Saturday, August 30, 2008


I'm taking this weekend off, but I'll have another mini-interview on Wednesday with John Jurkovic of ESPN Radio, and another full interview with Eddie Volkman of B-96 next weekend. Have a great Labor Day weekend.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Manno Brothers

I recently conducted this mini-interview of The Manno Brothers for SHORE Magazine...

The Manno Brothers, Ryan and Kevin // Q101, Chicago

Older brother Ryan and younger brother Kevin cohost the Manno Program every weeknight on Q101 FM. They grew up in Highland, Indiana, listening to Q101, and were both thrilled when they got jobs at their favorite station. They were eventually teamed up to host the 7 p.m. to midnight show together. Their show is a mixture of alternative music and talk, and showcases their mischievous senses of humor.

Radio Philosophy

Ryan: I think, for me, it’s simplified down to creating radio that I would want to hear. If I were stuck on the Skyway for an hour after work, what would truly engage me? What would distract me from the elements? I listen to talk radio all day long, studying the subtlety of engagement. Making a listener feel like more than a listener is key.

Kevin: I have a short attention span. When I’m in my car, I’m constantly reaching for the radio dial. Our goal every night is to prevent people from changing stations. Every single aspect of our radio show is centered around that thought. We aim to constantly give people what they want. That should be the goal in any sort of entertainment medium. It certainly is for us.

Radio Influences

Ryan: Mine was Mancow. Growing up, delivering The Times in Highland, I’d have his show in the headphones every morning. Oddly enough, I went on to be a full-time cast member on his show for three years, which was a surreal experience. Our parting was less than amicable, but I’ll always give the devil his due. I learned a lot from Mancow.

Kevin: I’d say I have three. My uncle, Mancow and a guy named “Sludge.” As a kid we would go see our Uncle Tony while he was working, and that was probably the first time I felt passion toward a career. The other two guys were Q101 DJs that I would listen to religiously while growing up. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was constantly learning from them. I listened for the music and the entertainment, but every once in a while I’ll remember something I heard when I was 16, and it will influence my performance.

Best Advice

Ryan: I’m not sure I’ve ever received any real philosophical advice. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? It’s a strange business, because everyone wants to be on top, so it’s rare to find a true mentor. We get critiqued by program directors all day, but that’s mainly on form and execution.

My previous boss told me that a great jock can be a great jock regardless of the circumstances. I believe in that until I think of myself on a country station!

Kevin: Work hard! I think I received that advice from my brother. We both started as interns at Q101 while in college. He was two years ahead of me and he worked himself crazy. He actually won Intern of the Year. Had he not set that example, I probably wouldn’t be here.

Best Thing about Doing Radio Here

Ryan: The history of Chicago radio is so rich. We’ve had outstanding personalities in this city for so long that people forget how bad radio is outside of here. It’s brutal. To me, being written into that history (even as a footnote) is the best thing.

Kevin: From my point of view, it’s the music. Chicago has so many amazing bands. I don’t think I would love music as much as I do if I wasn’t from here. Aside from the local musicians, every touring band passes through this town. It makes our jobs easier when there are always great bands playing down the street.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards is the director of programming for KEZK and KYKY-St. Louis, but in the 1990s he helped build WLIT into a local powerhouse.

Rick: First of all, I have to ask you this. What is it like being a die hard Cubs fans in the middle of Cardinals nation?

Mark: Its actually a lot of fun. Cardinals fans are WAY more intense about their dislike (its not quite hatred, but close) for the Cubs than Cubs fans are about the Cards. I take advantage of showing my love for THE TEAM OF DESTINY as often as I can, and I have tons of Cubs stuff in my office, including a picture of me at my first Cubs game when I was 4 years old. The die hard Cards fans hate having to visit the Programming Den, especially when the Cubs are doing better than the hapless Cards.

Rick: We remember you in Chicago, obviously, for your incredible run at the helm of the Lite. I can't believe it's been almost ten years since you left that station. What are some of your fondest memories from those years?

Mark: First, landing a truly dream job. I grew up in Chicago, learned to love radio by listening to everthing from WLS to WCFL to WBBM when I was a kid, and always wanted to work at a Chicago radio station. I was in Worcester, MA, the 101st market, when the call came from Phil Redo to join him at WLIT. We got there in January of 1990 and the situation was dismal. We were the fourth out of four AC stations in the market. We did our research, made a plan, stuck to it, and after about six long years became the only AC station ever to be #1 25-54 adults. It hadn't happened before, and it hasn't happened since. When Phil and I got to the station in 1990 we told the staff that we could make it number one 25-54. They thought we were nuts, but we did it. We had a great team in those days, and everyone's dedication and talent got the station to those lofty heights.

Rick: During the 1990s the Lite absolutely dominated in the ratings in Chicago. Why do you think that's no longer the case?

I could say that there was a bonehead decision to fire me in 1999, but while that would be a true statement, that would be mean. I think the market has changed considerably,both demographically and competetively since those days, and once LITE got huge, people started trying everything they could to slice a piece away from the station here and there. The station didn't stay focused after it left Viacom's control, and listeners went looking for something they liked better. One of the great tools we had when Viacom Radio owned LITE was a hefty marketing budget with impactful messages. That went away as soon as Viacom sold the station and its never come back at the levels it once was at.

Rick: You've worked for all of the major radio conglomerates, including a stint with CBS, Entercom, Bonneville, and the company that eventually became Clear Channel. From a corporate perspective, how do each of these companies approach their product differently?

CBS is a tremendous company led by programmers, and they have a lot of respect for the product. Right now, I can't think of a company more committed to content, no matter what the delivery platform is. That committment goes through every cluster CBS owns, and we've got some new innovative things on the horizon. I've been with CBS in St. Louis for almost five years now, and I know the other companies have changed since I've worked for them, so its hard to talk about each of them. I follow the Chicago market closely and I admire what Bonneville has done wth its cluster. Their performance in that market is quite impressive.

Rick: You've also had the chance to work with a lot of talented air personalities. Why do you think the relationship between management and talent can so easily become adversarial, and what are your tricks to avoid that from happening?

Mark: I think sometimes management doesn't let talent do what they were hired to do. Whether its a big money morning man, a rookie weekender, or a PD, you have to let your people do their jobs. I have a tremendous amount of respect for great Air Personalities, partly because I was never that good on the air, but mostly because I've always tried to build a team with people who are specialists in what they do. When you clamp down on any kind of talent, you don't let them do what you hired them to do, so I'd rather let them do their "act", critique when its necessary, and make sure they know their limits, whether it be what they can talk about or how long a bit should be. Great local talent will always be broadcast radio's best weapon, and you have to let them be themselves as well as good station ambassadors on and off the air.

Rick: You've obviously proven that you know your stuff when it comes to the soft-rock/adult contemporary format--your track record speaks for itself. People have been predicting the death of that format for years now, but it seems to persevere. What do you think are the strengths of adult contemporary, and what are realistic expectations for what that format can accomplish in this new people meter world?

Mark: Adult Contemorary radio, no matter what flavor it is, has a very bright future if the station is well positioned. The key is to intimately know your target audience, super serve them, and make sure everything your station does makes sense to them. That includes music, promotions, personalities, web content, everything associated with the brand. Adult radio will do very well in the PPM world, and smart programmers will fine tune their stations to take advantage of the new methodology. You don't have to give the call letters after every song in a PPM environment, but you've got to give people reasons to keep on really listening to your station, not THINKING they listened to it when they fill out a diary.

Rick: I know you're a big fan of using new media to help super-serve your target audience. What are some ways your stations in St. Louis do that?

Mark: Of course, we stream both AC KEZK ( and Adult Top 40 KYKY ( and have for a long time. We're using the robust new CBS streaming player that delivers lots of visual content along with an incredible quality stream. You can also hear our stations live on AOL Radio and the iPhone. We've got two HD2 channels on the air now and plans for more. One web-only stream will be re-launching in September, and there are plans for more very specialized web and HD services after that. Content is king, and we'll put it out on whatever delivery platform consumers want. AM and FM radio will always be important, because they can and should be very local. We'll be offering content that is especially for St. Louis on new delivery platforms, but there are lots of other new and exciting services in the pipeline that will have literally worldwide appeal.

Rick: Who are some of the radio professionals in the Chicago market that you admire and why?

Mark: The late Art Roberts was kind enough to let me sit in with him at WLS when I was a very young kid. I'll always remember those times in the old Stone Container Building. When I was 5, I did two weeks of Romper Room on WGN TV, and that's when the TV and radio stations were both on Bradley Place. I got to see Wally Phillips (photo) work one morning and I knew then that I wanted to do what he did. John Gehron is an exceptional broadcaster, and I've always admired hm professionally and personally. I grew up listening to tons of incredible Air Personaliteis, too many to mention, but I learned and admired all of them. Buddy Scott was once the PD at B96, and he was the first person to put me on the radio as a 14 year old guest DJ at WIFE in Indianapolis. I'll never forget that night, and I still have the tape of what was a horrid broadcast to this day. Dave Martin, Jhani Kaye, Jim DeCastro, Larry Wert, Drew Horowitz, Barry James, and so many other people were very kind to me during my time in Chicago and since, and it was an honor to be able to travel in the same circles as those giants of Chicago radio. Dave Robbins, Norm Winer, Derrick Brown, and Tom Langmeyer are world class broadcasters in the market today, and I admire them greatly.

Rick: And finally, most importantly, is this finally going to be the year of the Cubs?

Mark: If they can stay healthy, this is their best chance in a long long time. Let's just say I've got the vacation request forms ready to be turned in to I can see some October baseball at Wrigley Field.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bionce Foxx

I recently conducted this mini-interview of Bionce Foxx for SHORE Magazine...

Bionce Foxx // WGCI Chicago

Bionce Foxx hosts the midday show at WGCI (107.5 FM) in Chicago. She calls her program Foxx on the Box, and it airs each weekday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Favorite brush with greatness

My favorite “brush with greatness” actually came before my radio career started. I had the opportunity to meet Princess Diana when she visited Chicago. I was actually in awe that she took a few moments to speak with me. Although she was a royal, her demeanor was so down to earth and friendly, which impressed me the most. I admire her work as a philanthropist and for helping so many people. I have always been intrigued with the Royal Family, and to have actually met the Princess was quite an honor. When I bowed to greet her, she told me that that was not necessary but she appreciated the gesture. I was truly inspired.

Best Advice

The best advice that I received in my radio career was to “be myself” on the air. The reason that is the best advice is because that is so easy to do . . . it is not necessary to be pretentious or try to be something or someone you are not, and besides, that would be too much work. Of course in life not everyone is going to like you, and you certainly cannot please everyone, but being myself is what I do best and I can only be me!

Best Perks

The best perks of having a career in radio is not the free tickets to concerts or meeting and hanging out with celebrities or going to the hottest events. It is when a listener calls or emails me and tells me that I said something to make them happy or I inspired them or I blessed them. That is what really counts to me, having a positive influence on people, uplifting and enlightening people. There is no better perk than helping others.

Something listeners don’t know about you

There are lots of things that listeners may not know about me, because I am constantly doing something to better myself and I enjoy life and like to live life to the fullest. But one thing that they may not expect is that I am learning to ride a motorcycle, and by the time they read this story, I hope to have my motorcycle license and own a Harley! Sorry, mom and dad, but a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do!

Best thing about doing radio here

The best thing about doing radio in Chicago is that Chicago has such a rich history of legendary broadcasters. Chicago is truly a radio town, because there is a connection between radio personalities and their listeners. I feel as though listeners are like my extended family. They invite me into their lives on a daily basis, whether it’s in their cars, homes or their workplace, etc. I visit listeners, I talk to them outside of my air shift, I reply to emails, I sometimes find myself counseling and just being a listening ear to my listeners. I truly love what I do and I appreciate the love and support that I receive from everyone who listens to the Foxx on the Box show.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dan McNeil

Updated 8/29/09


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.

UPDATED: 3/7/09

When I interviewed Dan McNeil in 2008, he was the co-host of "Mac, Jurko & Harry," one of Chicago's top rated afternoon shows. In one of the more shocking moves of recent years, he was replaced by Carmen DeFalco a few months later...

Dan: I've had a few conversations with several companies and those talks will continue. I haven't been offered a position yet, just doing the 'getting to know you' kind of thing. I wouldn't say there is a front runner. It's an exciting time,trying to re-invent yourself. The next show will be much different in a handful of ways, partner or partners being only one of them.

Radio is in a tricky place right now, not unlike many other industries. I keep hearing that local radio is dead. That's crap. It's changed and dramatically, but traditional radio always will be in demand, especially in big markets. Local radio is not dead. It only has been forced to get better because there are so many alternatives. Podcasting, streaming and blogging all will be a part of the next project, but the over-the-air product will remain top priority.

The most satisfying thing about this time on the beach has been the volume of correspondence with former co-workers and other colleagues in the business. Nice to know there are people out there who respect what you've done and want to be a part of the next gig. Guess I'm not the monster an executive or two have led people to believe.

The original interview follows...

Dan McNeil hosts the "Mac, Jurko & Harry Show" every afternoon on ESPN AM 1000 along with his co-hosts John Jurkovich and Harry Teinowitz. I've previously written about Dan in his early days at the Score ('93) and his early days at ESPN ('04). This is the first time I've interviewed him for Chicago Radio Spotlight.

Rick: How are you guys getting along these days?

Dan: It’s a unit of push and pull. We’ve managed to handle our rifts better while we’re on, but we all are quirky and often irritable. It gets dicey… sometimes contentious off the air. We do a better job than we used to when it comes to airing our grievances with one another and then moving on.

Rick: How would you describe everyone's role on the show?

Dan: I’m the front man, for better or for worse. I set up the dialogue, direct the content, the traffic. Depending on the topic, I throw it to either Jurk or to Harry. I lean on Jurk more during football season and Harry more during the summer. We’ve got a good mix of interests. I don’t think there’s a sport or a hobby that at least one of us doesn’t enjoy. The ‘Surgeon of Sound,’ Ben Finfer, is incredibly valuable. He’s the best at what he does, which is ‘play radio’ with soundbytes, music, movies, show highlights. He and executive producer Danny Zederman do a good job keeping us ‘younger.’ It’s a functional five-man band.

Rick: Will the people meter have any effect on how you do your show?

Dan: Not sure just yet if it’ll play a role… other than having to spend more time in meetings with management about ways we can overanalyze the data.

Rick: Over the years you've had a few famous feuds with guys like Chet Coppock, Mike North, and Harry. Now Chet is working at the same station, you recently had Mike North on after he was fired, and you and Harry haven't had any major altercations in awhile. Are you mellowing with age?

Dan: I’d like to think I’m more mature than I was during a lot of that stuff. And I’m not sure how ‘famous’ those feuds are. There are tons of guys in this business who don’t like each other. I’ve just been more of an open book about it. When I observe assholish behaviors, I’m not reluctant to share it on my show and let the chips falls where they may. And if somebody fires on me, bully for them. It’s give and take… mix it up. I like the heat sometimes.

Rick: I don't think I've ever talked to you about your radio heroes. Who has had the biggest influence on you, and who do you admire the most?

Dan: I’ve worked for and with a lot of talented people. I admired Steve Dahl (photo) a lot when I started at the Loop in ’88. From him, I observed many things I should do, and a few things I shouldn’t. Alan Freed, who died broke many years ago because he refused to succumb to ‘industry standards’ as he blazed the trail for rock’n’roll radio, was an amazing dude. Chuck Swirsky and Chet Coppock taught me the ropes as I was cutting my teeth. I’ve had several great co-hosts and some terrific producers.

Rick: Do you consider yourself a sports guy doing radio or a radio guy doing sports?

Dan: Can I be both? When I was kicking ass in the Highland Little League in the early ‘70s, I also was writing about sports and doing play-by-play of Blackhawks games I was watching on TV while talking into a cassette recorder. I guess I’m both a jock and a geek.

Rick: I know you used to consider Steve Dahl your biggest competition in the afternoon. Now that he's doing mornings, which shows on the radio dial are your biggest competitors?

Dan: There are a lot of guys rockin’ on those expressways during the afternoon commute. The Loop and the Drive are consistently solid performers in the adult male demo. And ‘GN draws an enormous bump when the Cubs play day games at Wrigley.

Rick: As someone who fights for the cause of Autism awareness, what are your thoughts about the recent comments by talk show host Michael Savage? (He said: “Now you want me to tell you my opinion on autism since I’m not talking about autism … a fraud, a racket. What do you mean they scream and they’re silent? They don’t have a father around to tell them don’t act like a moron, you’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up! Act like a man! Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.’")

Dan: Savage (photo) likely said that just to get people talking about him. He succeeded. If he truly believes that, he is an ignorant, insensitive man and I’d enjoy slapping him. He possesses the privilege of getting a public forum to express his ideas and opinions and should treat that right with more reverence.

Rick: How much longer are you signed for at ESPN, and do you think this is your final radio destination?

Dan: Under contract until the spring of ’10. For the first time in 16 ½ years of afternoons, I’m flirting with the idea of a different day part... if anybody would have me. This is a good thing here right now. I don’t know what I want for lunch today so it’s tough to predict what may happen in two years.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lin Brehmer

I recently conducted this mini-interview of Lin Brehmer for SHORE Magazine...

Lin Brehmer // WXRT Radio, Chicago

Lin Brehmer has been hosting the morning show at rock station WXRT (93.1) in Chicago for nearly two decades. He is known for his irreverent wit and deep love of rock and roll. His motto, according to his official station bio, is borrowed from the writings of Gerard Manley Hopkins: “Flesh fade and mortal trash fall to the residuary worm’, you and I might as well Rock and Roll.”

Radio Philosophy

To borrow a phrase from John Huston in Chinatown: “Under the right circumstances, a man is capable of just about anything.”

Favorite Brush with Greatness

Mick Jagger in a one-on-one interview at the Ritz Carlton Beverly Hills. It was for a radio special for his solo album, Goddess in the Doorway. He was affable and expansive and thoroughly charming.

Least Favorite Brush with Greatness

Norah Jones throwing a fit when I was told to introduce her at Ravinia. Not sure she was expecting an emcee. Her road manager had me ejected for saying on stage, “Ladies and Gentleman, Norah Jones.”

Best Advice and Worst Advice

You should really be a morning guy.

Best Perks

I’ve really had an amazing opportunity to see every major band of the last thirty years when no one knew who they were. It gives you some perspective. U2, R.E.M., Nirvana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, you name it. I saw them all in small clubs. In the late ’70s and throughout the ’80s, I went to well over 150 concerts a year. Also, we aren’t really conscious of what people are doing while they listen to our shows, but now and then, a couple will come up and say, “We were listening to your show when our first child was born.” To be touched like that is the best perk of the job.

Something listeners don’t know about you

I get stage fright. Since I’m on stage all the time, I’m pretty good at pretending I don’t. I never eat dinner if I know I’m emceeing any event where I will be addressing a large number of people. And when I’m waiting to go on stage, I pace or pantomime pitching wind-ups.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Clark Weber (2)

Last year I interviewed Clark Weber about his remarkable career. This interview is strictly about his brand new book: "Clark Weber's Rock and Roll Radio, 1955-75, The Fun Years"

Rick: I noticed that the Foreword to your book was written by Neil Sedaka. How did that come to be?

Clark: I knew Neil from back in the 60s, and I decided to call and ask if he would do it, and he said hell yes. He and I were good buddies, and he would call on my office at WLS from time to time when I was the program director at WLS. The record company had their own promo people but if he was in town, he would come in personally. One time he was in my office and I got a phone call about a band canceling at a church event in Evanston that I was supposed to be hosting. Well I went there that night, and I was ready to go on stage, and the people from the church said, 'You're not going to believe who is backstage to perform.' It was Neil, and he entertained the crowd for a half-hour. The ironic thing is the story is coming full circle. I'm going to be introducing him on stage in St. Charles in September for his show there, and he doesn't know I'm coming yet.

Rick: Your co-writer is Neil Samors. Tell me about him.

Clark: Neil is the owner of a publisher called 'Chicago Books Press' and they write books about Chicago and Chicago history and things of that nature. He did a book called "Chicago in the 60s" and he interviewed me for that book, and while we were talking that day he said 'you've got so much to say, and you should write your own book.' Well, I laughed and said no. I had tried to write my memoirs at least three times; with two different sons-in-law, who were both writers, and once with my news director at WJJD. All three times it didn't work, and it didn't feel right. This time Neil said 'you narrate a chapter and I'll write it.' We did that for a few chapters, and then Neil said "You can write this Clark." And I did. I wrote it-- with his expert help—he has a PhD in English.

Rick: The book is called "Clark Weber's Rock and Roll Radio, 1955-75, The Fun Years." Were those the fun years for you personally, or the fun years for Rock Radio?

Clark: Those were the fun years for rock radio because by 1975, FM radio had taken so much of the audience, it had already turned into 'three songs in a row' followed by eight commercials, followed by three in a row, etc. The DJ had become completely superfluous, and I think rock radio has never really recovered from that.

Rick: To me, as a long time radio guy, I'm even more fascinated with the rock and roll part of this story. You told me some incredible stories the last time I interviewed you, including a story I've retold a million times to friends and relatives about George Harrison. Can you tease a few of the other rock and roll stories?

Clark: That George Harrison story in the book, complete with pictures. There's also a story about the Monkees. I threw them out of the radio station one day, and you'll discover why I did that, and why they came back the next day to apologize. There's another story about a famous female singer that wasn't famous at the time, and in order to get an audience to see her, Mr. Kelly's had to give away free drink tickets. You won't believe it when you see who it is. Another story is about a record promoter who gave me a record of a young unknown artist. I played the record a few times and I could just tell it was going to be a hit—-so I said—"I'm going to play this one." I asked the promoter if the singer had accompanied him to the station, and he told me the kid who sang it was so nervous about being rejected that he was waiting outside on the street corner. When you hear who it was, you won't believe it. There are lots of stories like that, from the very beginning of rock and roll, when it was known as dirty crotch music—-especially stories about the difficulties it had breaking into the mainstream.

Rick: Did you talk to any of the other rock radio jocks from that era when you were writing this book, and if so, who?

Clark: Ron Riley—of course. He lives in a radio announcers home for the lame—I'm joking of course. I saw him the other night, and we had a great time. He has a comment on the back cover of my book, and of course felt it was necessary to say something bad about Weber. He originally said "I heard the only way Weber finished this book was by being connected to a Sears Die-Hard," but we couldn't use it because that's a trademarked product, so he wrote something else. I also talked to Don Phillips, the all night man, and Bernie Allen, and Bob Hale. Oh, and Larry Lujack of course. There's a whole chapter about how I scared the crap out of him.

Rick: Did you learn anything about that era that you didn't know before you wrote the book?

Clark: Not about radio, really, because I had been so personally immersed in that world. I did learn some things about the artists much great stuff, and a lot of it I just couldn't fit into the book. We had decided to keep it at 200 pages, and that really proved to be a challenge because we had so much material. Maybe we'll do another book (laughs). Not going to happen! In all seriousness, this book has the best stuff—-200 pages, 75 of my personal photographs, and a CD insert. It's selling very well already; which is something that makes me very proud.

Rick: Looking back on that era now, who would you say were the most important and lasting figures in Chicago rock radio and why?

Clark: Larry Lujack, of course. You can't really talk about that era without talking about Lujack. And Dick Bi-oldie. That's what I call him that—it's a joke. I mean Dick Biondi, of course. The feud between Ron Riley and myself—-that feud worked perfectly. Really, all of the jocks contributed to that era; some more, others less, but they all contributed, as did the program directors of that era.

Rick: What lessons are there to be learned by today's rock radio?

Clark: I was listening to a rock station a little while ago and I was so was time and temp and a little giggling. I felt so excluded by what was going on. They aren't doing a very good job of involving the listeners—making them feel like they are a part of the experience. Rock radio today has its work cut out for it. They have to do something to make it more interesting—like newspapers, they have to completely reinvent themselves. They need some personality.

Rick: Why do you think the personalities aren't there anymore?

The farm clubs are gone and jocks don't have stations in smaller markets where they can learn their craft.

Rick: Thanks, Clark. Where can people get the book?

Clark: It's available at Borders, Barnes & Noble, and independent book stores around the city, and you can also get it online.

Rick: And if people want to meet you—are you doing any book signings?

Lots of them. Thursday August 14th, I'll be Barnes & Noble—Depaul, State & Jackson at 12:30. On Saturday the 23rd I'll be at Borders in Oak Park from 2-3 pm. And there are a bunch more being scheduled.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Ric Federighi

I recently conducted this mini-interview of Ric Federighi for SHORE Magazine...

Ric Federighi/WIMS, Michigan City

Ric Federighi had a long successful radio career in Chicago, primarily as an award-winning traffic reporter, before coming to Indiana. He is the general manager (and owner) of WIMS-Radio, a talk radio station in Michigan City (1420 AM). He also hosts the morning show every weekday from 6-9 a.m.

Radio Philosophy

Know your audience. Be worldly and local as well. Being prepared is the key to success, but also letting the show flow is even more important. There are days when you have a ton of info and subjects from world and local news, to music and sports, and it is all out the window due to the audience participation. Let the audience speak in an “open forum.” To be a moderator can really help to be fair and let out both sides.

Favorite Brush with Greatness

Meeting Dick Clark at a convention in the ’80s and having an in-depth conversation with him was incredible. He actually gave me advice that I always remembered and told myself in challenging times in my career. He told me to follow my dream (he asked me what my goal was and I told him to own a station or two) and he was impressed at how young I was to be attending the National Association of Broadcasters convention.

Radio Influences

Aside from Dick Clark, Greg Solk was someone I watched as a young talent work his way up the ladder and show it can be done on the management side of radio. (He was the program director of the Loop in the ’80s, and is now the VP of Programming for Bonneville, which owns the Mix, the Drive, and many other stations around the country.) I also enjoyed Patti Haze, John Fisher, and Steve Dahl (on the Loop), and enjoyed speaking with Norm Winer (the program director of WXRT) at an early age while attending a radio conference as a college student.

Best Advice

“Follow your dreams—When one door closes another one opens.” It came from my father right before he passed away. I was working for WLS radio and for Shadow Traffic at the time, and I had the opportunity to work for Greg Solk and the Loop, which was one of my goals and dreams. I followed my heart and accepted the gig at the Loop, and I am so glad I did that. I would not have gotten to where I am today . . . Thanks, Dad.

Best Perks

Meeting new people all the time. You meet a number of different people on a number of levels. I love what I do. I wake up every day and know I am doing exactly what I set out to do as young boy . . . now how many people can say they love their gigs?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

KC Lupp

KC Lupp was part of the morning show at WGCI in the earlier part of this decade. He currently works as an actor/disc jockey in Oklahoma but is back in Chicago this summer starring in The Full Monty at the Marriott Lincolnshire. The Chicago Tribune gave him an excellent review.


Shadow/Metro ’98 – ’99
WGCI ’00 – ’03
ClearChannel Tulsa - ’04 – current - at:

Rick: KC, first of all, welcome back to Chicago. Have you been back much since you moved down to Oklahoma ?

KC: Unfortunately, after having children, a new mortgage, my radio job, voice over jobs, PA job with the Tulsa Talons Arena Football team…etc. I haven’t been back in Chicago since ’02.

Rick: People probably remember you best as KC White (so named because you were the white guy) on the morning show at WGCI in the earlier part of this decade. Looking back on those award-winning years there, what are a few of your favorite moments?

KC: Ah, the Blazin’ Caucasian..the Funky Honky…the Tryin’ to be Blacker Cracker…those were the days! I loved being at GCI, and I've run into a lot of old friends since I'm back. Thank you for saying they were award-winning years. That has to be a highlight: winning three AIR Awards. But honestly, my favorite moments were when I was at GCI events and seeing the passion the listeners have for their radio station. I brought a friend to an event on The Odyssey Boat trip…and watching people ask him if he was ‘the white guy’ was quite a kick. Also, the ins and outs of radio I learned from Elroy Smith (photo). He gave me a huge opportunity, not only to be on 107.5, but to jock…and even fill-in as morning host. That was a dream come true.

Rick: Other than Elroy Smith, who were some of your radio mentors or role models in town?

KC: I have to say, Kevin Matthews (photo) was…and still is an idol of mine. I was fascinated by a DJ…that was an entertainer. And he was successfully able to transfer theater and standup comedy to the airwaves. When I met Dorothy Humphrey as a co-worker when I started at Shadow/Metro, I was literally star struck. Being a student of theater, I came into radio later, mostly as a listener. It was exciting to me to step inside WLUP, to meet people from WBBM, XRT, and have drinks with all these talented radio people that I felt like I knew for so long.

Rick: You're back in town to perform in "The Full Monty" at the Marriott Lincolnshire. One of your former radio colleagues, Joe Collins (who is also an actor), told me that you are a very good actor-- truly a triple threat on stage. Do you consider yourself an actor first, and a radio guy second or vice versa?

KC: Wow, Joe (photo) is awesome. He is a fantastic talent and has such a passion for theater. He works very hard producing, directing and acting as well as being a traffic guru. I started theater when I was 8, and worked at it as a career full-time right out of high school. I was very fortunate to get work here in Chicago , and tour with shows like “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” which luckily stayed here in Chicago for over a year and a half. With not starting my performing ‘behind the mic’ until I was 29, I’d have to say actor first, radio second. But, it’s funny, as unstable as a career is in radio…theater is more unstable. I don’t mind not visiting the unemployment office every three months.

Rick: How do each of those facets of your career help or hurt the other?

KC: Great question. Being an actor helped with the ease of ‘being on’ when the mic is on.

Also with simple things like reading liners or voice overs in producing spots. It did have drawbacks though, and Don Cristi, OM of ClearChannel Tulsa said it perfectly. He said, that I have gotten by with my personality, which is great…but I need to learn basic radio formatics. When and why we do things a certain way. He has become such a huge mentor and I wouldn’t be surprised if you are interviewing him when he’s in Chicago running 5 stations.

My time in radio has helped my acting. I believe it has made me a more natural actor. The drawback there is that being behind a mic, you get used to no reaction at your delivery. Was it funny? Compelling? You hope. Now on stage again, the audience tells you immediately if what you did worked…or not.

Rick: Tell us a little bit about the show, and the part you play.

KC: I play Jerry Lukowski in Full Monty at Marriott Lincolnshire Theater. Tix available at 847-634-0200!!!

It’s a great musical adaptation of the film. It’s set in Buffalo , NY as opposed to England like the movie. It’s a great show about six guys putting on a strip show to make money after over a year from losing their jobs when the steel mill closed. The show is really about these guys stripping down to their honest obstacles in their life they need to overcome. My character sets it all up with the purpose of making enough money to not lose custody of his son. It’s a fantastic role and I’m unbelievably fortunate to have the opportunity.

Rick: I understand you're still hosting your afternoon radio show while you're in town. Where are you recording the voice tracks?

KC: I’m recording them at the ClearChannel Studios downtown. Don Cristi, OM in Tulsa …and also my PD on 97.5 KMOD told me I should pursue doing this show, that creatively it would be good to be back on stage for awhile. Tulsa CC, and Chicago CC worked hard to make the tracking seamless. My listeners think it’s pretty cool I’m doing my show from Michigan Avenue .

Rick: When the show ends at the end of September, what are your plans?

KC: I’m heading back to beautiful little town of Bristow , Oklahoma to be DJ and husband/dad. No plans on moving back to Chicago …unless some radio gig gets offered! My wife loves being back here…it really feels great to be back home. Chicago is the best city in the country. Hands down.