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Question of the day

Thursday, Apr 30, 2009

* This story got me to thinking…

Late last week, [WGN-AM program director Kevin Metheny] abruptly axed three programs that were part of WGN’s weekend lineup, along with the three freelance hosts who fronted the three shows. Gone are Steve Dale and his Sunday evening “Pet Central” show, as well as Bill Moller and his Saturday afternoon “Your Money” program and Alex Goldfayn and his Saturday evening tech-related program. Metheny did not return a call seeking comment.

* Who’s your favorite radio talk show host? Explain why.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 11:43 am:

    WGN-AM’s Rick Pearson, the Tribune’s political writer.

    Pearson’s Sunday show is still new, but he’s done a fantastic job of making it a must-listen for all Illinois political junkies. I salute thee.

  2. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 11:44 am:

    Steve Edwards, but he’s off the air.

  3. - You Go Boy - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 11:47 am:

    Why don’t you go for it, Rich. You could do better than Bernie Shoenberg - right?

  4. - Joe in the Know - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 11:48 am:

    Howard Stern on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. Still funny as ever. Is it me, or does anyone else agree that commercials are killing “commercial radio”? Ever since I plugged into satellite radio, I can’t even listen to terrestrial radio.

  5. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 11:49 am:

    Frank O. Pinon and The Large Morning Show in the Afternoon on 550 KTRS (STL Cardinals’ flagship station) during drive time. I have been listening for almost 10 years, and it is a show that stays away from politics. It is my transition from a hectic workday into a hectic home life with 2 kids. You can stream it online, but it gets pre-empted by the Cardinals’ pregame… I’m “AM in the PM!”–I even have their bumper sticker on my commute car!

  6. - Joe in the Know - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 11:50 am:

    I should add that WLS, on the ever-so-rare-occasion I tune into regular radio, is the worst at running commercials. I used to enjoy Roe Conn but that Bill Leff is insufferable and the 6 minutes an hour that are actually on the air is ridiculous.

  7. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 11:52 am:

    “You Go Boy” I have way too much to do as it is. And Bernie has a radio show? See how much of a bubble I’m in? lol

  8. - You Go Boy - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 11:54 am:

    My bad…he has a tv political show “Capitol News” I think?

  9. - siriusly - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 11:57 am:

    I’m with Joe in the Know. Satellite radio rules. I mostly listen to Howard Stern and mabye sometimes Shephard Smith and O’Reilly on Fox News and only Wolf Blitzer and AC360 on CNN (but not that moron Rick Sanchez!).

    When forced to listen to local radio, I sometimes enjoy Roe Conn on WLS - but only for a few minutes because when they go to commercial I have to change stations. Commercial radio sux.

  10. - Stones - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 12:02 pm:

    I really don’t have a favorite anymore. Mike North / Dan Jiggets and Terry Boers / Dan McNeil were entertaining on The Score a few years ago but the station is pretty much unlistenable now.

  11. - Heartless Libertarian - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 12:03 pm:

    As an AM junkie, it is hard to pick just one… so… I made a list (in no particular order)

    Milt Rosenberg, WGN
    Jeff Pinkus, WIND
    Tom Roeser, WLS
    Lawrence Holmes, WSCR

    Why do I like them? Because I am am AM junkie that is a man, republican, and sports enthusiast. Go figure….

  12. - Kane - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 12:04 pm:

    Dennis Miller AM 560. I found him when WLS put Mancow on the air. I used to listen to Pat Cassidy when I lived in St. Louis and I liked him. To bad he is paired with the Cow.

  13. - Hopeful - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 12:09 pm:

    Roe Conn at WLS 890 AM in Chicago. He is funny and insightful about local and national politics. He also is regularly visited by newsmakers and pundits to talk about issues of the day.

  14. - Illinois Insider - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 12:16 pm:

    Alex Jones infowars radio show an online radio show. Even if you don’t agree with everything the hosts says or hardly ever agree, this is by far the most interesting radio show out there. His guests have all kinds of perspectives you will never hear on mainstream radio. he consistently has contrarians, elected officials and important economists on his show who counter mainstream “consensus” propaganda. He was talking about the big economic crash for 2 years before it happened consistently. This is recommended, even if you disagree with him.;

  15. - babs - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 12:17 pm:

    Rachel Maddow - WCPT (Air America in Chicago) she’s funny and liberal. John Williams on WGN and Roe Conn on WLS - both are moderate to left.

    I’ll use this opportunity to get on my soapbox again, why are there so few women on talk radio? WGN doesn’t allow a woman to host a show unless she has a partner, the legal team, Kathy & Judy, overnight, oh yeah, sometimes Bob Sirott has his wife on the show. Every “expert” that they use is a man. It’s like they don’t know any professional women.

  16. - sick - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 12:20 pm:

    I really like Roe Conn too. He doesn’t get hysterical or angry like most hosts. He doesn’t have a strong partisan pull – and generally makes fun of the whole system. He is quite funny and very smart. Although, I agree with Siriusly about the WSL commercials. Conn probably only gets to be on the air 15 minutes out of the hour. I almost always turn the station when some relentlessly unending commercial won’t stop and then forget to turn back.

  17. - Joe in the Know - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 12:25 pm:

    Rich: here is a QOTD suggestion: did commercials kill free radio and if not, what did? Radio is so canned, pre-programmed that it makes me truly sad. Chicago used to be such a force in radio — WXRT, the Loop, WLS, WGN. The syndicated shows almost always failed here because Illinoisans demanded good programming by “jocks” who understood Chicago and could pronounce the street named Goethe.

  18. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 12:36 pm:

    Historically it was Ian Punnett — better known to us Lake Countians as Ian Case, top-40 disc jockey at WXLC (imagine someone with Dennis Miller’s intelligence but without the sarcasm and who genuinely liked his audience spinning hit records). Punnett’s “Theater for the Perplexed” show on WGN was misplaced but similarly great.

    Today: Mully and Hanley on WSCR — energetic and knowledgable without screaming.

  19. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 12:38 pm:

    Joe, I don’t think that’s really a debatable point.

    Greedy mega corporations went deep into debt to buy up radio stations, fired local talent and replaced them with dull syndicated programs and low paid kids, flooded the airwaves with ads in a desperate attempt to pay off the loans, and drove away their listeners in, um, droves.

    The newspaper owners have essentially done the same thing (except for the advertising part). Morons.

    Anyway, let’s get back to today’s far more fun QOTD.

  20. - Amy - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 12:39 pm:

    well, it was steve dahl. still fond of disco demolition.

    WGN also axed news folks….wes bled. and now the CBS affiliate in Chicago axed folks too. tough out there.

  21. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 12:52 pm:

    I don’t listen to commercial radio much anymore, but I do like Roe Cann. My favorite of all time was Roy Leonard on WGN, for shear variety as well as his engaging personality.

    Now, I am addicted to NPR. Diane Rehm is an excellent interviewer, asks pointed questions, and will follow up when an answer is not clearly provided. That’s what I want from an interview.

  22. - Concerned Observer - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 12:57 pm:

    Amy –

    and then people wonder why “the media” can’t do its job…

  23. - Bill - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 1:01 pm:

    I always figured that WGN radio was for really, really old, out of touch listeners. Now that I am old and out of touch I realize that it is really not for anyone. How do people listen to that drivel? I used to enjoy Steve Dahl but now I just pop in a CD.
    Pet Central??? You gotta be kidding! They do a terrible job covering that minor league baseball team too. Who’s that guy that groans and yells all the time instead of covering the game. I heard he was an old White Sox 3rd baseman. Doesn’t he know he is on the radio?

  24. - Old Shepherd - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 1:02 pm:

    I’m with Quimby. Frank O. Pinion on the Big 550 KTRS is the greatest. If you like predictable, juvenile comedy, Frank and the Gang are it. He’s been around St. Louis for at least 20 years. He’s a broadcast legend.

  25. - Eurepedes Pantsoff - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 1:02 pm:

    WCPT Stephanie Miller and on Saturday, Dick Kay - Back to the Beat

  26. - Jake from Bellwood - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 1:06 pm:

    I drive alot and listen to a.m. radio most of the time. I have many favorites but the best is Roe Conn on the Big 89. He gets interesting guests and is always up on the hot current events. His wry sense of humor and his insight are excellent. I do miss Garry Meier though and may give him a listen more often now that he has his own program on WGN.

  27. - Concerned Observer - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 1:13 pm:

    Whoops. I should have answered the question. Sorry, Rich.

    I like Steve Cochran’s afternoon show on WGN. I’m mediocre on John Williams in the mornings. There are days when I enjoy Big John and Cisco on WIND, but they have to have either a good guest or a good topic, or I’m out. I also listen to WBBM a lot. Not a fan of Don and Roma on WLS, but I really do like Roe. I choose Cochran over Roe usually, but I’ll flip back and forth.

    I’ll also listen to sports talk — Mike and Mike are better than the Score morning show unless something big is happening in Chicago sports. Afternoons…I’m lukewarm on both. Too much random ‘crap’ going on in the background on the Score for my taste (soundbites, etc. that have nothing to do with sports).

  28. - dick - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 1:14 pm:

    MIlt Rosenberg

  29. - gg - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 1:17 pm:

    I listen to Ray Hanania on WJJG 1530 am
    08:00am to 09:30am. Its on the internet too.
    Ray talks politics.
    He gets very good guests.

    Monroe Anderson(D way left) and Dan Proft(R) were on today.

    Senator Durbin was on Monday.
    IMHO all of the politicians are in the pockets of the banks.
    Durbin was totally evaisive on banking.

    WJJG plays 30’s - 60’s music in pm.
    No commercials.
    On Sunrise to Sundown.
    Cop Talk on Saturday 10:00am to noon.

    Joe Gentile (the owner) will not sell out.
    Gentleman Joe what a guy.

  30. - How Ironic - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 1:20 pm:

    WMAY in Springfield.

    Jim Leach in the morning. Used to love Johnny and Andy then Johnny and Josie. Kelm and Kirk was great, and now it’s Kirk and Amy.

    Mike Wilson was also very good. Too bad he left.

    The afternoon hosts stink though.

    Back in the day, WLUP AM1000 was my station de jour. Steve and Gary (those were the days).

  31. - What planet is he from again? - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 1:24 pm:

    My first answer was Alejandro Dolina, but I’m sure I’m the only one (insert adjective here) enough to actually listen to him. My better answer is Peter Sagal of NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!” I’m envious of his ability to be quick witted and funny yet had an amazing command of current events. A funny news junkie…who would have thunk it?

  32. - Mgmax - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 1:25 pm:

    Hmm, I guess I just take WLS’ level of commercials as the norm. Anyway, yeah, I find most people who talk political issues on the radio to be insufferable partisan blowhards, like being trapped on a car trip with your father in law. Roe Conn manages the rare feat of being obviously right-leaning but with a light touch, and now and then the show is flat-out hysterical. It also manages to actually be informative, in between the yucks. He’s in that class of Chicago smart guys with the common touch, alongside Studs, Royko and Ebert.

    Rosenberg is obviously in a class by himself; I’d call him the last of a breed but then I’d have to think who the next to last was, some guy who went off the air in 1976, probably. WGN deserves high praise for keeping that little space of time sacrosanct (except for baseball nights).

  33. - Jeff - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 1:33 pm:

    How can Jonathon Brandmeier not be mentioned. He’s the best! If you want to be entertained in the morning, he’s your guy.

  34. - Baltimoron - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 1:36 pm:

    Mike and Mike on ESPN radio in the mornings. Since I no longer have the free time to peruse sports sections every day - they give me what I need to know and they’re funny! Since I’m (obviously) not from Chicago, I want to hear about all sports teams and issues, not just people cheering/whining/bemoaning/cursing the Cubs/Sox/Bulls/Hawks.

  35. - OneMan - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 1:46 pm:

    Milt Rosenberg, WGN I have always thought he has the coolest job in the world.

  36. - Macbeth - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 1:54 pm:

    Is Bruce Williams still on? I remember listening to Bruce back in ‘95 or so when I was commuting between Ames, Iowa and Des Moines.

  37. - Stuck with Sen. CPA - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 1:57 pm:

    Boers and Bernstein on the Score. They can be hilarious when they get rolling on non-sports stuff. Both can be a bit unsufferable when it comes to sports but it’s not like they’re paid to be milquetoast.
    I would appreciate Milt Rosenberg more if his worldview wasn’t so antediluvian.

  38. - Wumpus - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 2:07 pm:

    Terry Boers and Bernsteinn/Goff/Abatacola on WSCR. I also like Roe Conn and is DeborahRowe still around?

  39. - chitownbigman - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 2:10 pm:

    All of WVON’s host

  40. - KN - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 2:29 pm:


  41. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 2:59 pm:

    Stephanie Miller on WCPT. She and her mooks make me laugh. Plus I can now drop the names of several more Senators and Congress critters.

    Also, Dick Kay does a pretty good job in his weekend gig on WCPT.

  42. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 3:18 pm:

    How silly of me.

    I forgot about Paul Green on WGN.

    I’ve never been able to forget about Green before. I don’t know what came over me this time.


  43. - Enemy of the State - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 3:29 pm:

    Frank and the Gang. I am AM in the PM.

  44. - techboy - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 3:58 pm:

    Roe Conn on WLS, particularly the 2:30-5 block when he’s joined by the anchor from Channel 7 to discuss upcoming stories…or nothing at all. Agree there are too many commercials and they are too long, I think WLS just expects to keep you for thirty minutes and then they write you off. Conn’s is the ONLY good show on WLS anymore, the conservative blowhards have taken over. Roe at least tries to keep a balance going and its always first for laughs.

    I mostly listen to NPR these days, really like Fresh Air with Terry Gross, in terms of talk shows. For music, I like listening to bottom-of-the dial college radio stations: they may be uneven, but they have stuff I really haven’t heard before and some of it is pretty good. Jim Grimes: your kids rock.

  45. - Ghost - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 4:12 pm:

    My favorites are gone :( Johnny and Andy then Johnny and Josie on 970.

  46. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 4:14 pm:

    For music I listen to my ipod on the car stereo. I just have to aviod any complicated searches while driving.

    For news in the car, I listen to National Sandanista Radio on WBEZ. The morning and afternoon feeds from DC are illuminating and let me see how the other side feels.

  47. - Fan of the Game - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 4:24 pm:

    Dave Glover on 97.1 FM Talk in St. Louis. He’s funny, talks music, sports, politics, religion (one of his best shows is “The Priest and the Rabbi”), and the paranormal (On “Paranormal Tuesdays”). They have a quiz show called “Battle of the Half-wits.”

    But the thing that sets Glover apart is his interviewing style. He asks the hard questions, but he doesn’t berate anyone during the interview. Even people who deserve a berating or who are just bat-crazy are treated with respect while they are on the air. It’s something I like.

  48. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 5:28 pm:

    Milt Rosenberg is the best.

    He does the reading and can engage good guests on their own level. I’ve been listening to him since I was a kid. If only the other radio and cable yakkers had been…

    Belatedly, here’s to Spike O’Dell. It’s a long way from the Quad Cities to the top chair at WGN on Michigan and Wacker. Enjoy retirement. I hear Hunter’s in Rock Island has their liquor license back (Illinois No. 1). Sounds like a party.

  49. - Joe Schmoe - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 9:22 pm:

    Where’s Uncle Larry and Little Tommy on the Big 89 when we really need them?

  50. - Lynn S - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 11:36 pm:

    Animal Stories!!!

  51. - dan l - Friday, May 1, 09 @ 9:01 am:


    I really don’t like that Bill Leff guy. He’s just smug. Maybe bring him on once a week or for an hour every day or something.

    Although, the daily bit with Ron Magers is probably the best radio anywhere in Chicago.

    To be honest, I wonder what Roe’s politics actually are.

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