My first time on the LOOP

In 22 minutes, I’ll be doing my first-ever airshift at the mighty WLUP-FM, a radio station I grew up listening to.

I credit my proximity more than talent for the opportunity; the Loop and Q101 are owned by the same company (Emmis), and the studios are 30 feet from one another.

There’s nothing more awkward than doing a “first show,” so I thought I’d blog as I go this morning.

5:40 – I got here at 5:00, thinking I’d need to properly familiarize myself with the new studio. The console and studio software are the same as what Q101 has. Not much new to learn.

The biggest difference, and easily the most frustrating, is that the computer keyboard is tucked under the console on a sliding tray. I’m used to having my keyboard out and more accessible. First world problem, I know.

Rush “Fly By Night” is on right now. Did I mention that I’ve waited my entire life to play Rush on the radio? Okay, I’m not officially on until 6, but I’m counting it.

(Photo: Back studio wall)


5:49 – My biggest fear is saying “Q101” out of reflex when I open the mic. After a cumulative 11 years at the station, it’s become a Pavlovian response. Practicing right now: “97-9, the Loop.” “The Loop.” “Chicago’s Classic Rock Station.” “The. Loop.”

5:54 – Just ran my first segue: Whitesnake “Here I Go Again” into Def Leppard “Too Late For Love.” I love dry, song to song, segues. Seven minutes until my first talk break, which will be out of the Stones and into Pink Floyd.

6:00 – Two minutes until I talk. Do I say that “I’m in for Pete McMurray?” Nah, screw him.

6:04 – The dreaded first break is over. There’s nothing worse in radio than the ramp up to that first 30 seconds. It’s over. I’ve officially been on the air on the Loop.

6:07 – I just poured coffee down my chin, rather than into my mouth. This would have happened regardless of whether or not I was on the air this morning. I tend to spill a lot; and, no, I’m not proud.

6:13 – Just gave Cubs/Sox scores. On a related note, U.S. Cellular Field looked like a misting tent on TV last night.

6:23 – Hendrix into Van Halen. #GUITARMAGEDDON

The new Loop Rock Girl, Tricia, has nothing to do with my show this morning.

6:32 – First instance of getting the Led out. Zeppelin has always been a major band for me, dating back to when my dumb junior high buddies and I wasted hours discussing the significance of the symbols on “IV” and “Presence.”

6:38 – J. Geils Band “Centerfold.” I love this song and the Freeze Frame album, though my opinions of both were shaped by a 12 year-old me.

6:46 – I just realized that today marks the first time I’ve been at the station compound during daylight in about four years. I’m not used to seeing people other than DJs roaming the halls. What’s worse, I’m bad at remembering names.

6:47 – The Loop studio window faces a newish smoothie place called Starfruit. There’s a Jamba Juice down the hall–how many smoothie places does one floor need?


6:48 -I’m playing a spot for something called Zestosterone, which sounds like soap. I now want to buy Crestosterone, which I envision as testicular toothpaste.

6:56 – I forgot that “Slow Ride” by Foghat clocks in at over eight minutes. I may go home and take a nap while this is playing so I can be refreshed for the 7 AM hour.

7:00 – Watching NBC local news with the sound off. It’s apparently “Dance Friday” in and around the studio. Also: broadcast journalism is dead.

7:08 – My friend Phil just called  to say he’s been trying all morning to get through to me on the request line. I somehow had “X”d out all the lines. I didn’t even know you could do that. I just un-“Xd” them.

7:14 – “Low Rider.” Make WAR, not love.

7:20 – Lots of commentary floating around the web about tomorrow’s end of the world. This is a thing? Please pardon my language, but how fucking retarded are people? Enough already, you fucking fuckers.  You’re dragging down our national level of discourse. Stop it.


7:32 – Just gave away UFO tickets to the HOB tonight. Only I can rock them, rock them.

7:39 – First Diet Coke of the day, as disgusting as that sounds.

7:44 – Deep Purple “Smoke on the Water.” My son just learned how to play this on guitar; I hope he’s listening right now.

7:50 – I’m getting more Led out: “The Wanton Song.” Hooray for LZ album tracks.

7:55  – Trading emails with my friend Mike about the CDC’s zombie preparedness guidelines. I don’t think he realizes it’s a joke.

Or is it?

8:01 – Threw my Diet Coke can in the trash. If the world’s ending tomorrow, I couldn’t give less of a shit about recycling.

8:12 – This comment from Twitter cracked me up: “When I woke up this morning, I yelled out, ‘Who changed the station on my alarm?’ No one. You’re on The Loop today.”

8:21 – Still haven’t turned off NBC, which is now showing Al Roker on stage with the Wiggles. There’s no way that anyone in America considers this entertaining. Toot toot, chugga chugga, big red car…


8:30 – “Tom Sawyer”

8:39 – The opening to “Riders on the storm” reminded me that I haven’t gone to the bathroom yet. What kind of lesson am I trying to teach my bladder?

8:49 – I take it back. Starfruit has had a steady stream of customers since they opened.

8:52 – Starting to feel sleepy. There’s nothing natural about waking up at 3:45 in the morning; it always catches up to you. I worked morning drive on Q101 twice, both for brief periods (1996 & 2006). I had fun in both instances, but the hours were never easy to manage.

9:07 – Waiting for my “Workforce Payroll” guy to call and claim his $100. I’m a fan of these type of radio contests. Sadly, it looks like the guy whose name I called didn’t hear the announcement.

9:17 – Ability to write coherently is waning. I’m clicking “Publish” on this in a few minutes, thanks for reading!



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