I have had nothing but the great fortunes to work with great radio legends, like Dick Biondi, John Records Landecker, Fred Winston, all while at 94-7 W-L-S!!! The one that got away, who I would have also enjoyed working with, is 89 WLS newsman; Jim Johnson.
I may have not actually had the chance to work with Jim, but I got to know him from seeing him here at the station, often just chatting in the halls about stuff like the many dead bodies he's buried up near his cabin in Wisconsin.
|Jim enjoys his picnic table during another typical summer day in Wisconsin [WLS Photo]|
I really enjoyed having Jim Johnson on as a guest. He was a hoot. During this episode, he was the guest announcer, (thus his own intro), he and another guest, the late great John Callaway, was throwing jabs at everyone, including at one another and even themselves.
|Jim Johnson, John Callaway & Spike O'Dell with members of Nude Hippo|
Jim returned several more times after this, and then his daughter, Alexis Del Cid, joined my show as a field reporter. This was her first time on television...which is pretty cool as she is now at the CBS-affiliated station, KCTV5 in Kansas City, as a co-host of their morning show and an anchor of the news at noon.
|Gary Amble, Alexis Del Cid, Dave Hall and Natalie Puhr [KCTV Graphic]|
|Alexis reporting 1999 NYE special|
"My experience at Nude Hippo was hilariously random. I remember walking around Chicago asking people if they knew what "getting jiggy" meant... If I remember correctly I also held up a sign. And people seemed to be alternately frightened of me and confused. That is what sticks out most about my experience on The Nude Hippo Show!"Here is a portion from her WORLD PREMIERE APPEARANCE ON TELEVISION, (hopefully you added some exciting sound effects and rock music in your head as you read that line).
When I told this to Alexis, she just laughed and said;
"He did not mean that seriously!"Normally, he has such a dead-pin delivery with his dark-wit humor, but I was pretty sure he was serious. I wasn't offended, if anything, I am proud of the fact that I didn't actually ruin her career.
Here is Alexis following her father's footsteps, doing what she truly sez is her dream job.
"I love it! I work with such a fun bunch of people and I love my job and my co-workers. I am thankful every day because my co-anchor is one of the funniest people I know-- along with the producers behind the scenes."
Now before Jim Johnson wanders back up to Wisconsin, be sure to listen to Roe & Roeper's special Jim Johnson farewell show, Today, 2 pm-5 pm on 89WLS.
I'm not sure what Jim has planned for after today, besides spending time with his family, but whatever it is, I hope that he does something that we all can enjoy more of his talents again. In his bio, Jim claims to be the only newsman whose childhood pets include a skunk and a porcupine. Perhaps, this could be something he does again during his time off the air.
He has some great stories, like about The Daley's vacationing at his cabin, how he followed another car onto a runway to cover an airplane crash at O'Hare, how he ticked off a famous radio competitor after appearing on a local television show...and so much more. I hope to see and hear more from Jim in the near future. At the very least, he should write a book, but he told Rick Kaempfer, back in 2010:
"If I ever write a “tell all” book I will have to go into a witness protection program."Oh, so that is why he is leaving the airwaves!
|Tony Lossano & Jim Johnson|
|Ed Glab began as John Landecker's Board Op...which is a position I now have. [Photo: John Gehron]|
WLS celebrated 89 years on the air this year, and Ed & Jim are leaving with a combined accumulation of 88 years here. Beyond their impressive length at a single station, they both are absolutely talented and amazing individuals! It has been an honor working with these guys here at W-L-S!
|"Life is change…either get with it our get out of the way." -Jim Johnson|