Look who’s talking: Bruce Wolf cracks wise on WLS promotion

You could count on one hand the people who’ve hosted mornings on Chicago’s legendary WLS-AM (890) in the last 40 years: Larry Lujack, Fred Winston (before and after Lujack) and, since 1989, the husband-and-wife team of Don and Roma Wade.

With last week's announcement that the Wades were stepping down to focus on Don’s cancer treatment, the Cumulus Media news/talk station anointed Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft as their successors, effective immediately.

Wolf and Proft, who first teamed in May 2010 on weekends and then moved to 9 to 11am weekdays, had been filling in for the Wades in morning drive since September. Now it’s official: Wolf and Proft will host from 5 to 9am weekdays. The big time on the Big 89.

It marks the latest career move for Wolf, 59, a lifelong Chicagoan and media veteran who made his name as a television sports anchor, radio sportscaster and the alter ego of Chet Chitchat. But few knew him as a staunchly conservative political commentator until WLS paired him with Proft, 40, a Republican political consultant and unsuccessful candidate for governor in the 2010 primary.

So far, so good. Benefitting from interest in November’s presidential election, Wolf and Proft delivered a solid performance in the latest Arbitron survey, finishing second in mornings overall with a 6.1 percent share and a cumulative weekly audience of 349,300.

What does Wolf make of all this? Here’s our exchange:

Q. You and I grew up listening to WLS. Did you ever imagine you'd be hosting mornings there?

A. I always thought of myself as playing the roles of both Bob and Betty Sanders on WBBM.

Q. Who has bigger shoes to fill — Don or Roma?

A. Dan and I should only be as magnanimous to our successors as both Don and Roma have been to us.      

Q. What's it like to be a mouthpiece for the Republican Party in a Democratic city in a blue state?

A. Forget the city and state. Try holidays at relatives' houses. FDR is still a deity there.

Q. Does this mean a new contract for Chet Chitchat?

A. You'll have to talk to his agent, Saul Foos.

Q. Who are your role models as a talk show host?

A. William F. Buckley, Magic Johnson and Chevy Chase.

Q. Have you heard from Jonathon Brandmeier now that you're direct competitors?

A. I never heard from Johnny when I worked with him. I kid, of course. We used to lunch every Tuesday with Kup and Sid Luckman in Booth One of the Pump Room.

Q. Does anyone ever get you confused with Rich Koz?

A. Only Moe and Larry, but not Shemp.

Q. Would you vote for Dan Proft?

A. If the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary ever rolls around again I promise that this time I'm his.

Q. Would he vote for you?

A. I retired from public life after serving as the student council representative from Mr. Sullivan's homeroom at Oakview Junior High in Skokie in 1967, five years before Dan Proft was born.

Q. Can you get me Dick Biondi's autograph?

A. Which side of your tuckus do you want it on?

Q. What kind of comments do you think this post will elicit?

A. I'm never going to get the support of 47 percent. Which will be written by me under pseudonyms.


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)