Posts Tagged ‘Harry Hickstein’

Detour To Janesville

September 9, 2013

Friday September 6th, 2013 – Rockford, IL

   Today was my last official day filling in on the air at FM 100.5 WNTA in Rockford, IL. I have fun doing it whenever I get a call, but as I’m saying much more often these days fun doesn’t pay the bills. It’s not like I don’t want to chase all of my passion projects, but I have to make a living.

   As fun as it is doing the radio show, I barely break even after paying for gas not to mention the outlay of time it takes to get to the station. It used to be bad enough, but now with the especially inconvenient ripped up road situation it makes it almost impossible to say yes if they ask again.

   I really do like helping people out whenever I can, but right now I have to help myself. There’s got to be a steady source of income out there somewhere, but I’m having a hell of a time locating it. Every week is still a struggle, and after all these years I thought I’d have it figured out by now. 

   I don’t, but I’m still out here trying and at least the things I’m doing are mostly fun. Today was a perfect example as circumstances worked out so that I could have comedian Brad Tassell come to the studio and sit in for the entire two hours as he was on his way to a show in Janesville, WI. 

   Janesville is right up the road from Rockford, and it worked out perfectly. I had heard he would be coming through town from Harry Hickstein, another act on the show. Harry was running a bit late and couldn’t sit in, but Brad did and it was a win/win for everyone. That’s how it should be.

   Besides doing comedy – which is more than difficult enough for anyone – Brad got his degree in counseling and does workshops around the country for schools on bullying of all things, and is also a published author of several books including one about his comedy road stories called ‘Hell Gig’ which is basically an early version of what I do here. It’s a peek behind the comedy curtain.   

   Brad is very intelligent and handles his business with an impeccable efficiency. He’s one of the few road dogs who has done it right, up to and including the process of becoming an LLC. I have always respected Brad, and he continues to flourish when many of us are barely staying afloat.

   His backup plan was his degree, and kudos to him for getting it. The bullying issue isn’t going anywhere for a while, and he does great work that helps people. Quite a few kids have told him if it wasn’t for his program they’d have committed suicide. Now THAT’S work that has meaning.    

   We were able to keep it light and fun on the radio, but also delve into some deeper issues and it made the time fly by. We had callers chime in, and for a while I felt like an actual talk show host. Brad was an outstanding guest, and some of the office staff at the station mentioned it as we left.   

   After the show, I followed Brad to Janesville where we met Harry Hickstein for an absolutely delicious dinner at the venue called The Armory. They have a top notch restaurant, and feed the comedians as part of the deal. I volunteered to host the show, and my meal was included as well.

   They didn’t have to do that, and I greatly appreciated it. They got a quality host for their show, and I hung out with two really good guys and had fun. There are worse ways to spend a Friday.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Coppock And Uecker

May 3, 2010

Saturday May 1st, 2010 – Wilmington, IL

New month, new attitude. I can feel the funk fade, and I’m ecstatic. Now comes the fun part of a creative blitz, and I’m having more ideas than I can handle. I’m writing all kinds of things down to the point of distraction. It’s like my brain is paying off a slots jackpot.

I know I need to watch what I eat and exercise more, but I did take a stroll today out in the gorgeous sunshine. This is the main part of the year from now until October 1st, and it puts me in a great mood to see the nice weather start. I want to be super productive now.

I continue to get rave reviews on my ‘Hard Luck Jollies’ CD, and I’m thrilled. I’m sure someone doesn’t like it, but those I’ve heard from have all overwhelmingly given it a big thumbs up. Those are the ones I’m trying to please, and apparently I have. I have my next one in the can, and it’s almost time to start working on that one to get it out by October 1.

One of the people who asked for one is Chet Coppock. Chet is THE ultimate sports talk show host of all time in the Chicago area and I’ve always been a huge fan. He was part of the broadcast team when the Milwaukee Bucks won the NBA Championship in 1971 and I was just a kid but I remember hearing him along with another classic, Eddie Doucette.

Chet has a style bigger than life, and it totally fits him. He gives guests big intros and is about as entertaining as a radio broadcast can get on a consistent basis. He was a staple on the old AM 1000 when it was The Loop, and the amazing thing was he did a sports show on a station that wasn’t a sports station. It is now, but back then he stood out in the pack.

Every host on Chicago sports radio owes Chet Coppock a royalty check in my opinion, and I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves. I know when I like someone I tend to be a huge fan, but Chet is truly outstanding. He took a whole genre and really made it his own.

He was working at WLS when Jerry Agar was there, and I got a chance to meet Chet for about five minutes and tell him what a major fan I was. I told him I remembered him back from his Bucks days, and his eyes lit up like brake lights and he told me all about his time in Milwaukee. I could tell it was fun for him too, and to have five minutes was a true gift.

He couldn’t have been any more gracious and friendly, and I’ll never forget it. Who gets a chance to meet their heroes? Not everyone, but I’ve done extremely well. From George Clinton to George Carlin to Rodney Dangerfield to Chet Coppock to many more, I’ve had a chance to personally meet some people I totally admire. Chet Coppock is a true legend.

Bob Uecker is another one, and I read where he just had heart surgery. I hope I’ll get my chance to meet him too, and I put a special thank you on the CD in his honor. I’ve always been a fan of his as well, even though we’ve never met. I’m just asking for five minutes.

Had a fun gig tonight in Wilmington, IL, which is south of Joliet. I worked with my old friends Harry Hickstein and Scot Wickmann. We had big fun onstage and even more off.