Joe Freihofer has found many opportunities at MSU to pursue his love for sports reporting


In the moments where no one was listening and the power of pretending was magical beyond belief, FHC graduate and MSU sophomore Joe Freihofer discovered profound joy in simple sports talk.

Through Facetime, he and his friend would act as co-hosts of their own live radio show, freely speculating on Ohio State sport statistics and more. And the beauty of it? No one was listening or tuning in to their opinions, and yet it mattered to them, later becoming the place where two of Joe’s interests– sports and reporting– finally converged: sports broadcasting.

“I loved listening to different commentators on the radio or on different sports TV shows,” Joe said, “and I found so much enjoyment in just listening to them, debating about different things and talking about breaking news. I always did the FaceTime thing for fun, but it didn’t really hit me until I graduated high school what I wanted to do [with it].”

The next step Joe took towards sports reporting was one where the work was significantly greater than what was put into his personal radio show, and it was signing up for The Central Trend after being swayed by the intrigue and promise of such an independent class.

In the Sports Report’s beginning year, Joe was one of the first reporters, following up with coaches after games and actually starting a sports podcast with another friend called The Ranger Rundown. While the opportunities he earned and the resume he was able to build were both incredible for Joe, truly the mentorship he received from journalism teacher Ken George was what fueled his fascination.

“[Mr. George] just gave us so much freedom in that to make of it what we wanted to,” Joe said. “He provided me and all sorts of other kids a real and incredible experience of being a sports reporter. I got such a kick out of being in that class, and I wanted to try and see if I could do that for real in the real world.”

With his infectious dedication and enthusiasm, Joe’s interest in journalism only continued to grow as college grew nearer and nearer. Although he does have the drive and the passion for sports reporting, Joe’s thoughts on pursuing it into college were not always ones of complete certainty and confidence.

“I had a blast with the podcast and everything and wanted to try to pursue it in college, but I’ve always been afraid,” Joe said. “It’s such a hard job market, and so few people ever truly make it to big networks because it’s so competitive.”

While his uncertainty about his future with both journalism and sports broadcasting is still looming, Joe finally did decide to major in journalism with minors in sports broadcasting and Spanish. Thankfully for him, MSU was the perfect place for him to pursue those passions.

Within his first year of being at MSU, Joe became involved with a reporting group who did sports recaps called the Spartan Sports Report, initially being more of a behind-the-scenes man and working hard to get his own shot behind the news desk. His perseverance paid off in the end, enabling him to go from occasionally subbing in as an anchor to anchoring much more often than not.

“Freshman year, at 1:30 in the morning, I got a message from a senior [saying], ‘Hey, one of the anchors can’t come to the show tomorrow. We know that you’ve been practicing a lot, so would you like to anchor?’ ” Joe said. “I immediately shot out of bed and did like a fist pump right in the middle of the room. It’s just little stuff like that where after a while of doing the little things, some doors start to open.”

His evident enthusiasm for reporting soon brought more opportunities to the table for Joe, allowing him to continue anchoring and also commentating for BTN Student News across many sports.

“I’ve always thought to myself that if I could do sports broadcasting one day, I know it’s cliche, but I’d really never have to work at all when I grow up,” Joe said. “It’s so much fun for me; I get such a cool feeling and a blast out of every time I have to [report on] a game at [MSU].”

Although Joe may call himself a sports “fan first and broadcaster second,” it’s his drive for learning and sharing people’s stories that will lead to his eventual success.

“I think that it’s just the ability to tell incredible stories that other people would not usually get to see,” Joe said. “With athletes, there’re so many different behind-the-scenes stories that wouldn’t be able to be told without sports reporting and sports journalism.”

As graduation and his future grow closer, Joe hopes that he will later have the opportunity to report and commentate for professional soccer leagues, utilizing his years of experience, his passion, and additionally his Spanish knowledge to reach wider audiences. However, it’s not the excitement as to where he’ll end up that leads his interest in sports reporting; it’s the way people’s stories unfold and his ability to show them to the world.

“There are really hard backgrounds that some athletes come from or certain adversities that they face off the field and even with the journey of the sports teams themselves,” Joe said. “There are so many passionate fans all around the world, so that creates a really cool opportunity for people to tell their stories and provide experience for people who feel passionate about sports.”