Your Go-To Company for All Things Philly, PR, & Events

First Friday Interview: Natalie Egenolf, 97.5 The Fanatic & 610 AM Sports Host

first friday

This month, we’re excited to feature Philadelphia media personality, Natalie Egenolf, who is making a big impact in this city. She has been an on-air voice with 97.5 The Fanatic, Comcast SportsNet, Phillies Nation, and CBS Radio. Recently, Natalie has added writing, hosting and producing her own radio show to her list of talents. Learn more about Natalie, including her passion for sports reporting, obstacles as a female in the industry, and advice for young professionals in the industry.

 

PPRG: Tell us about yourself. How did you get into the media production industry? Where did it all begin?

NE: It actually all began at Cardinal Dougherty High School when I was 16 years old! I was the anchor of our in-house morning news program named CDTV. I also was very hands-on with all of the media equipment, and I just fell in love.

 

PPRG: Congrats on your newest venture as the official Philadelphia Eagles reporter for NFL Radio Sunday Drive on Sirius XM NFL Radio (Channel 88). What are you most looking forward to about this amazing new opportunity?

NE: Thank you! I think this opportunity is really going to showcase the skills I’ve accumulated over the past nine years. Since I stepped foot into a radio station when I was 20 years old, this is the type of position I’ve been working toward my entire life. I can’t wait to get into the press box.  

 

PPRG: How do you feel being able to provide coverage of your hometown team for a national network?

NE: It’s actually very surreal. It’s been nothing but an absolute blessing to be able to be on the airwaves in my hometown in the first place. Now, to discuss the Eagles on a national network platform, it’s just mind blowing. 

 

PPRG: You often refer to your new radio show, Saturday Sports Social on 610 AM Sports, as “Not Your Dad’s Sports Radio.” What can listeners expect as you tackle sports from a local to global scale? 

NE: Well, when I say “your dad’s sports radio,” what I really mean is MY dad’s sports radio. Traditional sports talk radio is typically analysis/opinion based. While I still have that, I also work to incorporate a newer media element for entertainment purposes. I really enjoy the culture of sports social media, so my show’s content is mostly inspired by different social media moments each week. I also love music and comedy, so it’s been great to tie in songs from some of my favorite artists to the theme of my show. Plus, if at least one person laughs at my bad jokes, then I consider it a success! 

 

 

PPRG: How did your interest and passion for sports broadcasting originate?

NE: My passion originated from watching sports teams while growing up in Philly. My dad was a huge fan, and when we’d spend time together, we would listen to sports talk radio and talk about the teams. When we’d go to Flyers games together, I would always call out the penalty as soon as the ref signed it before it was announced. It’s all thanks to my dad teaching me the rules of each game.

 

PPRG: That’s such sweet father-daughter bonding! What do you love most about covering sports?

NE: What I love most about covering sports is that at the end of the day, sports are based on entertainment. They’re meant to bring people happiness. I’m not sure how I would be if I had to cover really hard hitting topics. Freedom of press is an absolute right, and I’m always in awe of the journalists who dedicate their lives to covering the not so entertaining parts of the world.

 

 

PPRG: As a 20-something-year-old in sports media, what obstacles have you faced throughout your career? Has being a woman affected your work in the field? What has helped and motivated you to break through obstacles and stereotypes?

NE: There have been many many obstacles and a lot of rejection throughout my career thus far. I’ve said “yes” to mostly every opportunity that has presented itself to me, including very unglamorous jobs like manual labor tasks, outdoor broadcasts in freezing rain, airport drop offs, etc. As with anything, it’s all about trusting your abilities and the faith you have in yourself to be greater than what others think of you.

Being a woman has affected me in certain situations, both in a positive and negative manner, but I work hard. I put the work above everything else. I think that is something that sets me apart regardless of being a man or woman in this business. On a personal note for motivation, I am very much in competition with myself rather than other people and I consistently challenge myself to be better and focus on what I can do better.

 

PPRG: With so many media and hosting opportunities, which moment has been the most memorable thus far in your career?

NE: Oh gosh! I just interviewed Chris Kattan at Punchline Philly. It was such a “life moment” for me as a huge SNL fan. I also covered Made in America last year for CSN Philly and was able to interview a ton of artists, which was really cool. Though I do believe sitting backstage at the NFL Draft this year and looking up from my computer to see Donovan McNabb across from me was pretty unreal. He was nom-noming on a soft pretzel, then he said “hey.” I instantly reverted to my nine-year-old self and screaming my head off in front of my TV for him. I am a professional. 

 

 

PPRG: Who do you look up to in the broadcast/radio industry? Do you have a mentor who has helped you get to where you are today?

NE: One of my favorite quotes is, “Anyone who gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” One of the most crucial parts of this industry (and life) is having confidence in yourself. I’ve been so blessed to meet, and continue to meet, genuinely good people. They’ve given me advice, constructive criticism and confidence in myself over the years when I couldn’t seem to find it on my own. The one and only Kate Marlys is one of those people who has been very generous with advice.   

Vittoria Woodill of CBS3 and I have been friends for years now. I consider her a trailblazer because we grew up in the same area, and she helped me get into the business years ago. I saw her working and I thought, “If she can do it, I can do it.” I’ve turned to her so many times for confidence, personally and professionally. I’ll always be so grateful to have her in my life.

I also would be absolutely nothing without my biggest cheerleader, my mother Gabrielle. She raised my sister and I on her own. At certain points, she worked multiple jobs at once to make sure we had the essentials in life. I definitely get my work ethic from her. We may not have had the nicest of things, but there was an endless amount of love and support. That has provided my life with more than any material items could have. From the time I was a little girl, she would tell me that I can do anything I set my mind to. While my original childhood plans of being a singing cashier and an astronaut may have not panned out, I think she’s proud of what I’ve accomplished.

 

PPRG: What advice do you have for people looking to break into the media production industry, especially women hoping to go into the sports industry?

NE: TRUST THE PROCESS. (Sorry, had to.) Really though, perseverance and hard work and faith in yourself DO pay off. Perhaps not monetarily at first, but that’s fine because ramen noodles are now a delicacy. Contact me for recipes.

For women looking to get into sports, I would tell them it’s okay to be yourself and challenge people who challenge you. The more you try to bend to fit some sort of mold, the more you lose yourself. You know why you’re there and what you want. Just KEEP GOING. 

 

 

PPRG: Born and raised in Philadelphia, what do you love most about Philly? Where can we typically find you when you’re not working?

NE: I think the love affair I have with this city is pretty unnatural. I’ve lived in many different parts of the city throughout my life, and each neighborhood has shaped me into the person I am today. Philly gets a ton of heat in the national media, but I’m always happy we keep it real… as long as no one gets injured. (Santa may have deserved the snowballs, but that’s a debate for a different day.) We’re also insanely loyal, which I think is a trait that gets lost in today’s superficial society. I’m a pretty laid back person. I mostly just hang out in Fishtown with my dog Ginger and my friends, most of whom I’ve grown up with (a HUGE perk of being from Philly).

 

Tune into 610 AM every Saturday between 1 and 1:30 p.m. to hear from Natalie, or connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.