I’m so grateful to be in the right place at the right time.
That’s how it happened in the press box at Bank of America Stadium this past NFL season. That’s where I met Justine Turley. Her podcast, The Pow Wow, is about the Carolina Panthers, and her co-host is Panthers radio guy Eugene Robinson.
He played in the NFL and has identified Justine’s rare talents.
Those talents were apparent to me, too. We struck up a conversation and I knew in an instant she’d be a perfect fit for #GirlsRock. She graciously answered my questions, and as I kept up with her podcast through the season, I saw her grow even more.
Justine has a bright mind and a respectful, aspiring spirit.
I know you’ll love getting to know her just as I did. Check out her podcast here. My girls are big sports fans, and smart, too. So is Justine. I predict many wonderful things in her future! She’s going to make a big difference.
Eli: When you were little, what did you think you’d grow up to be?
Justine: When I was little, I wanted to be a lot of different things. I was always switching what I thought I would be, but two things were constant. The one combination that stuck with me for a while was that I would be an actress and an Olympic swimmer. Clearly, I didn’t understand the commitment it takes to become an Olympian.
Eli: True – although if finishing second in fantasy football ever becomes an Olympic sport, I’m in! Judging by your work, it looks like you’ve learned a thing or two about commitment since then. How important is that as you embark on your career?
Justine: I learned so much about commitment through sports, which is part of the reason I love working in this industry. And those learning experiences have helped me develop the skills, like commitment, that are necessary to succeed in any work. Working in such a popular industry has its challenges, especially with competitive nature when it comes to job opportunities. Learning about commitment and hard work has led me to the job I have now and I believe will help me get to where I want to go.
Eli: Tell us about what you do.
Justine: As for what I do at ESPN, I am a production assistant currently working on SEC football. During the week I am prepping for whichever game or games I have for the week. Basically, I gather all sales and visual elements for the week that my crew needs to produce the game. I also get edit requests from my editor and will create edits for the game. They may be photo timeline edits or player glams (basically highlights to music). Once I have everything on a drive, I ship it out to site for the games so they can load all the elements onto the truck and produce the show.
I don’t generally travel, but have recently found some opportunities that allow me to.
Eli: What three stadiums – college or pro – would you love to get to?
Justine: I would love to visit Notre Dame because I love history and honestly, the story of Rudy. Tennessee to experience Rocky Top, and Dallas because I heard the new stadium is incredible and so is the entertainment value.
Eli: Being a football fan helps in this line of work, doesn’t it? How did that start for you?
Justine: I think being a fan greatly helps with my job. I’m able to think about what viewers, like me, want to know and hear about. Also, understanding the sport helps me get creative with production; integrating knowledge with creativity.
I’ve always loved sports and started playing at a young age. I remember learning how to swim when I was 2 and that became my sport until the end of high school. However, I’ve done pretty much every sport throughout growing up. My love of football started with my parents. They are diehard Giants fans who came from a long line of Giants fans. My grandpa got season tickets when they first started selling them in the Meadowlands. We have since kept them in the family.
I also had an older brother who got into the sport. Because I was a bit of a tomboy and wanted to be like my brother, I really got into it too. It was a great way for me to connect to my family and be a part of something we all loved. The passion they had for the team made Sunday’s fun and my love for my team also turned into a love for the game.
Eli: Tell me how your love of the podcast came about.
Justine: The podcast started the year after I interned with the Panthers, so 2017. While I was an intern I had the opportunity to work with (Panthers radio analyst) Eugene (Robinson) and several other guys who were talent. We had about six shows a week back then for TV. I quickly became close to Eugene and he was very encouraging about pursuing a talent position. So, the next year when I was back, he said he’d be willing to do a podcast with me.
The first one was not great. I hadn’t done anything like it before and it’s harder than one would think. But, as I got more comfortable and confident, I enjoyed it a lot more. It was fun coming up with new ideas and actually producing a show. My confidence allowed me to get more creative and that’s when I started to love it.
The first year I did it was more to test if I enjoyed being talent and if I was any good at it. Once I learned I did enjoy talking and having a conversation about sports, I focused on improving it and really going after a career where I can do that. I love sports and I love being able to discuss them with someone as talented as a Eugene, who also has the NFL experience to back it up.
Eli: How important is that chemistry?
Justine: Chemistry is one of the most important aspects. The content and knowledge could be great, but if the two people don’t have chemistry, it won’t be a conversation and the listeners would be able to feel that in the end product. Having a comfortability and familiarity with your co-host creates a genuine podcast, and I think that realness resonates with listeners.
Eli: What’s been your favorite podcast so far?
Justine: That’s a difficult question. I would go with one from my first season, so last year. The episode I made after the Dolphins game last year is really when I felt like I could be good at this type of thing. Eugene was very excited after it and said that I was really improving and that it was a well-done show. Hearing his compliments and knowing that he believed in me, really solidified that I wanted to pursue this type of career.
Eli: What is next for you?
Justine: I will work hard at my job and learn as much as possible. However, I will also be working on some personal projects and starting a YouTube channel. Most of the videos will be comedic sports inspired videos but will have some more serious videos. I’m also starting a lifestyle/comedy podcast with a friend during the football offseason. My hope is the more I create, the more opportunities will present themselves.
Eli: What advice would you give girls about exploring career paths as you have?
Justine: I’d just say to try as many things as you can and talk to as many people as you can. Learning what you don’t like can be really helpful in determining what you do like and want to do. There are so many different paths to take and the more informed you are, the easier it is to find the best one for you and really go after it.