So, you’ve been asking about …

… Bob Young and Fran Tate.

For the uninitiated:

Bob Young is the incredibly talented singer/songwriter/guitarist who did our “Steve & Johnnie, Johnnie & Steve” theme along with other memorable originals such as “Roll Me A Long One.”

Fran Tate is the 70-something ball of fire who has been our Barrow, Alaska bureau chief and gift-giving Easter Bunny to the kids at Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Now, the REST of the story ….

Bob Young, who had a VERY tough health year in 2010 became very ill again, late in ’11.  It honestly looked like he had lived his 9 lives but…SURPRISE!! After being hospitalized in critical condition for 2 months he was moved to a rehab facility.  For weeks he has been unable to speak.  His condition was “quiet and stable”.  Today his nurse told us he can talk and WANTS to talk to us!! What a wonderful surprise.  We also found out his phone was broken when he could hear me but, I couldn’t hear him.  Thank goodness his nurse was standing right there and said she would get maintenance on that asap as Bob WANTED to talk! I could hear it in her voice, she was pleased and yes, pleasantly surprised! We can’t wait til his phone is fixed and we can actually chat.  He will be tickled to know that you haven’t forgotten him and in fact, not a day goes by that someone doesn’t inquire about him.  So, for Bob, thanks and please, keep him in your thoughts and prayers.  He is going to surprise doctors and us…yet again!

And, Fran…she, like Bob, has been dealing with complications related to diabetes.  She was coming up on a very busy holiday season at Pepe’s North of the Border in Barrow and tells us she got lazy and lax with her medication.  Next thing she knew she was in the hospital for 9 days in a diabetic coma.  She came out of that and back to work only to get a cold and experience a setback that laid her up for 3 more days. She is NOW back to work (12 hours a day!!) at Pepe’s but, is going in later in the morning missing the breakfast shift but, staying late to play “catch up”. She sounded great and says she actually feels really good except for the neuropathy in her feet that slows her down.  Amazing! She also thanks you all for your cards, notes and good wishes.  We will stay in touch, in fact, she reminded me there is an entire display case of Steve and Johnnie Stuff in the restaurant so, not a day goes by that she doesn’t think of us and you, the listeners!  We might just get crazy and head up north for a little visit this year and I can work the tables at Pepe’s…the tips are really good since the food is so good! Again, Fran thanks you for thinking of her and asked that you also keep her in your thoughts and prayers!

So, we are expecting an unseasonably warm day in Chicago today…who cares, the above news has really warmed our hearts!

We’ll keep you posted,


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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40 Responses to So, you’ve been asking about …

  1. Linda Sue says:

    Johnnie, Thank you so much for the updates! I would love to see another picture of you and Fran together….you look like family! Alpha Lipoic Acid is good for diabetic neuropathy – Prevention Magazine said so a long time ago. Perhaps Fran can talk to her doctor about it.
    As for Bob, when my sister was in the hospital many years ago, the phones were out due to a widespread outage. Power was back on but the phones were not. It is hard on the nurses to add phone message duty to their tasks, but they were so good about making sure messages got back and forth. It is so hard on the patient because they feel cut off. Couldn’t they just take a phone out of an empty room? It sounds like it is the phone itself that is having problems.
    But I am glad Bob and Fran are doing better now. They are both very special people!!!

  2. Kathy Williams says:

    Thanks so much for sharing the information with “us” . It is so nice to hear the rest of the story.
    I look forward to hearing about your new adventures! Kathy Williams from northern Michigan

  3. Sean Carolan says:

    Thank you for passing this along. You and Steve have been part of the daily coversation, whether direct or indirectly. My daughter has been asking about.Fran and Bob since you left, she became a fan when she tagged along to work with me. We are glad to hear the news and bope that you and Steve.are.enjoying yourselves.

    We look forward to hearing about your next adventure. The Carolans

  4. Bill says:

    Nice to hear that two of the “life after dark” cast members are back on the mend. Question; when Fran was ill, and, in the hospital, what did Barrow do? She is such an integral part of that community so that when is she is out of town, or, ill, it sounds like the entire town would come to a halt.

  5. Peter says:

    Good to hear the good news! Let’s hope that 2012 will be an uneventful year (health-wise) for them both.

    And you never know – if you go up to AK, you might run into me. I’m making tentative plans to see a friend who recently re-located to Sitka, so while I’m there . . .

  6. Susan says:

    Thanks for the updates, Johnnie. I hope Fran and Bob feel all of our love and prayers!

  7. Summersnow says:

    So glad to hear the good news. Please don’t stop–air time is so empty around here.

  8. Mark says:

    As I said before my nights are much more lonely without hearing you guys, however, what GREAT news about Fran and Bob…. Whoever thought that people you have never met could mean so much to you. When you speak with them make sure you tell them that ALL are hearts and prayers are there for them.

    Always Praying


  9. Hope Good says:

    Steve and Johnnie,
    Thanks so much for the update. My friend is visually impaired and she has been enjoying the updates, I find them and e-mail them to her. She listened since you started, compared with me, a newbie. She also asked me about Bob Young’s brother Mike, who also had been going through a lot. Any news of him,

    • Actually, Bob’s brother’s name is Steve and we just reconnected with him. He’s now in Homer, Alaska. You can check out his website to see some of his photography.

      • Hope Good says:

        Thanks for the update! I will forward this on to my friend.

      • Fran says:

        Is this the same brother that lived in Hawaii close to a volcano? Seem to remember he had a webpage something like volcano village or some such. My mind has long since left me! Sure miss my bedtime companions – long for the good ‘ole GN days. I harken back to the days of Franklin McCormick so was hard for me to give up my WGN. A lot of great memories through the years.

  10. John R Speropoulos says:

    Thanks for the updates on these 2 wonderful people. glad to hear they are doing well.As for the other side.I miss you guys on my nightly drive home from Marengo.the cows are going to miss the theme song, as I used to blast it on the way home.God Bless and Good Health for you and Steve…….

  11. I was thrilled to read about Bob and Fran. I really miss you so much I hope you and Steve are enjoying your retirement. Have you been to Florida?. I missed your Christmas music and the choir. WGN isn’t the same. Unfortunately my Bose radio does not tune to 720, but I have enjoyed playing my favorite CD’s there. Please keep the updates coming and tell us what you are doing. Loving our early”spring” weather. All my love to Fran and Bob and to you too.

  12. Jo Christian says:

    Thank you for the updates. Now, an update on you two, please. I don’t Twitter, and never could get to you Life After Dark posts, so please let us know your plans/ Miss you so very much.

    Glad all our Steve and Johnnie friends are on the mend.

  13. Candy Moore says:

    So great to see all the good news. The best was to hear from you. I miss you guys so much. No matter what any one says WGN is not the same. Love you both.

  14. Barb says:

    Thanks for the update. Sending well wishes to both Bob and Fran. Oh how we take good health for granted. A special thank you for helping us to remember to keep on praying. I cannot tell you how much I miss listening to our favorite “Life After Dark” couple. Take care of yourselves and enjoy your new adventures. Remember we love hearing from you both when you get a spare moment.

  15. sawyerspeaks says:

    Great to find your blog and hear about Fran. Miss you guys, although I do get more sleep at night.

  16. Wendy Koziol says:

    Thank you for the update on Bob Young and Fran Tate. I’m so glad to hear they are both recovering. What a great idea for you to go visit Fran. You’ll have to bring Mike D. to help you set up a computer for Fran to record your visit.

    All the best to you.

  17. Karen Peters says:

    Thank you so much for the undate on Fran and Bob. Have been thinking of them and prayers are always going their way. Still not the same but good to know that you pop up now and then to keep us posted on what is going. Catch the two MIchael’s on Wednesday but still miss Patrick. Have a wonderful 2012 and look forward to your next post.

  18. lynda obremski says:

    miss you miss you miss you. they have trash talkers on the radio now. nothing like you guys.

  19. Diane says:

    Been thinking about Fran, so loved her commentary from Alaska and missed it on New Years. I would love to email/send her a card but don’t have her address. Both my kids ( 30 and 26) are diabetic so I know what she goes thru. That is why I started listening to you guys, Had to do the 2 AM blood sugar test.

  20. Carolyn Faulkner says:

    Thank you so much for the update on the “family.” It’s good to hear that they are both doing better after such a rough year. Still missing the two of you and the rest of the folks. Hope you are keeping busy!! (LOL!)

  21. Monica Rehwaldt says:

    Praying for Fran. Someday I’d love to get to Barrow! Looking forward to Iditarod now! Thanks for keeping us updated-miss you guys!

  22. Victor says:

    Thanks for the update. We miss you enormously!
    Keep in touch.

  23. Robin Richer says:

    I miss you guys so much. I’m trying to adapt, but it is not going so well. My mother lives out of state and when I told her you guys were leaving she said” What are you going to do???” She knows how important you and Steve have been to me all these years. i was talking to the other girl that I work, with this week and we were freaking out because we are also missing all the others. We wanted to know about Fran and Bob.(thank you for the answers there) and we missed the Woodstock Choir, movie reviews, computer shows, the showbiz machino, all the various musicians, Tommy,Suzy,Doyle…..I can’t even name everyone. I wish that I could retire from nights, because it is just not the same!!!! Keep us all informed, because we are all suffering from withdrawal!!!

    love you and miss you both,

  24. CW says:

    That is best news of the day!
    JP, I guess there is still hope after all, for Bob to complete the long overdue song about “my piggies have whiskers” LOL
    As for Fran how cool that the Hot Sexy Tinny Winny Bikini Grandma, is doing well, I dont know how but I intend to have a few of her tacos at Pepe’s…. hmmm maybe that is a field trip thatl all of us kids should plan and head to Barrow, Alaska wouldn’t that be cool?…. and btw I hear you can see Russia from Pepe’s.
    JP & SK, thanks for the update, keep safe and be blessed!

  25. Sharon Keland says:

    Thanks for the update on two favorite people — they’ll be in my prayers. Miss you two so much — you kept me up way too late every night, now WGN puts me to sleep!!! God bless!

  26. francis says:

    glad to hear them two doing better hey steve and johnnie i and a whole lot of people miss a hole lot!!!!! hope your doing good miss you bad love ya guys happy new year.

  27. Liz says:

    Glad to hear from you and thanks for your update! Miss you dearly at nighttime. WGN just isn’t the same…the other day though, just out of habit still, I put on WGN at nightime and what a wonderful surprise I got…. Nick DiGiglio was on….. that was really nice treat….
    Take care and I do hope you get up to Alaska this year. I just adore Alaska. I ‘ve always wanted to go to Barrow North Point, Alaska, “the top of the world”. If I ever do get up there, I’ll be sure to Pepe’s on my list of places to go when in Barrow and hopefully I’ll be able to meet Fran in person. I always loved when you spoke with her. I think she is an amazing, fun and wonderful person. I wish her all the best! I can’t wait for you guys to be back on the radio somewhere….

  28. Elizabeth Flickinger (Bettye) says:

    Thanks so much for keeping us in your thoughts. Weather channel still does the Barrow visit now and then and of course Fran at her greatest. She is very near and dear to me. Missed the Christmas bit. Never forget the one with all of the stations across Alaska and we could hear the natives say Merry Christmas in their language. Fear in my heart to hear she was sick. Again, sad to hear Bob Young was ill again. He is very special too. A talent like that does not need to be ill. He too has diabetes right? I am 76 and still like a small “bull.” Daughter thinks I am immortal. Guess what! NOT. I chase after my grand kids ages 7 and 5. They are with me a great deal. SO MISS YOU. Just not the same, but know after so long in a place (I was 22 years working in one place) you really need a CHANGE. Although I am alone (so to speak) I have the kids, but not having my radio family is really a downer. Miss Cyber Squad, although Mike DeM helped me with my PC and it was like talking with an old friend. I could go on forever, but know this will not be possible. Again, thanks for thinking of all of us. Bettye – Joliet

  29. Laura Dudek says:

    I miss my S&J. Thank you for all the updates it makes me in some strange way still feel connected. I don’t turn on GN any more and am looking for another station to turn on at night for in and out sleeping. I hope both of you are doing well. I always say God does everything for a reason. However, sometimes I don’t understand it may be months down the line and I get a slap in the front of my head knowing why he did what he did. I hope you let us know if you get the slap in the head knowing why? Laura D~ Oak Lawn

  30. Fred I says:

    Thanks for the update! Be well Fran, i am diabetic too and know what we ‘all’ have to go thru to keep it normal. I think of you Steve and Johnnie all the time! HUGS. Fred from Livonia, Michigan.

  31. Suzy Allen says:

    Thanks for the happy health update on two special people I came to enjoy on your show. Happy New Year. WGN will only be on here for the Cub games. Good personalities all gone.

  32. caroline says:

    Hi Johnnie, Hi Steve

    I was one listener asking about Fran and Steve. I just read the blog tonight. I thank you for this information. They, along with you two are treasures.

    It is just ashame we will not be able to get all the information you gave usregarding computers,automobiles and all that other good knowledge you gave us.

    Your replacement is not bad but “poops” out of programming by 3:00 a m. He needs to expand himself. Maybe a partner would help.

    Hope you had nice holidays. Will be looking for more bloging

    Your fan


    • Sharon says:

      I have listened to you from the beginning and sure do miss you and the people you brought into my life. Keep in touch with us and best to your mother, Johhie.

  33. Lynn Malnekoff says:

    Thank you so much for posting the update. Bob and Fran and many of the other people you have had on your show have become my friends as well as yours and I am so glad to hear that they are ok. Thank you for keeping us up on the news, since we can’t hear you every night any more. Best wishes for a speedy recovery of your mom!

  34. Dorothy May says:

    Dear Steve and Johnnie – Thank you for the updates – I’m so sorry about your Mom,Johnnie – I, too miss you both I was a long time listener -and would like to know what you two are up to – any new shows – WGN is just now the same! Much love – Dorothy May

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