The drive to work doesn’t take as long in St. Louis as it does here. But while Westport listeners are stuck with Boomer & Carton, Missourians — and those over the bridge in southern Illinois — enjoy E-Mak.
That’s Evan Makovsky, co-host of “E-Mak: On the Edge,” on SportsRadio 1380.
That’s Evan Makovsky — Staples Class of 1994, former WWPT sports show host, former WFAN fan. He’s learning that life in radio is hard work, hardly lucrative, not always glamorous.
But he loves what he’s doing, and odds are St. Louis won’t be his last stop.
Evan’s route to morning drive time started at Syracuse’s Newhouse School of Public Communications. It included a stop in Aspen, where he hosted “Aspen Today,” a TV show for which he reported ski conditions. He calls it “low-rent, kind of ‘Wayne’s World.'”
He worked in San Diego as a radio sports update anchor, and Los Angeles as a game reporter. He’s the guy who got 6 seconds to say, “Here at the Staples Center it’s the Lakers 42, Phoenix 38 at the half. Kobe leads with 22.”
In 2006 his LA station converted to a Korean format. Annyeonghi gyeseyo, Evan.
He auditioned in places like Philadelphia and Austin. He landed in St. Louis.
“It’s a good sports town,” E-Mak says. It’s also a lot cheaper than Westport or L.A. He pays $675 a month for a “massive” apartment, plus another $50 for parking.
E-Mak’s 1st slot was 10 p.m. to midnight. Then he moved to mid-afternoon. Now he’s in morning drive time — the prize.
To compete, E-Mak works his contacts relentlessly. His guests include Mike Ditka, Joe Theismann, St. Louis’ Bob Costas and Westport’s Jim Nantz.
He’s not afraid to cold-call celebrities. When Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire sparred over steroids, E-Mak got Canseco on his cell phone. The interview made national news.
Every Friday, Christopher Walken and Henry Kissinger go on the air, to discuss upcoming NFL games. Well, not the actor and gravel-voiced octogenarian diplomat exactly — they’re imitators — but it makes for good radio.
“E-Mak: On the Edge” is not all sports. On Martin Luther King Day — after discussing the Patriots’ surprising loss to the Jets — E-Mak and co-host Cory Mitchell talked about the slain leader’s effect on the civil rights movement. They played protest and civil rights music before and after breaks. (Cory, who is black, also spoke about the racial component of sports, comparing media coverage of black and white NFL coaches.)
As important as sports talk radio seems to those who listen to it, it’s a niche. “Men 25 to 54,” E-Mak says bluntly.
And the radio industry is a shadow of its former self. In fact, E-Mak is not even employed by his station. He owns his own show. He pays 1380 for the time, and sells his own advertising. It’s a side of sports radio listeners never
see hear .
Referring to the economics of radio, and his competition, E-Mak says, “We’re playing against a stacked deck — but we’re in the game. We’ve got the real estate — morning drive time — and I want to make the E-Mak show into a more profitable enterprise.
“I could never support a family right now. But I think there is money in radio. I have a passion for this. I have fun on the air. I’m trying to develop content, increase revenue, and navigate with my business model.”