Pettersen makes move to prime time

Queen`s grad joins CFL on TSN Radio crew 

Pettersen graduated from Queen’s in 2009.
Pettersen graduated from Queen’s in 2009.
Credit: 
Supplied by Kate Pettersen

Kate Pettersen’s surname carries a significant weight in CFL circles, and she’s doing her best to carry on the family legacy. 

Pettersen, ArtSci ’09, is beginning her first season as a sideline reporter for the CFL on TSN Radio 1050, based in Toronto.

Her father, Leif, played for eight seasons in the CFL from 1974-1981, and was a league analyst on CTV and later TSN for over 20 years.

Leif passed away in July 2008 due to a heart attack, the summer before Kate finished her final year at Queen’s. His death had a profound impact on Kate’s career path. 

“That was really what made me realize what I want to do,” she said, adding that she wanted to help carry on her father’s legendary name. 

While in school, Pettersen became heavily involved in Queen’s Athletics in her final two years, working as an MC for various varsity sporting events while also contributing to a student-run weekend radio show for Kingston’s 98.9 The Drive. She also enrolled in Commerce elective courses, such as marketing, to help her gain knowledge otherwise unattainable in her political studies courses.

After graduating in the spring of 2009, Pettersen had a stint at Rogers TV, her first television gig. Soon after, she hopped onto the CTV Olympic team as an intern, eventually making her way onto live television during the Vancouver 2010 Games. 

There she became known as ‘Kate the Intern’. She was often put on the air trying out many activities catered towards tourists, such as the infamous Robson Square zipline in downtown Vancouver. 

“They put me on live TV during the biggest sporting event in the world, I’ll never forget that.”

Pettersen then moved onto stints at Global Regina as well as Sportsnet in Toronto and then the CBC Olympic team for the Sochi 2014 games, before recently being hired by TSN. 

Though Pettersen grew up around the CFL, she admits she’s sometimes still in awe of some of the league’s bigger names, as many of them have been prevalent figures since the time she was a small child.

“I’ll go on the sideline and see [Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach] Mike O’Shea,” she said, who was one of the biggest stars in the mid-1990s to late 2000s. “I’ll be talking to [TSN panelist] Rod Black about work matters, who was my dad’s partner for so many years on the air.”    

Though her father has undoubtedly been her largest influence, Pettersen said Michael Landsberg, host of Off the Record on TSN and her late father’s colleague, has been one of her biggest supporters. 

“He took me in for ‘Take Your Kid to Work Day’ in high school,” Pettersen said. “He’s always kept in contact with me and sent me a really nice message when I joined TSN.” 

One of her greatest advantages is that many of the people she needs to interview are both aware of who she is and feel comfortable sharing insider info with her. 

“I’m not starting at zero,” she said, pointing out that a new job can often be tough without any prior experience covering the league before. “I’m coming in firing.”

While it’s still relatively early in her broadcasting career, Pettersen couldn’t be happier with her current role.  

“Not many people say that CFL sideline reporter is their dream job, but I’m not lying when I say that it is,” Pettersen said. “This is where I want to be for the rest of my life.”

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