Memories of two Chicago icons
Robert Feder's blog entry about Larry Lujack's death five years ago reminded me of another noted local media person, Mike Royko.
Since I only knew each man through his work, these are only observations. I never met either of them and I don't know if they were acquainted.
Both Lujack and Royko influenced many people in broadcasting and journalism, respectively. I've seen words like "gruff" and "cynical" used to describe both of them, and feel safe suggesting that neither suffered fools gladly.
It's hard to say how long Royko would have continued working had he lived, or what impact and appeal he would have had beyond 2000. His views on Bill Clinton's impeachment, 9/11, the second Iraq War and the 2000 Bush/Gore Presidential election would have made for fascinating reading. He would have had a field day with the current Chicago mayoral race, I'm sure, especially with another Daley involved. "Boss II" anyone?
Larry Lujack is a little easier to gauge since he lived long enough for two comebacks, the last on the former WRLL-AM "Real Oldies 1690" in 2003. Teamed with former WLS pal Tommy Edwards, the two reprised their "Animal Stories" segment, but it wasn't the same.
It wasn't Edwards' and Lujack's fault. With a weak nighttime signal and almost no promotion, the station went dark in 2006. And honestly, by 2003, Lujack's edginess wasn't as cutting edge. Too many copy cats.
Tommy Edwards' autobiography should be interesting when it's released in 2019.
James H. Newton