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Steve King And Johnnie Putman Rumored To Be Leaving WGN Radio

December 3, 2011

UPDATE—Last show Friday morning.

There is a rumor floating among those who tweet about Chicago media that the much-loved radio team of Steve King and Johnnie Putman are soon to be replaced in the over-night hours.  (As James will say, Good Lord I am losing my babysitters!)

If true this is very upsetting news as Him and Her, as fans often refer to Steve and Johnnie, have been a staple of my life for at least 15 years.  I have often mentioned them on my blog,  and was thrilled when I was a guest on their show concerning of all things, cars. 

I had bought a new VW Beetle and from time to time Steve and Johnnie spoke with new car owners about the purchase.  I had always wanted to work at WGN, and finally had my 20 minutes on the airwaves.   They had contacted me a week before the interview, but the night of the broadcast I had a wicked cold.  I was however determined to shine and I had more tea and honey and caffeine than any person should consume in a night.  The recording they sent to me along with a lobster gram for two remains a night I will never forget.

There will be much more to be said about this news in the days to come on CP. 

DeanRichards And, Robert Feder is tweeting that Steve and Johnnie will be replaced by Bill Leff starting Dec 12. No comment from WGN Radio. 9 hours ago · reply · retweet · favorite

RobertFeder profile

RobertFeder REMEMBER YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Bill Leff to replace Steve King & Johnnie Putman midnight to 5:30 a.m. weekdays on WGN, starting 12/12.

24 Comments
  1. Marilyn Kent permalink
    December 5, 2011 6:31 AM

    WGN has just lost 5 listeners. I know it won’t matter but this family will no longer listen to WGN radio. The only good thing about the new morning show is Steve Bertrand and we do not plan to listen just for him. WGN has gone way down in the ratings and it will now go further. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING OOPS YOU WEREN’T. I hope you can feel the anger and disgust for your station I now have. I have been a listener for 50 years. US99 here I come.

  2. Eolafan permalink
    December 5, 2011 6:05 AM

    While thinking about all the changes at WGN this year (I just heard Steve and Johnnie announce their departure) I can’t help think about the final action sequence in “Sink the Bismark” where the British have just put the last shell/torpedoe into the proud ship Bismark and she sinks beneath the waves…sound familiar? Wally and Uncle Bob must be turning over in their graves!

  3. Lolly permalink
    December 5, 2011 2:45 AM

    O Crap! I’ve been a fan of Steve & Johnnie since way before they hit WGN. They are the epitome of Good Radio: fun, knowledgeable, and gently challenging.

    I’ve also been hearing Bill Leff over the past few weeks on ‘GN. Sorry but this is a GIANT step backwards. WGN will not have much to keep me listening, especially during the dark hours. My recommendation is WLS-AM 890 and WBEZ-FM 91.5.

  4. Terry Silis permalink
    December 5, 2011 1:19 AM

    Who is Bill Leff???
    I know he has been on the radio filling in for Jarred and some of the other cast of characters but that just seems wrong!
    This company doesn’t seem to respect their employees or listeners. This spot should go to Nick D! end of story. He has been at WGN over 25 years, always filling in, always the man in waiting. He really is the Dangerfield of this radio station – he gets no respect. In fact, they seem to keep cutting his on air time.
    Let’s start a petition!

  5. Sally Scheef permalink
    December 5, 2011 12:35 AM

    I thought that sanity had returned to WGN, but replacing Steve and Johnny with Bill Leff?
    l’ve listened to him since he has been off and on, on WGN, and find him mostly unexceptional and sometimes annoying.

    I turn off the radio when I don’t like what I’m hearing as I often do with Brian Noonan’s late night show or McConnell in the morning. I just turned off Steve and Johnny because I couldn’t take the happy talk about their departure in a week any longer.

  6. Pat Hartz permalink
    December 5, 2011 12:32 AM

    Bill Leff will do a great job, he’s very entertaining and very engaging. He’s funny, smart and a good host. Let’s give him a chance.

  7. December 4, 2011 7:58 AM

    That Steve and Johnnie worked their interests into the show is one reason they are so ratings-heavy in the over-night hours. They had many topics from guitars, computers, artists such as Muriel Anderson (who can not love her?) cars, and cameras to name a a few of the rotating topics that kept lots of listeners engaged.

    The thing that has always made WGN apart from other stations in the Chicago market, and also among most radio stations is the tone and style of the various hosts that make up the 24-hour broadcast day. No one is going to like every host in the same degree, or does every host act or work off the same topics.

    Nick has his own style, and perhaps Chris is more into “drunk of the week” but that would not be where I am as a radio listener. I like Les Paul, and loved the stories about him, and who can not love Fran in Alaska?

  8. Chris permalink
    December 4, 2011 7:24 AM

    Well I am suprised they lasted as long as they did. Seriously how much Les paul can we take? And every time Johnny shrill’s WHAAAT? or Steve stating the “blatant plug” or “segway”. and I also have to agree with Max on the bad Musicical guests. I wish them the best of luck but seriously about the only time I listen to the whole show is when Nick D. is hosting. I drive a truck for a living and often work nights, I need something interesting to help, They tend to make me sleepy. Bring on Nick!!

  9. Max permalink
    December 4, 2011 4:06 AM

    When I first heard the rumor that S & J were out..I kind of felt like I had lost a couple of dear old family friends. Steve and Johnnie were good people. They were enjoyable and entertaining, by themselves..
    It was their never changing, weekly lineup of mind numbing topics and mostly horrible musical guests that I found extremely boring and most of all..repetitive to the point of dread.. I mean come on now, after the bazillionth ‘one hit wonder’ show…didn’t you name them all? ..does anyone really care?

    ah well, they really did seem to enjoy themselves a whole Helluvalot…
    I think I am a teeny bit more worried about them missing their routine,
    than I am of myself..lol..

    Goodbye dear old friends..best of luck to you, you will be missed.
    Oh and btw, Steve.. I smoke :))

  10. James permalink
    December 3, 2011 6:01 PM

    Please Dear God, make the madness stop! It has been a stressful enough year as it is without Steve and Johnnie piling on with a resignation or being fired. Who will keep the baby quiet at night if they leave! Pray for us, everyone!!

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