Jody Jackson is in the midst of a hectic couple days.
The Diamondbacks’ game was postponed in the eighth inning, due to inclement weather, and it created a double header the following afternoon.
It added even more work to Jackson, who keeps a busy schedule as an anchor and reporter for Bally Sports. She handles it all with grace and professionalism.
“It’s been kind of hectic with all the games,” says Jackson, a Tempe resident. “I’m just grateful to be working.”
May 15 will be Jackson’s 21st anniversary with Fox Sports Arizona/Bally Sports. Prior to that, she was a reporter/anchor with WIVB-TV in Buffalo and a reporter/update anchor with WQAM radio Miami/Fort Lauderdale.
Her career has been filled with highlights. While in Florida, she reported on the Marlins vs. Cleveland Indians World Series in 1997. In 1999, she covered the Stanley Cup between the Buffalo Sabres and the Dallas Stars.
“It ended up with Buffalo fans feeling dejected again,” she says. “I came here, and here the Diamondbacks go to the World Series. I had only been here a year and a half. That was just a thrill to be able to see a team go out and beat the Yankees in the World Series. A lot of people have memories of that series. Arizona, for a long time, wanted to have a championship of any sort.”
Recently, she’s had a little fun with the Diamondbacks during post-game interviews. Newbie outfielder Nick Heath blew kisses to his mother after having a multi-hit game. Madison Bumgarner, after his no-hitter, made two statements and dropped his headset. David Peralta shared he was disappointed in his performance and that led to a stellar game.
“That’s what I love about the live interviews,” she says. “You never know what’s going to happen. I look forward to the day when we can do in-person interviews for the post-game show.
“The guys are always on the headset anyway. Wrapping up with Nick when he said hi to his mom, Kimberly, was so adorable. It was so honest and raw. David took his anger and channeled it into something positive. We didn’t know he was mad until after the game. He’s always looking joyful. I think that’s what people love about him.”
Sports is in Jackson’s blood. When she drove in a car with her mom, they would listen to news and sports on the radio. Other times, she pretended to be a news anchor.
“I watched a lot of sports growing up,” she says. “I thought I would go into print journalism so I could tell stories. I love media.
“It’s pretty special being a reporter and covering all the different sports. I don’t cover quite as much football. I was covering everything and going out and doing stories on every different team in town. It evolved over the years.”
Upon moving to Arizona, she worked as a beat reporter, but it evolved, as she says, into live hosting and reporting.
“We’re not really a talk show. We’re a sports program,” she says. “I think we’re entertaining. We’re not exactly ‘Live with Kelly and Ryan.’ We frame it with life events.”
Sports is also a big part of her family’s lives. Her husband is Chad Ackerley, a football player at Arizona State (1990-93), who works in real estate. Their children are involved in Little League sports, too.
Recently, Fox Sports evolved into Bally Sports. She calls the transition easy — for her.
“With my job, it didn’t change so much,” she says. “But there are so many people in our company — from the leadership to management and everyone in production, the trucks — had a lot more work than I have. There’s a lot behind it with the graphics and the music that was created. It looks great.
“For me, it’s been great. It re-energizes everyone to have a new look, a new name, but the same coverages that we’ve always had.”