I have a good memory for meaningless stuff. Our phone number when I was a kid was 835-3074. “All In the Family” debuted in January 1971. “Bette Davis Eyes” was on the radio in March 1981. April Fool’s Day 1991 was a Monday. It can be a blessing to have this odd trait when hosting a radio show (Bob Bonner recently wondered on-air what year Abe Lincoln was born, and I blurted out “1809”) but I tend to also recall embarrassing, dumb things I’ve done.
When March arrives I always remember the Sunday in 1987 (the 8th if you wonder) when the Wisconsin State Journal printed a full page article profiling me and the Magic Morning Show, and our cast of Bill Short on news, “Laughing Colleen,” “Bruce the Carpenter” and others. (Bob was still in La Crosse).
I didn’t think the writer was very experienced or talented, and it’s possible that a 20-something me was more cocky and brash than today. When he asked if I “was impressed with the other morning radio shows in Madison,” my best recollection of a response was “I don’t listen to them, I’m on the air at the same time.” I could have done better than that. Worse was what was printed.
“O’Neill says he’s not impressed with the other morning shows.”
Madison media is a small community, and I doubt the article made me popular. My good friend Jonathan Little, then managing Z104, had every right to call me out for slighting his #1 ranked morning show with J.D. Barber, but Jonathan is too much of a gentleman.
Most of the article was positive, it’s framed and on the wall in my basement, but 26 years later I cringe when I see those words.
Here’s how I’d answer the question today: I’m sorry there are so many “national” morning shows piped in from other cities, but Johnny and Greg on JJO work hard and have a loyal audience, Jonathan and Kitty on Triple M are talented, and Joy Cardin on Wisconsin Public Radio is a good interviewer.