Personality Profile–Q&A with Amiri Tulloch:
Amiri Tulloch, a 15-year-old Highland Park High School student, has hosted his own online talk show, titled JG Sports Talk, since 2011. He also has worked as a “kid reporter at Sports Illustrated Kids, Scholastic News, and the New York Jets. His professional goal is to go into radio broadcasting. He “loves all journalism, including writing and interviewing, but his real passion is sports broadcasting.” He started at Highland Park High School in September of 2014 after moving to the town in the same month. Because he was home schooled since the time he was seven years old, Amiri’s enrollment in HP High School was his first school exposure since second grade. Midway through the year, he connected with several teachers and friends, all of whom shared an interest in reviving the old radio station that the high school supported from 1973-1993.
Amiri and his radio station aficionados have worked for several months to create the station, with several expected roadblocks in the way — funding the largest. And yet, despite the lack of money, the start-up radio group has been able to acquire the majority of the needed equipment for internet broadcast.
“Our goal is that by the beginning of next school year, we will be able to begin broadcasting shows and creating content for our station. Although our shows will not broadcast over terrestrial radio — we are planning on beginning by airing online-based podcasts — we are all very excited to begin production on WVHP (The Voice of Highland Park, our station’s name).”
Q: How did you become interested in the field of sports broadcasting?
A: My interest in sports broadcasting began when my dad — a sports fan — showed me the local sports radio stations. I remember him telling me about 660 AM and 1050 AM, “WFAN” and “ESPN-NY,” respectively. I was hooked into sports radio, despite a logical reason for my obsession. To this day, my mom tells stories about my nonstop listening habits as a 12-year-old; I quickly learned the show schedules for both stations and began noticing my preferences among the various hosts. Yet, I don’t really know what captivated me so much about radio. Perhaps it was the caller-host interactions. Maybe it was the guests. But it was likely the free-flowing, one-on-one dialog, spontaneous nature of the format….A good radio host can make you feel a connection.
Q: What is the history of the show. How did it evolve?
A: JG Sports Talk was broadcast over the internet from my bedroom via a cheap laptop and microphone. It started as short, 30 minute ramblings from me, then grew to hour-long programs with guests and segments. As the weeks continued, I began taking my show more seriously, to the point where I cleared out a basement space and created a permanent studio for my show. I began pre-show research for my topics and devoted care to my guests. And even though my shows were being heard live by a mere 10 people on a good night, I enjoyed the broadcasting and recording and talking and interviewing and debating and answering. None of my broadcasts ever felt like a chore. It was my enjoyment.
Q: How did “JG Sports Talk” broaden your sports journalism capacities?
A: .I knew I loved writing, so I began publishing short sports editorials and opinion pieces as an online freelancer. In 2012, I applied to become a Scholastic News Kid Reporter and was accepted. I then began writing and completing assignments for Scholastic News; from recapping the NHL Stanley Cup Finals to interviewing President Obama at the White House. The experiences I gained at Scholastic only helped me confirm that journalism and reporting was something I enjoyed doing. After Scholastic News Kid Reporter program closed operations, I joined Sports Illustrated in 2013. Similar to my role at Scholastic, I was asked to contribute to a blog and also cover assignments, like writing about and interviewing blind track star Lex Gillette and covering Mo’ne Davis’ SIKid-of-the-Year party in Philadelphia. And it continued in 2013, when I was asked by a member of the New York Jets’ PR team to become a season-long Kid Reporter. I interviewed one person before every home game, and my conversation appeared on the jumbotron during the contest.
Q: How did your passion for producing JG Sports Talk give you the experience you needed to revive the high school’s radio station?
A: Throughout all of my great writing assignments, I continued JG Sports Talk — albeit at a lesser pace. However, I began pushing myself to be as professional as possible; I got someone to record a voice-over for me, was able to secure a fantastic logo, and devoted countless hours into making a slick and personalized website for my show. For quite a long time, I am grateful for being able to work with an enthusiastic co-host Emily Gruver, a teenager I met via Twitter. Furthermore, I began branching out for guests, going from smaller, ‘amateur’ bloggers to larger, ‘professional’ journalists and reporters.