We’ve been so pleased to see White Sox announcer Jason Benetti start to get some national exposure lately. He’s a great presenter who relies on two factors that we encourage in our clients—he believes in lots of advance preparation, and he trusts that his authentic style will help him connect with listeners.
And he has another interesting gig that’s also gaining attention.
If you haven’t heard of Jason, he grew up in the south suburbs of Chicagoland, and famously wrote in a school project as a young boy that he wanted to be the White Sox announcer when he grew up. Three years ago, the Sox hired him to be the successor to Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, and he officially took over as the full-time announcer this past season.
Benetti brings his entire self to his work with the Sox. He’s a bit goofy, a bit geeky, funny, very knowledgeable and has recreated Sox broadcasts in his own personal style. He seems to enjoy all aspects of his work, as you can see from the national TV segment about him on CBS Sunday Morning that was broadcast earlier this month.
The CBS interview wasn’t Jason’s first time on the national stage. During this year’s All-Star Game in Cleveland over the summer, ESPN ran a simulcast of the Home Run Derby on ESPN2. It was promoted as a broadcast focusing on the statistical analytics of the homers that play such a big role in the game today. Benetti, as the announcer, was becoming known to a much wider audience beyond the Chicago sports world.
You can also hear his voice doing college football and basketball games on ESPN and Westwood One. This guy works hard.
One thing that doesn’t slow Benetti down is the fact that he’s lived his life with cerebral palsy. Jason has always been quite open about his physical abilities—as he says, his walk looks funny and he has an eye that wanders. (Watch the CBS piece to learn how, since he couldn’t march well enough for the marching band in high school, they gave him a job that started him on this journey.)
This past year, he became a spokesperson for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, starring in a series of videos they produced called “Awkward Moments” in which an animated version of himself talks openly and honestly about his condition. He hopes to “create and share messages that make the world a little less awkward.” These vignettes work in part because of the animation, but also because they are full of Jason’s own authentic personality. His humor is evident as he addresses issues like “Does a person with CP need your help?” and “What should you do if your child stares and asks questions?” Use this link to watch these short videos, and make a note of the conversational tone he uses (while likely following a script) that makes these videos so wonderful.
He’s open, honest, funny, engaging, and unapologetically himself, all qualities that any corporate leader should hope to see in themselves and their direct reports. You’re a great presenter, Jason, and Sox fans like us are thrilled to have you on our team.