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DOWNEY - The question often gets asked, "what did you want to be when you were a kid?"
For Jason Barquero, the answer is always a no-brainer.
"I'm 33-years-old and getting into broadcasting has been my lifelong dream since I was nine-years-old," he says. "If you ask my mother, that's what she always thought I'd be."
Well, mother must know best because after years in the fields of journalism and higher education, Barquero has been selected one of the top 20 finalists in line to become the next public address announcer for the San Diego Padres.
"I'd be the guy announcing the starting line-up and making stadium announcements -- it's a pretty coveted position," said Barquero who heard word of the open casting call in January. "I showed up three weeks ago and there were well over 600, 700 people."
Only 470 got to audition for the position. Jason was number 373.
"I just went in and did my thing," Barquero said. "I showed up at 9 a.m. on that Saturday and filled out a one-page application with my professional background. I received an e-mail from human resources later saying I was one of the 20 finalists. It's very talented based."
Talent that Barquero has cultivated over the years as an aspiring reporter.
A proud graduate of Warren High School in Downey, Barquero says his passion for broadcasting was reinvigorated at Cerritos College in 1998 when he got behind a microphone for the first time at the college radio station.
He went on to graduate from Cal State Fullerton in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in Speech Communication, but at the advice of his family decided to get a "real job."
"I was a career advisor for 5 years at DeVry University in Long Beach and now I work as director of alumni engagement at Claremont Graduate University, but I always did broadcasting on the side," he said.
Post-college, Barquero began co-hosting "The Jay Boatman Show" and "The Vince Daniels Show" on KCAA 1050AM San Bernardino, taking guest phone calls, interviewing guests, and leading discussions on pop culture and politics.
In 2009, Barquero completed his master's degree in sports management at Cal State Long Beach and began several sports internships at the NFL, the Los Angeles Kings, and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Although Barquero handled mostly areas relating to public relations and marketing, he eventually was noticed by popular blog site LakersNation.com, which hired him to follow the Lakers team and produce on-camera news reports.
The job even landed him a one-on-one interview with basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Last year, Barquero was the on-camera host and producer of local sports news for the "Accion Deportiva" webpage on univision34.com.
Even with his background, Barquero says he was still surprised when he got a call back.
"There were people there from Cinncinati and Miami...this is only a part-time job," Barquero said with a laugh.
However, if chosen for the position, Barquero will definitely have a full-time commitment as he must be present at all 81 home games next season. The married father of a two-year-old daughter understands that applying for the job would be a strain on his family, but says they wouldn't let him pass up the opportunity.
"My wife has always known it's what I wanted to do," he said. "In the event I get it, I might have to commute. It'll be a crazy 2014 season -- I'd have to find a new job in the San Diego area.
"But I'm a firm believer that you've got to make sacrifices. It's a pretty big risk, but it might be the right move."
For more information of Barquero's journey, follow him on Twitter at @jaybarquero.
Published: Feb. 20, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 45