Ultimate fake name? His is real deal

By Jay Cridlin
Published June 29, 2007

Back in March, when we ran a poll asking readers to vote for Tampa Bay's Ultimate Local Television Personality With A Clearly Made-Up Name, there was one clear winner: Josh Talkington, a reporter for ABC Action News.

"Talkington." It just sounded a little too perfect for a TV reporter, you know?

But when we called ABC recently to congratulate Talkington on this honor, we learned he has since left the station.

So in an unprecedented turn of events, we turned to the runner-up, Bay News 9's Ferdinand Zogbaum, who has now become, by default, Tampa Bay's Ultimate Television Personality With A Clearly Made-Up Name. Zogbaum, who reports from Hernando County, was gracious enough to chat about, um, making a name for himself in the TV news business.

So, Ferdinand Zogbaum, if that is your real name. Is that your real name?

Yeah, it sure is. It's my real name. I'm actually the fourth one. It started with my great-grandfather.

Is there an interesting story behind your name?

Not really. The Zogbaum part's German. Two brothers came over from Germany in the mid-1800s, and it's been passed down ever since. It's tough when you're a kid, as you can imagine. But it's weird - after I've been using it on TV, people come up and they say it correctly for the first time, because they know how to pronounce it. All my life, people get to it, and they don't even bother to try to pronounce it. They're like, "Frankie Zuzzz...?"

Are we the first people to assume 'Ferdinand Zogbaum' is an on-camera pseudonym?

Yeah, I think so, actually.

Is there pressure in the TV news business to adopt a catchy name? Have you ever considered it?

Never considered it. Never really heard much about it. There was a question I had of maybe changing it, because it would be too weird or bizarre or complicated, but it never even bothered me. But even if it was, I wouldn't change it. I'd just flat-out say, "This is my name, take it or leave it."

Do you think that could earn you more attention, or make you more successful?

It's really hard to say. I would hope that the name doesn't matter. I would hope that it would depend more on your credibility and your abilities as a reporter, more than just your name. But who knows? Crazier things have happened.

In your mind, which name sounds more fake: Josh Talkington or Ferdinand Zogbaum?

I'd have to go with Josh Talkington, to be honest. It just seems so obvious, you know? I don't imagine it is, but it's almost comical. "Talkington." I've never heard that last name, ever.


How you voted

Josh Talkington, ABC News: 63%

Ferdinand Zogbaum, Bay News 9: 15%

Mace Michaels, WFLA-Ch. 8: 6%

Rod Challenger, WFLA-Ch. 8: 6%

Dalia Dangerfield, Bay News 9: 6%

Other: 5%