Monday, December 23, 2013

Remembering Larry Lujack

Thank you David Treadway for your thoughts on Uncle Lar.  I was also very saddened upon the news of Larry Lujack's death.  I grew up in the Chicago area, in the suburb of Evanston, and Lujack was a big influence on me too as I became fascinated  with radio and was so determined to work in the biz.  Remembering all the things he did on the air just makes me smile.

I love how Lujack made people laugh.  Sometimes it was a funny observation.  Sometimes it was his sarcasm, which seemed to fit Chicagoans' mood just right.  At a time when jocks were cheery, or pleasant "guests in the home", or felt they had to sound slick and Big because they made it to a top 3 market, Lujack was so different.  He spoke his mind -- if a song was bad he said so, if a Hollywood star or sports celebrity was an idiot he said so, if a complaining listener was a prude he said so, and he loved to expose the foibles of his bosses too.  He was grumpy a lot, but a funny grump. His putdowns had a smile behind them (usually).  To top it all off,  he enjoyed poking fun at the radio business and other stations and jocks around town.  Chicago was a very competitive, tough, territorial radio town and it was an unwritten wrong to mention someone else's call letters.  Lujack didn't care.  He did it anyway.

So the term "shock jock" was applied to him, but I don't really think it fit.  He was never profane. And now that he's dead, all kinds of stories are being repreated as to how kind, supportive and down-to-earth he was to people off the air.  Actually, those stories have floated around for years.

I'd like to share with you a short sample of his famous "Klunk Letter of the Day" feature.  This is from WCFL in early June 1973.

RIP Larry, and thanks for the laughs and inspiration.

Greg Barman

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