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Up and coming sportscaster Jason Ross Jr. already making a name for himself on Chicago airwaves

Up and coming sportscaster Jason Ross Jr. already making a name for himself on Chicago airwaves
Up and coming sportscaster Jason Ross Jr. already making a name for himself on Chicago airwaves 03:17

CHICAGO (CBS) -- In Chicago, the people calling sports are often household names as well-known and beloved as the athletes.

Broadcaster Jason Ross Jr. is making a name for himself at just 23 years old.

Even though he was raised in Detroit, he grew up listening to and studying legendary Chicago sports play-by-play announcers. CBS 2's Jackie Kostek talked to him about his fast rise in broadcasting.

The moment Ross hits the airwaves, you know he's doing exactly what he was meant to do.

"I think it was around the middle school age when I found myself always watching sports highlights, and saying to myself, 'there's a job behind that,'" he said.

It was also around that middle school age when Ross says people started taking note of his broadcast-worthy baritone.

"It maybe got a little deeper a little earlier, and that was something I heard pretty often," he said.

While it would be years before Ross would make his real on-air debut, the reps piled up quick.

"Video games, whatever it was, a game that was on TV, I would try to pretend that I was the play-by-play announcer and call it myself," he said.

Ross became a student in the game of broadcasting – studying media and communication at Lawrence Tech University outside of Detroit, and picking up roles in minor league baseball, with ESPN+ and Sports Illustrated, and hosting a college sports show called Motor City Roundup, with his friend and colleague Genna Rose.

"We would start our own show; film it, edit it, produce it, post it, we were the hosts of it. And after those shows, I would go up in the gondola at Little Caesars Arena and call Red Wings games for practice," he said.

Ross said, if he wasn't in class, he was at a game - calling it, even if it wasn't on air.

"We kind of always had a goal of creating our own path, and attacking the industry with a mindset of hard work and finding whatever crack we could, and we'd squeak into those cracks," Ross said.

Last fall, that relentless work ethic landed Ross in Chicago with the Big Ten Network, calling college football with ESPN. And on Jan. 8, Ross made history as the first Black broadcaster to call a Blackhawks game – suddenly finding himself a colleague of the talent he grew up listening to.

"Every night the Blackhawks were on, I would tune in and listen to John Wiedeman. He really taught me how to do hockey on radio. I actually met John in Detroit three years ago. He couldn't have been any nicer, and really inspired me to strive after my goals. So it's been so surreal to now call him a coworker and a friend, which is really amazing," Ross said.

While Ross is living his dream, he is no doubt still striving toward it; staying ready, so when a crack appears, he's there – right where he's supposed to be.

Ross recently called the largest comeback in WNBA history. The Chicago Sky were down 28 points last week and came back to beat the Las Vegas Aces.

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