(September 3, 2019) Hurricane Isaac devastated Louisiana in 2012. Oddly, it was also a turning point in Mario Jerez’s sports broadcasting career. As the result of a chain of events that started with Isaac, Jerez is now the Spanish language radio voice of the New Orleans Saints.
Jerez, 25, has been the Spanish radio voice of LSU football home games since 2012; he will continue in that role. It is an opportunity that came his way when Isaac battered Jerez’s home state.
“In 2012, I was given the opportunity to attend a broadcast at Tiger Stadium and assist the broadcasters as a spotter,” he recalls. “However, the then play-by-play man realized he couldn’t make the game at the very last moment because Hurricane Isaac had just hit the gulf coast; he had to tend to severe damage at his house.
“I was asked if I felt comfortable filling in as play-by-play man, and I obliged.”
Though Jerez was raw, his broadcast was a success. “The people in charge at the station liked how I did and decided to work with me further and keep me in that role for the rest of the season.”
The Saints opportunity arose when the NFL team moved it’s Spanish broadcasts to 105.7 FM KGLA – the same station for which Jerez has been calling LSU games. “We have mostly the same broadcast crew we had with the old station, but they wanted me in a play-by-play role instead of an analyst,” Jerez explains.
Jerez has been a Saints studio analyst on the Louisiana Spanish Network the past two seasons. “I was fortunate to have some good circumstances, and I have some family-friends in the Spanish radio market in New Orleans.”
A 2017 graduate of LSU, Jerez joined STAA later that year upon the recommendation of LSU’s English-speaking sports voice Chris Blair. “One day, when I asked Chris for general broadcasting advice, he told me about the site. I enjoy STAA’s sense of community, and Jon [Chelesnik] has been a great friend and resource.”
Jerez hopes his experience as the Spanish voice of NFL and major college teams will lead to being an English voice at that level. “All play-by-play experience is valuable,” he says. “My networking at the LSU games, among other places, has already led to other opportunities. I continue to work in several facets of sports radio, but ultimately, I hope to call games for a living some day.
“I’ve fallen in love with the process of constantly preparing, constantly learning and working to become a better broadcaster every day. I’m confident that these experiences and all the work behind them will pay off as I move forward in my sportscasting career.”
After several years broadcasting LSU games at such a young age, Jerez realized he had become complacent. “I quickly learned that if I wanted to make more progress, I had to be more proactive in networking and becoming a more versatile media professional. I worked hard to improve my editing, writing and producing skills, and that’s led to more opportunities behind and in front of the microphone.
“I owe a lot to the people at LSU’s student media department and to the New Orleans Pelicans Radio Network, where I interned, for helping me to become a better broadcaster and develop other valuable skills. I still have a long way to go, but I feel like I’m on track in my career.”
It is a fast track Jerez found himself on only after Hurricane Isaac. “That day taught me you always have to be prepared in this business. Thankfully, I was, and it’s led to great things.”
(Visit Mario’s STAA Talent Page).