Versatile Lada juggles First Take, SC Featured podcast, CFB Live hosting duties

Though Jen Lada doesn’t have a typical work day at ESPN, today certainly wasn’t close to the norm.

The anchor and contributor began her day as host of First Take, but ended her Thursday hosting College Football Live, with a stint on the SC Featured podcast with Jim Trotter in between.

Lada said she’s always been someone who prefers to be busy, rather than bored. The Illinois native, who has been at ESPN for two years, said adaptability is just part of her gig.

“I’ve done Baseball Tonight, I’ve done digital work, I’ve done College GameDay, I’ve done features, I’ve done First Take and Mike & Mike, so every day brings new and exciting challenges,” she said. “I think being flexible and versatile is clearly valued here at the company, so I’m glad that’s something I can offer.”

I immerse myself in as much ESPN programming and as many online publications as possible. I try to make sure I’m familiar with all of the storylines that could potentially come up in the shows or in the interviews. – Jen Lada

In preparing for busy days like today, Lada makes sure she carves out time to do her research so when the time comes, she is able to intelligently and appropriately ask questions and speak on different topics.

“I immerse myself in as much ESPN programming and as many online publications as possible,” Lada said. “I try to make sure I’m familiar with all of the storylines that could potentially come up in the shows or in the interviews.”

She said the challenge in hosting two shows, such as First Take and College Football Live, is the different attributes of the programs.

“The nature of my role is such that I am doing a lot of different things, so I think there are days where I have several assignments to check off the list,” Lada said. “First Take kind of covers everything, all the news of the day, all the hot topics, and College Football Live is obviously football-centric, so I have to mentally flip a switch to start focusing on that second subject.”

On today’s SC Featured podcast, Lada discussed Trotter’s all access feature on [Dallas Cowboys owner] Jerry Jones (airing Sunday, 10 a.m. ET). Lada said the main difference between live television and podcasts is the time restraints, however, the main similarity is illustrating a story.

“You do have the luxury of going a little bit deeper with podcasts, but I think at the end of the day storytelling has all of the same components, it’s just about figuring out a way to make it more concise [for television],” she said.

Lada doesn’t have a favorite show she’s worked on, but one of her favorite aspects of the job is being able to jump from project to project.

“I always feel like I’m learning and growing,” she said. “I feel like I wouldn’t have learned as much as I have in the last two years if I didn’t have this path that I’ve been on, which is to do a bunch of different things for the network.”

A true team player, she is also quick to credit others for allowing her to be successful in the variety of roles she takes on.

“While a lot of people see us, the talent, I could never do three different shows if it weren’t for all the producers and the people behind the scenes who make it happen,” Lada said. “I’m very lucky to have those kinds of support systems around me, who make it so I can do these three separate assignments in a short period of time.”