CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
John Chamberlin and Rachael Rennebeck, partners of Ya Jagoff! Media
John Chamberlin says Merrian-Webster got “jagoff” wrong when they put it in the dictionary. Jagoff isn’t just a “stupid, irritating” person, but a term of endearment. “Ask any Pittsburgher,” he says. “You’re like, ‘Hey! How have you been, jagoff?”
Chamberlain and his partner, Rachael Rennebeck, are the stars of YaJagoff!
, this year’s readers’ choice for Best Local Podcast, which interviews local businesses and personalities. Before the pandemic, it was common to see them out every week at events recording live. Recently, they’ve been having porch sessions.
The hosts, like their podcast name, are 100% Pittsburgh. Both have unapologetically thick Yinzer accents, and showed up to their Best Of photoshoot with their own parking chair (which they share.) They high five each other after every other sentence, in a totally charming, affectionate way.
“I drive to her house to work every day, and when I'm driving, I see everybody sitting in line going the opposite way into town, and they all look miserable,” says Chamberlin. “We're not millionaires by any chance, but we certainly are happy doing what we're doing. It was cool that I found a partner that would own it just as much as I would and, you know, I mean own it in your heart and in your mind like Rachel does.”
“He's the best friend I've ever had,” adds Rennebeck.
If you’ve only seen YaJagoff!
’s blog, which placed second in this year’s poll for Best Local Blog, you might only know the pair as the goofy folks who point out yinzers who park like jags. But in addition to their silly side, Chamberlain and Rennebeck have proven to be able to tackle serious subjects as well.
This summer, the podcast hosted “The Change Exchange,” a town hall panel discussion on racial inequality, and the pair did an exceptional job moderating. It’s something they say they want to do more of.
“We always wanted the podcast to be 75% informational and 25% fun,” says Rennebeck.
In addition to their podcast and blog, they provide PR services to clients as well. And while they say people get a kick out of the Jagoff name, it sometimes raises eyebrows. Like when it’s time to get paid. “‘Who do we make the check out to? YaJagoff! Media?’” Rennebeck laughs. “And they're like, ‘Is there something else?’”