Chicago famed radio name Larry Lujack turns 73 next month on June 6.
Lujack is now retired, and living with his wife Judy in New Mexico. But sometimes I'll see him at the annual Radio Hall of Fame induction dinner held in November, since he was inducted in 2004.
This is the same man I grew up listening to almost every morning in the late 1970s hearing him on WLS while riding the school bus. His "Animal Stories" on-air segment was always a favorite for all ages. A reader searching the Internet happened upon a previous interview I did with Lujack, and wrote me with the following:
"Dear Mr. Potempa: I recently came across your 2010 interview with DJ Larry Lujack and was hoping you would have a contact for him or his management/agent. I'm a bit young to recall his 'Animal Stories' segment. But a very good friend of mine does. She and her children used to listen on a daily basis and she's been trying to find recordings for many years. Her son John is a member of USC's football coaching staff, a similarity shared with Larry, who also used to play. John has remained a HUGE fan of Lujack's broadcasts, and his mother, Jan, has asked me to help procure an autograph or something of the sort, for his upcoming 50th birthday. Essentially, you are the closest I've come to finding contact information. Anything would help! Thanks so much in advance, Annie Resch"
Thank you for writing me Annie. Lujack retired from WLS in 1987, and shortly thereafter, left the Windy City.
"I'm originally from Iowa, and so I've always been more about fields and open space," Lujack says.
"I was never all that crazy about all of the people, the high-rise buildings and the traffic of Chicago."
And of course, there's also always the politics, not just of the city, but of the cut-throat business of radio and television, which Lujack hinted to, but didn't address.
Lujack has also had his own personal tragedies and sadness before the public's eye and ear.
In May 1986, his 22-year-old son John S. Lujack from his first marriage to wife Gina, died of injuries after a fall from the roof of a motel in Boise, Idaho. At the time, he had been a student at Boise State University.
He has two other children: Anthony Lujack and Linda Lujack-Shirley.
As for your best way to contact Lujack, I asked Bruce DuMont, founder and president of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago for a direct option, and he agreed to forward your letter request directly to Lujack. Just send it to Bruce DuMont c/o of Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 North State St., Chicago, Ill. 60654.
Rich Halstead, owner of Cornucopia Coffee Company, 210 Lincolnway, in Valparaiso, asked I remind readers that his shop's 8 p.m. Thursday weekly open-mic night is open to anyone to perform. A story I included in Monday's Community section mentioned singer Delwyn Gring performs at the Thursday weekly gatherings. FYI: (219) 477-1000