After working in television for several years, SiriusXM’s Jennifer McLellan wanted something new. In 2000, a job opportunity opened up at what was then XM Satellite Radio. “Back then, most people hadn’t heard of what satellite radio was,” she says. McLellan jumped at the chance to try something new. “I started before it became popular.” Two years ago, McLellan started her current role as a senior producer for “The Morning Briefing” on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel after working as a floating producer for several other satellite radio shows.
One of the most exciting things about political radio for McLellan is the fact that she knows each day is going to be different. “We may be talking about the same issues, but the pool of audio that comes out of Capitol Hill is informative and entertaining,” she says. “As an American voter, I feel like I’ve had the opportunity to know what’s going on in the halls of our government and it has widened my horizons of how this country works. The amount of people that I get to talk to is amazing.”
When it comes to staying unbiased, McLellan says there’s a focus on making sure guests from both sides of the political spectrum are represented equally on the show. “We take chances with our guests, and that’s not something you’re going to find on other stations. I always tell our host what side a guest is from and be sure we have information about what the opposing views on the same topic are.”
If McLellan had the opportunity to choose anyone to interview on the show, it would be President Obama. “With the end of his term, the timing would be perfect. We would probably ask him the typical questions, like ‘If you could go back and change any decision you made, what would you change?”
McLellan is a busy mom with three daughters, and when she’s not working she’s likely out and about with them. “I’m involved with their school, we like go to the zoo or hangout in the city,” she says. “I like to take myself away from politics when I’m not here, and I also try to take my kids away from the stresses of the day-to-day.” McLellan loves the accessibility of cultural activities living in the Washington, D.C. area offers. Around the holidays, McLellan’s favorite tradition is picking out a pre-wrapped Christmas tree, going out for a family meal and then coming home to unwrap and decorate the tree.
The one piece of advice McLellan would give young reporters is to be patient. “Growth in this industry might take longer. It’s a career that you have to explore, and you might not nail down what exactly you want to do until a few years in so you have to be patient.”