Bob Bonner has no idea that his "radio character" is based on another Wisconsin broadcaster, Michael Wegner of Osceola.
Wegner was known as Michael J. "Donuts" Douglas on Twin Cities station KSTP-FM. His title was "morning newsman," but his colorful, genuine, sometimes cranky asides with on-air partner Chuck Knapp are what made the show, and helped make the station #1 in the 1980s. He retired from radio years ago and died last week.
When I was 23 and working the all-night show there I had a chance to watch the chemistry develop between Knapp, city boy in khakis and quarterback of the show, and Douglas, farm boy in Levis and coffee stained shirt, with his "aw, what the hell" approach to radio.
I wanted to host my own morning show someday, and I always thought it would be great to find someone like "Donuts" to cast as the Oscar to my Felix. (Hey, you gotta be honest with yourself).
Five years into the Magic 98 morning show the opportunity to work with Bob presented itself. I could feel the chemistry right away.
"Donuts" was an original, always himself. Knapp said last week that Michael was the best he ever worked with.
His passing makes me appreciate Bob a little more than usual.
He's also an original - and the best I've ever worked with.