Saturday, August 29, 2009

Chicago Radio Spotlight Update

Hello, all. Hope you had a nice summer. Mine was a lot of fun.

I have a bunch of new interviews scheduled in the coming weeks, but before I get to them, I wanted to update some of my previous interviews. More than a dozen of my previous interview subjects have changed jobs or had something significant happen to them over the summer.

I caught up with a few of them this week...


I previously interviewed Charlie two years ago when he was the editor of Daywatch, but this summer he was named WGN News Director. I got in touch with him the other day to ask the question I've been wondering about...

Rick: What are your plans for the WGN News department?

Charlie: Radio news in the 21st Century faces many of the same issues confronting newspapers and other established media. For instance: In an age when the latest headlines are (or can be) at anyone's fingertips on demand via smartphone or netbook, why does anyone need a half-hourly newscast? How can we make each of those broadcasts unique, "must-hear" events?

The challenges are particularly acute right now for low-fi AM radio in a hi-fi/hi-def landscape. But the good news is that in the world ahead -- when all radio will be available via the Web and WiFi and WiMax -- an audio stream will be an audio stream will be an audio stream. The playing field will have been leveled, and the best and most compelling programming will win.

I would love to get others' thoughts on these matters, and one of the first things I did after taking the job was to establish a page to do that:

I'm not sure how to solve the puzzles on the table, but I hope the quest will prove fun and rewarding -- for us and our audience.


I've spoken to Dan many times over the years, and got an update from him after he left his job at ESPN. This summer he returned to the Score, and now hosts the mid-morning show with Matt Spiegel. I asked him how it was going...

DAN: I'm pleased with the direction the new show has taken. It feels comfortable and I wouldn't have anticipated that in such short order. You never know how these things will go. It's not a predictable thing. Spiegel is all I thought he'd be and I had high expectations from the lad. He pushes when it's the right time and can 'drive' it from time to time. I've never had that from a partner and it's refreshing. We also laugh a lot. With each other and with the audience. The Score needed an infusion of joy.


I interviewed Eddie (right) about a year ago when he was still doing the morning show with JoBo at B-96. I caught up with him again this week to find out what he and JoBo are up to and what they have planned.

Our 8-month contract payout just ended in late July, and negotiating with any other broadcast outlets BEFORE that would have violated the contract, and we're not stupid! Ha Ha!

So Jobo and I just chilled and enjoyed the paid vacation. I travelled a lot, including Hawaii, Europe, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Nashville & more.

Jobo mostly spent time at his Freeport, Illinois houses, designing, remodeling, and relaxing.

We've recently been in some meetings with a few Chicago radio groups and feel pretty good about popping back up on Chicago morning radio again soon, of course as "Eddie & Jobo."

We both did very well financially with our last contract, so we're willing to wait for just the right situation and deal to come along. I'm headed up to Vancouver for a week or so, then down to Oklahoma to visit my daughters. But thanks to digital media, I'm always close-by... I'll keep you posted!


I've interviewed Melissa several times over the last few years, including this interview from two years ago. Just a few weeks ago she was let go by the Lite, which was a pretty surprising move. I got in touch with her the other day, and as you might expect, she isn't at liberty to talk about some things (contractually), so I asked if she had anything to say to her fans (who she wasn't allowed to say farewell to.) She replied...

Melissa: Thanks, Rick! I appreciate all the great support and emails from everyone! It means the world. A new website will be live soon at You can email me there at anytime. I'm really excited about moving forward and will definitely talk to you soon!

For the next few weeks I'll be posting a bonus interview--the unedited versions of my interviews with some Chicago television stars that also moonlight in radio. Last Wednesday I posted the Mark Suppelsa interview. This coming Wednesday it will be Dane Placko.

Next weekend I catch up with a few more previous interview subjects, all of whom have undergone big changes since we last spoke.