Alex Degman knew he wanted to be on the radio since he was about 8 years old. He toyed with other career ideas, but always came back to radio.
He started off playing music on his high school radio station, WGBK Glenview/Northbrook, at age 15. That was fun for a little while, but once Alex hit college, he realized he wanted more – he wanted a challenge. Alex started reporting news for Western Illinois University’s NPR affiliate, WIUM, as a sophomore and he was hooked.
Alex comes to KMOX from Springfield, Ill., where he was news director of both WTAX AM/FM and the Illinois Radio Network. He grew up Northbrook, Ill. – a northern suburb of Chicago, but he is not a Cubs fan. He fancies himself a White Sox fan who also really, really likes the Cardinals. Living in downstate Illinois for 10 years will do that.
Alex had visited St. Louis frequently since graduating from grad school at the University of Illinois – Springfield in 2009, and is thrilled he finally gets to make the city his home.
Quick Questions with Alex:
Favorite restaurant? I have about 17 favorite restaurants in St. Louis. But because I have to pick ONE … I’ll say Blues City Deli. I have to re-center myself after every bite of those sandwiches.
Favorite St. Louis attraction? Busch Stadium
Favorite music? Alternative/Progressive Rock, Pop
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? 1 year — Pacific Northwest U.S., 3 years — Caribbean cruise, 5 years — Europe (Spain, Portugal, Germany, Poland)
Person who made the most impact on you? My career is the biggest part of my life right now — I’d have to say my first news director, Rich Egger of Tri States Public Radio in Macomb, Ill., made the biggest professional impact. He was patient with me when I didn’t know what I was doing, he helped me learn to write, report and how to reign in my sometimes unwieldy delivery. He encouraged me to be creative and chase stories kids my age normally wouldn’t touch. I, quite literally, wouldn’t be in St. Louis without his help.
If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be? My car, my collection of autographed baseballs (no, that’s not cheating), and my cell phone. If I have my car and my cell phone I can do anything, and my autographed baseballs have great memories attached to them.
If you are not at work, you’re probably doing what? Not to sound cliche, but this is what I do outside of work: Explore the region, find new places to eat/drink/shop, play with my animals and travel.
If you won the lottery, what would you do? My ideal lottery win would be a $2,500/week for life lottery. I would pay off my debts, my family’s debts, pay for college for my nieces and nephews … and keep working. Nowhere near ready to retire yet!
If you could interview one person, who would that be? I’ve interviewed local, state and federal leaders, celebrities, athletes, musicians and countless every day, ordinary people. I’d still like to interview a sitting president someday.
What is your strongest personal quality? I’ve been told I’m empathetic and a good listener. I listen to people to try to get a true sense of what they’re about, or what their issue is, and I use relatable experiences to either bring the issue home for me, or to comfort someone else going through something they don’t fully understand or are struggling with.
It could be lights out for Powerball in Illinois after tonight’s drawing.
Rockford Beach Park in House Springs is reopening Saturday.