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August 16, 2011 > Union City girl making a splash in sports broadcasting

Union City girl making a splash in sports broadcasting

By Kevin Yin
Photos By Courtesy of CSN Bay Area

The world is full of people who are content to sit back and allow their life and career to be dictated by convention and circumstance, but Lucena Herrera is not among them.

Armed with an impressive arsenal of conductive personality traits, including forward confidence, irrepressible enthusiasm and potent ambition, the 27-year-old Union City native and alumna of James Logan High School is determined to make her own way-and succeeding.

Comcast SportsNet Bay Area recently announced the launch of "The Lunch Box," a live half-hour long show presented on CSNBayArea.com. The show is hosted by Herrera and is dedicated to providing an informal and interactive look into the lives of sports celebrities. Just like its hostess, the show's approach is fresh, energetic and enterprising.

"I want to create a home for the fans, a way for them to get closer to their favorite celebrities, their favorite athletes and also interact with me on the show," said Herrera. "I really want people to Skype me, Tweet me, to be part of my show. I want that interaction. I want to create that experience for fans."

Herrera's passion for sports began as a child, playing baseball on her front lawn. She lettered in volleyball and softball at Logan while also pursuing dance; at one point, her aspiration was to become an Olympic softball player, but as is the case for many young people, Herrera's goals changed when she got to college. She elected to set aside playing softball in order to concentrate on academics and building a career.

While studying mass communications and broadcasting at Cal State East Bay, Herrera began working for the Oakland Raiders, first in the merchandise department at The Raider Image, and then later as a member of the Raiders famous cheerleading squad, the Raiderettes. It was while cheering with the Raiderettes that Herrera found her first broadcasting opportunity.

"I speak fluent Spanish, so [the Raiders] would use me a lot, because there were only two other girls on the squad who could speak Spanish well," Herrera said. "They would send me out and I would do events in the Latin community, and that got me talking to people at Telemundo and Univision. They would approach me to do interviews and after I would ask them, 'Hey, I want to get into [broadcasting]. How do I do this?' "

Herrera parleyed that contact into a position as a sales assistant for NBC Telemundo. It wasn't exactly what she was interested in, but Herrera was excited.

"I felt if I could just get my foot in he door at a station, I know I can work and network and help in certain areas, and that's basically what happened," said Herrera. "I told them, 'Hey, I can do this, I can help you at the event.' Within four months, they had me doing Carnival in the city. They pretty much threw me to the wolves."

Two years ago, while she was working for Telemundo, Herrera's friend and KRON4 reporter Aubrey Aquino introduced her to what Herrera would come to know as "my other half" in Warriorsworld.net writer Rasheed Malek. Malek undertook to enlist Herrera in an ambitious social media project, producing a segment for Warriorsworld TV, with Herrera conducting impromptu interviews with fans at Oracle Arena.

"I meet him in the parking lot and he's like, 'Hey, what's up. Here's your mike, here's the camera, go do it.' Again in my life I get thrown into something. It's almost like I get thrown into he pool, and I gotta learn hot to swim to get out," Herrera said.

In a sink-or-swim situation, Herrera did what she's done all her life-she swam. Along with Malek, her writer, editor and co-producer, Herrera went on to produce and host more videos for Warriorsworld TV, featuring interviews with players such as Stephen Curry and Jeremy Lin, as well as sports journalists like Matt Steinmetz and Tim Kawakami.

Their fresh, informal style-along with the quality of their work-eventually got the pair noticed by Comcast SportsNet. CSNBayArea tapped the duo to continue creating their unique, authentic material for a mid-day show that materialized as "The Lunch Box." The first episode of The Lunch Box aired on Aug. 9 and featured interviews with Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade and Golden State Warriors small forward Dorrell Wright at Cleveland Cavaliers guard Baron Davis' celebrity kickball tournament.

Herrera's eventual goal in broadcasting is to advance to an on-air program, but for the moment, she is devoted to giving "The Lunch Box" everything she can muster.

"I feel like the formula that I've created is working and I just need to keep giving it more gas, more gas and more gas, and I feel it's just going to become a monster."

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