Pat O'Neill's Blog


I’m looking forward to a visit this weekend with two longtime friends - mentors, really.

It’s extra special to see them together, and to share it with Magic 98 listeners (Saturday June 15th 6-9PM). As a teenager that loved radio and thought making it a career might be interesting, it took all the courage I had to pick up the phone and call the studio hotline of Madison’s top 40 giant WISM-AM.  When I did, Jonathan W. Little could not have been nicer, allowing me to visit his show one day to see what happens behind the scenes.  I tried again soon after, and Charlie “Rock & Roll” Simon was just as welcoming. 

In the years that followed both these guys took the time to advise me and occasionally critique my early work on a small town country station.  I don’t know what they got out of the deal, but it meant everything to me.  As the years passed and my interest grew I realized that these two, although working in a mid-size city like Madison, were known nationally for what they accomplished at WISM.
Jonathan was the music trendsetter, often the first in America to discover a hot new hit.  Charlie created incredible promotions (one paired the band Cheap Trick and Madison’s Police Chief).  And their back-to-back afternoon and evening shows were energetic and joyous.  The station’s 70s slogan was true:  “WISM is Madison.”

Both moved on to greater things in 1980, and WISM faded away. When the company offered me a job in 1983 the focus was on the new FM station, “Magic 98.”  I hope that Magic has served the next generation in Madison with the same kind of entertainment and community caring.  WISM, with Jonathan and Charlie leading the way, created the blueprint. 

Tags :  
Locations : Madison
People : Jonathan W. Little

06/14/2013 9:22AM
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