learn what it takes to go from Great Falls to ESPN.