Fran Tate Update

Since it has been a while, we’re not surprised that, recently, many of you have been asking “do we ever hear from Fran and what’s the latest with Fran?” I want to share a short conversation I just had with our “Barrow, Alaska Bureau Chief” and, more importantly, dear friend, the amazing Fran Tate.

First, for the uninitiated, courtesy of Colleen Mastony’s 2007 article in the Chicago Tribune, here is a brief recap of our history with this incredible woman.

Thanks to a Barrow resident who works with Fran at KBRW we heard via email that she has been critically ill for months.  Fran’s radio station colleague said that unlike other times when she bounced back it just wasn’t happening this time.  All who know her are very concerned and in fact, they were dedicating the radio station meeting to Fran last night.

When I called her at home (possibly the ONLY time she’s ever been reached at home!) she picked up the phone and a small almost unrecognizable voice whispered hello. It was Fran.  She did recognize me and tried to explain what she has been going thru for over  3 months now.

For years she has wrestled with complications due to diabetes but, this time infection in both of her heels has her flat on her back.  She has spent the past 3 months in the hospital in Anchorage and the infection continues to keep her down.  I asked what the prognosis is and she said only time will tell but, doctors think she may lose her feet.  For the active, whirlwind of energy that Fran is I know just saying those words pained her.  I told her we would put her on our prayer list and she perked up momentarily and asked if we would please pray for her.  So, please, pray for our friend who has a heart as big as Alaska!

Johnnie & Steve with Fran Tate at Children's Memorial Hospital

Johnnie & Steve with Fran Tate at Children’s Memorial Hospital

Fran is happy to have her son Joe-Joe back in Barrow after a health scare that kept him in the hospital for months.  Joe-Joe was at working at Pepe’s so I was unable to get anymore details on Fran’s condition.  Bob Green, a dear friend who worked for Fran in the early days of Pepe’s, is now back in Barrow running the restaurant for her.

We will be staying in touch with Bob and Joe-Joe and keep you all up to date on Fran’s condition.  Meantime, please, pray for her.



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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52 Responses to Fran Tate Update

  1. Julie Burke says:

    Thanks for the update on Fran. I’m sorry she’s in the situation she is. I will add her to my prayer list too.

  2. Lynda from Chicago says:

    Please tell her that all Chicagoans are praying for her. Keep us posted as to her condition.

  3. Joan M. Stockhoff says:

    Johnnie: I just felt that something was wrong. So, I hoped I incorrect. But, as I know now, I am not. Thank you for this most important update and I will include her in all of my prayers!!!

    God bless the both of you,

  4. Karen Schulz says:

    People like Fran became part of our lives just as the pair of you did, and I’m glad to hear a report on her. I will be praying for dear Fran, as I do for you both. Please let us know how she is doing, and remind how much she is loved by “her” listeners. You are ALL sadly missed…

  5. says:

    I will pray for Fran Tate at our synagogue. I MISS YOU VERY MUCH ON THE RADIO EVERY NIGHT!! Hope everything is alright with both of you. Sara M.

  6. says:

    Dear Johnnie,

       So sorry to read about your friend Fran Tate. Over the years of listening to you talk to her and about her I know what a energetic women she is. I will keep her in my prayers and if there is a address that I could send a card to I’m sure she would love to hear from friends down here.

     Thank you keep us posted

    Miss you both Lori Lamberger 

  7. I will be praying for dear Fran and hope that she heals. I am a distributor for a product that is helping people with weight and health issues including diabetics. There is a man whom got hit by a train and for 40 yrs has had an open sore and had to keep getting it cleaned out and dressed. He started taking our juice and went back to the Dr. & he asked what he was doing different as it was closing up. I wouldn’t mind if you could relay this to her or her son and I would ship it to see if it helps. It is called Xyngular and you can check it out at
    I’m glad you two are doing o.k.

  8. Hi, Steve and Johnnie: It seems like a coincidence that I saw this posting about Fran Tate come through on Facebook. But, Dr. Bernie Siegel says there are no coincidences; just “God-incidences,” so maybe it wasn’t a coincidence after all. Anyway, I was saddened to learn about Fran’s problem with healing her feet I have no idea whether the information I have will help Fran, but I hope it will. You see, I almost lost my husband in 2002 to a non-healing head wound following multiple surgeries to his head. Through an integrative doctor friend I found something that healed his non-healing wound when nothing else would. It’s called Silverlon and it is FDA-approved for all non-healing wounds, and is used most often for burns AND for DIABETIC WOUNDS. I will share my story about Silverlon with you via this link — my article that was published in the National Brain Tumor Foundation’s newsletter: . I’ve also written an best-selling book, titled “Honest Medicine,” about FOUR treatments (ONE IS SILVERLON) that most doctors don’t know about, but that are very effective and non-toxic for life-threatening conditions. If you think I can be of help to Fran, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can reach me at Julia at Thanks, Steve and Johnnie. (I MISS YOU ON THE RADIO!!)

  9. Margaret Lopez says:

    I don’t know if you will get this message, but I want you to know I will say a prayer for Fran. You have been a good friend to her and I am sure it brought her great joy to have your phone call.

  10. Rev John Williams says:

    As the former “official reverend” I will officially pray for our dear Fran. I hope you two are enjoying your retirement, late nite is not the same without you, so I am never calling that radio station again. 🙂 much love….

  11. Patricia Maloney says:

    I wil definitely keep her in my prayers…..she is a fabulous woman. Please Bless her Dear Lord.

  12. says:

    So many prayers going out to Fran. I would stay awake just to hear her on your nightly show, that I miss so much. I thank you for the update, and will keep her in my prayers. God Bless you both Peace—Jo Christian

  13. Linda Sue says:

    Oxygen – Putting oxygen on a wound will heal it.
    Silver – Colloidal Silver will kill germs and help heal wounds.
    Laughter – Laughter increases blood flow so wounds heal faster.
    Keeping the diabetes under control is difficult but necessary.

    Good luck to Fran and may God’s blessing be felt by her and those who love her!

  14. Linda Sue says:

    Is there an address where we could send funny cards to perk her up?

  15. Sharon says:

    I live in Bradley, IL and I’ll put Fran on our prayer chain at my church. Miss you both so much. I actually SELDOM listen to WGN anymore. Can’t find any good talk shows on at night. Don’t enjoy their morning show either. Not the same.

  16. Char Lane says:

    I am praying for you Fran and hope healing comes to you. I sure enjoyed you on Steve and Jonnie’s Radio Show. Please feel better. xo Char Lane

  17. dekerivers says:

    Her strong voice and laugher still ring in my mind, and I trust that inner spirit will see her through this chapter of her life. Prayers indeed, and the faith to see it through.

  18. judie says:

    pls pls come back on the radio. you guys
    are really missed. i rarely listen to wgn any more. how they could put thatTurii on instead
    of you two is a mystery to me!

  19. Bettye Flickinger says:

    So sad Fran is in this situation. The “indestructible Fran” will always be in my prayers. I will have to have a “Fran prayer moment” in my day. Hope Joe-Joe will be able to handle the pizza place. Please let us know how she is coming along. Praying for all. So miss ALL of you.

  20. Anthony and Pam Brown says:

    Never, ever doubt how much you are missed. We miss Fran and all the other great people you introduced us to as well. She is on our prayer list.

  21. Thanks for the update. When we first met her, it was like having a friend for life. David ” Polish Baker” was asked by Fran to come up to Barrow Alaska to work with her, as her Baker, though at the time with little children it just wasn’t right, though now or a few years ago time would of been perfect. Do miss keeping in touch with her, though when someone is ill, they can’t always keep in touch, though we both keep her in our prayers.

  22. Peggy D. says:

    Prayers going out for Fran! I miss my late nights with Steve and Johnnie AND Fran! Take care Fran, feel better soon!!!!!

  23. Keith Collings says:

    God bless Fran and you two for telling us about her. I am also trying to heal a heel to save my left foot. Prayers to you all

  24. Peter (Decatur) says:

    Thank you for the update, sad as it is. Many positive thoughts are flowing from me WAY up to Fran.

  25. Kathleen A. Thomas says:

    Will keep Fran in my prayers.Is there an address we can send cards to?

  26. Phyllis Shapps says:

    I can not tell you and Fran how much you are missed. I do not even turn the radio on any more. I long for the wonderful old days, Steve and Johnnie, Fran Tate, Kathy and Judy, also. I will keep Fran in my prayers,hope she can recover from this problem extremely soon!

  27. Mark Orr says:

    Not sure I can add anything to what has been said already. Like most people above I would stay up later than usual, if I knew Fran was going to be on with you. The way she described Barrow makes me want to go there. As everyone else says I Miss you guys being on the air. WGN is NOT the same….. not sure it ever will be.

    Mark O

  28. Marianne says:

    I completely with all the above comments, I miss you both, WGN will never be the same with you guys gone. I liked hearing Fran talk and would stay up late like all the other people said, to listen. You both had a powerful, enriching show. I moved from the Midwest to TX right before y’all (lol) went off the air. So not only am I lonesome at times, but no good radio to listen to anymore. Fran is in my prayers everyday now. Keep us all updated and if you can get an address, share it PLEASE! She’d love getting gobs of cards!!

  29. Carol Zavala says:

    Sent you a message a while back asking about Fran. So sorrry to hear she’s in the hospital. I also have diabetes, thankfully I’ve been able to manage it along with my heart problems. Like most, I miss you and Johnnie on the radio! I don’t listen to WGN anymore…My main radio stations are Progressive Radio and WBBM A.M.. Are you permanently retired? Is your dads dog still alive? Bye for now Carol ZVl

  30. Victor says:

    Our prayers are with her.

  31. verna (Christmas stocking lady) says:

    like soo meny other miss both of you & Fran, praying for her. and i too do not listen to wgn anylonger.

  32. Reenie says:

    Most definitely adding Fran to my prayers. I so often think of her and the fun she brought to your show.

  33. Cathy Bautz says:

    Fran has been added to my prayer list. I always enjoyed her SO much on your show! We were
    all blessed by meeting such an AMAZING human being . I miss both of you more than any
    words can even BEGIN to express!

    • Barb Mor says:

      Dear Johnnie,
      I want to echo all of the above comments thanking you for posting the news from Fran. It is hard to imagine that lady being down for months. And then to think of the possible amputation(s) in the future is yet another tough situation. I am glad that you have stayed in touch and will keep your GN family informed. Yes, I still think of you and Steve as part of that ‘family’ and miss you very much. Late night is not the same. And as you have probably noticed, poor Nick gets put into every slot there is. Never know when he will be on.
      Do take care of yourselves.
      bam from QCA

  34. Brian Haigh says:

    Is bob green the some one theat worked at wgn

  35. Lupe says:

    I want to wish Ms. Fran Tate a speedy recovery. God Bless you.

  36. Fran says:

    Fran will be on my prayer list, all the best for Fran’s recovery. Miss you guys on late night and all the great people you brought into our lives through the night.

    • Cathy Bautz says:

      We echo each others thoughts. We once had 4 radios tuned exclusively to WGN. We now have one that is turned on to WGN for Nick, Lou and Steve Dale. If ever there was a business that self-destructed, WGN is the poster child. I CANNOT STAND any of the replacement personalities on that station. I keep hoping to hear that our BELOVED Steve and Johnnie will appear somewhere else!!!!!!!

  37. Barb says:

    I will keep Fran in my prayers. I always enjoyed listening when you would call Fran and talk to her. I miss you Johnny and Steve, God Bless You. Barb

  38. Cathy Bautz, you are SPOT ON! The new folks at WGN don’t hold a candle to Steve and Johnnie. PLEASE COME BACK!! xoxoxo

    • Cathy Bautz says:

      I enjoyed your comment. Maybe you, Barb Mor and I should start a campaign to bring our BELOVED Steve and Johnnie back!!!!!!!!

  39. Roger Workman says:

    Thank you for the update on Fran , she will be in my prayers .. Miss you Steve & Johnnie from the WGN overnite show .. The very best to you two ..

  40. Ruth Horras says:

    Will pray for Fran and her son. She was such a delight to hear on your WGN Radio show.
    Miss you both and miss the good days of WGN. Not too much to cheer about.

  41. Barb Mor says:

    Steve and Johnnie,
    What is the news from Fran?
    I am enjoying all of the comments that agree with my missing you on late night GN. Just wondering about any changes in Fran’s condition!
    Barb M

  42. Jill Radke-Malik says:

    So sorry to hear about Fran. I always loved listening to her go on about her schedule. I only wish I could be so active. Diabetes is soooo sneaky and it doesn’t let up. My husband has outlived Dr. predictions and We know God is the reason…so many are praying for us and it has worked. We’ll keep Fran (and you 2) in our prayers. Thanks for keep your fans up to date. We miss you guys every night …Sunday into Monday….lol

  43. Ann m says:

    It was very interesting to hear about Fran. Will keep here in my prayers. I miss Steve &Jonny very much. Wish WGN would listen to some of the remarks you received and get you back. Would also like to hear Kathy and Judy back again. Who listens to WGN anymore.

    • Ruth Horras says:

      Do not listen to much on WGN. Still like to hear Dave Kaplan. Most of the programming is not good. All we have in Chicago is the sports radio. MISS Steve and Johnnie.
      Send a pray to Fran. What a gal.

  44. Fran Tate is such a remarkable person-unique. Hope she recovers and beats that disease once again.
    Miss you and your wonderful view into music that I have enjoyed for many years.
    Howard Levy and Muriel Anderson were in Woodstock earlier in the summer. We had a nice chat-I was quite sure she had met Howard on your show-she did. They put on a wonderful program.
    And she told me she misses you too……a lot. Hope you see her or maybe you were at the Opera House that night(I didn’t look, but surely would know the sound of your voices.)
    There is no one with your knowledge of or connection with the talent that came to life with your help. I stayed awake at least two hours-maybe more, one of the first nights that Les Paul was on and enjoyed every minute of him with you every after that.
    WGN has lost it’s nightime luster-thanks for your sharing of your talents as well as those of the artists you hosted.
    Gini McConnell

  45. Debbie Ruckle says:

    In case you have not heard, Pepes restaurant burned down a week ago. Fran is devastated but has vowed to rebuild. She is still fighting the heal infections, but is doing well.

  46. Pam says:

    Could you tell Fran that Joanne and Pam send prayers, we just heard about the fire. Today is her birthday if you could tell her happy birthday from us.

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