The Crusader Newspaper Group

Sports Zone Chicago’s ‘The Shawn and Maya in the Morning’ Show to air on Crusader website

Shawn with new logo

By Joseph Phillips, Sports Editor,
Chicago Crusader

Dubbed as one of the best sports talk shows on the internet period, the “Shawn and Maya in the Morning” show (aka S & M) will look forward to tackling every sports topic from every sports angle in the business. The group show will air Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on both the Chicago Sports Zone app and at

The Chicago Crusader is a weekly African American newspaper, the flagship publication of the Crusader Newspaper Group. The paper’s content features news, lifestyle and commentary directed to the African American community. The Crusader newspaper has been published without interruption for 80 years.

Dorothy Leavell, Crusader publisher, acknowledged the addition of the radio talk show to the Crusader Newspaper Group’s content, saying, “We are pleased to add ‘Shawn and Maya in the Morning’ to our media interests.” She expressed anticipation of “a long relationship with the show.”

Maya Photo

The group show will feature both national and international guests via Facebook live, courtesy of the “Shawn and Maya in the Morning” show’s Facebook page. Shawn Sierra, one of the co-hosts of the show, said he is looking forward to collaborating with the Chicago Crusader on future projects. “The Crusader is sponsoring our top of the morning segment,” Sierra said via his morning show.

Sierra will also bring to the show his wealth of football knowledge, plus his experience. He was both a former standout running back at St. Rita High School in Chicago and a four-year talent at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass.

Sierra is also known for his nickname, the Super Back, who loves to deliver a powerful punch to both the panel and viewing audience. “The Super Back is a bad man!”

Maya Akai, also known as ‘little savage’, is looking forward to joining her radio partner Shawn Sierra for the 2020 season and beyond. “While attending the University of Iowa, Maya hosted a weekly radio show on the university’s student-based radio station 89.7FM KRUI,” said the “Shawn and Maya in the Morning” show’s co-hosts, via their Facebook page.

“As part of the KRUI production team she covered live remotes of Iowa football and basketball home games. Upon completing her undergraduate studies, Maya continued her broadcast training by taking production classes at Columbia College in digital editing and later acquired a Master of Science degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University.”

In 2010, Akai took a chance on pursuing her lifelong dream of sports talk radio and auditioned for an on-air talent search hosted by a local CBS Radio affiliate, 670 The Score. After going toe to toe with 700 contestants, predominantly male, Maya won the contest and hosted her own two-hour weekend show, the “Maya Gavin Show.”

After leaving 670 the Score, “Maya Shaw” launched her own internet-based sports talk show, “The Maya Gavin show Rebooted” on Blog Talk Radio. com. In June 2012, Maya joined the sports talk show ensemble “The Sports Cypher” (formerly Stats & Stiletto) as a host.

The group will join a line up featuring Lance Irvin and Jason Palmer of the “What’s Up Cuz Show,” “The Bigs” with Eugene McIntosh, “Being Guillen” (with Onnie and Ozzie Guillen), and the “Humidor Sports and Cigars” show.

Both Maya Akai and Shawn Sierra are currently the owners of SportsZone Chicago.

Joseph G. Phillips is a sports writer and radio DJ from the south side of Chicago. Phillips is a 15 year sports veteran with a background in sports reporting, entrepreneurship, sales, marketing and business administration. He has worked for media outlets such as WGN news, Comcast Sports Net Chicago, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Defender, and the Hyde Park Herald. Phillips is currently the host of “The SC Media News and Sports Network Q and A Radio Show,” which airs every two Wednesday’s out of the month on WHPK 88.5 FM Radio Chicago.

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