Jim O'Donnell: WGN-AM bringing 'Hamp and O'B' back to where they belong

  • Bears Hall of Famer Dan Hampton and former defensive stalwart Ed O'Bradovich are back with their WGN-AM radio show on game days this season.

    Bears Hall of Famer Dan Hampton and former defensive stalwart Ed O'Bradovich are back with their WGN-AM radio show on game days this season. Courtesy of WGN

Updated 9/10/2021 10:48 AM

PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY once said, "An error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it."

They are correcting an error at WGN-AM (720) this weekend -- and those who live and die with the Chicago Bears couldn't be more fortunate.


After one season in an extraordinarily ill-advised Tuesday night time slot, "The Hamp and O'B Show" is returning to its rightful spot on Bears game-day programming.

With the volcanic duo of Dan Hampton and Ed O'Bradovich continuing to serve as surrogate voices of the fans, the legacied biff-bam-boomer gets back to Sundays beginning with rappin' around the Bears-Rams at 6 p.m.

The plan is for an hour pregame show and two hours afterward, according to Dave Eanet, sports director at WGN. Mark Carman will once again traffic-cop.

Said Eanet: "It was moved for a number of factors, including allowing us to carry other NFL games and giving 'Hamp' and 'O'B' more of a chance to preview the next game as well as rehash the last one."

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Preemptions caused by Blackhawks gamecasts didn't help.

Now Eanet, station chief Mary Sandberg Boyle and others at the Nexstar Media wide-watter are back in alignment with the never-ending angst of new-mill Bears fans.

And as a further texturizer, the two howl-keepers -- the 81-year-old O'Bradovich and his Li'l Abner chum -- can count more than 100 years of personal associations with The Halas House of Pain.

MORE TUBULAR BEARS: The fondest wishes of NBC Sports on Sunday would likely include QBs Andy Dalton and Nick Foles missing the Bears team bus to SoFi Stadium and getting lost somewhere around The Beach Boys historical home marker in nearby Hawthorne.

That would leave Justin Fields -- the most anticipated rookie Bears quarterback since Mitch Trubisky -- positioned to make his NFL debut on "Sunday Night Football."


But nobody walks in L.A. So Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth will be calling Dalton and yet another providential reboot by Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy. That new "shoe" will go against Matthew Stafford and the sharpened Rams, who have been pushed to 8-point favorites.

NBC's new-look "SNF" studio group made its debut during "Tampa" Tom Brady's "riveting" 31-29 win over Dallas Thursday night.

With Maria Taylor continuing her "Dream Girl" 2021 -- now as a Peacock Networker after her flight from ESPN -- all was crisply produced, fine and benign.

Fields could spice things if he tells Taylor and all that he's issuing a "play me or trade me" ultimatum no later than Halloween.

BACK-BEARING IN OUR TOWN, Jeff Joniak and Tom Thayer return for their 21st season as radio play-by-play team. They remain on WBBM-AM (780).

While few other than sports media droopies have been monitoring, the two are closing in on the team record 24 seasons that Jack Brickhouse and Irv Kupcinet handled games on WGN-AM.

That run (1953-76) ended in part because of the ceaseless pinpricking of the phenomenal Gary Deeb in the pages of The Chicago Tribune.

Deeb's satirization pushed the Halases and Jim Finks to move the games to WBBM. Joe McConnell and improbable analyst Brad Palmer represented "a new sound."

Joniak (Hersey High, Class of '80) has never miscued. Thayer is knowledgeable, lasered and as rapid-fire as Joel Osteen at an IRS audit.

STREET-BEATIN': ESPN once again proves that its dysfunction knows no bounds when it premieres Peyton and Eli Manning's "Monday Night MegaCast" on the Ravens-Raiders game (ESPN2) opposite the "traditional" "MNF" coverage of Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick on its main channel. (That's like being asked to choose between lunch with Dave Chappelle or Kellyanne Conway.) ...

Odd August Nielsens for Chicago's two sports radio flailers: WSCR-AM (670) was flat but still outpointed struggling ESPN AM-1000, which was up almost 40 percent. "The Score" needs fresh programming vision; AM-1000's Mike Thomas needs money for new talent and promotion. ...

The New York media is rightfully attempting to slap the Wrigley-spawned hubris out of rent-a-Met Javie Baez. And $40 million teammate James McCann -- the earnest ex-White Sox All-Star -- is being yanked in select spots for pinch hitters. ...

When Brian Kelly's try at "execution" humor sailed wide splat last weekend, it reminded -- the effective Notre Dame football mechanic has no wit or charisma. He makes memories of Lou Holtz seem like Bob Hope Christmas specials. ...

Line of the insulting Arlington Park season -- hands-down, droppin' 'em, no review needed -- from Mike Campbell, president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association: "I would rather have the Taliban on my side than Churchill Downs at this point." (Goal, score! by The Daily Herald's Chris Placek.) ...

And Chicago sports treasure Taylor Bell, on that recent extraterrestrial activity at Addison and Clark: "Whoever dreamed the future of the Cubs would be named Ortega, Schwindel and Wisdom? It doesn't have the same ring as Ruth, Gehrig and Lazzeri."

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at jimodonnelldh@yahoo.com.

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