Friends That Matter

Marlene Dietrich once said “It’s the friends you can call up at 4 AM that matter.”  Well, we didn’t call Gary and Sue at 4 AM, but that’s about the time they got home, Sunday morning, after helping us clean, what seemed like, never-ending piles of “stuff” out of our office.  At one point, we thought some invisible gremlin was sneaking in and replenishing the office while we weren’t looking.  Oh well, at least most of it was filed alphabetically according to size.

As you know, “Life After Dark” has been the norm (?) for us for over a quarter of a century.   However, shocking though it may seem, not everyone marches to the nocturnal drum beat that has been our extended length soundtrack.  Fortunately for us, Gary and Sue march to the serendipitous drum beat of their own soundtrack.  Even better for us, they have included us in their mix ever since Johnnie first met Sue back in 1984 while doing traffic for WCLR-FM (now WTMX-FM).

Sue was hosting the evening show and Gary was the station’s chief engineer.  Sue has since gone on to be a very successful voice over actress and Gary went on to manage real estate at the, then, Sears Tower where we gave him the nickname “King Of The Roof.”

Though you wouldn’t know it by his busy schedule, Gary is now retired and you’re still hearing Sue’s voice on more commercials than you realize.

When we first met Gary and Sue there was an instant chemistry and communication that, fortunately for us, has grown into a long-term close friendship that continues today.

A decade ago, on a weekend trip to Door County, when Steve was hardly able to move due to, then undiagnosed, Autoimmune Hepatitis, luckily, Gary and Sue were with us and calmly, but quickly, drove us home to get a diagnosis and treatment from our own doctor.  When Johnnie was stricken with an allergic reaction while we were in Nashville, it was Gary and Sue who drove all over Music City’s unfamiliar streets to find a  pharmacy with the necessary remedy.

It hasn’t been all drama.  There are numerous stories of “plastic burning” adventures to celebrate Johnnie’s and Sue’s shared birthday week or late-night Sherlock Holmes marathons or Midnight Superdawg runs … because it was the right thing to do.

As many of you know, along with TV and some other projects, we’re working on a book or three.  One of those books will be about some of the truly special people we’ve been privileged to meet during the course of our “Life After Dark.”  A lot of those people, like Les Paul, have names most of you already know.  Some of them, like Gary and Sue, you may not previously have known about.

But, now you do.

Because they’re friends that matter.


About steveandjohnnie

Award winning Chicago Broadcasters, inducted into WGN radio's Walk Of Fame. Authors of the Les Paul memoir, "A Little More Les." You'll find even more about us at
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29 Responses to Friends That Matter

  1. Doug says:

    Aw, Sue and The Gar! Sue is one of the nicest human beings on the planet and The Gar has expertise in so many areas it’s hard to keep track. Wonderful people.

  2. Karen Schulz says:

    Hope you are happy and adjusting. Missing you terribly!!

  3. Dianne DAndrea says:

    Can’t wait for the books! I sure do miss you guys! It’s not the same!!

  4. Pat says:

    Miss you guys !! I by accident listened to WGN just once this week. I’ve listened to WGN since I started nights at the post office. I’m sure a lot of your listeners are gone now….Why do people have to fix things that aren’t broken?

  5. Pat says:

    BTW…I started at the post office in 1985….

  6. Susan Kundert says:

    I’m still sad. But I am sleeping more, since I don’t have you folks to listen to when I wake up in the in the middle of the night. Thanks for the good company for so many years, first on crackly AM radio in East Central Ohio, and more recently via internet radio in Durham, NC.

  7. Chris Tebbens says:

    After all those years on the 1st shift it’ll seem strange to be on a normal(?) schedule. When I retired I went through some depression. Some because I missed seeing and working my coworkers. Some because I didn’t seem to have a purpose/use any more. I sought professional counseling. They said that it was normal to have those feelings after all those years of working. I’m sure that you’ll find things to keep yourself busy. Good luck and stay in touch with all your friends out here. Chris

  8. Karen says:

    The Gift of Friendship is a blessed one, indeed. The Bible has many examples of early friendships, none more important than the friendships Jesus cherished with his disciples. He knew the value of having good buddies to be with in just the myriad experiences you call out. You are blessed to have such good friends in your lives, but that blessing is well-deserved….remember the old saying: “To have a friend, be one!” and you folks have been that – – – to the people you know well, like Gary and Sue, and to the thousands more whom you don’t know very well, but who consider you to be friends nonetheless, and in the truest sense of the word.

  9. walt myers says:

    WGN will not be he same any more since you two left., i have listened to WGN for years and most of the old WGN personalities are gone or passed away. i am a peanut butter lover and steve will be missed as the peanut butter guru for this area. i remember the night when steve was named peanut butter guru, i will also miss,turn on the blue light and play a blues song,you will both be missed very much, good luck with your new endeavers, merry christmas steve and johnny

  10. Robin H says:

    Wgn Made a big mistake….

  11. Karen Peters says:

    I wish Gary and Sue were part of my circle of friends as I have a lot of closets that could be straightened out. You both are so lucky to have such dear friends that care so much for you. I am getting more rest these nights but sometimes just can’t help reaching for the radio button at midnight. Miss you both!!!!

  12. Mike Barnard ( Mike B) says:

    It’s good to have friends like that. I have a good circle of “friends” but only a few that I would consider friends like that. That makes you lucky when you can call on friends like that.

  13. Linda Sue says:

    Someone said once that every boy deserves a dog. Well, I think that every adult deserves a friend. Too often, making friends is something that is done as a child, and as an adult, you find a job and you find a mate. But every adult deserves a good friend. A good friend is one who keeps you happy and listens when you are sad. They are there, not because they have to be because they are family, they are there because they want to be friends with you. Aren’t you lucky? Both of you?? Having a good friend helps to make you a good person.

  14. Tom Burnet - Conyers, GA says:

    I hit the preset for WGN on my I’net radio that I listen to all night long…and said out loud…. WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!!

  15. Kathleen says:

    Miss you at nite time and glad to catch up with on your site and Facebook. I’m also registered with for the newsletters. I’m glad you both have Gary and Sue. Friends are what we need in life to laugh. Laughter is the best medicine. Thanks for telling us about them.

    I went to Nashville for the first time in July and had a great time. It’s an easy flight from Chicago, with great tunes, food and I love the huge doors. A lot of history and I can see why you enjoy it.

    Take care and Happy Holidays.

  16. Karen says:

    18 Months ago, I left my friends in Sunny SW Florida to return to IL to care for my aging parents. I was so lost and loney but then discovered “Life After Dark”. It was a blessing.. giving me the strength to remain positive. Thank you both for making my “Life after Florida” much better!!!! Miss you both! Carry On!!!

  17. Christine Crispen says:

    Gary and Sue are the best. We have been given the opportunity to become friends with them through you and are very grateful. They are usually the first friendly faces we see when we arrive in Chicago for our annual visit and are also happily with us on our food tour. I’m looking forward to our next visit when we have time with all of you. All the best on your continued adventures!

  18. Peter says:

    I have three what I call true friends. One I met in 1976 and dated for about three years. It wasn’t pleasant to say the least. I didn’t even see her for about 15 years or so. Now she’s on her second marriage, we’ve become the closest of friends. She’s one I can call at 4:00 AM if I needed help and not even think twice. What’s even more amazing is that her parents consider my part of the family.
    The other two were two buddies from back home that I met back in the early 60s. We were the three musketeers all the way through high school and for several years after two of us went on to college. Then as time went on our get-togethers got farther and farther apart. I ended up where I am now, and they stayed at “home.” Through the marvel of computer and internet, we took up to communicating via email and Facebook. Now one of them has moved to Alaska, and this may sound strange, but we’re now closer than ever.
    Other people I’ve met over my life, to me, are acquaintances. But these three are true, good friends.

  19. Brain says:

    Karen said very well , better than what I can say. I will give it a shot. We to are friend granted we can’t hold your hand in a hospital or go shopping or a lazy day of fishing. But we to are friends , friends come in all shape and size . There are all types of friend , Gary and Sue sound great but I / we too would love to hear you on FB , G+, tweet, thanks .

    My RL friend Amy Davis ( from us 99 ) say to me years back. She ( well I don’t want get her in trouble so I will say it this way ) was single, I said the date line you have at work . You could pick the best sounding ones before they get on the the air. O no there are to many walks of life that listen to the radio for that.

    I know your post was a shout out to them , and I say thank-you Gary and Sue friend need friend too. I say go to FB , G+ or some place and just post the word ” hi we are well ” for that what FB book is for . The sign off of ” see you on the radio , now it ” see you on Face Book ”

    Ps there is one and only one good thing that your not on the radio. The angry email must have stop from the guy who hates the show but was there each night .

  20. dolores stark says:

    it is not the same at night any more, sure miss you two.
    sleepless with out steve and johnnie dont know how to cope.

  21. Pryde says:

    You guys were right up there with Spike, The new guy is not worth listening too. I sometimes on my ride home from getting off at 12 pm would go the long way and sit in the car for awhile listening to you. I am getting more sleep now after going back to listening to FM. Thanks for the memories.!!!!

  22. Candy Moore says:

    I knew WGN wouldn’t be the same without you guys, but I never expected it to go as far as I’m concerned compl,etely downhill. This John B. is awful. He has no feelings for his listeners. It’s all about him. Please get a job at another radio station, so I can hear you again. MIss, Miss, you terribly.

  23. Bettye Flickinger says:

    Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo misssssssssssssssssssss you. As others say, I sleep much earlier now. Always tried to do the first two hours at least. Need to figure out how to get RFD TV package. Retired and need to picky about my $ and such. Will you put out a few more DVD or CD. Gonna have to reward myself with LIfe after Dark. Will call GN to see what’s still available. I still have to go to Spike too, to get a fix. Such a different life, then you will wonder how you ever did what you did. You deserve to rest, but as a retiree (I worked until I was 70) we seem to lose our structure. As a retired friend of mine says “Now I don’t want a job.” He was a local truck driver and now they sit and talk about their routes, silly things that happened. Please stay on FB and give us bleeps now and then. Much love to you both and thanks for all you have done for so many folks and entertainers. Please let us know about Bob Young.

  24. The Living Survivor 1929 says:

    Hi y’all!
    I heartily wish you both well in whatever you choose to do to occupy–just a tad bit of time :))
    Like your herd of loyal listeners, I miss y’all I’m not real fond of the current GN on-air choice for y’alls former slot. But I have discovered I still like the late night weekend peeps, and I kinda like some of the current afternoon lineup.

    That aside, y’all are an awesome duo. I look forward to whatever way y’all still keep in touch w/the rest of us here on the planet! (remember, some of us floating around here don’t have television access and RFD is out of the question :))

    And I look forward to hearing about/reading about/whatever–all the friends y’all have met and bonded w/throughout the years. (Who HASN’T heard of Les Paul, but Gary and Sue…I’d like to know more whenever possible 😀 )

  25. Suzanne Grammy Higgins says:

    Steve and your “child bride”, Johnnie, You entertained and educated me through sleepless, post-mental-pause (my kids quote) nights. As Tracey Butler put it, I will miss not only the two of you but your wonderful circle of friends. I will miss the music, the camera and car info, the computer gang, and the movie and TV reviews for a start. Bless both of you and keep on, keeping on, as Fran would say.
    I will attempt to sleep nights now!
    Love you.

  26. lynda says:

    so good to hear from you. please keep all of us posted. merry christmas to both of you.miss you miss you its not the same on my drive to work.

  27. Mary Cosgrove says:

    Wonderful to her from you!
    Thanks, thanks, thanks! Keep us posted!

  28. Patrick says:

    Hey guys,

    The is Patrick (the Daddy) planning a Harry Potter Convention for young Megan (now almost 15). Who will we review the midnight movies for?

    I have been out of the country for 9 weeks, hence I had quite a surprise when I returned.

    Missing you & yours!


  29. Bob B says:

    Life After Dark is reeeeeeeally dark now! Some holes in life just can’t be filled……..

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