One Saturday morning in early January 1979, I launched my own faux-radio station from my bedroom with the call letters WKID-FM. This 12-year old’s humble configuration consisted of just a turntable and a Panasonic cassette recorder. My early influences were Chicago radio station disk jockeys John Landecker, Larry Lujack, Bob Sirott and eventually Steve Dahl and Garry Meier. Each Saturday morning, I would record myself spinning the Top 40 hits and announcing over the intros. I did this religiously on a weekly basis to the point where I felt I was actually broadcasting to a real audience. For the next two years, I partnered with my best friend at the time, Peet McCain, and we just recorded ourselves doing radio shows together. It was a hobby that kept me off the streets and away from drugs. I was convinced that this was going to be my path in life.
By the time I got to high school a short two years later, I had become rather seasoned from doing these bedroom and basement recording sessions that I was able to land a pretty decent time slot for a freshman on my high school’s radio station WDGC-FM in Downers Grove, IL. It was then and there that I met Dave Jackson. After discussing my vision for the show, we launched the Chris and Dave Smorgasbord program in the fall of 1982. Our free-form talk show format pushed the limits for what was acceptable for a high school radio program. The show was successful in terms of building a loyal following that by the time I got to college, I had intended to major in Communications and make a career out of radio. Then reality hit me when I got assigned the 6-8am Sunday time slot on NIU’s campus radio station WKDI (coincidentally close to ‘WKID’ now that I think about it). I was prohibited from doing anything creative. I was told all I needed to do was read the weather, tell the time and announce the songs. After only two shows, I quit radio for good and changed my major.
25 years later, in early 2010, after a successful career in market research, I got the creative itch again and launched the SmorgShow Podcast with my 11-year old daughter Ally. Through the new medium of podcasting, I was able to relive my old passion for radio while at the same time share a very special activity with my daughter. The SmorgShow Podcast was an attempt at taking the Chris and Dave Smorgasbord show to a new level. We were pretty consistent with pushing out regular content for the next three years, learning the new technology and investing heavily in a state-of-the art recording studio along the way. We then took a break in 2013 and published a few shows here and there over the next few years as Ally started to become busy with high school social events as any normal teenage girl would. She eventually went to college, and had even less time to do shows with me. In 2018, I decided to push forward with the show myself. Starting with Episode 91, Dave Jackson as well as Jerry Malauskas (also from our old WDGC Smorgasbord days) began appearing as co-hosts on the show, carrying me to the finish line of having 100 episodes in the can at the end of 2018.
Episode 100 is very monumental to me. It marks a significant milestone on this journey. On this special occasion, Ally returns as my co-host along with Dave and Jerry and we take a look back on our favorite moments on this 9-year journey together. Baba Gonesh has traveled all the way back to the U.S. from Chennai, India to be on the show, so you know it has to be good. Phillip Donald also makes a rare appearance after spending 6 months in prison and performs his new song live. We have some other surprises in store as well.
So almost 40 years to the day since I fired up my Panasonic tape recorder in my bedroom studio of WKID, I bring you the latest installment of my life’s journey.
Welcome to the 100th episode of the SmorgShow Podcast, recorded live from Granny Rose’s barn.