J.G. Preston was born in Ohio, started school in Tennessee and then lived in Kentucky before spending his adolescence on Long Island. He went to college in Minnesota and lived there for the better part of 30 years.
He has had driver’s licenses, under three different names, in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania (where he never actually lived), Idaho, Minnesota, California and New Mexico.
J.G. is not on his birth certificate, but it is on his Social Security card (one of them), and no, he won’t tell you what it stands for. (But if you guess correctly he will acknowledge it. Only nobody has ever guessed correctly.) And he has more names than just the J and the G (and they’re all on his other Social Security card).
He worked for the Strat-o-Matic Game Company during the summers while he was in high school (if that doesn’t mean anything to you, well, it probably won’t do any good to try explaining) and started his first on-air radio job right after graduating from high school at age 17. Some snapshots of his work experience since then:
- driving a delivery van for a chain of small-town general stores in southeastern Ohio and for an imported auto parts store in Princeton, New Jersey
- putting together the Police Log for the Northfield (Minn.) News
- hosting the monthly “K-Ida-Hoedown” bluegrass show (before he knew anything about bluegrass) on KIDO Radio in Boise
- anchoring the first newscast of the Minnesota News Network (still on the air today) in 1983
- covering the 1987 World Series
- editing the Minnesota Twins’ program
- radio play-by-play of college and high school football and basketball (including two seasons of University of Minnesota football for a 40-station regional network)
- writing a weekly column for the Daily Racing Form under the nom de plume Chaucer (the Racing Form assigned the name, reminding J.G. of the upper level Chaucer class he took as a college English major)
- working in the press box relaying stats to the truck for CBS at the 1992 Super Bowl (getting $75 and a seat cushion)
- working as a host for radio broadcasts of the Minnesota North Stars (NHL) and Minnesota Lynx (WNBA)
- lying on a bed of nails while having a cement block on his chest smashed with a sledgehammer on live TV (it actually felt kind of good)
- appearing on two Twin Cities Public Television programs that won regional Emmy awards
- writing the script for a video biography of Kirby Puckett narrated by Bob Costas
- covering the California state capitol in Sacramento
- interviewing countless celebrities and newsmakers (well, not “countless,” you could count them, he just didn’t) on live radio or TV
He will now stop writing about himself in the third person (listen, I include a lot of this stuff just in case anyone stumbles into this and is thinking about offering me a job) and look for more things to blog about.