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Media: January 2019

| January 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

Dave Fogel has now been in the saddle as the morning man at WLS for a year. The return to his former station seemed to be destined. “I was doing mornings at WJMK, and CBS sold to Entercom out of the blue, a total surprise, and they changed the format overnight. I was out of a job, but I was very lucky. I got a call from WLS that same day. In the process of hiring me, however, they went into bankruptcy–so any new hires had to be approved by a court or a judge, so I didn’t start until after the holidays, but it all worked out. I’m pretty happy right now.”

He should be. The ratings have been going up since his arrival. When he first opened up the microphone as the morning man, the show was ranked in the 20s. It’s now in the top ten. Yes, there have been some fortunate outside events (like WJMK and the Loop dropping their formats), but there’s no question that Fogel and his on-air partner Kim Berk are catching on. Sometimes arranged marriages work out.

“I didn’t know Kim before I started,” Fogel admits. “I guess we kind of got thrown together, but she figured me out right away. I call her my work wife. Sometimes she finishes my sentences before I do. It was complicated at first because she had been there already when I showed up, so we had to figure it out. But we’ve got a good way of doing it now. She’s a very strong independent woman, and she knows how to have fun on the air. That’s really all I’m looking to do, is have fun.”

That’s always been Fogel’s appeal. He’s the veritable guy-next-door. “I am just a pretty normal dad,” he admits, describing the exact demo the station seeks. “I’m just like a lot of people. My wife calls us ‘Sweet’ and ‘Salty’. Guess which one I am? I like motorcycles, golf, and cigars. Probably shouldn’t say that. I’m sure the doctors aren’t in favor of cigars.”

The mention of doctors is something that’s become a normal part of Fogel’s life. He had a cancer scare right around the time he took the job, and he might have pushed it a little too hard in those early days. “I was a little screwed up for a while to be honest with you,” he says. “I missed only one day of work after surgery. It actually ended up being not so bright because I really needed the rest. I figured, what the heck, I’ve got all these tubes in me and I won’t be able to sleep anyway, but I really should have listened to the doctors and gotten my rest. It would have helped my recovery. But I was overly confident.”

He was in denial about the illness at first. “I didn’t fit the profile,” he says. “I was too young. It didn’t run in my family. I’m a pretty healthy guy. I go to the gym every day. It just didn’t make sense. I was sure they had the wrong guy. But I know more now. The surgery wasn’t enough, so I had to do radiation. In fact, when I first started at WLS a year ago, it was great because the NBC Tower was so close to the hospital. I’d do the show, get off the air, then walk over to the hospital to get zapped with radiation. The radiation oncologist kept asking me ‘Are you tired?’ I said, ‘I’m always tired. I do a morning show! How am I supposed to tell the difference?”

If the cancer scare taught him anything, it was to appreciate his family. With his daughter working in St. Louis and his son in Houston, it meant making sure he could find time to visit. His son is carrying on the family tradition. Fogel’s dad was in the media biz (television) and now so is his son. “He’s doing sports talk down in Houston,” Fogel says. “We went down and visited him for Thanksgiving and his mom cooked for him in his studio apartment. He’s on SportsRadio 610. He’s a fill-in talk-show host and is also their primary baseball reporter. He got down there two years ago, and Houston was hosting the Super Bowl. Then there was a hurricane. Then they won the World Series. They were also only one game away from being in the NBA Finals. So, he’s had an exciting two years.”

Fogel’s last few years have been eventful too. Going back to WLS wasn’t like going home, really. It’s clearly not the same station anymore. “That’s definitely true,” Fogel says. “When I was at WLS the first time the equipment and studio were awful, and now it’s this pristine, beautiful complex. It’s funny, a lot of the same people work here that worked with me before, but it sure does look different.”

Of course, it helps ease the transition when you haven’t burned the bridge. That’s where the nice guy persona comes in handy once again. “My dad is really my guide for how to behave,” he admits. “I watched him doing television shows, and he was nice to everyone from the cameraman to the makeup person, to you name it. It’s not that hard to be nice.”

Dave Fogel can be heard every weekday morning on WLS, 94.7FM.

-Rick Kaempfer

 

 

 

 

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Category: Columns, Media, Monthly

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