Mark Reardon excels through journalism


Courtesy of Mark Reardon

Mark Reardon participates in a live broadcast on Dec. 8 for a bike drive called Bikes for Tykes through the Toys for Tots campaign.

Alumnus Mark Reardon started in radio at the age of 15 and studied journalism on his own after graduating in 1983.

“My first jobs in radio were music radio gigs. I was a disc jockey at a rock station, but when I started my education at the University of Missouri-Columbia, [my] focus on journalism began,” Reardon said.

Because he was always curious about news and information, Reardon has been interested in journalism since he was a teenager.

“I was one of those strange kids that, even when I was 12 to 16 years old, who would listen to talk radio and read newspapers and magazines to absorb all the information that was happening all around me,” Reardon said.

Reardon has made many memories through his experiences as a journalist as well as having been a film critic for 30 plus years.

“I’ve gone to Hollywood dozens of times to interview the cast members of various movies,” Reardon said. “A few years back while interviewing Dustin Hoffman and Jack Black, I did a staring contest with Black, and it was a hoot. Dustin Hoffman pulled out his watch and kept the clock. For the record, I lost.”

Reardon has interviewed many unique people over the years, which has attributed to his radio show.

“[I interviewed] Ted Nugent the Motor City Madman. You just never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. I’ve known him for about 25 years now and consider him a friend,” Reardon said. “He’s great at pushing buttons and keeping people engaged, and for a guy who hosts a radio show, that’s exactly what you are looking for.”

Reardon remembers taking classes that helped him boost his career, like the Criminology class at West.

“The best thing that an aspiring young journalist can do is take as many classes as possible in history, political science, psychology, etc. The great thing about what I do is that I cover a wide variety of topics, and you need to be versatile. I remember taking a Criminology class at West, [which] really opened my eyes to the fascinating world of crime reporting,” Reardon said.

It’s a great advantage to be given that much control and autonomy, and I feel like I really work for myself and the audience, not a big corporation.”

— Mark Reardon

Reardon now has his own radio talk show on KMOX AM 1120. He covers a wide variety of topics, including politics, entertainment, and pop culture, as well as incorporating a mix of callers and guests.

“Having my own show gives me the ability to focus on the topics and issues that I care about and that I think will entertain and inform my audience,” Reardon said. “People ask me all the time if I choose the topics, and the answer is yes 100 percent of the time. It’s a great advantage to be given that much control and autonomy, and I feel like I really work for myself and the audience, not a big corporation.”

Reardon originally worked as a disc jockey at KYMC, a small station in St. Louis, which was run by the YMCA. He also did rock radio in Columbia MO at KFMZ and was a morning show co-host at KPLA-FM in Columbia, Mo. until he joined talk radio in 1992.

“Quite candidly, one factor to make the switch was to be able to afford to eat and pay my bills. It became clear that working in music radio might be economically challenging and having my own show certainly put me in a much better financial situation,” Reardon said. “But outside of that, it was more about doing my own thing and not having to do what other people wanted me to do or say.”

Despite struggling financially at the beginning of his career, Reardon’s hard work has ultimately paid off.

“Find something in life that you really love to do and have a passion for, and just do it,” Reardon said. “You’ll be much happier overall.”