Kev revs up to take the show on the road: 'I am ready to go'

Now that he’s hit his stride as a podcaster, former Chicago radio superstar Kevin Matthews is ready to bust out of the studio and hit the road.

“We have the capabilities of going anywhere in the world,” he told me in a conversation taped for his podcast Thursday. “All I need is an electrical outlet and I can do this show anywhere I want. . . .  That’s the next step — to take the show on the road.”

Matthews, 56, didn’t share specifics, but said he’d love to do his road show with Steve Dahl, whose subscription podcast network has been Matthews’ creative outlet and paycheck since late last year. He records from a home studio in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“I’ve got all the equipment [and] I’m ready to go,” Matthews said. “I would like to add visuals to it. I am ready to go. And I want to do it with Steve. . . . I think it would be great. I’ve always wanted to go overseas. I’d like to just hit the road and take North America with me.”

(Dahl this week announced plans to celebrate the first anniversary of The Steve Dahl Network by originating his daily podcast before an audience of subscribers August 1, 2 and 3 from L. Woods Tap and Pine Lodge in north suburban Lincolnwood.)

After six years away from Chicago radio, Matthews joined Dahl’s fledgling network when the Grand Rapids station he was working for changed ownership and discharged him. It marked a reunion for the two who’d worked together at both AM 1000 and WCKG. “It’s really good to be here,” Matthews said. “And I’ll tell you the truth: I really missed Steve for so many years. To be back here and to start something new with him is a real honor.”

Matthews turned up as a guest host recently on Merlin Media’s struggling FM News 101, but he insisted he’s not looking to return to terrestrial radio. “They’d like me to come back,” he said. “But I find the freedom here [as a podcaster] so much more nurturing.”

Besides, he laments, radio just isn’t what it was.

“It’s sad. Because I watched an industry that gave me a career cannibalize itself. When I had a program director like a Greg Solk or when I was working with a Larry Wert, those people I would listen to. But you take a program director today and I think what they do is they tarnish talent. They’re not good enough to be on the air themselves, and it’s a crippling effect to talent these days.”

Adds Matthews: “I love radio. I think it is such a beautiful medium. But at the same time, I listen to it now and to me it is just a waste of electricity.”


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)