Friday, July 11, 2008

George Carlin

While I was on vacation a few weeks ago, America lost a comedy icon, George Carlin. It seems that everyone in show biz had a George Carlin story, and I've been enjoying reading them. I have my own George Carlin story, which I've told here before.

I'm re-running it here today as a tribute to George.

By Rick Kaempfer

President Bush takes a lot of heat for accusing his opponents of “Pre-9/11” thinking. I never thought I would be writing these words, but I feel I must defend President Bush. Pre-9-11 thinking does exist, and it can have a detrimental effect...especially in the world of comedy.

My story involves comedian George Carlin.

I’ve always considered him on the finest comedians that ever lived. He is courageous, utterly unafraid of saying what he really thinks, and has been consistently funny for five decades now.

When we had him on the John Landecker show, I was not disappointed. He came into the studio with guns blazing, trying out brand new material that he hoped to include in his upcoming HBO Special.

The tentative name of the special at the time? “I kind of like it when a lot of people die.”

The date of his appearance on our show? September 4, 2001.

His routine was shocking even then (in a pre-9/11 world), but it was laugh out loud funny. We were holding our sides as he recounted the way he cheers when stupid people die doing stupid things and how he roots that they take down as many stupid people as possible with them.

Landecker and Carlin began riffing about stupid ways for people to die, and after the hilarious segment was over, George asked if he could have a tape of it so that he could use some of the material in his special.

Our station management thought it was such a funny interview, they submitted the tape for that year’s Achievement in Radio Awards. The tape went into the mail on September 9, 2001.

Needless to say, we weren’t nominated that year.

When Carlin’s special eventually did come out on HBO, it had a brand new name. It was called “Complaints and Grievances.”

Not quite as catchy, is it?

Timing is everything.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Media Notebook (July 10, 2008)

Collected and Edited by Rick Kaempfer

Highlights and links to the big stories in the news this week about the media. This column appears twice a week at MEDIA NOTEBOOK

Chicago Tribune to cut 80 newsroom jobs

(Chicago Tribune) Phil Rosenthal writes: "The Chicago Tribune began informing staff Tuesday it will eliminate around 80 of its current 578 newsroom positions by the end of August and reduce the number of pages it publishes by 13 percent to 14 percent each week. There also will be a reduction of jobs in other Chicago Tribune departments, but that number was not immediately available. A paper spokesman declined comment. Because some newsroom jobs have been left unfilled in recent months, the actual number of staffers to exit the paper is expected to be between 55 and 58."

Lara Logan: Back from Iraq, into the tabloids
(Washington Post) Howard Kurtz writes: "As CBS's chief foreign affairs correspondent, she regularly risked her life by accompanying American forces in combat. But there were more personal strains as well: Her mother had died after a lengthy coma, she and her husband had long ago agreed to a separation, and, last November, she broke off an intense relationship with another journalist in Baghdad. Soon afterward, Logan started dating Joseph Burkett, a federal contractor stationed in Iraq who was separated from his wife back in Texas. Now, having just moved to Washington with an expanded portfolio for the network, Logan finds her romantic life reduced to tabloid fodder. And there is a new complication: She recently discovered that she is pregnant."


Spike O'Dell's plan to retire prompts talk about his successor
(Chicago Sun Times) Robert Feder writes: "Let the guessing game begin about who'll take over the biggest radio job in town. With six months to go on his deal as morning personality at news/talk WGN-AM (720), Spike O'Dell is getting ready to call it quits from the top-rated Tribune Co.-owned station. Although he could choose to work past December, sources said O'Dell already has told his bosses that he plans to retire from his $1 million a year gig at the end of the year."

The $400 Million Man
(New York Times) This is probably the best and most thorough piece I've seen about the man who just signed a deal for $400 million. Zev Chavets writes: "Limbaugh’s show emanates from a nondescript office building on a boulevard lined with tall palms. There isn’t even a security guard in the lobby. The elevator opens directly onto a pristine anteroom furnished in corporate glass and leather. An American flag stands in the corner. Only a small, framed picture of Limbaugh, bearing the caption 'America’s Anchorman,' reveals that this is the headquarters of one of the country’s most admired and reviled figures. The anteroom was empty when I stepped off the elevator one afternoon in mid-February. Limbaugh receives very few visitors at work, and no journalists from the hated 'mainstream media.' When I was buzzed into the control room, I was met by Bo Snerdly — a very large man in a Huey Newton beret — who glared at me. 'Are you the guy who’s here to do the hit job on us?' he demanded in a deep voice. 'Absolutely,' I said."

The $200 million man?
(Reuters) Clear Channel's Premiere is in advanced talks with another conservative talk radio host Sean Hannity to try to sign him for an eight-year contract worth about $200 million, The Wall Street Journal said, citing a person familiar with the situation. Clear Channel was not immediately available to comment.

Clear Channel CEO signs gigantic 5-year deal
(Radio Ink) Clear Channel Communications CEO Mark Mays informed company employees that Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan has completed an agreement that will keep him in the radio group's top spot for another five years. In a memo, Mays said, "As we move toward the closing of our merger, I want to share with you an important additional piece of news. It's my pleasure to let you know that John Hogan has signed a five-year contract with the company."


When Fox News Is The Story
(New York Times) David Carr writes: "Like most working journalists, whenever I type seven letters — Fox News — a series of alarms begins to whoop in my head: Danger. Warning. Much mayhem ahead. Once the public relations apparatus at Fox News is engaged, there will be the calls to my editors, keening (and sometimes threatening) e-mail messages, and my requests for interviews will quickly turn into depositions about my intent or who else I am talking to. And if all that stuff doesn’t slow me down and I actually end up writing something, there might be a large hangover: Phone calls full of rebuke for a dependent clause in the third to the last paragraph, a ritual spanking in the blogs with anonymous quotes that sound very familiar, and — if I really hit the jackpot — the specter of my ungainly headshot appearing on one of Fox News’s shows along with some stern copy about what an idiot I am."

Irena Briganti: The Most Vindictive Flack in the Media World

(Gawker) Briganti is Fox's VP of media relations, and #2 in the PR command structure under Brian Lewis. But if Lewis sets the tone, Briganti is the one who carries out the executions. Here's a very abbreviated list of her all time hits:
***When Anderson Cooper chided Fox for running with a false report of Obama going to a Muslim school, Briganti responded with, "Yet another cry for attention by the Paris Hilton of television news, Anderson Cooper.”
***Briganti attributed Keith Olbermann's attacks on Bill O'Reilly to his "personal demons, and said "In the meantime, we hope he enjoys his paranoid view from the bottom of the ratings ladder and wish him well on his inevitable trip to oblivion.”
***When Christiane Amanpour said CNN and Fox were intimidated by the Bush administration and practiced self-censorship in the run-up to the Iraq war, Briganti responded, "Given the choice, it's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda."


The Murdoch Lifer Who Runs Dow Jones
(Ad Age) Nat Ives writes: "It's already been eight months since Rupert Murdoch plucked Les Hinton from London to run Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, and Mr. Hinton does not like to dawdle. 'In media and media-executive jobs, the ponderous do not survive,' he told Advertising Age. But to appreciate his moves -- not to mention his relationship with Mr. Murdoch, whose $5.6 billion acquisition of Dow Jones last December shook the industry -- we have to go back to 1959."

Egos keep newspaper presses rolling in New York

(Crain's New York) Matthew Flamm writes: "Across the country, the newspaper industry is going through arguably the darkest period in its history, with publishers slashing newsroom staff and giants like Tribune Co. standing on shaky ground. Things are different in New York. The Daily News is investing in new color presses. The Wall Street Journal is launching a weekend magazine. The New York Times, despite cutting 100 newsroom jobs, has not cut back on coverage. The New York Post and the New York Sun continue to publish in the face of unending trails of red ink. Most remarkable of all, four dailies—eight counting the Journal, Long Island's Newsday and freebies amNew York and Metro—fight for attention at a time when most cities can barely support one. The troubled economy and competition from the Internet—the two forces hammering the industry—are taking a toll here, too. But thanks to the giant egos of wealthy media barons, including Rupert Murdoch, Mort Zuckerman and newspaper newcomers the Dolans of Cablevision, the ordinary rules don't apply."

The nation's indecency czar: FCC Chief Martin
(Philadlephia Inquirer) Bob Fernandez writes: "Martin has solid Republican credentials. He was a top 2000 campaign official for President Bush, and his wife, Catherine, is the former chief spokeswoman for Vice President Cheney. One of the youngest FCC chairmen in history, he has presided at the agency during a time of tumultuous changes in media and technology."


Mark Suppelsa goes to Channel 9
(Chicago Sun Times) Robert Feder writes: "Chicago television's news wars heated up Monday with official word of a key talent hire and major expansion plans at WGN-Channel 9. Confirming a report here last month, bosses of the Tribune Co.-owned station announced the hiring of Mark Suppelsa as principal news anchor. Starting later this month, he will succeed Steve Sanders as 9 p.m. weekday anchor alongside Allison Payne. Suppelsa and Payne also will anchor a new half-hour newscast at 5:30 p.m. weekdays, starting in September. Terms of Suppelsa's six-year, no-cut deal, negotiated by agents Todd and Brian Musburger, were not disclosed."

Amy Jacobsen sues Channel 2
(Chicago Tribune) Phil Rosenthal writes: "It took a year, but Amy Jacobson has gone from swimsuit to lawsuit. The former WMAQ-Ch. 5 reporter is seeking more than $1 million in damages from WBBM-Ch. 2 parent CBS, Channel 2 boss Joe Ahern and others, complaining that a tape it aired of her in bathing attire at the home of a potential news source in July 2007 subjected Jacobson to 'enormous public humiliation and disgrace.' Jacobson wound up losing her TV job and, eventually, her home, according to the suit filed Monday in Cook County by attorney Kathleen Zellner on behalf of Jacobson, husband Jaime Anglada and their two children, all of whom alleged to have 'suffered from observing the devastating effects on the person they love most.' Jacobson's suit, which states 'some would say' she was 'the best in the business' before the July 5, 2007, incident was recorded by Channel 2, alleges the station never should have shot the video, should never have aired it and should not have edited it the way it did."

Chicago Radio Spotlight interview with Tomano & Touhy
(Chicago Radio Spotlight) Last weekend I spoke with Tomano & Touhy, the morning drive team at WKAN in Kankakee. They talked about their roller coaster career ride, which has included several firings--including once while they were live on the air. Next weekend: WIND morning co-host Cisco Cotto.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Suburban Man: A dad's comedy guide for boys

By Rick Kaempfer

Comedy is really my only parenting tool. Over my twelve plus years as a father, I’ve used it to great effect to diffuse tense situations, to foster strong relationships, and to teach my boys one of the most necessary life skills. If you’re laughing, life is going to be just fine.

Unfortunately, a Daddy comedian needs to be adaptable. Different comedy works for different ages. Jokes that absolutely kill with five year olds are often despised by twelve year olds. I still haven’t figured out how to deliver a belly laugh to the youngster while avoiding the simultaneous heckles of the ten or twelve year old, but I will never, ever, give up trying.

Comedy for Ages 0-2

Honestly, this age group isn’t exactly my forte. My wife is the baby entertainer. Bridget can make any baby laugh, anytime, anyplace. She has a rubber face, an unlimited supply of funny noises, and a complete inability to be embarrassed by her actions. I’ve seen her make a screaming infant smile in mid cry.

My only trick for this age group is the “napkin blown into the air” bit. Simply unfold the napkin, placing it on your nose so that it covers your entire face, and then count down…three, two, one, BLOW! A forcefully applied blow sends the napkin sailing nearly all the way to the ceiling. Huge laughs are guaranteed and you can’t repeat it too often. It gets the same belly laugh on the four hundredth try as it does on the first.

Comedy for Ages 2-4

Now we’re in my wheelhouse. I had at least one son in this age bracket for ten years, and this is where my collection of cartoon and puppet voices comes into play. When Johnny was three, he and I went almost a whole year without speaking to each other Dad-to-son. Grover drove him to pre-school, Kermit put him down for a nap, Eeyore talked to him when he was sad, and Ernie sang to him in the bath. (Johnny even did a movie review on the radio as Grover when he was 3…a classic for the ages.)

This is the age where the pratfall (someone else’s pain) becomes the king of boy comedy.

Comedy for Ages 4-7

This is the age for subtlety and nuance. If you can’t or won’t employ the use of bodily functions, pick up your ball and go home. There’s no place for you here. If you have a problem with the words “butt”, “poop”, “fart”, “burp”, or “booger”, more power to you, but you will never, ever get a laugh out of a 4-7 year old boy.

Although, I must say, pratfalls still work.

Boys this age absolutely love the Three Stooges. I had to stop letting Tommy watch the Stooges because he laughed so hard during their routines that he began to hyperventilate. I wonder if the Stooges have ever killed a 4-7 year old boy. I wouldn’t be surprised.

Comedy for Ages 7-11

Ah, the age of word play. Knock Knock jokes. Orange you glad I didn’t say banana? Whoo boy. That’s a good one. These jokes have not changed in fifty years.

Tommy and Johnny were also obsessed with words that have double meanings. Tommy’s favorite planet became Uranus. Johnny told me to close the refrigerator because it wasn’t polite to watch the salad dressing. They don’t know what Prince Albert in a Can is, but rest assured they would have loved that joke if they did.

As for parody songs, they are still a huge hit with this age bracket. Kids still sing that version of Jingle Bells with “Batmobile lost his wheel and the Joker got away.” As for me, I constantly find myself changing the words of songs. They are amazed at my nearly Wayne Brady-esque ability to rhyme on demand to fit the situation—although I must say this might be the one skill that now annoys my oldest son Tommy the most.

Which brings me to the comedy of the next age group…

Comedy for Ages 11+

You’re not funny, Dad.

That’s a tough nut to crack, but I’m working on it. When Tommy told me the other day that my jokes were twice as old as I am, I spent the next two days telling him Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge jokes to prove a point.

”I don’t get it, Dad,” he would say.

”Exactly!” I said. "Those jokes are twice as old as me. See? My jokes are no more than one and a half times older than me.”

“You’re not funny, Dad.”

That’s when I walked into the wall.

Huge laugh.

I’ve still got it.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Monday Musings

Every Monday stop by for jokes, links to stories you might have missed, amusing photos and video, and more. Contributions and suggestions are welcome and encouraged. Click on the "Email Me" link on the right to contribute.

Joke of the Week: Contributed by "M" Another Hillary Joke.

Rick's note: Hey you Obama and/or McCain fans, let's get going with some jokes about the current candidates. I get a dozen or more Hillary jokes a day. (I thought this one wasn't too bad.)

A man was washed up on a beach after a terrible shipwreck. Only a sheep and a sheepdog were washed up with him. After looking around, he realized that they were stranded on a deserted island.

After being there awhile, he got into the habit of taking his two animal companions to the beach every evening to watch the sunset.

One particular evening, the sky was a fiery red with beautiful cirrus clouds, the breeze was warm and gentle - a perfect night for romance. As they sat there, the sheep started looking better and better to the lonely man. Soon, he leaned over to the sheep and put his arm around it. But the sheepdog, ever protective of the sheep, growled fiercely until the man took his arm from around the sheep.

After that, the three of them continued to enjoy the sunsets together, but there was no more cuddling.

A few weeks passed by and, lo and behold, there was another shipwreck.

The only survivor was Hillary Clinton.

That evening, the man brought Hillary to the evening beach ritual. It was another beautiful evening - red sky, cirrus clouds, a warm and gentle breeze - perfect for a night of romance. Pretty soon, the man started to get 'those feelings' again..

He fought the urges as long as he could but he finally gave in and leaned over to Hillary and told her he hadn't had sex for months. Hillary batted her eyelashes and asked if there was anything she could do for him.

He said, 'Would you mind taking the dog for a walk?”

Stories you might have missed

1. Black Magic Men and the Cubbie Triangle
(This is a great article about the various possible curses afflicting the Cubs. Not sure if I can pronounce the name of the it Ka-empfer? Hmmm. I think the 'a' is silent.)

2. The Jack Brickhouse Eating Tour

(This is done by the same writer as #1. There's something about him that I like.)

3. Married to Christie Brinkley, but spending $3000 a month on porn

($3000 a month on porn? That's Pee-Wee Herman-esque.)

4. Worst Restaurant Idea ever

(It's called "Buns & Guns" and it tries to make you feel like you're in a war. Oh, and it's located in Beirut. And I'm not kidding.)

5. Roger Clemens can't spell
(The Smoking Gun posted some e-mail exchanges between Clemens and his accuser, and I'm recommending an immediate push to convince Rocket to go back to school for his GED.)

Video of the week: Contributed by "B". Joe Cocker at Woodstock with subtitles. This is hilarious.

Photo of the week: Contributed by "R"


Sorry...there were a lot of e-mails this week...

Regarding my vacation

"I didn't even realize that I had started reading your stuff every day until you weren't there last week. Good to have you back."

Regarding Just One Bad Century

"You have three sons. I can't believe you don't understand the psychology of the Sox fan. It's like the psychology of the little brother, feeling they never measure up to the Golden Boy, son number one. They feel kicked and spat upon, disrespected. The Sox are the number two team in a two team town. They know this. They have deep-seated inferiority issues. Winning--and the Cubs losing--are the only ways they can attempt to prove their superiority. However, this is not enough. They are painfully aware that even if you do not win, you still have superior inherent value. They do not understand why. They cannot stand the Cubs "having it all" by getting this unearned adoration AND winning, too. Can't help but notice that there were brooms being swept with much more glee on Sunday after the Cubs sweep than the usual sweep brings. It seems the older brother also takes the opportunity to rub it in his brother's face. Sibling rivalry. It works both ways."

"Hi there. I heard a song on the radio saturday morning early based off of the tune "I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more" written by you guys I think about the cubs. "I would wait 100 years, but I won't wait even one more", or something like that. Great song..Is it on your website and I missed it? If not please post on website, or tell me how I can get a copy..Thanks!"

Rick responds: We're working on a video, but here is the song in audio form for now: We Can Wait 100 Years

"I have 4yr old twins who are very into Cubs baseball, and we have a question. They heard that the rally cap was "invented" by the Detroit Tigers players during the 1945 WS in which the Cubs were outscored. So now they yell at the tv when they see Cubs' fans wearing a rally cap. What's your take on this?"

Rick responds: I answered this on my JOBC Blog. Thanks for the heads up. I hadn't that before.

Regarding my tribute to Sandy Stahl

"What a beautiful, touching tribute, Rick. Thanks so much for writing it."

"I read your beautiful write-up about Sandy Stahl. She sure sounds like a great person. I wish I would have met her. I'm truly sorry for the loss of such a great person in your life."

"Hey, nice piece on Sandy. I was shocked. I thought of her often, I didn't know where she was. What a wonderful person. She was rare in "the biz". Hope you are well. Again, nice job."

"What a story. Well, I guess everyone was mentored by Sandy at some point..even me, and I never worked at the same station that she did. Thanks for your column."

"Thanks for writing your Sandy tribute! I've been in shock since I heard the news. Selfishly I was wishing we could all get together to talk since it's such a hard thing to process. Usually when this kind of thing happens, being together makes it easier, but of course all the LOOP people are spread out and many I haven't spoken to in years (unlike you have). This weekend has just served to remind me how much I miss everyone. Thanks again for sharing your Sandy story. Happy Fourth!!"

"I just read your post about Sandy Stahl. Whew. I am in work. Thanks for sharing your story. I didn't know her at all, but it made me think of the few people in my life that inspired me and helped me make the necessary steps. Great job."

Regarding The Radio Producer's Handbook

"I am emailing to say THANK YOU for writing The Radio Producer's Handbook. I have jut finished reading it and it has been such a valuable and interesting book. The advice and wisdom coupled with the wit and realism made for such a brilliant read. I am only 22, but was given a break doing production on one of the UK's largest network shows (Graham Torrington's Late Night Love) last year and have had nine months of working alongside a full time job learning production. Unfortunately, a fortnight ago the show was axed under new owners and so I have lost the job. However, my partner found and bought your book for me and I have read and it has totally filled me with a new desire to make sure I continue producing great radio. It must be one of the most exciting jobs there is - I get such a thrill from it, so just hope it's only a matter of time before I get some more work! I am tempted to put '...have read The Radio Producer's Handbook' on my CV - it must count for something! So, thank you so much for writing the book. I am sure thousands of people like me have benefited tremendously from it, and from your experience. I would be very grateful if you could pass this email onto John Swanson, as he seems to be much more illusive than yourself! Cheers - and have a good summer!"

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Chicago Radio Spotlight: Tomano & Touhy

Mike Tomano & Steve Touhy are the morning co-hosts of the Tomano & Touhy show on WKAN. This week they begin simulcasting their show on WYKT.

Rick: I understand tomorrow (July 7) is a big day for the Tomano & Touhy show. Why don't you tell everyone what is happening.

Tomano: The Tomano & Touhy Show will be simulcast on WKAN in Kankakee and MY 105.5 in Will County. MY 105.5 is the station and frequency where Steve and I started our show together back in 1996 when it was The KAT, the legendary and last of the free-format FM rockers.

Rick: Before we get into the very odd history of your partnership, could you describe your show to people who might not have heard it before?

Tomano: We consider ourselves entertainers first, and we’ve honed our skills toward that end. The show is funny and unpredictable. Steve and I have worked very hard to develop a show that transcends boundaries of formats and demographics. It’s an energetic mix of lifestyle, news, pop culture and entertainment topics that get our special treatment.

Touhy: We have fun all day long. For 3 hours a day we’re allowed to have microphones in front of us and we hope that the people listening have as much fun as we do.

Rick: OK, now let's get into this history of your partnership. I've been following your careers for the past few years and the twists and turns have been enough to require Dramamine. Hirings, firings, together, apart, together again. I'm not sure where to start, so I guess I'll just start the beginning. How did you meet each other in the first place?

Tomano: I called Steve after we met at a radio station in Elmhurst. I’m not really sure. I knew he was ambitious and we seemed to have the same goals in mind.

Touhy: We were working at separate stations and our interns were dating. Mike called me to do a bit with the intern and asked if I wanted to be his sports guy. I took the job and the chemistry was instant and within a week the show was The Tomano & Touhy Show. We even moved into an apartment together to save cash.

Rick: How many times have you worked together now and at how many different stations?

Tomano: I left Major Networks, voicing satellite Lite Hits to take a job at WYKT. I was Promotions Director and on-air fill-in from September of 1995 until Spring of 1996 when I took over mornings. Steve got fired on the air from that first round. Classic stuff.

Touhy: I had been suspended a few times. I was young, goofy and a bit rebellious. Once I even got fired on the air. It’s one of our favorite sound bytes to play on the air. The owner of the station called the show and simply said, “Steve’s fired! Get him off the air right now.” In our typical fashion back then I think we just laughed.

Tomano: After that, I continued on at WYKT with two new partners until 2002 when I got Steve back. We had a tremendous run for a year.

Touhy: This was when we really hit our stride. I had done some stand – up and we were able to work separately to figure some things out on our own.

Tomano: We were really getting strong as a team when a new General Manager came in with a plan to change format. Steve was out

Touhy: Fired Again.

Tomano: and I gave notice. I bounced around a bit, working at a dead-end situation with a small station way out west when Steve called me and told me that WKAN was switching to Talk. I contacted them and they hired me to do mornings. I did three years with great success.

Touhy: I went out to Ottawa, IL and did mornings on a Hot AC station. It went very well, but when a format change to Lite Hits was in the works I began to look for something else.

Tomano: Eventually, when they (WKAN) were looking to do a local afternoon talk show, I recommended Steve. Eventually, upper management realized that putting us back together was a smart move to make.

Rick: You guys are obviously good friends. I don't know many teams that have actually lived together. Do you think that's the basis of your on-air chemistry, or is it something else?

Tomano: Our professional relationship is based on mutual respect. Steve is a tireless worker and a consistent performer. Steve has made me practically pass out from laughing many times. I’m his barometer and he’s mine. We are very hard on ourselves, so we know when we knock the other guy out with something that we are operating at our top level. As for our personal relationship, I think of him as nothing less than a member of my family. He’s my little smart-ass brother.

Touhy: Absolutely. I think it comes across on the air. I don’t know that there are many comedy teams that actually like each other. Mike mentioned the mutual respect. We don’t have any fear of the other guy getting the laugh, as long as we get the laugh. We also don’t worry about petty things like who does what job, who came up with what idea, or gets credit for what. We’ve been through hirings, firings, marriages, divorces, almost marriages, break ups, births, deaths and multiple General Managers. We view our show as something great we do everyday, but we also enjoy our lives as friends too.

Rick: Now you're officially back in the saddle doing mornings together and things are looking up. It must be a challenge to do a morning show outside the Chicago market going up against some of the big guns in town. What are some of the pros and cons of doing a show based in Kankakee?

Tomano: Pros are that we are able to be really big fish in a little pond, which has its rewards. The cons would obviously be money and exposure. Every opportunity is earned.

Rick: I know both of you have been heavily influenced by Chicago radio personalities during your careers. Who are some of the Chicago radio personalities you admire and why?

Tomano: When I was in the sixth grade, I first heard Steve Dahl & Garry Meier doing the Breakfast Club on The Loop, and it was an epiphany. From that point on, there was never any doubt as to what I wanted to do with my life. Dahl definitely shaped my creative sensibilities a great deal. I also enjoyed Fred Winston and Robert Murphy a lot. I was hooked on Roy Leonard, too. His interviews were great. My favorite music jocks were the hosts at WXRT in the 80s. I would listen to Bobby Skafish and Johnny Mars and knew what they were doing was a special kind of radio. When Bob Lassiter came to WLS, I listened every afternoon. His wore his heart, and his demons, on his sleeve. Great stuff.

Touhy: No doubt, Steve and Garry have influenced us both big time. I always liked listening to Brandmeier. I would listen all day long when the Loop was talk and I just loved it. I’m not just saying this because it’s your interview, but when I was an intern for John Landecker (photo), you were both huge influences. I would just watch him work and see that just because you can’t see a person on the radio doesn’t mean you can’t be animated. From you I learned a tremendous amount about how to put a show together and produce a good show. Working in smaller markets we’ve always been our own producers.

Rick: You've also had some experience doing stand up comedy and various other stage acts (including having a band). How has that experience affected your radio show?

Tomano: Ultimately, live comedy and music shows are an additional forum for us, but there’s also the uncensored and uninhibited aspect to live performance that enhances the experience. I love it all, but it’s nice to have that daily radio anchor for the act.

Touhy: For me it gave me much more confidence in my humor. On stage I got that immediate feedback and could tell what worked and what didn’t.

Rick: If you had to pinpoint one or two moments from your radio career that you're most proud of, what would it be?

Tomano: It’s difficult to pinpoint. I hear from people everyday that listen to us and are touched by what we do on the show. Knowing that the work you do makes a difference in someone’s life is extremely rewarding.

Touhy: One moment would have to be the day I bought my house. It was the first time I realized I was actually making a living doing what I love. The other would be recently when we were told that we going to start simulcasting. Mike and I have been working a long time toward this and it felt great. I can’t wait until tomorrow, I think it will be another.

Rick: Where you see the Tomano & Touhy show going from here?

Tomano: I see us continuing to add stations. Our show is a turnkey operation for stations. We have an incredibly insightful manager, Mike Moyers, who is behind our efforts one hundred percent. As performers, Steve and I never stop growing, so I’m looking forward to the future.

Touhy: I agree. I go to work everyday and laugh with my best friend. Wherever we go is cool with me.