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Listeners Upset As WGN Radio’s ‘Kathy And Judy’ Are Off The Air

May 22, 2009

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Markey, 65, a novelist and former columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times, and O’Malley, 63, a former Chicago Tribune columnist

UPDATE

Hear the final song that aired on the Friday broadcast.

Hear the final radio show of “Kathy and Judy” here.

Tell WGN Radio how upset you are with the awful decision here.

Not sure what is happening lately to WGN Radio, a staple on this guy’s radio in the car and at home, but whatever is taking place it is not good news.

The latest slap to the listeners is a tough one to take.  Radio management often tries to make better choices for the ultimate bottom line, but instead of making a better choice makes a dreadful mistake.  Such is the latest move from WGN Radio.

Last week on our way to Klein Flowers in Madison the first thing we did when getting in the car was tuning in “Kathy and Judy” to hear as we went shopping for flower plants.   This week on the way to my parent’s home 90 minutes northwards we listened to the ‘girls’ on the way and had a grand time with them.  Little did I know it would be the last road trip with them….and that makes me sad. 

For years when in the car or here at home “Kathy and Judy” were part of the family.  I always considered myself, as did every other guy who listened, one of the ‘girlfriends’.  We all were labeled that way, and proud of it.  With zip and flair and lots of laughs we came to know and love these ladies.  We knew about their families and dreams, bad times and good.  They were brought into our homes via radio because they were good people that we thought should be invited in.  And once here, we asked them to stick around.  

They will be sorely missed.  They do not need me saying it, but I wish them all the best.   I want to say thanks to Kathy and Judy for the hours of radio broadcasting professionalism, and companionship.

“Labor Day” will never be the same….listeners will understand what I mean.

WGN-AM 720 this morning announced it is discontinuing the “Kathy & Judy” show, the ground-breaking mid-morning coffee klatch that former Chicago newspaper columnists Kathy O’Malley andJudy Markey hosted for 20 years.

The final 9 a.m.-to-noon show for the Girlfriends, as they are known to their fans, was to feature highlights of some of their most memorable on-air moments as well as the remembrances of O’Malley and Markey, who said on the air that they have known for three weeks that their show would be going away.

“We know that for some of you it’s going to take a little time to digest,” O’Malley said. “We’re all going to be OK, and we’re all going to put on our big-girl panties and deal with it.” 

“Kathy and Judy have been a phenomenal chapter in WGN Radio’s rich history,” Tom Langmyer,WGN-AM’s vice president and general manager, said in a statement. “They have a level of personal connection with their listeners that is extremely rare. They’ve shared fun, laughter, joy and a wonderful relationship with their many ‘Girlfriends.’ They will be missed and we wish them much happiness.”

42 Comments
  1. Rosemary Butt permalink
    May 24, 2009 10:10 AM

    First Spike retired and you replaced him with that bore King John, I quit listening in early morning because of that, I listen to Jonny and Steve, I suppose they will be the next to be gone, I love Milt Rosenberg even if he is republican, I enjoy Steve Cochran, he should have been the one to replace Spike, the only day thing left on your station is Steve, I listen to Milt, Jonny/Steve, the farm and market with Orian and Max, then the radio goes off till the “girls” I was hoping for John ‘s afternoon show to be replaced by Bob Sirott and wife, but NO they are not hateful enough, we have enough radio stations that have hosts that spew hate messages, we don’t need your station going that route. I seldom listen to Milt anymore because you have mostly replaced him with sports, EVERYONE in the world is not kept alive by sports, I understand though that it must be a money maker for you and thats probably the bottom line, and with hate shows, and sports you will gain a few new listeners, but in the long run you will lose listeners who want to listen to people with ideas, hometown stuff, etc. Goodby WGN

  2. Jim Cira permalink
    May 24, 2009 9:48 AM

    Well if the Tribune company was in trouble with their newspapers, they are now in major trouble with their radio station. What a bonehead move. It was bad enough bringing Gary Meier into the family but this is ridiculous. I will be turning WGN on only for the Cubs and John Williams. Spike must have seen the writing on the wall and saved himself from all of this embarrassment. The geniuses at the top should be very proud of themselves. They will have set the record for ruining a radio station at warp speed.

  3. cheryl k permalink
    May 23, 2009 10:07 AM

    Wow!! What a huge mistake, once again by WGN. Bringing back Garry Meier was bad enough (I just turned your station off at 1:00),but to now dump “The Girlfriends”!!! That’s inexcusable…I hope the management there are happy & ready to flip burgers soon when their jobs are gone….

  4. thomas howard permalink
    May 23, 2009 7:14 AM

    apparently, being witty, funny, thought provoking, considerate of opinions of others, and just plain top entertainment is not enough. if their viewers were 15 to 25 yr olds, the show would never have been cancelled. i will never listen to wgn except for ball games. another bonehead move( e.g. gary meiers). this station is run by radio failures from new york. yuck.

    good luck ladies

    i know your show will be back on another channel once your contract with wgn end next year.

  5. Frank Steltenkamp permalink
    May 23, 2009 1:47 AM

    Just wondering, the general manager is the only name mentioned in this decision to drop Kathy and Judy. But then there’s Kevin Metheny, WGN’s program director. He was the guy who was New York’s NBC Radio’s program director back in the 1980’s, and who had a big part in chasing Howard Stern off the air and who was the “pig vomit” character in Stern’s movie Private Parts.

    After Stern left NBC radio, NBC radio went away, was no more. Similar thing happened to WCKG in Chicago when Stern decided to go to satellite. CKG’s share went to almost zero. WCKG couldn’t help that. After Stern was fired from NBC, he succeeded big time with another company, then on to satellite radio.

    Now, Kathy and Judy, two icons of Chicago radio, are gone. A little too soon, I think. I’d like to know what input Metheny had. Surely he was a participant in the decision. Some history with this guy.

    Let’s see where WGN stands in six months, in a year. WGN’s appeal to me was always it’s stability, its familiarity. The heads running the station probably shouldn’t be running it, but they’re hard-ass business people, accustomed to criticism, and will survive to run another station into the ground after they’ve left WGN in tatters. So we should not feel sorry for them.

    So, goodbye Kathy & Judy. And goodby WGN.

    Hello satellite radio.

  6. Gerry permalink
    May 22, 2009 9:35 PM

    Boy are you right, I too am going to change my station……I enjoyed Kathy and Judy…….and the former hosts…..Gary is ok but that french guy, dont like him….

  7. sanford sklansky permalink
    May 22, 2009 9:08 PM

    While I was not that big of a fan of Cathy and Judy, I am quite surprised that WGN would drop them. Their contract was not up until next year. In an article I read they said they were planning on retiring after the contract was up. I am not that big of a fan of Gary Meier either. It is kind of surpising that they wouldn’t give Nick Digilio the 1-4 spot.

  8. Adeline permalink
    May 22, 2009 7:28 PM

    First Spike left, then the weekend personalities were let go and now Kathy and Judy are gone and management is instructing the remaining staff to be more edgy and angry. I will NEVER listen WGN again.
    I have been a loyal listener for 20 years.
    WGN management has made several gross errors in judgement and the station will be gone in 6 months.
    The reason I listened to WGN is because it was one of the last remaining stations that had integrity, class and good taste.
    I detest edgy, angry personalities.
    WGN management must be a group of absolute morons.
    WGN-you lose.

  9. Mary permalink
    May 22, 2009 12:21 PM

    I will miss them. They’re honest and ask the questions and make the comments that most everyone else is making off air. Wally Phillips built WGN and Kathy & Judy made it a station I wanted to stay with.

  10. Ferrell Gummitt permalink
    May 22, 2009 11:41 AM

    Man, my wife is going to be totally pissed. Typical Chicago Radio BS. Get rid of them, they are talented and were paying them too much.

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