Job: Sportscaster, 6abc
SMC degree: Bachelor of arts,
Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Mass Media, 2001
Current city: Philly suburbs
A piece of advice: “You’re going to hit rough spots. It’s not always about whether you’re good enough. It’s about being persistent. Right time, right place is important.”
A die-hard Philadelphia sports fan, it was a dream fulfilled when Jeff Skversky first appeared on Action News, a job for which he felt he was born.
“The Philly fans want to see someone who cares about what their teams do.”
A 6abc sportscaster since February 2009, the native of Bensalem, Pa., came in fully aware that his viewership was packed with some of the most knowledgeable and devout fans in the country. Well-versed in the history of the Phillies and Eagles, he was ready to enter the living rooms of sports fans across the Delaware Valley.
“The pressure I put on myself to be good at what I do is more pressure than anyone else can put on me,” he says.
A fan, but not so much an athlete, Skversky decided that sports reporting still would allow him to be close to his passion in life. He knew he wanted to work in Philadelphia and wanted to choose a college that would help him along the way.
During one of his visits, he met a senior named Kevin Negandhi, who is now a SportsCenter anchor on ESPN.
“He basically sold me Temple,” Skversky says. “I wanted to be this guy.”
Importance of persistence
While still at Temple, Skversky interned at Comcast SportsNet and 6abc, where he became friendly with local legend Gary Papa, who helped arrange for some time on-set to build his demo tape.
“I had to buy the crew pizza,” Skversky recalls.
It was that demo tape that helped him land his first job in Macon, Ga., as the station’s first weekend news anchor. But soon after he made the move south, bad news followed.
“We ran out of money,” he was told. “We’re not going to be doing the weekend news.”
Skversky turned down their offer to work as a photographer, but, within two months, landed at the NBC station in Atlantic City, which he calls “a dream first job.”
“It taught me a lot about staying on your feet and trying to survive in a very tough industry,” he says.
He moved on to Syracuse, N.Y., and St. Louis, where he was laid off in a round of budget cuts.
“I flew back home and started hustling,” Skversky says.
He freelanced for Fox29 during Phillies’ World Series run and did work for stations in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and soon ended up at Channel 6.
Beyond the stats
While a sportscaster’s bread and butter are the results and stats from a game, “I love doing stories with a guy that is away from the sport. They are just regular people who have a special skill and make a lot of money doing it.”
This past Memorial Day, he did a piece on Philadelphia Union player Danny Cruz, whose father is serving in Afghanistan. “You all of a sudden care about this soccer player, even if you’re not a soccer fan. This guy is now connecting to the average viewer at home.”
Skversky also points to stories that took him into a recording studio with Philadelphia Eagle DeSean Jackson and allowed him to spend time with Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels and his newly adopted daughter from Ethiopia.
“I get to talk about sports in my hometown. Other than playing for the Phillies, I don’t think there’s anything better,” he says.