Today, We're in the Presence of Husky Greatness

jenni hogan copy
Montlake Madness was thrilled recently to have a chance to speak with KIRO 7 traffic reporter, Jenni Hogan, who isn’t just a Husky, but a two-time Husky National Champion. /

Here’s what she had to say about things like what the Husky hoops team needs to do in order to follow in her championship footsteps, and what makes her one of the top Seattle-area Twitterers.

Montlake Madness: You were a two-time national champion as a member of the Husky rowing team. What would you tell the basketball team that they need to do so they can also be national champs?

Jenni Hogan: It’d be so great to get a national championship for our Husky basketball team. The most important thing is to believe — put the vision out in the universe. I know every Husky that puts on the purple already believes we can be national champs, and the fact we’re talking about it now is wonderful.

The next thing that I’d tell them is to embrace the history. It’s amazing how powerful you can be when you not only hit the court for yourself and your team, but also for the hundreds that have been there before you. When you hit a hard patch in your game, and you have to dig deep, there is an amazing power of reaching to those angels lining the Hall of Fame. It’s also important to look forward and establish the team of today. Know who you are as a team and trust it, then get every player to jump on board.

The final thing is, you are only as fast as your slowest teammate. Seniors, take the time to mentor freshman, push them, and make them great so they can push you. Build your team from the bottom up and never be scared of someone overtaking you or getting your spot in the starting five. Embrace it and crave the internal competition. Most of all, enjoy every single moment. College life goes by so fast. You have all the tools to leave UW with a national championship ring and I can’t wait to go on TV with no voice after screaming really loud when the team wins the national championship.

MM: Give me the scouting report on our basketball team this year?

JH: They lost a great rebounder in Jon Brockman but gained a top guard. You never know, it could be a four-guard starting lineup along with Quincy Pondexter. I’m thinking we will see a fast, high-tempo, high-scoring Husky team out on the court which, as a loud fan, I love! More baskets means more moments to scream and cheer. I’m looking forward to watching freshman Abdul Gaddy play too. If this team meshes and comes into their own quickly, I think we can really make a big impact.

MM: What does it mean to be a Husky?

JH: It’s the greatest family to be a part of. I’m so proud to wear purple and know other Huskies are looking back through the TV screen at me saying “hello.” When I came over from Australia to race in the Windermere Cup more than 10 years ago, I was blown away with Husky Nation. I stood on the Montlake Bridge and looked down at the sea of purple and remember thinking how I wanted to be a part of that so badly. Now I am, and it’s something that is in my heart forever. So many Dawgs have helped form who I am, and I thank all of them.

Watch out for my secret Husky shout-outs too. There’s a “W” on our traffic map that I’ll sometimes point at if I want to say “hi.” I also wear purple before big Husky games, and if one of my college friends needs some extra mojo on a certain day, you can see me sporting my national championship rings to give them that extra power shout-out and good luck energy.

MM: What’s your best Seattle traffic tip?

JH: My best tip is use the information at your fingertips. With WSDOT on Twitter and online traffic resources you can always know before you head out the door. I love helping people be their own mini traffic reporters. Knowledge can really help you leave the house calm, which means you’ll make smart decisions on your commute.

The other tip is plan ahead and know detours, so if something pops up on your commute you have another option. Having lived in quite a few neighborhoods during college, I can get you to UW so many different ways if the I-5 corridor is solid. The best thing is, if you don’t want to be bothered worrying about traffic, just know I’m here for you so email me anytime or chat live with me on Facebook. I’m a little traffic nerd and always love to talk about it.

MM: Other than maybe a little bit of make-up, what’s the process for putting on your gameface for TV as opposed to getting ready in sports?

JH: I do treat my job like a sport. I want to be great at it and I crave feedback so I can improve every day. It’s really important to have a game face, even if everything is going crazy behind the scenes, the viewers are relying on you to stay calm and be in control. I really want to hit a home run for them and make their life easy as they leave their house.

My pre-show ritual includes looking through all the DOT cameras, reading traffic alerts/emails, touching base with WSP, and WSDOT reps to say good morning. Then, it’s time to focus on the viewer, checking in on Facebook and Twitter to give me a sense of what’s important to my audience right now (reading their posts as they wake up). I also meet with my traffic team, the producers, the traffic desk, our intern and touch base with the Chopper. At 4:30 AM, it’s game time: lights, camera, action.

Okay, yes, there is some primping in this pre-game time too. I love my make-up room moments with anchor Julie Francavilla, chatting with her while I boof my hair and do my makeup really wakes me up, helps my voice warm up and gets me pumped to go on air and rock the morning commute.

MM: Two of our Husky ballers recently had a contest to be the first to get 500 Twitter followers. You’ve got about 12,000. What’s your secret?

JH: That’s great that they are jumping into the social media scene. I’d say my secret is the way I look at Twitter is that I always compare it to my dogs (laughs) or Dawgs in this case, since it’s a Husky tip. If you rub your dog’s belly you’ll get a lot of love in return, so rub away. That means you need to spend time each day investing in your relationships online. I’d say 20 minutes would be ideal if you can spare the time (I’m not sure if an athlete has 20 spare minutes, though, so do the best you can). I can’t wait to read their tweets. They’ll be higher than me in no time I bet!

Thanks to Jenni for joining us, and thanks to you all for coming!