Deerfield High School alum Jordan Bernfield knows that he’s going to have to work hard to get what he wants but says it’s worth it.
“When you’re young in the broadcast industry you kind of have to be willing to do a lot of different things,” Bernfield said. “It’s a very hard business to get into. It’s a very difficult business to maneuver. It’s extremely competitive.”
The 2004 DHS graduate is currently a reporter, host and anchor for WGN Radio. He also broadcasts the Loyola University Men’s Basketball Games on Lakeshore Sports. Plus, he is teaching a radio play-by-play class this fall at Columbia College.
Bernfield kicked his sportscast career off at Deerfield High School.
“Once I obviously realized that baseball scouts and colleges weren’t looking for a guy that threw 74 mph on a good day…I realized I would need to find something to be around sports because I loved it,” Bernfield said about why he initially got involved in WDHS; the high school’s student-run television program.
Freshman year, Bernfield started off by shooting video of field hockey games. By senior year, he was running the sports staff, acting as executive producer and host. Bernfield’s passion for sports led him to Syracuse University where he was accepted into Newhouse, which is one of the nation’s top communications schools.
“There are so many interesting things that happen in sports,” Bernfield stated. “Not just the games on the field, but the people that play them, the people that manage them, the people that coach them, the people that own the teams,” which is why he said he focused his studies around sports reporting.
Bernfield landed his first job out of college working for a minor league baseball team in upstate New York. While working for the Auburn Doubledays he acted as a media relations coordinator and play-by-play announcer but had a slew of odd jobs for the team as well. “I cooked hot dogs, I pulled tarp,” he remembered. “I looked at it from the big picture and said it’s going to get me to where I want to be.”
Shortly after, Bernfield landed back in Chicago looking for a new job. “I must have sent my tape out to every station and team in America trying to find somebody to hire me,” he recalled, which is when a previous internship of his at WGN paid off.
“Most people my age end up in ten different markets and they try and come back here when they’re in their 30s and I think I bypassed a lot of that because of my internship there.”
Bernfield started by producing one-game a week for WGN and slowly built his resume up. Four-years later, he couldn’t be happier with the progress he’s made at the station he’s at.
“It was a station that I grew up with and that I loved listening to as a kid so being there is really a dream in many ways.”
Bernfield isn’t just working for one of his favorite stations; he’s also covering some of his favorite teams. “I’m one of the hosts for the Cubs post-game shows on the radio,” he said.
“I love to be able to interact with fans because for them this is their escape from reality and for me I like to be the guy that can help them not think about their rough day at work and we can have a discussion about sports and keep them entertained and maybe laugh a little bit.”
Bernfield encourages other students at DHS to pursue their passions and has some simple advice, “If you want it, go for it, but go for it all the way. You can’t half go for it,” he warned.
“It makes it that much better when you achieve it.”