100. Live from a Barn: 100 Episode Retrospective

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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.

099. Spookfest ’18

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On the heels of the WDGC-FM 50th Anniversary Alumni Reunion (featured on Episode 98), Chris and Dave reflect on the special day.  Jerry Malauskas also joins us in the studio this week to keep things interesting.

Most of this week’s program is devoted to our SpookFest tradition as heard back on earlier episodes 37 and 61 (from 2010 and 2011, respectively).  SpookFest is where we discuss all things spooky as we approach Halloween.  Ally is back in recorded form and contributes to this episode with a couple of dramatic readings of her own that are guaranteed to give you thrills and chills.   Baba Gonesh delivers ‘Baba News’ and makes a very special announcement.

The second half of the show features our very special interview with Sandy Rizzo, WDGC-FM alum, class of 1978.   We exchange stories with Sandy about the old days of being on the radio on WDGC during the 1970’s.

Sandy Rizzo, WDGC-FM Alum Class of 1978

Chris in Studio
Ally in Studio for Dramatic Readings
Dave and Jerry In Studio

098. Chris and Dave Return to WDGC-FM for 50th Anniversary and Alumni Reunion

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Chris and Dave attended the WDGC-FM 50-Year Anniversary and Alumni Reunion on Saturday September 29, 2018 and were given a one-hour on-air time slot where they took the opportunity to reflect on their memories of their old high-school radio station.  We bring you the entire broadcast here in Episode 98 of the SmorgShow Podcast.

For the first time in 34 years since they walked out of the WDGC studios at Downers Grove North High School in 1984, Chris and Dave step on ground zero where all the magic happened so many years ago.  The Smorgasbord duo discuss their favorite memories of the radio station, their early days of working together, and of the general manager Fred Moore.  Chris and Dave come full circle with their radio journey by broadcasting from the very same microphones they used on the original show.

This episode was also recorded on HD video, so check it out on our YouTube channel.

097. What is K-Pop Music?

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Jerry Malauskas is our in-studio guest again for a very unusual installment of the SmorgShow.  For an episode where there was absolutely no show preparation, we managed to squeak out another 90-minute show.  An open conversation of two middle aged men that goes on a variety of paths.  Just some of the subjects discussed:

  • Jerry introduces Chris to K-Pop music – is this the new male?
  • Chris discusses all of the house projects that have been on hold that he is looking forward to completing once Ally graduates from college next year.
  • How politics is infecting everything we do and used to enjoy.
  • Politicizing the college classroom
  • Ally attributes her interest in music to Chris playing ELO when she was younger.
  • Remember the days when you bought a crummy album for one song and got stuck with it even if the rest of it sucked?
  • Classic 80’s Smorgasbord Show Rewind: Mr. Brown Can Moo.

096. The Smorgasbord Woods Project

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The Smorgasbord Woods Project: Dudes in the Woods.  Former Smorgasbord Radio Show Co-Host Dave Jackson and Jerry Malauskas join Chris on this episode.  As a closeout to summer ’18 and a kickoff to fall, the guys head to the hiking trails.

The guys hit the trails at two relatively secluded forest preserves, Saw Wee Kee Park, and Waa Kee Sha, located in Oswego, IL.

Our original intent was to record both audio and video for this adventure.  However, it didn’t take very long for us to realize how difficult it is to balance the content so that it worked equally as well on both platforms.  Therefore, we created an entirely separate video of the event which can be found on our YouTube channel as well as at SmorgShow.com.

095. Oktoberfest 2018

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Jerry Malauskas is our in-studio guest again as we celebrate the end of summer and the start of Oktoberfest.  This episodes’s features include:

  • An Oktoberfest quiz.
  • Social media policing free speech:  Chris banned from Amazon and Jerry is given the second of three strikes for posting offensive content on YouTube.
  • How Chris got on the internet for the first time.
  • Roy Orbison has been dead for 30 years, yet he is kicking off his 2018 U.S. tour …in hologram form.
  • Baba Gonesh brings back his ancient Indian folk tales.
  • Resident tech nerd Geoffrey Gleason discusses the strange phenomenon of ads that follow you around the internet in another installment of Geoffrey Gleason Tech Talk.
  • Classic 80’s Smorgasbord Radio Show Rewind:  Opening Jerry’s sexy birthday mail that was sent to the WDGC studio and a segment of a very risque ‘Date Line’.

094. Social Media Scandals and Trends

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The second of two installments with special in-studio guests Dave Jackson and Jerry Malauskas.   This episode breaks from our traditional format where we delve into some of the latest social topics, including:

  • The latest social media news including various Facebook scandals, the new Amazon Key launch, and dangerous apps for kids.
  • Geoffrey Gleason Tech Talk – Lesson #2.  Check out Geoffrey’s YouTube channel for his library of helpful tech tips!
  • A conversation with Alexa.
  • Baba Gonesh answers your calls for an explanation on the India Caste system.
  • Starbucks racial sensitivity training day.
  • Classic Smorgasbord Radio Bit “Get a Life” – the one that could have permanently suspended Chris and Dave from their high school radio program.
  • Baggy pants at the laundromat
  • Ally’s award-winning podcast submission for her college music appreciation class.
  • And many other surprises!

093. What’s the Deal With All the Mattress Firms?

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An episode too hot to be contained to a single episode, so we broke it into two installments!  Episode 94 to be released 4.22.18.

For the first time since 2011, we are joined live in the studio with both Dave Jackson and Jerry Malauskas from the original Smorgasbord Radio days.   We went into the show with all good intentions of not discussing our medical issues, but unfortunately Chris had a pretty major medical scare last month that is worth talking about.  Other topics/features include:

  • Dave is performing live again – and we are very proud of him!
  • What’s the deal with all the Mattress Firms that are opening up across the country?
  • Gender Pronouns
  • The disturbing condom-snorting trend
  • Baba Gonesh Breaking News
  • Introducing Geoffrey Gleason, Tech Guy and a new segment called ‘Tech Talk”. Check out Geoffrey’s YouTube channel for his library of helpful tech hints.
  • Chris’s contribution to Earth Day – 1981’s “Slime” from the Cow Dung and Chicken Tongue collection.

This episode was streamed on YouTube Live.  If you missed it, you can watch the video posted on our YouTube channel.

092. Phillip Donald Calls from Prison

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Former WDGC-FM Smorgasbord Radio Show contributor Jerry Malauskas co-hosts this episode with Chris.  Jerry has been a close friend of the show for over 35 years and we are excited to have him back in our studio to share his perspective on all things Smorg.

Philip Donald uses his one-call allowance to call us from jail to set the record straight about his recent arrest on a Baltimore elementary school playground.  Baba sends in two updates from India while preparing for the upcoming 2018 Holi Festival.  He shares his perspective on what Holi is and why we all should care.  Baba also provides his exclusive beauty tips for celebrating this special occasion the right way.   Finally a shout-out to Ally who turns 20!!  Happy Birthday, Ally!

SmorgShow Flashback Bit: The Dating Game (2010).

091. Philip Donald Arrested for Lewd Behavior

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With Ally out of town on a youth group retreat, original Smorgasbord Radio Show Co-Host, Dave Jackson joins Chris in the studio for this first episode of the new year.  The show opens with a news flash concerning the shocking arrest of SmorgShow music contributor, Philip Donald.  We play a previously aired exclusive interview that Chris and Dave did with Philip back in 2011.

Baba Gonesh uses Dropbox to send in a new installment of “Thought for the Day” from India.  We then place a phone call to former WDGC-FM radio host, Jerry Malauskas who discusses his blood report.  And as expected from a bunch of guys now in their 50’s, we hear more than we need to know about lipid panels, HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.

Featured Artist of the Week:  Ally’s band ‘Wanderlove‘ and the band’s first single “New Kids”.

090. SmorgShow Theater: Rope

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We are so excited to finally present our latest radio play that we have been working on since August.  Normally the SmorgShow players re-enact classic radio dramas, but in this episode, we aim to deliver something a bit different.  This time, we present to you a radio adaptation of “Rope”, a 1948 American psychological crime thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, based on the 1929 play of the same name by Patrick Hamilton.  

In our story, just before hosting a dinner party, Philip Morgan and Brandon Shaw strangle a mutual friend to death with a piece of rope, purely as a Nietzsche-inspired philosophical exercise. Hiding the body in a chest upon which they then arrange a buffet dinner, the pair welcome their guests, including the victim’s oblivious fiancée and the college professor whose lectures inadvertently inspired the killing.

The Cast (In Order of Appearance):

  • Brandon Shaw – Thomas Larsen
  • Phillip Morgan – Geoff Wells
  • Mrs. Wilson – Chris Wells
  • Kenneth Lawrence – Kip Coon
  • Janet Walker – Ally Bockay
  • Mr. Henry Kentley – Jerome Malauskas
  • Mrs. Anita Atwater – Kim Bockay
  • Rupert Cadell – Chris Bockay
  • Man on Street – Baba Gonesh

089. Chris and Dave Live from a Jazz Lounge

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Chris and Dave reunite again for another episode of the SmorgShow.  This time, prepare yourself to kick back in the SmorgShow jazz lounge while Chris and Dave take a journey down memory lane and discuss how they met and decided to pair up together on high school radio station WDGC-FM.

The duo revisit their passion for radio and the individual life paths each has taken.  Ally then visits the studio and talks about what pairing up with her dad for the SmorgShow Podcast has meant to her during her formative years.   This is a very nostalgic and introspective episode compared to prior episodes, but one that gives a very intimate glimpse into the lives of three individuals.

088. SmorgShow Theater: Letter from Cynthia

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As we prepare for Christmas and to close out 2016, we present to you the 10th installment of SmorgShow Theater.  “Letter from Cynthia” is a re-enactment of an episode from “The Whistler” old-time radio drama series.

Originally aired on 12-25-1949, “Letter from Cynthia” finds a medical intern receiving a letter from a lost love, the love he lost to his best friend. In a strange turn of events, the man who took his love, his best friend, ends up in an accident at the hospital where he is interning. He has to make a decision between getting revenge and doing what’s right.

This episode has a different feel to it when compared with our previous radio plays.  We hope you take some time out this holiday season to kick back and listen.  Turn out your lights, bask in the glow of your fireplace or Christmas tree lights and let our story transport you back to a simpler time when families sat around their radio for entertainment.

The Cast

  • Narrator – Geoff Wells
  • Dr. Neil Andrews – Chris Bockay
  • Patty – Ally Bockay
  • Cynthia – Kim Bockay
  • Dr. Peters – Thomas Larsen
  • Charlie – Steve Larsen
  • Police Officer – Anthony Luperini
  • Intern – Thomas Larsen
  • Dr. Graham – William Bockay

We then discuss Ally’s performance in the “Let It Be Christmas” musical and play a clip of her promoting the show on the Steve Cochran radio show on WGN-AM 720.

087. Ally Graduates High School and Gets a Job

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Chris and Ally return to the studio for the first time in over a year and catch on a variety of topics including Ally’s first job at Chick-Fil-A and going off to college.  

Baba calls in from the Ratha Yatra festival in West Bengal.  Ally performs live in the studio.  This was our first attempt at video streaming the show via Periscope.

086. SmorgShow Theater: Sorry, Wrong Number (Take 2)

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We are excited to bring you our 9th installment in the SmorgShow Theater series.   This time around we bring to you a re-enactment of 1943’s radio classic ‘Sorry, Wrong Number’, originally starring Agnes Moorehead.

But wait a minute, you say!  Didn’t you guys already do this one before?   As a matter of fact, yes we did…way back in 2010 on Episode 9 of the SmorgShow Podcast.   However, back then Ally was only 11 years old and we were working with really basic editing equipment.

It sounded good at the time, but listening to it now, we’ve come to realize that we really didn’t do this classic play justice.  We decided to tackle this project again.  Coincidentally, the date this is being aired is April 11, 2015 (or 4-1-1).

Mrs. Stevenson is a spoiled, bedridden daughter of a millionaire. The telephone is her sole connection with the outside world. One day, while listening to what seems to be a crossed phone connection, she eavesdrops on two men planning a woman’s murder. Mrs. Stevenson calls the phone company and police, only to be ignored. Adding to her dilemma is the fact that her husband is missing.   After a number of phone calls, the terrorized Mrs. Stevenson begins to piece together the mystery.

The Cast:

  • Ally Bockay – Mrs. Stevenson
  • Chris Bockay – Man, George, Sergeant Martin
  • Kim Bockay – Operator, Chief Operator, Directory Assistance Operator, Hospital Operator
  • Anthony Luperini – Western Union Rep

In another feature, International News Correspondent, Baba Gonesh delivers the news to us in 90 seconds in a call from Mumbai – a story of Needle Man.

Featured Artist of the Week: Echosmith

085. SmorgShow Theater: Ray Bradbury’s ‘The Ravine’

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This episode of the SmorgShow Podcast includes the latest installment of SmorgShow Theater where the SmorgShow Players re-enact Ray Bradbury’s classic short story, ‘The Ravine’.    Written around 1936 during Mr. Bradbury’s formative high school years, ‘The Ravine’ emerged as a true story of his childhood fears of a dark, foreboding ravine that existed just a short distance away from his Waukegan, Illinois hometown.   The SmorgShow Players:

  • William Bockay – Narrator
  • Ally Bockay – Lavinia
  • Kim Bockay – Francine, Neighbor
  • Gabriella Vogel – Helen
  • Geoff Wells – Drugstore Clerk
  • Baba Gonesh – Mr. Tubbs
  • Anthony Luperini – Police Officer
  • Chris Bockay – Frank, The Lonely One
  • Charlie Snyder – Douglas

Chris and Ally also catch up on events that have taken place since our last program one year ago!

084. Life in the 1950’s

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Chris and Ally are finally back behind the mic after another rather lengthy hiatus.    This time, Chris’s Dad and Ally’s Grandfather Conrad Cardello is in the studio.    Chris’s roots and passion for radio broadcasting are traced back to his dad’s early days when he also recorded spontaneous skits with his best friend.    An early recording from circa-1963 was recently unearthed and played here.

We then ask the deeply philosophical questions, “If you had a time machine, would you travel to the past or future?” and “What time period would you visit?”.    This then leads into a discussion around American life in the 1950s and whether all that we see in TV shows accurately represent that decade.     We then play a trivia game around the classic TV series “The Honeymooners”.

Baba Gonesh has left the country, this time perhaps for good, but he presents “Baba News” from India where he informs us about the end of the telegraph service.

Featured Artist of the Week:  Winner of The Voice Season 4, Danielle Bradbery.

083. Chris’s Layoff

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Happy New Year and Happy St. Patrick’s Day – The first episode of 2013!   Chris and Ally have a lot of explaining to do about why six months have passed since the last episode.

Chris discusses his days on the government dole and his victorious return to the workplace.    Baba Gonesh returns for a belated 70th birthday and delivers the long awaited ‘Baba News’.

Former Smorgasbord Radio Show Co-Host Dave Jackson guest stars.

Featured Artist of the Week:  Celtic singer-songwriter, Marc Dunn

082. Smorgasbord 30th Anniversary Celebration – Live from the Carlisle

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It’s really hard to believe that it has been 30 years since Dave Jackson and I kicked off the original Smorgasbord Radio Show at Downers Grove North High School radio station, WDGC 88.3 FM.    Dave and I had a unique chemistry that made the show special.     Sadly, at the pressure of parents who wanted me to amount to something, I never pursued a professional radio career, so there was a 25-year gap between my last radio show at my college station and the time that I brought the Smorgasbord show back in podcast form in early 2010.

Over the past 82 episodes, I have been blessed to have another fantastic partner by my side for this new adventure – my daughter, Ally.    If you listen to the shows that have been recorded over the span of the past three years, you can hear how she has grown into a strong partner.   The SmorgShow Podcast has been a great hobby for Ally and me as it has created a bond and special memories between us that will forever last.   It’s also allowed me to get the creative juices flowing again after two long decades of an office career.   Thanks to 21st century technological advances, we have been able to take the show to a level that was not possible when Dave and I did the original show back in the 80’s.    For the most part, Ally and I have tried to make the new show our own rather than try and recreate what Dave and I did 30 years ago.    But on this particular anniversary episode, we could not let the milestone occasion pass without looking back and celebrating what we did all those years ago.

I think we created something special with episode 82.   Those with an acute attention to detail will notice that the anniversary show where we look back on 1982 actually falls on episode #82.   Coincidence?    Of course, it would not be a complete celebration if we did not have one of the original co-founders of the Smorgasbord Show, Dave Jackson, present for the event.     On this particular occasion, we chose to return to our original stomping grounds and host the event at the fabulous Carlisle Banquets in Lombard, IL.    This is where Dave and I hosted “The Taste of the Smorg, 1984” (a nod to Taste of Chicago where local restaurants set up their stands and sell samples of their menu items).    We were able to line up quite a variety of food vendors this time around.   In addition to sampling some of the great foods from around the country, we couldn’t resist the urge to dust off some of the old Smorgasbord Show recordings and give them a spin.   Admittedly, some stood the test of time better than others.

This episode is nearly 3 hours long because in addition to going down memory lane, we booked a list of great entertainers who performed live on two different stages at the Carlisle.    On the Oakbrook Room Stage: Hawaii’s David Kamakahi & Ikaika Brown, Iceland’s Sjonni’s Friends, the SmorgShow’s very own Phillip Donald,  and Ally performs her brand new ballad, “Untold Stories” to an adoring crowd.    Also, we are very excited that our good friend from Cheltenham, England – Jordan Martyn – came all the way to Chicago for our show and decided to debut two brand new songs never heard before tonight.    Finally, on the Butterfield Room Stage, we are entertained by the sounds of Richard Cheese and his band ‘Lounge Against the Machine’.

Jordan Martyn On Stage at The Carlisle

I’d like to thank everyone who has been with us on this journey.  Whether you listened to us during the original run or just recently stumbled upon us, we really appreciate our audience.  I hope we can provide additional entertainment value to you for many years to come.

Phillip Donald Live on Stage at the Carlisle

081. Fake Bigfoot Sighting Ends Poorly

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We are proud to present Ally’s new song – an original composition called “Untold Stories”.

We discuss the death of a 44-year old man out of Kalispell, Montana who was killed by a motorist while dressed in a ghillie suit, trying to stage a fake Bigfoot sighting.

We then go to Rockwood Tap House in Downers Grove, IL where we find Chris and Dave having lunch together.   They just came back from putting down the final deposit for the upcoming 30th anniversary show at Carlisle Banquets.   They discuss how they used to think being in radio impressed girls.

This episode is shorter than usual because we are preparing for what we hope to be an amazing show on September 15.   The SmorgShow will be doing a live podcast event from the Carlisle in Lombard, IL.   We have just confirmed that Jordan Martyn, one of our featured artists of the week, will be traveling from the UK to Chicago to perform at our special event.   In case you missed our exclusive interview with Jordan, you can check it out at Episode 56.