BROADCASTING legend, and former Oxford Mail reporter, Jim Rosenthal has taken on a radio breakfast show in his home county.

The sports broadcaster, from Oxford, has joined JACKfm’s brand-new Wake Up Call.

Mr Rosenthal has presented eight FIFA World Cups, two Olympic games and more than 150 Formula 1 races, but a breakfast show is new to him.

We spoke to Mr Rosenthal about his new job, his time at the Oxford Mail, a career spanning 50 years, and his beloved Oxford United.

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He joined the new breakfast show earlier this month and explained what enticed him to the role.

“I’ve been with JACK for a few years now and they said they were changing things for the morning show, and it was something I’ve never done before,” he said.

“I was flattered they came to me about it.

“It’s a new adventure for me and while the early mornings are something new for me with getting up at 5am, it’s a new experience and I feel fortunate to be doing this.

“I’ve always worked with the maxim to go where you’re wanted.

“This is something different and new.

“I’ve always enjoyed my work and having fun is a big part of what I’m doing at JACK at the moment.

“I was born in Oxford and lived here, and my sisters still live here, so this is very much where my roots are, it’s very good to be back.”

Jim Rosenthal with fellow presenter Trevor Marshall. Picture: Ed Nix

Jim Rosenthal with fellow presenter Trevor Marshall. Picture: Ed Nix

While he adjusts to the new early morning schedule, Mr Rosenthal said it would also be a period of change for listeners.

“I’ve learnt over the years that people don’t like change so I know it will take a while to bed in but all we can do is our best,” he said.

“There’s been parts of the programme when we’ve made people chuckle and smile, and we’ve discussed everything from pineapples to croquet.”

Mr Rosenthal worked for the Oxford Mail between 1967 and 1971, his first job in journalism.

He spent time as a district reporter in Thame, before his final 18 months saw him get his first taste of sports reporting.

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“The Oxford Mail and Oxford Times trained me so I will always owe the papers a great gratitude,” he said.

“It was a real good journalistic training and I’ve used the principles every day in my career since.

“It was great having the old hands train me and working to a deadline helped me work quickly in order to beat those deadlines.”

His career has taken him around the globe, covering all manner of major sporting events.

His CV speaks for itself, but there was one particular event which Mr Rosenthal looks back on fondly.

“I presented the Rugby World Cup in 2003 when England won and that was something that was a real big highlight when you know millions of people are watching,” he said.

Jim Rosenthal and fellow presenter Trevor Marshall. Picture: Ed Nix

Jim Rosenthal and fellow presenter Trevor Marshall. Picture: Ed Nix

It is no secret Mr Rosenthal, born and bred in Oxford, is a huge fan of Oxford United.

As the U’s prepare to overcome a 3-0 defeat to Blackpool in the second leg of the Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final today, Mr Rosenthal said no matter what the outcome, the club is making progress on the pitch.

“You can look back on it and to reach the play-offs in successive seasons is a big achievement,” he said.

“It’ll hurt if they don’t take the next step but it shows the progress the club is making on the pitch.”

Fans were able to return to the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday after months of behind closed door games due to coronavirus restrictions.

With stadiums now open at reduced capacity, and the possibility of full stadia next season, Mr Rosenthal is excited to watch United again.

“I’m very much looking forward to getting back to the Kassam,” he said.

“The artificial crowd noise just isn’t the same and it makes you realise how much you miss having the fans.

“The game is reduced so much by not having the supporters.”