By Ann Leach
For 20 years, best friends Howie Nunnelly and Bubba Evansco have been telling the stories of the Four States and entertaining thousands with their co-hosting of radio shows on 96.9 KKOW, 104.3 The Rewind and a TV morning show, Good Morning Four States, on KODE-12 TV.
Their unlikely partnership came about in 2003 when Nunnelly hosted a local morning radio show and Tom Evansco called in regularly and got listeners riled up in a funny way with his comments. Nunnelly called him “Bubba” and thought it would be funny to have this caller join him on air in the studio. Evansco did, taking to it like a fish to water, and before you knew it, Bubba the co-host was born.
We caught up to these friends with some questions about their long partnership and what makes it work.
How do you maintain your energy for those early hours?
Howie: When I wake up every morning, I am flooded with the truth that as an African American in media, some people in my family literally gave their lives so I can enjoy the freedom to do this. My alarm goes off at 1:20 a.m. every morning. I reach the TV station by 2:45 a.m. and produce the show. We hit the air from 5:30 to 7 a.m. Then at 7 a.m. we drive to the radio station to finish the radio show on 96.9 KKOW until 9 a.m. Then it’s off to appointments as I am a real estate agent for Howie’s Home Team. In the afternoon, I finish up my show from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on 104.3 The Rewind. I am in the bed by 9-9:30 p.m.
Bubba: I like to get up early, around 3 a.m. – take in some overnight news to be aware of what’s going on and then get to the station in time to look the show over and be ready to go when the light comes on at 5:30 a.m. We both love what we do, and being blessed with these opportunities is amazing. We are literally the link between our community that needs the outreach and the companies that can provide it.
What do you do on those days when you just don’t feel like doing what you need to do?
Howie: I stop and breathe. Every morning I meditate for 15 minutes before the show, find the center of life and realize it’s not all about me.
Bubba: Count my blessings and realize the responsibility that comes with these opportunities is more than just a paycheck, it is about leaving a legacy of service.
What do you do when a guest is nervous about being on camera?
Howie: I tell them to just have a conversation with me eye to eye. I try to reinforce to them that for this time together, they are the only thing I care about.
Bubba: Tell them this is not a presentation, just a conversation between me and you about the subject you know and love – it’s easy!
Have either of you ever had a wardrobe malfunction on the air?
Howie: There was one time with my Speedo when I jumped off the high dive on TV that I would rather not talk about. Who knew those things don’t have a draw string?
Bubba: Not really, though I have confused an interview Howie was doing about a magician named Mike, I thought they said Magic Mike and ran on screen ripping my jacket off and swinging it wildly above my head.
How do you handle challenges with one another?
Howie: We are best friends and forgetful, so by the time we start to argue, we forget what it was about, so we just hug it out.
Bubba: Knowing he always has my back and loves me makes it a lot easier.
Who has influenced you most in life?
Howie: My momma Zenith Emory. She broke interracial barriers in a time when the penalty by law was jail, but the penalty by prejudice was death. She is my hero for that and many other things.
Bubba: My mom. When she was here, she was my biggest supporter and fan. I am an only child to a single mother who worked tirelessly to provide for us. I get my work ethic from her and strong sense of faith and family.
What are five words you would use to describe the people of our Four-State Region?
Howie: Real, devoted, passionate, thankful, happy
Bubba: Caring, hard-working, loyal, faithful, engaged
Anything else you want to say?
Howie: To all of you dream chasers, remember this: God gives us the opportunity to succeed, humility gives us the ability to be a success.
Bubba: Being able to educate, inform and mostly entertain our listeners and viewers is the best feeling in the world. Thank you all so much!