Profile: 6abc’s Jamie Apody
Jamie Apody’s 15 years in Philly sports
By Kate Morgan

You can see Apody at the first panel of our 2021 Women’s Empowerment Series. Click here.

People are always asking Jamie Apody if she grew up with older brothers – as though that might explain her passion for sports. She didn’t. It’s a calling Apody found all on her own.

“As far back as I can remember, I grew up loving sports,” says the 6abc Action News sports anchor. “Some of my earliest memories are of having a catch with my dad or going to Dodgers’ games. I’d beg my dad to come pitch in the neighborhood baseball games. It’s the only way the boys would let me play.”

Apody, now 43, was a competitive basketball player at her Los Angeles high school, but decided not to pursue a scholarship in the sport because her path to college already seemed clear.

“My parents both went to UCLA, and that’s the only place I ever wanted to go,” she says. “When I got in, I didn’t look elsewhere. The summer between my freshman and sophomore years, I got an internship at NBC in Los Angeles.”

Working in the sports department of one of the nation’s largest TV stations, Apody discovered her dream job – though it still seemed completely unattainable.

“I could get paid to talk about sports! It was amazing, but I didn’t think it would ever actually happen. I wasn’t the Barbie doll, makeup-wearing type of girl.”

Plus, there weren’t many female role models for Apody. Almost everyone in TV news then was a man.

“I knew of Robin Roberts and Hannah Storm, but on the local level, there was nobody,” she says. “When I got that internship, there were no women in the sports department. There were 3 male producers and 2 male anchors.”

Jamie Apody joined the celebration at the Villanova Championship parade

Still, Apody persisted. “I just kind of didn’t go away. I worked 5 or 6 days a week. I was there whenever I could be. I was really annoying,” she laughs. “Eventually, I went from just logging games to going out in the field and doing interviews for the anchors. I got great experience quickly, but I was always tested by coaches, players…people who weren’t used to seeing women around.”

At one of her first Lakers’ practices, Apody recalls an interview with longtime coach Phil Jackson. “I asked him something like if he was worried about a player,” Apody says. “Instead of answering the question, he looked me right in the eye and goes, ‘What are you talking about?’ I was like, ‘Well, he had 3 turnovers in the first 90 seconds last night.’ Then he answered my question. It was a test.”

That happened a lot, she says. “It was a way to earn trust that I don’t think my male counterparts ever had to deal with. But you get used to it and just make sure you know more than the guys.”

Though she loved the work, Apody still felt she’d never end up on the air. After finishing her undergrad degree in communications, she says, “I gave up on the dream and decided to study for the LSAT and go to law school. I always figured I’d ultimately be a lawyer, because I thought sports broadcasting was still a pipe dream.”

She got into law school at Loyola Marymount University in LA. “I went to the school the day before I had to confirm my attendance, and sat under a tree and just pondered my life. I ended up calling Fred Roggin. He’s a famous sports anchor – a legend in LA. I said listen, I don’t want to be a lawyer. Can you just hire me in sports? For something? Anything? That night there was a voicemail on my answering machine: they decided to hire me.”

Apody stayed in sports as a producer, but soon found herself wanting more. “At one point Roggin told me, ‘If you want to be on the air, you gotta be somewhere smaller. You want to make your mistakes in front of 50,000 people, not a million.’ It was the best advice. I got a call from El Paso, Texas for the main sports anchor job. It was a terrible station ratings-wise, but the best people worked there. It was all crazy hours and crappy equipment. It was wonderful. I spent 2 and a half years there and got incredible experience, but eventually I just knew it was time to go.”

In 2006, Apody hired an agent, and told him she’d be interested in any station on the West Coast – as close as possible to her family in Los Angeles. “I get the call from WPVI in Philadelphia, and I was so mad,” she says. “I called my agent and said, ‘I just got a call from Philadelphia! What part of West Coast do you not understand?’ He was like, ’PVI?! That’s the best station in the country!’”

It was an opportunity she couldn’t turn down, so Apody headed for the East Coast as the first female sportscaster ever hired at the station. It quickly became clear, she says, that she’d arrived in a very unique sports city.

“All you need to do as a West Coast person is go to one live sporting event to understand Philly is different,” Apody says. “There is nothing like Philly sports. The passion is like none other, and you know it right away.”

In the years since, Apody’s been part of countless amazing Philadelphia sports moments, but a few stand out. “In 2008, during our coverage of the World Series parade, we kept bringing up guests,” she says. “We brought up Jamie Moyer, who grew up in the area. He was hammered, and couldn’t stop telling Jim Gardner and Gary Papa how much he loved them. He was so in awe of being there with them. Here’s a guy who just won the World Series, and even he gets the power of Action News.”

That power stems, at least in part, from longevity, Apody says. While most networks see anchors and reporters come and go, 6abc is known for familiar faces – like Gardner and the late Papa – who stick around for decades. Apody would know: this year she celebrated 15 years with the station.

“From the beginning Jim and Gary said, ‘You’re one of us now.’ And I didn’t understand it then, but now I do,” she says. “I couldn’t have known I’d become part of the fabric of this town, but they knew it.”

Apody’s certainly made her mark on the region and changed the sportscasting game by doing things her own way.

“I tend to look for the emotional side – the personal side of stories,” she says. “I do think the Doug Pedersons and the Andy Reids of the world trust me. Andy was legendary for saying nothing, and he gave me great interviews. Is it because he’s a dad with a daughter around my age? Maybe. Is it because I asked better questions? Maybe. He always gave me real, true answers. I ask questions that aren’t necessarily Xs and Os, and sometimes you get eyerolls from the male reporters, but that answer’s the one in the papers the next day.”

And while the big moments and personalities stand out, for Apody, the smaller ones do, too.

“I like telling stories about normal people doing over-the-top, inspirational things,” she says. “Viewers remember that. They won’t remember what Doug Pederson said about facing a zone defense, but they’ll remember when I ask him how nervous he is before a game, or what it’s like being a grandfather.”

And sure, she’s on TV, but Apody is a “normal person,” too. She’s very transparent on social media, posting funny, realistic photos and videos documenting life as a mom to 3 boys, aged 9, 7 and 4.

“It’s chaos in my house. I can’t have nice things, and anyone who watched my home broadcasts from the pandemic is well aware of this,” she says. “I get told all the time by viewers that they love how real I am. That’s the number-one thing I hear, and that’s what I want to be. I want to come across not as that stiff anchor person who knows more than you. I want to be me.”

“People say they’re not really sports fans, but they like watching me,” she says. “I want to be someone who brings some joy to the newscast every day in a world where the news is pretty depressing and overwhelming.”

And if Apody’s become the kind of role model she never had herself, she says that’s even better.

“If along the way I’m able to influence some young women to realize they too can follow their dreams, no matter what they are, that would be the icing on the cake.”

You can see Apody at the first panel of our 2021 Women’s Empowerment Series. Click here.

September 2021
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