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WGN memories [Jun. 1st, 2004|12:45 am]
Nite Mirror
I don't know if this website will mean much to anyone reading my journal. It's special to me, and parts of it are a trip down memory lane. The history of WGN radio is chronicled at wgngold.com.

As a child I woke up to Wally Phillips. I don't remember Jack Brickhouse's man-on-the-street interviews, but I certainly remember his Cubs broadcasts on TV during the 1970s. It took me a long time to warm up to Harry Caray when Jack retired and was replaced by that other broadcast legend. I still want to find an internet recording of Jack saying "Hey! Hey!" as a Cub hit a home run. (I already have Harry Caray saying "Cubs win! Cubs Win! Cubs win!" Just press my computer's F9 key to hear him)

Eddy Schwartz put me to sleep each night first on the old WIND, and then I moved to WGN when he did. I still remember wondering what happened to him the one night he suddenly wasn't on the air. It wasn't until decades later I learned he had some serious health problems that brought a sudden end to his radio career. It wasn't until a few years ago I found him again writing for a Chicago paper and started reading his columns on the internet.

I'll occasionally talk about listening to Steve and Johnnie late night on WGN. Steve King was the one who replaced Ed Schwartz, and several weeks later his wife Johnnie became his broadcast partner.

Roy Lenard started at WGN the year I was born? I just read that. I remember his movie reviews, and the big retirement send off they gave him.

I still listen to Dr. Milt Rosenberg whose voice was first put on WGN as a guest on Extension 720 the year after I was born. Five years later he became and still is the host of that program.

I even stumbled over a name with a personal connection. The person I refer to as P here has a connection to WGN. His father hosted two different programs on WGN from 1980 to 1995.

[User Picture]From: tom_vroom
2004-06-01 11:04 am (UTC)

Nice memories

I've had kind of an interesting relationship with WGN radio.

As a kid my Mom always listened to Bob Collins while she was getting ready for work, he was funny, but could be totally serious at a moments notice. I think he was very well respected in Chicago.

Also my Grandfather (a large influence on my life) was a farmer in north central IL (Dekalb County) and he always listened to the Cub games and the noon show with Orien Samuelson. I spent quite a bit of time with him on the farm, especially in the tractors or working in the shop. WGN was always on in the background.

I never listened to it much on my own, I usually tuned in to FM music stations growing up in Chicago and the burbs - 105.9 WCKG, 101.1 Q101, 103.5 The Blaze, etc. I did have some interest in Ed Till on AM 1000 for a couple of years. But WGN wasn't what I would turn on, until one day in High school I found Spike O'dell after school, checking out my AM reception on my new receiver I had just bought. I liked Spike alot, and listened for a while.

Then I moved out, started college, and began working part time for a Farm Equipment dealership. As well as working (as an intern mehcaning) for them I had to keep the grounds mowed, and deliver fixed (smaller) tractors and lawn mowers. The pick up truck they let me drive had an AM radio only, so it was a no brainer what I would be tuning it to.

These days I start my day with 'GN and Spike, and end it with John Williams, or Sports Central if I'm running late getting home. I actually prefer tuning in to Pat and Ron for many of the cub games, rather than watching them.

So I didn't become my own 'GN'er until later in life than you, but they've always felt like extended family - with no strings attached.
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[User Picture]From: nitemirror
2004-06-01 08:10 pm (UTC)

Re: Nice memories

Sounds like you have some nice memories of the "50,000 watt love pump" yourself.

I wasn't that big a fan of "Uncle Bobby," although I was listening the day he died to Spike's coverage of the plane crash. Even though I didn't listen much to Bob Collins, I was saddened by his death. Who couldn't be who listens to WGN after all?

I started with 'GN early because there was a radio playing (and usually more than one) 24/7 in my house when I grew up. It was either WIND or WGN back then. I wish someone would do a site like 'GN has for 'IND's history, but given that WIND no longer exists it's unlikely to happen.

I always listen to Pat and Ron for the Cubs games too. If I have it on the TV, the sound is muted and it's Pat with the calls of the game and Ron's color commentary.

That "extended family" line WGN uses is a bit cliche, but true too. There is something special about that radio station.
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