Sports commentator, TV analyst and RSG sports presenter and talk show producer Jody Hendricks is living a dream that started at age 14, when he heard Mark Gilman on radio and decided he too wanted to be on air. “I knew I’d be on radio one day — I just didn’t know how,” he says. At his home in Strand, near Cape Town, Hendricks told his family of this goal. “My mother has always been supportive, but my grandmother urged me to forget the idea and focus on getting a ‘real job’ one day,” he says.
He went on to study journalism at CPUT, graduating in 2005. During his time as a student, he also got his first radio show at MFM 92.6 community radio in Stellenbosch. Despite her initial reservations, his grandmother was the first listener to tune in, Hendricks says.
His journey to RSG, where he now produces the morning news and current affairs show Praat Saam alongside presenter Lynette Francis and covers a number of sports events, was not always an easy one. “It took years. Sometimes it was tough, and there were sacrifices and failures along the way. My family and friends have seen me at my worst — hustling for jobs and battling — and they have always been supportive,” he says.
As a student, his in-service training was with Tshwelopele Productions in Cape Town. As a production assistant for Top Billing, he had opportunities to meet a number of celebrities like the Black Eyed Peas, which he counts as a career highlight.
After graduating, Hendricks worked as an editorial assistant and later a staff writer at Men’s Health magazine. In 2008 he became part of a Rotary Exchange programme that saw him travel to Germany for a month of travel and job exposure that significantly broadened his horizons.
Back in South Africa, Hendricks worked as a freelancer, landing a temporary position as a freelance writer for Fifa ahead of the 2010 World Cup. He later moved to Cape Talk radio, where he worked as a producer for two years. His move to RSG’s studios in Johannesburg in 2013 saw him starting as a sports reporter and quickly expanding his portfolio.
“Now I have opportunities to work in all the areas I love — radio, sports, music and news. It’s been a long road, but I’m exactly where I [always] wanted to be,” he says.