Tag Archives: WWPT

DJ And Jim

During his radio and broadcast career at Staples, DJ Sixsmith covered football — and soccer, basketball, volleyball, indoor track, rugby, everything except (I think) Ultimate Frisbee — with the skill and professionalism of pros like Jim Nantz.

Which, last summer, brought him to the attention of — Jim Nantz.

Stamford Advocate sportswriter Dave Ruden (a Staples grad) had taken an interest in DJ.  Dave asked his friend Jim (CBS’ star broadcaster, and a longtime Westporter) to meet with DJ and his WWPT/Wrecker radio colleagues Eric Gallanty and Brandon Edelson.

“Jim is so busy.  We expected a half hour lunch at Gold’s,” DJ says.  “But he spent 2 hours talking about sports and TV.  It was amazing he took that much time for us.”

DJ Sixsmith, Jim Nantz, Brandon Edelson and Eric Gallanty hang after lunch at Gold's this summer.

At Staples’ Back to School Night this year, DJ’s mom saw Jim.  She introduced herself, thanked him for his help — and was surprised when he suggested DJ join him in an NFL booth.  Jim gave her his email.

DJ had just begun his 1st year at Fordham University.  Most freshmen start at the bottom at WFUV, the school’s highly regarded radio station.  Thanks to his Staples experience, DJ was already covering women’s volleyball, and helping with football broadcasts.

Seizing the opportunity, he emailed Jim.  The broadcaster quickly invited him to last Sunday’s Giants-Bills game at the New Meadowlands Stadium.

On Friday, DJ spent hours in the production truck.  He watched all the planning sessions, and asked plenty of questions.

Two days later he was in the CBS booth.  The sightlines were fantastic; the inspiration, intense.

He met Phil Simms — Jim’s broadcast partner — then went back down to the truck for the 1st half.  During the 3rd and 4th quarters DJ stood a few feet from Jim and Phil, wearing a headset, listening to and watching them work.

“It’s a view almost no one has,” DJ recalls.  “And there I was, in my second month of college.  It blew my mind.”

He was awed by how easy the broadcasters made everything look — and how difficult calling a game is.  “You’re not following a script,” DJ says.  “You really have to be alert and creative, all the time.”

He was also impressed by the number of people involved in the telecast, from graphics to ads to go-fers.

Not to mention the food.  “No one went hungry,” he laughs.

“It kind of made our little operation at Staples seem like a different world,” he says.

DJ Sixsmith prepares to broadcast Fordham women's volleyball, from Rose Hill Gym.

The experience “reaffirmed how much I want this as my career,” DJ says.

“Jim was so happy, so enthusiastic about what he was doing.  I realized that’s how happy I am too.”

Back at Fordham — and college women’s volleyball, not NFL football — he says, “I’ll continue to hone my skills however WFUV wants to use me.”

He is thankful for the boost Mike Zito and Jim Honeycutt gave him at Staples — and for the kindness Dave Ruden and Jim Nantz are showing him now.

It’s no stretch to say that one day he will pay it forward to a Staples student — perhaps yet unborn — who wants to be a star broadcaster too.  Just like his hero, DJ Sixsmith.

E-Mak: On The Edge

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.

He’s not the only game in town.  There’s ESPN’s nationally syndicated “Mike & Mike” — starring, coincidentally, Westport’s Mike Greenberg — and another local sports talk show.

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.

Evan Makovsky

“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.”

WWPT Around The World

WWPT_logoIn the 1960s and ’70s, WWPT was 1 of the 1st high school radio stations in the country.

Later, ‘PT pioneered high school sports broacasting.  Its sportscasters have won awards, and the station recently added remote capabilities to air any kind of game imaginable.

Now, the Staples radio station has conquered the world.

If you’ve got an internet connection, you can now listen to WWPT — “Wrecker Radio” — from anywhere on the planet.  Just click on www.wwptfm.com for a live stream.  Eclectic music, talk shows, sports broadcasts, even ‘PT’s live concerts — all are available 24/7/365.

For even more connectivity, users can click on the station logo in the middle of the stream box.  A chat window appears, to make a request or talk with the station directly.

Or, as decades of listeners have done, you can pick up the phone and call:  203-341-1381.