Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Johnny B Still Rockin'

It was a sad day when Jonathon Brandmeier left Chicago radio in 2001 and a glorious day when he returned this past November. Today, the Tribune has an article on how he's been a rating bonanza for the Loop since returning to the Chitown airwaves.

As sad as it was to see Howard Stern take his show to Sirius in January, it was certainly fortunate timing that Brandmeier returned to the airwaves at roughly the same time. He's filled a huge void and has me, and many others, cracking up in the mornings just as he has been since the early '80s. Without Stern, I don't know where Chicago radio would be had Brandmeier not returned. Mancow Muller sucks.

There was a point around the turn of the century when WCKG featured a radio lineup so great that I don't see it being equalled here anytime soon. Three giants. Howard Stern opened in the earling morning, Brandmeier came on from 11-2, and Steve Dahl brought it all home until 7 pm. If funny radio is your thing, it just didn't get much better than that. It was a little bit of heaven. At the time, while slowly trying to work my way through college, one of my many tedious jobs was driving a truck for Army vets. I'm sure you've seen this operation: someone calls you up and asks if you have anything you'd like to donate to charity - anything at all, provided it can be lifted by a single person who would do such a thing for hardly any pay. If you do have something to donate - and most people do as they see it as a fine opportunity to have someone haul away their junk - you're given you a date to leave it all on your front porch or driveway so some schlep can come by in a truck and take it away. So that's what I did for awhile. I'd pick up old clothes, TVs, toys, books, furniture - whatever - and at the end of the day I'd drop it off at various thrift stores around Chicagoland where it would be sold on the cheap with, I guess, part of the profit being delivered to military vets.

It was a lame job and paid peanuts, and I was suffering ungodly hangovers most mornings, but I can honestly say that the time flew by as I got to drive around in a big ole truck listeing to Howard, Jonny B., and Dahl all day long. They made it bearable, at least somewhat. The gig started at 7 am every morning, so I'd grab coffee, pick up a truck, and head off to whatever part of Chicagoland I was roaming that day. And I'd immediately turn on the radio as loud as it could go - ear-splitting levels, in fact - as I didn't want to miss any hilarity as I trudged up to front doors to grab whatever goodies were waiting for me. Believe me, my truck could be heard coming from blocks way. Occasionally, people would forget to leave their stuff out and I'd have to ring the bell. It was always hysterical when some housewife would answer and the sound of Howard imploring a chick to show her boobs or Brandmeier getting Buzz Kilman to bellow his signature laugh could be heard blaring from the truck behind me.

Like I said, I don't see a radio lineup that solid coming around again anytime soon. We were lucky. But at least Jonny B is back.

By the way, I need a little help here. I could have sworn that at some point in the '80s Brandmeier had a late-night talk show on television. I'm almost positive it was shortlived but that I caught it once or twice on a Friday night when I was allowed to stay up a little later than the rest of the week and watch Letterman. I think Brandmeier was the late, late show, sort of like Carson Daley now. Did this really happen or did I hallucinate it? Any help?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes he did..but I don't recall what network he was on..that information probably can be found somewhere on the internet..

10:50 PM  

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