Local New York College Professor Recounts His Recent Jeopardy Appearance
A local New York college professor, Jason Radalin recently was a featured contestant on Jeopardy. He recently gave his account on the process on how to get onto Jeopardy for any of those trivia buffs who feel like they are up for the challenge.
Fulton Montgomery Community College Professor Lives Out Dream of Playing on Jeopardy
Jason Radalin is an Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts, Film Studies, and English at FMCC. Since 1999, Jason has also served as a freelance technical director and lighting designer for various theatre companies. He has published book reviews in the New England Theatre Journal and was a semi-finalist in the 2003 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting. His screenplay, entitled “Boy Next Door” (co-written with Jennifer Nigra-Radalin), was chosen as one of 130 semi-finalists from a field of over 6,000 entries. The Nicholl Fellowship is administered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the same organization that oversees the Academy Awards.
Jason earned a B.A. in English at The College of Saint Rose (my alma mater), a M.A. in Drama at Washington University, and has completed coursework toward a Ph.D. in Drama at Tufts University. He also studied for one year at Harvard University’s Center for Literacy and Cultural Studies.
Besides being an avid educator in theatre and film, Radalin has been a fan of "Jeopardy!" for around 35 years, playing along at home, and he finally got the experience to play the game for real.
Radalin got his shot at making an appearance on Jeopardy on December 20th. Despite not winning, he beat some tremendous odds to get onto the show. Many of us don't think about all that goes into becoming a Jeopardy contestant.
Radalin Explains the Process of Becoming a Jeopardy Contestant
Radalin's first step towards gracing the stage was simply taking the "Jeopardy! Anytime Test." The player is given 50 clues, and the goal is to process and type your answer in the form of a question- all within 15 seconds per clue. Those who pass the quiz may be contacted for an online audition. Those who fail the test have to wait a year until doing a retake.
Radalin said that anywhere between 80,000 to 100,000 people take the online test a year, while only between 200 and 300 people make it to the show. Radalin took the test during July of 2021, passed the test, and was contacted to set up a Zoom quiz. Essentially, someone watched him perform a new test to make sure he was a real person doing this all in real time.
After that, Radalin was put up against a few other would-be contestants via Zoom. That "zoom audition" took place in August of 2021. After that audition was complete, he was put into a "contestant pool," where one could be called anytime to appear on the show for up to 18 months. Radalin didn't get the call until October 2022, which would've been about 14 months later. Talk about calling it close!
Radalin Explains The Jeopardy Filming Process
First of all, Radalin said the whole experience was very surreal. It felt intense but invigorating. "Jeopardy!" tapes five shows in a single day - essentially a whole week's worth of broadcasts. He said the new contestants didn't know in what order they would be called upon as each next contestant was chosen randomly. Radalin was not called on his first day, so he spent most of the time chatting with fellow contestants and watching the shows being taped.
Speaking about the feedback that Radalin received after the show aired, he said its been overwhelmingly positive and fun!
The other day, someone I didn’t know flagged me down in the parking lot of a Price Chopper to congratulate me on my appearance, and this was, you know, very flattering (and amusing) for a noncelebrity upstate New York community college professor to experience.
Radalin says that being on "Jeopardy!" has been an unexpected bright light in his life. He's also spoken to producers letting them know he is available for any "Second Chance" tournaments they may have in the works.
Below, we have an extra treat for you. Radalin did a TED Talk back in 2018 titled "Life of Theatre."