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Jen Lada

Jen Lada

Jennifer Nicole Lada (born January 14, 1981) is a sportscaster and an anchor for ESPN. She reside in Bristol, Connecticut.

Early Life & Education

Jen Lada was born in Chicago, but grew up in Spring Grove, Illinois. She attended Marian Central Catholic High School, where she stood out as a member of the school’s cross country and track teams. She also excelled in her speech and composition class; the teacher of that class, Kay Hansen, was one of her favorites.

Over a decade later, she was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2012 and won their Alumni Excellence Award in 2015.

After attaining a partial scholarship, Jen attended Marquette University. There, she studied Broadcast Electronics, Television Broadcasting, and Sociology. She also worked for their local newspaper and was affiliated with a sorority house, which helped ease her from being homesick. Lada eventually graduated with her Bachelor's degree in 2002.

In between graduating and her first sportscasting job, she was a waitress.


Early Career

Jen Lada on ESPN's Mike & Mike

Jen Lada on ESPN's Mike & Mike

Jen Lada began her career as an intern for Watts Communications.

For over a decade, she worked with multiple news stations as a sports reporter/anchor.

She covered the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Admirals, Milwaukee Wave, along with college sports for Marquette University and University Of Wisconsin-Madison. She also reported on local high school athletics and a variety of human interest stories.

From 2003 to 2005, she was a sports reporter/anchor for WITI, a local Fox affiliate in Milwaukee. There, she earned the Best Sportscast 1st Place honor in 2011 from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.

In January 2006, she took a similar position at WREX. She worked there until 2013. Her story about a Milwaukee woman who ran across the United States to raise awareness for multiple sclerosis was named Best Feature 1 st Place by the Milwaukee Press Club. Concurrently, in 2010, she was a Radio Contributor for the weekly podcast, Good Karma Broadcasting.

Three years later, she was tapped to become a Sportscaster for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.


Jen Lada made her First Take

Jen Lada made her First Take

In 2015, Jen joined ESPN and has filled a variety of roles. She makes guest host appearances and multiple ESPN Radio and television programs including Baseball Tonight and First Take. In September 2016, Lada was named a Features reporter for College GameDay where she regularly files stories for the Saturday morning college football pregame show. In addition, Jen conducts interviews and previews for Headlines segments and plays an active role in ESPN's Department of Highlights.

Additionally, Lada serves as a host on College Football Live and has also made recent appearances on Outside the Lines, The Paul Finebaum Show, and other ESPN programs. She's also the co-host of a new podcast, "Athletes Doing Good."[45] In an interview with The Spun, Lada told how the created the podcast:

Being back in Milwaukee means reconnecting with people who have been huge supporters of my career for years.

Chellee Siewert is this badass and brilliant boss who runs Capture Marketing – a company that handles a lot of big time athlete’s events and projects.

She approached me about helping her tell these athletes’ stories.

There aren’t a lot of platforms talking specifically about the good and charitable work that pros are doing in between their full-time jobs.

And for most, their causes are labors of love – passion projects born from their own experiences, adversities and priorities.

We’ve talked to Russell Wilson, Dr. Jen Welter, Solomon Thomas, Brian Anderson and we’ve got a long list of people on board.

We’re just getting started and we’re learning what works as we go but most importantly, we’re providing a space where athletes can talk about the positive stuff they’re doing and hopefully encourage others to give back to their respective communities too.[45]

Starting August 31, 2020, Lada is joining Gabe Neitzel and former Packers star Mark Chmura weekdays from 7 to 9 a.m. on WKTI (94.5), the sports-talk station branded as 94.5 ESPN Milwaukee. Neitzel and Chmura have hosted the "Gabe & Chewy" show in that time slot since last June. [46]

Social Media

Jen has a growing following on social media and as of July 2020 garnered over 47,000 followers on Twitter, over 28,000 followers on Instagram, and over 9,700 likes on Facebook.

Sexual Harassment Claims

In August 2016, Jen revealed her sexual harassment story on Twitter from early in her career. In her first interview at a TV station, she recalls the male interview taking off his pants, getting drunk, driving her to his house instead of her hotel room, and attempted to get her to join him in his pool."

Personal Life

Taking a mirror pic

Taking a mirror pic

Jen is married to former ESPN anchor Dario Melendez. They have three children together. Her favorite sports team is the Chicago Cubs; she has a Jack Russell Terrier named Wrigley, named after the stadium in which the Cubs play.

Away from work, Lada is an endurance athlete, cyclist and runner.

She has run the Chicago Marathon three times and completed dozens of triathlons.

In July 2020, in an interview with The Spun, Lada told how hard it was to balance work with being pregnant and being a mom:

I feel like I’ve been pregnant for the last four years.

I got pregnant in early 2016 but lost that baby in June at 20 weeks.

It was devastating.

So many couples suffer through their miscarriages in silence but we wanted to be open about it to help normalize the topic.

I got pregnant again in September and had another miscarriage in December.

It was a rough year but five months later I got pregnant with our first daughter (I also have an eleven year old son) and she was born in February of 2018.

About a year later, I was pregnant with our second daughter and she arrived in November.

I had some serious complications this last time that required hospitalizations and bed rest and ended up delivering her early.

But she is perfect.

It all works out the way it’s supposed to.

The hardest thing about being pregnant – for me – is trying to function at a high level on significantly less sleep.

And having to go to the bathroom ALL THE TIME.[45]

She also told about her phobias:

I am incredibly claustrophobic.

My dad used to trap me under the comforter when I was a kid.

He thought it was hilarious but I would scream and scream.

Talk about traumatizing.

To this day, I’m not great in crowded elevators, the back of airplanes or tiny cruise cabins.[45]


Citation Linkyoutube.comJen Lada shares her thoughts on if she wants Brett Favre to retire as a Packer (July 6, 2010)
Sep 26, 2017, 2:02 AM
Citation Linkyoutube.comAnthony Pettis teaches Jen Lada one of his choke holds (July 12, 2011)
Sep 26, 2017, 2:03 AM
Citation Linkyoutube.comJen Lada was the feature reporter for Sports Center 's story on Anthony Rizzo (circa 2017)
Sep 26, 2017, 3:36 AM
Citation Linkeveripedia-storage.s3.amazonaws.comJen Lada made her *First Take * debut on May 27, 2016
Sep 26, 2017, 3:48 AM
Citation Linkeveripedia-storage.s3.amazonaws.comReporting at College GameDay
Sep 25, 2017, 6:07 PM
Citation Linkespnmediazone.comBiography of Jen Lada
Sep 25, 2017, 6:10 PM
Citation Linkeveripedia-storage.s3.amazonaws.comWearing glasses
Sep 25, 2017, 6:13 PM
Citation Linkinstagram.comJen Lada on Instagram
Sep 25, 2017, 6:15 PM
Citation Linktwitter.comJen Lada on Twitter
Sep 25, 2017, 6:15 PM
Citation Linkfacebook.comJen Lada on Facebook
Sep 25, 2017, 6:19 PM
Citation Linkeveripedia-storage.s3.amazonaws.comA picture of Jen Lada (Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)
Sep 25, 2017, 6:33 PM
Citation Linkespnfrontrow.comInterview of Jen Lada
Sep 25, 2017, 6:40 PM
Citation Linkeveripedia-storage.s3.amazonaws.comLada and Chase visit the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
Sep 25, 2017, 6:45 PM
Citation Linkeveripedia-storage.s3.amazonaws.comTaking a mirror pic
Sep 25, 2017, 6:46 PM
Citation Linkeveripedia-storage.s3.amazonaws.comSmiling
Sep 25, 2017, 6:46 PM
Citation Linkeveripedia-storage.s3.amazonaws.comPost-marathon selfie
Sep 25, 2017, 6:47 PM
Citation Linkeveripedia-storage.s3.amazonaws.comWith friends
Sep 25, 2017, 6:47 PM
Citation Linkthespun.comSexual Harassment Claims
Sep 25, 2017, 6:51 PM
Citation Linkyoutube.comJen Lada - Mike & Mike (ESPN)
Sep 25, 2017, 7:03 PM
Citation Linkyoutube.comESPN Leftovers: Jen Lada & Molly Qerim
Sep 25, 2017, 7:03 PM