The greatest disc jockey the business of radio will ever see died yesterday. The media writer Bob Feder is right; Larry Lujack would hate people thinking that about him. Tough tatas, Superjock. Not only is it true, Larry Lujack is one of the reasons I fell in love with radio, and this from someone who has only been to Chicago one time in his life.
Larry had been retired almost a decade when I heard his voice initially. It was at the first station where I did news for a living, WGMZ in Gadsden, Alabama (I would provide a link, but the station is a cheap, tawdry shell of it’s former self). Jess Smith, my dear friend and then-Program Director of the station, was the resident radiophile – when the Gadsden Times profiled a 15-year-old Jess in 1982, he practically confessed to illegally operating a pirate station at his house in Rainbow City. Jess also collected, in that pre-internet era, cassette tapes of airchecks, samples of work from radio disc jockeys from around the country. One day, after interrupting a conversation for the 74th time with a 47-second collage of old WLS jingles, Jess gave me a tape containing the work of some of their old jocks – WLS was a news/talk station by then. The first voice on the tape was God.
Larry Lujack wasn’t the fast-talking disc jockeys I had heard before, trying stupidly to rhyme words, affecting a phony baloney voice and using catchphrases marketed as original but that were, like most things in media, stolen. Larry Lujack was real. It sounds like too simple a formula to be the best your business has ever seen and, since radio as we know it is dying a slow death, ever will see. But Larry was himself, whether the