Saturday 11.22.14

WGN.

I guess I’ve been listening to WGN radio for about 50 years. Yeah, seriously. My Dad always had it on in the morning when I was a kid. I remember listening to Wally Phillips as I was getting ready for school. We lived in NW Illinois but my parents were both from the Chicago area. Perhaps that was why it was on. Perhaps it was because they carried the Cubs. I don’t really know the reason but it seemed to always be on in the background.

As I got older, I listened to WLS as a teenager. They played great music at that time. I would still go back and listen to WGN.

The place I worked as a kid also played WGN in the background as the owners were also from the Chicago area. I would just continue to always listen to it.

Over all of those years, there have been many changes. People retired, died, were fired, moved on. There is always the competition to think about and a certain demographic they want listening to the station. I imagine that it is never an easy thing and that it is understandable that the wrong decisions are made from time to time.

Every time there is a shift in the lineup or the introduction of a new personality, I generally have had the reaction of “who the fuck is this?” and then slowly got used to whoever it was. Perhaps it was Spike, John Williams or Kathy and Judy. In the last few years, programming became a shit stained smear on the wall. The execs had removed popular talent or shifted them to crap time frames. Then, the execs must have decided that they needed to bring back some of that talent. John Williams broadcasts from Minneapolis now, not from Chicago. Kathy and Judy are on Saturday mornings. Nick D is on at some god awful middle of the fucking night time frame.

As they were dinking around with the scheduling, they hired Garry Meier. For whatever reason, when this guy hit the air I did not have that “who the fuck is this guy?” reaction. I was entertained from day one. His partner in crime was a guy named Jim Turano, also known on the air as Elton Jim, Babba Bibble, Bibble, The Bibbler and probably a slew of other things. These guys were great. The show was entertaining and informative. It was a couple of guys just talking about stuff – and it was good.

wgn1

Then, WGN decided to take Meier and Turano off of the AM afternoon program and give them a 4 hour slot on the new, innovative WGN.FM. Since I had been listening to WGN on the computer anyway, it was not hard to find them on “the Dot.” This show was even better. This was the first time ever in my life that I would tune out of WGN and switch over to WGN.FM at 3:00 pm. There were no commercials. There was no traffic. It was “freeform” baby. The talent was there and it would be up to the execs to figure out how this would work… how they would make money.

And that’s where things went wrong. WGN management evidently could not figure out a way to make money on this venture. When I went to turn on WGN.FM on Thursday, I realized I was listening to a podcast. Since they had also just started live-streaming video, I went there to see what was on… and found nothing. My initial thought was that something terrible had happened to one of the personalities – some kind of emergency. A little poking around online and I discovered that management had eliminated the show and would eventually eliminate WGN.FM. Worst part about this was, the other personalities on the station discovered this news in a Tweet WHILE THEY WERE STILL ON THE AIR. And you thought YOUR boss was a dick.

WGN management: you fuckers. What the hell am I supposed to do now, listen to holiday music?

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