WGN Radio Can Again Be Polite, Professional, Popular

Every now and then when I write this blog I am reminded that my interests are not exactly in the mainstream.   I am reminded weekly how marginalized some of my concerns and interests are.  That never stops me from going forward mind you, but the fact is not lost on me that I am not always sailing with much of the world.

I fully understand my limitations when writing about the days when newspapers were read by a large swath of the nation, or Saturday nights meant listening to the Grand Ole Opry.  I am aware that the best I can do is stress their value and move on.  It would be great if I could let every household experience the sound of the newspaper ‘thumping’ on the front stoop early every morning, or the sensation of pleasure as the big red curtain rises.  But the best I can do  from this blog is write about them.

But then there are issues such as WGN radio, where my desire to see the traditional role of the medium continue in this era of fast-paced technology, that reverberates with others.  My views about WGN have connected and resonated with many all over the country.  It is times like this I know there are countless who stand with me.  And I with them.

The past eighteen months have been rough ones for those who love WGN, that iconic radio station housed in the Tribune Tower.  Listeners revolted when new management ripped treasured on-air talent from the airwaves and ushered in loud political brawlers, or those who had no sense of what Chicago was all about.

Listeners had every right to feel that way.

Radio is after all about broadcasters being invited into the homes and cars of listeners.  People would no more want a boorish person lounging on their couch as they would desire a long-winded or rude person coming in through the speakers of their radio.  After all, radio personalities are guests, and should act accordingly.

I have worked in radio, and so I know I am correct when I say that guys like me were invited into the homes and cars of listeners.  I was the guest for a period of time, and acted liked one.  I was never rude or mean.  I tried to be funny and informative and friendly.  As such I was invited back over and over.  As were those who shared the microphone with me at WDOR in Sturgeon Bay.

That is what WGN once was, and I trust after the news this week will be again.  Listeners from some thirty states who can hear the station on the AM dial late at night, or those from the midwest who can listen 24/7 want to have a station again that is like what Wally Phillips would recognize.  Polite, professional, popular.

When James and I visit Chicago we always stay overnight on Ohio Street and make the magnificent mile our home base.  Late night walks up the amazing street means stopping in front of the Tribune Tower, and looking into the showcase studio.  At times on-air talent were there, other times they were broadcasting from inside the building.  Either way it was always a connection to the friendly voices on the radio.

For the past months the fond connection with WGN dwindled for me and much of the listener base.  But we have not forgotten what it once was like.  As such we are looking forward to the WGN family being restored  and renewed. 

My radio awaits the rebirth of this broadcasting giant.

Fight For High-Speed Train In Wisconsin!

The lack of logic and long-term thinking is bubbling over when it comes to Scott Walker and his attitude about high-speed train service in Wisconsin.  For someone who touts the need for better economic infrastructure, new businesses, and jobs for our state his continual derision about the train is mystifying.

I think that perhaps Scott Walker is just opposed to anything that President Obama has assisted the nation with, and wants to make a partisan issue out of the train.  Outside of that there is no rational reason for him to oppose a huge victory that Wisconsin receives from this train.

Wisconsinites do not have to follow the spin of a political party, as Walker seems intent on doing.  Therefore most can look at the facts to understand the necessity of the train, and the benefits it will bring to everyone. 

At this time when global competition grows more intense, and states around the nation vie for better marketing strategies  the train will allow us to move quickly into the future.  Other states envy us.  Many are waiting in line to get the money that we are about to turn down if Walker does not see the light.

Wisconsin citizens should work together and force the issue of making this train project a reality.

Start in a small way here. 

Thousands have joined the Save The Train project.  While too many of our fellow citizens were duped into voting for Walker does not mean that we have to be doormats for every policy that he cranks out of his head.  With more newspapers and personalities joining the conversation about why this train matters, and should be constructed, I am confident that logic can prevail.

With your input we can make a difference for our future.

Tombstone For Kevin “Pig Virus” Metheny, The Man That Murdered WGN Radio

Former WGN on-air talent Steve Cochran, whose contract was not renewed this year, has posted this image on his website.   Story and image from Chicago Sun Times.

Saturday Song: Brett Eldredge “She Calls Me Raymond”

Alzheimer’s and county music blend here today.  But first I want to acknowledge a wonderful event for a singer and song writer. 

Last weekend Brett Eldredge stepped onto the Grand Ole Opry stage for the first time to sing.  I want to recognize that moment, and the comments that Eldredge made.  What he had to say was what I hope all would feel if given the chance to stand in the famed circle.

Not only was the young artist introduced by his mentor, the legendary Bill Anderson, but his performance was witnessed first-hand by a large crowd from his hometown of Paris, Illinois which included Brett’s grandparents Shirley and Spizz Eldredge, who traveled to Nashville, Tenn. to see their friend, relative and hometown boy’s dream come true.

“I remember standing by the stage and thinking about all those people who have stepped in that (wooden) circle before me … Hank Williams, Johnny Cash … all the people that are part of the Opry history, the legends, the people who have made music what it is today,” Eldredge said following his debut. “I was nervous but it was kind of a cool nervous. It was almost like an energy. I remember looking out in the crowd and feeling like I was having an out-of-body experience like it wasn’t really happening.”

One of the songs that Brett Eldredge is known for is one that deals with a most dreadful disease.  Alzheimer’s afflicts an ever-growing number of people, and more research is needed to find the answer at slowing it down. Hopefully someday ending it.

The young man was excited that his grandparents were going to be in the audience to see his debut.

“It will be great that my grandpa is going to be here,” Brett said with a big smile. “I kept bugging my agent about when am I going to get to do the Opry and when he told me I was invited to perform the first thing I did was call my grandpa.”

Brett’s grandma suffers from Alzeheimer’s and he was afraid his grandparents might not be able to make the trip due to complications with the disease.

“The disease makes me so angry,” he stressed. “I think one of the ways I wrote the song (Raymond) was out of anger. I was so frustrated and it helped me through this time.”

The song that Eldredge wrote called “She Calls Me Raymond” was the second song that he performed at the Mother Church of Country Music.   I use a radio studio singing for the video today.

Very Tough Words About Brett Favre From National Press


News from Brett  Favre himself that he will not be playing in 2011….football that is….we all assume the married Favre will keep playing with his girlfriends…..led to this remark out of New York.

The New York Daily News’ Hank Gola gives us some analysis and some tough worded opinion about the 41-year-old:

And what may keep him retired for good is that no team in its right mind should want him…

Favre reminds you of the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the one who refused to give up even after King Arthur cut off all his limbs, shouting, “It’s just a flesh wound.”

The difference is you never get tired of watching Monty Python. But Favre’s drama queen act deserves a hook. Even he might have to admit it was a mistake coming back this time.

Worst of all, while his yearly retirement flirtations showed Favre to be disingenuous, the sexting escapades suggest he’s being dishonest.