Black History Month Spotlight: Maya Akai ’90

Maya Akai, SFA ’90

As part of Black History Month, each week a JCA student will be spotlighting African-American Alumni of SFA, JCHS, and JCA. Last week’s spotlight was prepared by JCA junior Jabril Williams and features Maya Akai, SFA class of 1990.

Maya Akai attended the University of Iowa, where she started her endeavors in radio by hosting a weekly radio show on the University’s student-based radio station, KRUI. Upon completing her undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies, she expanded her communications background and acquired a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University. In 2010, Maya took a chance on pursuing her lifelong dream of sports talk radio and auditioned for an on-air talent position search that was hosted by a local CBS Radio affiliate, 670 The Score.

After going toe-to-toe with 700 contestants, predominately male, Maya won the contest and hosted her own two-hour weekend show, The Maya Gavin Show, for over a year. After leaving 670 The Score, Maya launched her own internet-based sports talk show, The Maya Gavin Show REBOOTED.

In June 2012, she joined the WVON family on the Sunday night sports talk show The Sports Cypher as a host. In January 2014, Maya expanded her talk show duties to include a traditional talk show on 1690 AM WVON Chicago with The Maya Akai Show, and by June 2014 she took over the reins of The Sports Cypher as lead host, adding new direction and enthusiasm to the brand!

Finally, Maya has continued to expand her sports broadcasting repertoire adding color commentary and play by play duties for the NCAA division I Chicago State University Men’s Basketball Team to her resume.

Though born and raised in the Midwest, Maya has traveled extensively since the age of nine, vising 20 countries throughout Europe, Asia, and the West Indies. When not ON AIR, Maya works in the Mental Health field as a Crisis Intervention Specialist and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Psychology. Maya’s experience in mental health, post-secondary education, and social service contributes to her dynamic perspective and conversation on life and everything in between.

For more information about the Maya Akai Show visit

Find us online