Kathy and Judy were reunited with newsman Steve Bertrand this past Saturday (12/14) on WGN Radio and they just picked up where they left off in May of 2009 with two hours of very entertaining and informative conversation.
Just in case you were out of the country at the time, Kathy O'Malley and Judy Markey were abruptly fired in that ill-advised attempt to remake WGN, following Sam Zell's purchase of the Tribune Company in December of 2007. Zell named radio honcho Randy Michaels the new CEO of the Tribune Company and he in turn installed Kevin Metheny, whose past was often mired in controversy, as the new Program Director of WGN. It took that combo only a few months to ruin one of America's great radio stations by getting rid of popular personalities, bringing in annoying new radio hosts and changing a format that had attracted the largest listening audience in the Mid-West.
It wasn't long before ratings took a nose dive and, not known to the general public, was the internal damage being done. One newspaper columnist called the once hallowed halls of the Tribune Tower an "animal house." It all came crashing down in October of 2010 after an article in the New York Times detailed the bizarre behavoir that was going on in the Tribune Tower, a lot it of a sexual nature. Michaels was asked to resign and a month later Metheny was fired.
The mending process has been underway since Larry Wert. a respected broadcaster was hired to run the Tribune's 23 local television stations and WGN Radio back in February and he hired another class act, Jimmy de Castro to head up Broadcasting. One of his best moves was to bring back "The Girl Friends" as Kathy & Judy have been crowned by their listeners.
What makes listening to their banter so interesting is what they talk about. Invariably the subject matter is something that listeners, both male and female, can relate to. This past Saturday is a perfect example. In the two hours from 10AM to Noon they talked about recalling your first kiss; home security issues and credit cards; learning Spanish to aid in dealing with household help; the trend to do less housekeeping; and the difficulty in being completely honest with a friend when there's a negative involved.
Steve Bertrand handles the news segments and doesn't hesitate to give a male perspective to the subject. His story of the first kiss "to the girl in the brown sweater" was hilarious. They also take time after the news headlines at 11:30, to include a short segment of "Bertrand on Books", one of Steve's excellent author interviews from his Facebook site.
Few stations allow time these days to inventive and stimulating conversation which makes this two hour Saturday morning show such a treat. Listener phone calls are welcome, but judiciously inserted when relevant. One caller rememberd this week her first kiss in one of those old photo booths where you'd insert a coin and get that strip of black and white pictures. And that first kiss - I remember it well. We were 10 or 12 years old. Her name was Betty and we were in the back of her parent's car. AND THEY WERE DRIVING.
Filed under: Opinion