December 8, 1980

40 years ago I was getting ready to come in and do my overnight shift on Chicago’s WIND radio when I heard a news bulletin that said John Lennon had been shot.

When I got to the station, I was surprised that Clark Weber, who did the show before mine, hadn’t switched from his game plan to cover the story. I told my producer, Cheryl Morton, that we were going to scrap what we had planned and devote the show to covering the unfolding story.

John Lennon in the Beatles’ movie, “Help!”

For the next 5 hours, along with tracking down guests who knew Lennon and getting updates from New York and Liverpool, it felt like I was hosting a radio version of a psychiatrist’s office with callers who just needed to vent, share memories, cry and just express their disbelief at what had happened.

Excerpt From Chicago Media Critic Ron Alridge’s Column In The Chicago Tribune

It was a night I won’t forget and a loss that, to this day, is a definable part of the DNA of those of us who lived it.


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
This entry was posted in Music, Partly Personal, R.I.P., Radio and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to December 8, 1980

  1. LINDA S JOHNSON says:

    Steve and Johnnie, once again you have proven your communication skills and shown us your kind heart. Thank you for your past you gave us and thank for still being around for us. I wish you were back on the air but I understand and am learning in my old age that it is good to remember the past but know that the future is its own. Take care and thanks again. Linda Sue

  2. John Herrbach says:

    And, though I did not hear it, I wish I had.

    This kind of work is what made Radio important to people, at that time, during WWII, during 9/11, etc.

    What we are getting today is sorely lacking in dealing with the honesty of today, now, who we are, what we do.

    And, I don’t see it anywhere else, not on cable, internet, radio, TV, it all seems to be lacking that connectivity and empathy.

    Though, I still give some credit to WGN.  At times, there is a bit of it there, but not like it was.

    Where are Kathy and Judy?  We need that kind of radio again.

    Your show, and what radio was, was very important to communicating what people were going through.

    It was a self-help group of connectivity.

    People…. have they been forgotten?

    Best wishes to both of you, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    • Thanks, John! We like and agree with your “self-help group of connectivity” point. We’ve always thought that radio was at it’s best when it’s just the people inside the speaker talking directly to, and sharing moments with, whoever is on the other side of that speaker. Early into our WGN adventure, one of our favorite bosses said it should be like that conversation across the back fence. It still can be that and, in it’s better moments, sometimes it still is. Best wishes to you, too. Here’s hoping a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year are just the beginning of the good things that will help to make 2020 just a dim vision in your rear view mirror.

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