Baribeau currently co-hosts an afternoon sports talk radio show in Birmingham, as well as covering Southeastern Conference football for FOX Sports and Scout.com. She is also the only female reporter to ever go through a “full contact” training camp with a professional football team.
Baribeau moved to Pell City when she was 11 and later attended Pell City High School. From there she went to Auburn University where she planned to work toward becoming a reporter. She quickly realized she was “too tender hearted” to cover house fires and car accidents.
While at Auburn, Baribeau served as a “Diamond Doll,” a hostess for the school’s baseball program. It was during this time that she “fell in love” with the idea of becoming involved in sports broadcasting.
In 2005, Baribeau got her first job in radio at 1580 The Zone in Columbus, Ga. She was the co-host of a sports talk show, alongside Mike Venafro, who suggested that Baribeau go through training camp with the nearby Columbus Lions of the Professional Indoor Football League. She was up for the challenge.
Baribeau went through two-a-day practices with the Lions for five days. She wore the helmet, pads, cleats and gloves. She ran the drills. And she hit … and got hit. On the second day of practice, the team had been relocated to a gymnasium because of inclement weather. Baribeau was playing receiver, running a route, when she was “hit hard” by a defensive back. The breath was knocked out of her as she landed on the floor. She returned to practice the next day and completed the five-day camp.
Baribeau described the experience as “exhilarating and exhausting.” She said she was left bruised all over, but she wore it “like a badge of honor.” She said she felt she had earned the respect of her teammates and the camp is something she will never forget.
One of the biggest thrills of her career came recently when Baribeau was in New Orleans covering the BCS National Championship game between Alabama and LSU for Birmingham’s 97.3 FM, ‘The Zone,’ and simulcast on Montgomery’s 107.5 FM, ‘The Ticket.’ This was the second time in three years that Baribeau had been assigned to cover college football’s national championship. The first was in 2010 while working for the Tuscaloosa News.
Baribeau joined “The Zone” in November after being recommended by longtime University of Alabama broadcaster Eli Gold. John Olsen, program director of “The Zone” said he is pleased with his afternoon show where Baribeau co-hosts with Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News.
Olsen said the thing that separates Baribeau and Scarbinsky’s show from others is the fact that they are “insiders.” Olsen said Baribeau and Scarbinsky have been in places that most radio hosts do not have access to, including coaches’ offices, locker rooms and on the sidelines. Olsen believes their combined experience in the field is what separates their show from others in the area.
Baribeau said she enjoys storytelling, and everyone has a story to tell. She said she loves to convey information from the field to the fans, but also enjoys getting away from the game. She said she likes to “get to the heart of the matter” when interviewing athletes. “What makes them tick? Who are they?”
Another feature of the show that makes it unique is a segment called “Pay it forward Fridays.” Every Friday, Baribeau invites a guest on the show who has made a difference on and off the field. Some of the guests featured on the segment include Anthony Robles, a collegiate wrestler at Arizona State University, who won a national championship with only one leg; Eric Legrand, a Rutgers football player, who was paralyzed in a 2010 game against Army; and John Croyle, founder of the Big Oak Boys and Girls Ranch.
Baribeau frequently serves as a mentor to young women trying to break into the business.
“Women have to work twice as hard to be half as respected,” she said, and she tries to guide the young female journalists in the right direction, hoping to help them avoid some of the mistakes she made early in her career.
She said women in sports are judged differently and they have a small margin for error. She said their mistakes are magnified, and when that happens, their credibility is questioned. Baribeau advises young women in sports broadcasting to be aware of their best qualities and to learn to be multi-talented.
“What I have realized in my life is that sports is just a vehicle to do more,” Baribeau said. “It’s really just a platform for me to touch people through Jesus Christ.”
Contact Kenny Farmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.