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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. joan permalink
    June 1, 2009 3:41 PM

    so long WGN !!

  2. Mary Ann Olson permalink
    May 28, 2009 6:59 PM

    So long WGN. Kathy and Judy were the main reason that I kept the dial tuned to 720. They were always entertaining and thought provoking. Don’t know what management was thinking when they let them go……or maybe that is the problem…..they weren’t thinking! For me it’s “good luck and good bye.”

  3. Stein Crancer permalink
    May 28, 2009 3:32 PM

    It used to be that I could listen to WGN from morning to night and enjoy every show. Those days are gone and so am I.

  4. gerry goggin permalink
    May 27, 2009 5:51 PM

    I am saddened that this was done to Kathy & Judy Show. I was an avid listener because they were a great start to my day. It was always uplifting when I would take my walks and have my ear phone on to hear them. Now that joy is gone. It is terrible that the station would do this. I’m done with WGN.

  5. marci Lorts permalink
    May 26, 2009 10:13 PM

    You have lost a whole family of listeners!!!!! This makes NO sense!!! We will only listen to WGN for the cubs. Good luck Kathy and Judy!!!!

  6. gpwatson permalink
    May 26, 2009 11:07 AM

    i’m officially done with wgn. first they dumped nick digillio’s saturday movie reviews. i didn’t always agree with him but as a movie fan i scheduled my saturday mornings around them. they got listening to the station when i stumbled across them one day. now the girlfriends. at this point i have no reason to listen anymore. i’m going back to public radio and podcasts since the rest of the radio dial is sports and conservative talking points.

  7. P. Dee permalink
    May 25, 2009 8:41 PM

    I have been listening to Kathy and Judy since my husband came home one day 20 years ago and said, “You have to listen to 720, they have these two women on who are really funny”.
    That was it. I identified with their humor, with the additional humorous comments and insights from Steve Bertrand.
    They have been my companions at work (via computer), and at home each weekday morning
    ever since. I missed them when they took their vacations and couldn’t wait for their return.
    They started my days out in current conversations and situations that we all wonder about and experience. The callers also added so much to their conversations. Not always agreeing with them was interesting as well.
    They should have been given the courtesy of making their exit upon completion of their contracts. I think they were ready to move on anyway…………..but it should have been on their terms. Thanks for the 20 years with them. Chicagoland women have a huge void to fill.

  8. Barbara Kottmeier permalink
    May 25, 2009 8:38 PM

    Well, I must say I generally listen to WCPT, but never, ever missed Kathy and Judy. Because of them, I also listened to Spike and then John. Recently though, it’s been John and Bob. After that, I’m generally gone to WCPT. Doesn’t management get it? These girlfriends are a draw. I wouldn’t have discovered Spike’s charm or King John’s wit. Believe me, it isn’t just old ladies who listen, as had been stated. Both my daughters, age 28 and 33 listen, as do many of their friends. I’m a Hospice nurse, and after seeing my dying patients, my saving grace was to get back in the car and listen to Kathy and Judy laugh. That was all I needed to lift my spirits. I can’t imagine how I will get through a day without them. I feel like I’ve lost my sisters. When I heard them say that this would be the end, it felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach. I bawled like a baby while listening to their last show. I guess WGN wants to go in a different direction. Well, they’ll be going in that direction without me, and many of my friends. I won’t even listen when my Cubbies are on.

  9. May 25, 2009 7:25 PM

    I don’t practice listening to GN in the daytime since I now live in Door County, WI, beyond good daytime reception; however, recently I was on the road and thought that I’d try listening to the “old familiar” as I drove to the northern suburbs (I do listen at night, once the ‘air clears’–Steve & Johnny are always delightful), and I found “the girl friends” unlistenable. Before we retired, we lived in the northern suburbs and the radios didn’t have any other numbers beside 720. One other area that bothers me is the swarmy, self-centered, egotistical Nick Digilio. He can tolerate no other opinion but his own, condemning anything contrary as STUPID. I would have preferred that he be given the boot and shown the gate. I still relish memories of Bob Collins, my all-time favorite.

  10. Brian Howe permalink
    May 24, 2009 4:52 PM

    I have been a WGN listner since the Wally Phillips days and will like most be changing stations I have ruined radio’s in the past with the knob constantly set to GN. I told my wife before Kathy and Judy were fired that Spike got out at the right time he has to much class to be edgy and argumentative. I am 47 years old and feel I am the market share that spent the money there sponsors where after. I agree WGN will probably go the way of the Tribune down hill fast…

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