Larry Lujack, 1940-2013

Nowadays very few people listen to AM radio, unless it’s talk radio programming is largely automated, and DJs are people who practice the arcane art of selecting and playing recordings in clubs and at parties. But once upon a time not all that long ago it was very, very different. AM radio was hugely influential as was the on-air talent that played the music, commented on it, and, occasionally, made wisecracks. Larry Lujack was a giant in that world and he has died:

Larry Lujack was a cowboy who lassoed the heart of a generation.

The popular WLS-AM and WCFL-AM disc jockey died Wednesday night of esophageal cancer at his home in Santa Fe, N.M. He was 73 years old.

Mr. Lujack’s plainspoken manner was the compass for Chicagoans navigating the rapid musical and social changes of the late 1960s and 1970s. He loved to wear tattered brown cowboy boots, a cowboy hat and blue jeans.

Mr. Lujack was a staunch individualist whose on-air sarcastic demeanor set the stage for the “shock jock” movement.

I never much listened to AM radio but I did listen to Lujack, especially for his humor features: “Animal Stories” (odd animal-related news items, a feature that grew from the farm reports he used to read on the air), “Klunk Letter of the Day”, and “Cheap Trashy Show Biz Report” (like “Animal Stories” but about a different sort of animal).

As I say, he was a giant of that world—the last contract he signed with WLS was the largest in radio history.

2 comments… add one
  • ...

    So he went from Les Newsman to Dr. Johnny Fever? Did he ever suggest people take their trash to City Hall? (I’ll just assume he must have said “booger” at some point.)

  • Red Barchetta

    Well, Li’l Davey……… And its Cheeeap……..Traaaashy Show Biz Report……

    In case anyone hasn’t noticed, I like Rock and Roll music. There were two seminal events, both in the mid to late 60’s. The first was listening to Lujack spin discs on WLS. The other the first time I heard Jumpin’ Jack Flash – or just “Jack Flash” as Keith puts it – and wondering “who are these guys?” I was probably only 8-9 yrs old.

    Uncle Lar and Lil’ Tommy later became the go to morning drive radio when I was working at the mill……………..all you quiche eaters. Reportedly a truly down to earth guy, although perhaps true to his on air persona, not suffering fools well. (Hmmm), I think he was almost universally respected in the trade. I just learned this morning on WLS his real last name wasn’t Lujack. That was adopted from quarterback Johnny Lujack. The real name escapes me right now.

    I life well lived, I would say.

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