By Ryan Libby |Staff Writer|
Jeff Pope, morning radio personality for 99.1 KGGI has been articulating the airwaves for over 18 years.
Pope, a 1992 CSUSB graduate, got his start at Coyote Radio in 1988.
He entered a communications project for radio broadcasting contest, putting together a show that consisted of news, sports, traffic and “a joke or two” and won.
With thoughts of going to colleges like Cal State Fullerton or University of California Santa Cruz, it was the promise of being put on CSUSB’s radio station that convinced him that this school was the college that could make his dream a reality.
Pope remembers the words a recruiter once told him, “I guarantee you, if you apply [to CSUSB] not only will we accept you with your grades, but by your sophomore year you’ll be at the campus radio station.”
Pope took advantage of the opportunity and never looked back.
Living out his childhood dream, Pope had a work ethic unmatched by many within the college radio station as he hosted his sports talk show from 8:30 p.m.-9 p.m. with Bill Purcharski on Sundays.
The show was described as, “one of the most popular and well-prepared shows on the station,” according to Dr. Rob McKenzie, Pope’s KSSB faculty advisor, reported by Coyote Chronicle staff writer Jeff Kabel back in 1989.
Keeping with his need for preparation, Pope wakes up at 2:45 a.m. every morning to get to the 99.1 studio by 3:30 a.m. in order to be ready to go on the air at 5:30 a.m.
“At that point it’s a two hour frenzy of checking websites and getting tips,” said Pope. “I have a lot of listeners that will give me a tip on a story.”
The sound that you hear on the radio is different than a listener would probably see behind the scenes.
“If you were to roll in and just watch my co-host [Evelyn Erives] and I, you’d say ‘these guys look bored, they’re not really [doing anything]’,” Pope said. “Well, that’s because we already did all of our work.”
One of the most popular segments of “Jeff and Evelyn in the Morning” is Dumbass of the Day.
This is where Pope finds a real news story about a person who is, as the segment states, a complete dumbass.
“I always wanted to close off the news with something funny like a true news story and then you just find these pansies.”
Though he did a lot of hard work to have his own morning show, Pope attributes his success to the people that helped get him there.
Before 99.1, which he has been affiliated with for 13 years, Pope covered news and traffic for Metro Networks.
“In this line of work it’s all about who knows you and who you know,” said Pope. “Networking is huge. I wish more professors would hit on that,” he continued. “My radio professor really didn’t make a point of saying how important networking is and how important another coyote might get you the job or you help another coyote out.”
Those that want to get into broadcasting need to have a passion for it.
For Pope, wanting to get on the radio was a childhood dream and getting paid was the last thing in mind.
“Don’t get in it for the money,” he said. “Just if you really love doing it, the money will come. Be patient and be persistent, because eventually if you’re good enough the money will be there.”
Pope could not escape without mentioning his favorite hockey team who is the current defending Stanley Cup champion after 45 years, the Los Angeles Kings.
“Yes, I cried like a bitch, not gonna be afraid of that, not gonna be ashamed of that, just tears,” he said. “My brother and I were bear hugging one another, my wife was in tears, it was just wow, finally.”
Pope is a one of a kind radio host, who even with his success, keeps his competitive whits and remains humble and helpful. You can follow him on Twitter @JeffPopeRadio, or friend him on Facebook to stay connected with this alum’s everyday life. You can catch him at the Hall of Fame sports banquet here on campus on May 30.