Monthly Archives: August 2014

Hal O’Halloran

Scott,

I’m the midday jock on Classic Country KFDI AM 1070 in Wichita. I’m also the historian at KFDI and have been working on the history of KFDI from 1923 through the present. I also play in a cowboy band called the Prairie Rose Wranglers. Check us out at www.prairierosechuckwagon.com.

I enjoyed your history of WLS. I thought I should let you know that Stu Stuart, lead singer of the Prairie Rose Wranglers, is the grandson of Hal O’Halloran, announcer of the WLS National Barn Dance for many years.

-Orin Friesen
KFDI Radio
Witchita, Kansas

Wow, great story Orin!  Hal was also apart of the wake-up crew as a member of the WLS “Smile-A-While” show.  Here is a picture of the crew!  -Scott

Memories from Oklahoma

Hey Scott,

I just looked at the time and I’ve been sitting here looking and listening to your WLS history site for almost 6 hours! I grew up in SW Kansas in the 70’s and WLS and KOMA in Oklahoma City were the stations that you listened to at night when the 2 local AM stations went off the air at sundown. For me, WLS was the absolute best in the way a radio station should be. John Landecker and Boogie Check was fun. While I was still in high school, if I had to get up early in the morning before sunup, I would tune in the BIG 89 and listen to Uncle Lar and Little Tommy for Animal Stories since I didn’t get to hear them that much. After I graduated from school, it was WLS always in the early mornings on the way to work – I had to be there at 5:30 – and all night long. I have been an over the road truck driver for almost 20 years now, and whenever I would get close enough to Chicago in the day time the tuner was always on WLS. AM 89 always kept me company at night also. I remember all the fun I had listening to the great Jocks that were on. Lujack, Landecker, Turi Ryder, Chuck Britton (whatever happened to these two?), Jeff Hendrix, Jim Johnson and Catherine Johns were great news people as well as fun sidekicks, Fred Winston and Don and Roma. I thought their “Name That Tune” game, where you won absolutely nothing, was good. You have done a great job putting this site together and bringing back a lot of wonderful memories of my teenage years and all the years that have followed listening to the BIG 89.

Thanks and keep it up. I’ll be back for more.

-Kelly Hogan
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Memories from Saskatchewan

Hello:

Way back when…WLS played Rock & Roll in the early sixties, I would tune in after dark to pick off the skip AM signal to listen to my favourite top 40 tune of the week.  I now see WLS is a Talkradio station, which is progress for some & a loss for us “oldies station fans.”  I enjoyed the extensive History of WLS web page work.

Bye for now,

-L. Paul Jones,
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

 

Personable Personalities

Hello Scott,

Came across your site, and had to add my two cents.  I was a big fan of WLS from the 70’s on down, and the first jock I talked to was Tommy Edwards.  Nice guy, great talent, wonderful to listen to, and funny as hell.  Larry Lujack & Tommy Edwards-the 70’s & 80’s version of Roe Conn & Garry Meier on WLS Newstalk 89.  Wonderful guys and Animal Stories was it for me!  Brant Miller -nice guy- he sent me an autographed picture of himself after I wrote him a fan letter and a poem in the early 80’s.  I always thought he was good looking and really funny.  I gained a lot of respect for him after he had cancer in 1983.  I always thought the way he handled his illness was with such style, grace, and humor.  Fred Winston- met him in ’83-also a nice guy.  Funny as well.  Jeff Davis- this guy deserves all of the good things finally happening to him after getting his feet wet being a jock at WLS years ago.  I wrote him a fan letter in the 80’s and he sent me an autographed picture of himself and a beautiful handwritten letter that showed just how good at calligraphy he is.  I wonder if he still does it.  Rich McMillan- the cat’s meow…nice to talk to, good looking, smart, and down to earth. (I can see how good looking he is from the picture on your site!!) Also, I wrote him requesting a picture in the 80’s and he sent me one too.  Chuck Britton-  this guy had a way of calling me toots that drove me wild!  Mike MacDonald- nice, easy to talk to, and very funny.  Wonder where he is now?  I know he used to also work at O’Hare Airport for American Airlines.  I could go on and on…all of the jocks from the 80’s.  I just about remember- but these guys are the ones that stick out for me.

Loved your site and keep up the good work!

Sincerely,

-Kathryn Sheppard Fioti

John Doremus

Hi Scott,

I found your wonderful page as a link from Art Roberts.  I was a “guest teen DJ” in September of 1965!

Spent the last half hour browsing your WMAQ page.  Very well done. Very well laid out. Professional job!

When I was growing up in Brookfield, I would get to know various voices in Chicago by sending them letters.  I was wondering if you have any info on a guy named John Doremus.  Big voice.  Did a show on WMAQ-FM called “Patterns in Music” (I think that was it).  Show was also on Channel 5 for a short time on Sunday afternoons.  Anyway, I sat in on his show once and thought he was quite cool.  I know he did voice work for one of the airline music services, and my guess is he did a good number of voice over jobs as well. Any info on him?

Another guy I remember visiting was Brad Bisk (not sure about the spelling of the last name) who at the time worked at a station called WKFM.  I remember visiting him in some very shabby studios downtown.  Not sure what became of him either.

Anyway, I left Chicago in 69…was drafted into the Army.  Spent 26 years in Alaska. Then Portland, OR and presently in Sacramento, CA doing mornings for the KLOVE network. www.klove.com

Oh yeah…what is Chet Coppock doing now?  We went to Columbia College together.

I’m gonna continue to browse your great site. Thanks for your hard work! Do you have a life separate from the web??

-Larry Wayne
Rocklin, California

www.wayneaudio.com

PS:  I remember the calls of some of the stations you have listed in the background of your page.  I remember WSEX.  Although I didn’t work for it with those calls, my first paid gig was at WNWC (wonderful northwest communities), later to become WEXI (owned by Mack Cadillac).  For a short time when it was ‘EXI, it was the only FM playing a rock format!

Thanks so much Larry, I think I got all the questions!  After the demise of WMAQ, Chet is working as a Chicago sports guru (including hosting Notre Dame football on WLS).  John Doremus passed away.  For a time, the PIA Radio Network picked up some of the Doremus airline shows in the late 1980’s (when I worked for them it was American, United and Continental).   WSEX became WCBR then WXBR then WKIE (among others) and now WCPY.  Now it’s ethnic and dance programming.  Oh, and no I don’t have much of a life away from the computer or the microphone!!  -Scott

Anyone else with some answers?  E-mail Larry at larry@wayneaudio.com

DOREMUS

Classified One A

Scott:

I am 47 now.  For years I have looked for the song I heard once on WLS….it was called “Classified One A.”  I think it was 1971….might have been 1970.  Can you please tell me what it was?  I heard it on WLS as that is all I listened to – heck all I still listen to – never want to grow up I guess.  I love your WLS history site, what a grand job you did.  Thank you.  We sent tapes of WLS to my husband to be in when he was in Viet Nam….long before they did it on M*A*S*H.  It made home not nearly so far away for him.

-Jo Andrews,
Bremen, Indiana

 

– I am not sure about that song.  Any help out there? Contact Jo at bandrews@fourway.net

 

The Ability to Entertain and the Authority to Inform

Scott,

Like so many before me, I want to thank you for a dedicated effort and beautiful results.  I grew up like most in the central regions listening to WLS.

I grew up in Eastern Kentucky.  My brothers turned me on to WLS from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM every night.  It was a great escape for us.  Your pages rekindled fond memories of my childhood.  Such as picking up the station in Houston, TX on a clear night while on vacation.  And telling my cousins there how cool WLS was.  And mostly lying in bed falling asleep to the broadcasts of WLS.  And waking in the morning to hear the last of WLS (for us) that day.  My most vivid memory?  Calling at night and getting Steve King on the phone.  I was so startled my the fact that here was a super DJ on the phone with me.  I think I hung up after mumbling something incoherent.

John “Records” Landecker, Steve King and Yvonne Daniels are the ones I remember the most.  And until I found your page I always had a missing connection (where did they go?).

The power as I recall was the ability to entertain and the authority to inform.  WLS had it then, and they have it now. Some things change – but the more they change, the more they stay the same.  That’s WLS. I still listen, though in California, via the internet.  Now talk radio (like the AM rock radio of my youth) is all I listen to.

Thank you so very much for the ride.  I’ll get on again soon, for the visit is like seeing old family members that you actually miss.

Thanks again Scott,

Best Regards,

-Steve E. Craver,
Camarillo, California

The Corn Huskers

Scott,

I thought I’d share with you this picture of WLS AM Radio “live” in 1938.  The drummer (my uncle) – Fredrick Roland Kuhmann, the trumpet player – Wilbur John Kuhmann (my Dad).  They played with silver screen cowboy star, Gene Autry during his 4-year stint at WLS

My sister Jane gave me some old hand-written notes with a few names.  As a kid, I used to dress up as a cowboy all the time (hell, I STILL wear boots – no kidding, and always have).  We feel like Dad and his brother played a part in US Radio history… and fact is – THEY DID!  We used to own a 1920’s vintage hand-made guitar that Gene Autry gave to Dad – I’ve been trying to track it down (I think one of my cousins has it).  I wonder how many people are still alive who remember those “Cowboy Radio” days?

cornhuskers

LEFT : Trombone & Alto Sax (?), Trumpet & Guitar (Wilbur John Kuhmann), Drums (Fredrick Roland Kuhmann), Tenor Sax & Violin (?), Banjo (?), Tenor Sax & Guitar (?), Piano & Accordion (June Winder), standing (Tom Owens).  WLS Radio, Chicago 1938 – Note the two megaphones.

June Winder, piano (from Sheridan, Illinois) started this band along with two of her sons.  The original band was called, “The Glenn Victorians.”  Tom Owens took them to radio where they were known as the “Corn Huskers” (thus, the brooms).

Dad and brother Fred later joined with “Falletti’s Band” and played the dance ballroom circuit across the Midwest.   Falletti was the Uncle of an Organist, Mr. Larry Baudino – who became Dad’s best (and life-long) friend over the years.  Larry, Wilbur, and Fred then formed the “Larry Baudino Trio.”  They frequently played at the Geneva Hotel (Architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed that building), in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin – until the hotel was torn down and the band members retired.  Dad died in 1975 and Fred in 1979.

P.S. The photo was from postcards in the possession of my Aunt Eileen Briggs-Kuhmann, of Yorkville, Illinois.

Thank you much and enjoy!

-Robert C. Kuhmann
Delavan, Wisconsin

Thank you Bob for providing us with a great slice of WLS History right from your own family’s history!   -Scott

Z95 and Brant Miller

Scott,

What a great site. I really enjoyed it and have put it on my favorites list. I am 38 years old and started listening to WLS somewhere in 1968.

My only wish is that there was more mention of Z95 which was a favorite of mine for so long.  B96 never played all of the hits opting for the more dance orientated songs.  Z95 on the other hand was playing everything that charted on the top 40.

I would like to suggest that more mention be placed on Brant Miller, who was such a strong and long lasting voice on WLS and Z95.  I was very disappointed when Z95 was scrapped.  And I feel that there has never been a true top 40 station since.  In my eyes Z95 was always WLS to me under a different name.

Thank you for a great site!

-Danny Danilovic

You are right Danny, Brant was (and still is as Chief Meteorologist on NBC Channel 5 here in Chicago) a true talent and a great person!  I have been fortunate enough to work with him after all those years of enjoying his personality on WLS, WYTZ, WTMX and now back on mornings at WLS-FM.  Of course you can check out the Quick History of Chicago’s 94.7 FM.  Look for more on Brant and on Z95 as time permits.  The site is always being added to, so be sure to check the “What’s New” area often!   ~Scott

Minus his “Sunglasses at Night” Cory Hart stops by Z95 in 1988.
(L-R): EMI’s Tony Smith, Z95’s Brant Miller, Hart, PD Jan Jeffries and EMI’s Mike Scheid. (fmqb)

 

Art Hellyer

Hi Scott,

Thank you for including me in your history of WLS FM.  I am attaching my bio for your information.  Keep up the good work.

Best Wishes,

-Art Hellyer

Art is a Chicago radio legend, with stops at WGN, WCFL, WLS-FM and many other Chicago area radio and television stations. He is still going strong on Facebook and wrote a book! Find it here.