Wendy Snyder worked at the Loop from 1986-1992, AM 1000 from 1992-1993, and the Loop again from 1993-1996. The following is an interview done in 2007 with former Looper, writer, publisher and Illinois Entertainer media critic Rick Kaempfer at Chicago Radio Spotlight.
(Reprinted from the source with permission. Originally published 4/8/07)
Wendy Snyder has been on the air in Chicago for twenty years. Most recently, she was part of the Steve Dahl Show on WCKG.
1986-1992: Rock Jock, Various time slots, WLUP FM 97.9
1992-1993: News/Traffic on the Kevin Matthews Show, Middays, AM 1000
1993-1994: News/Traffic on the Garry Meier Show, Middays, 97.9 FM
1994-1995: Co-Host, Wendy & Tony, Nights, 97.9 FM
1995-1996: Co-Host, Wendy & Bill, Nights, 97.9 FM
1996-1998: Co-Host, Wendy & Bill, Mornings, Q-101
2000-2001: Rock Jock, CD 94.7 FM
2001-2002: Co-Host, Buzz & Wendy, Middays, WCKG
2002-2007: The Steve Dahl Show, Afternoons, WCKG
Rick: In January you ended a long run on the Steve Dahl show. I know you were suprised–but I thought you handled it in a very classy way. Why do you think it ended the way it did?
Wendy: Well, thanks, but I didn’t know how else to handle it. I was quite surprised to find out that I had lost my job, but what could I do? I guess Steve had other ideas for the show and I wasn’t one of them. That’s all right. If things aren’t clicking then you have to get them clicking again. I just want people to know that it wasn’t my choice to leave the show. I had taken a few weeks off to get a cool, new titanium knee and when I showed up back to work, Drew Hayes (the program director of WCKG) met me at the door and said, “Well, it’s good to see you, but we’ve decided to take the show in a new direction.” I really thought he was kidding and then I noticed he wasn’t laughing. Oh well, life goes on, right? It’s probably a blessing ….for both me and Steve.
Rick: Before you worked with Steve, you worked with some other big stars on the Chicago radio dial. Give us your impressions of the following people, and what you think their greatest strengths are as radio performers. Let’s start with your former midday co-host, Buzz Kilman.
Wendy: Buzz is the coolest guy I know. He has a unique and interesting take on life and there’s no one else quite like him. I hate to sound all mushy, but he’s a great friend and a fabulous mentor, but don’t tell him I said that.
Rick: What about your long-time co-host Bill Leff?
Wendy: One of the funniest guys I know. He can be so funny without working blue. He’s like a big kid who never grew up. Hey, he’s like Peter Pan…and I’m Wendy—no wonder we worked so well together.
Rick: And finally, Johnny B?
Wendy: I never really worked with him on a regular basis, although I’d love to. I worked overnights on the Loop and handed things over to him in the morning. He is definitely one of the craziest guys I know, on and off the air. He’s all about putting out a quality radio show. He has a unique way of entertaining the listeners and letting the listeners entertain him. His show is still laugh out loud funny.
Rick: You got your big-time radio start at the Loop during it’s heyday. What was it like working at such a popular radio station with so many stars, and how did that prepare you for your career to follow?
Wendy: Well, you were there, too….wasn’t it the coolest? Here I was, 23 years old and working at the same station as Jonathon Brandmeier, Buzz Kilman, Steve and Garry, Kevin Matthews, Bob Stroud, Bobby Skafish, Patti Haze—–I grew up listening to many of these people and now I was working with them. Too cool. Later on, throw in a Danny Bonaduce, Chet Coppock, Eddie Schwartz, ’85 Bears Tom Thayer and Keith Van Horne, Artist Tony Fitzpatrick, Stan Lawrence, and Rick Kaempfer. It really was a blast back then….one big happy family. And, of course, the Loop is where I met my future husband, Jimmy “Mac” McInerney.
Rick: In your career, you’ve met just about everybody–actors, musicians, politicians, athletes–you name it. Was there anyone who really stands out to you–a moment with someone you admired that you’ll always treasure?
Wendy: You know, I really enjoyed all the people I interviewed, and it’s all kind of a blur. I was so excited to talk to David Duchovny (being a HUGE X-Files fan), Brian May from Queen was cool. Hugh Grant was quite charming and very funny.
I had a lot of fun with Darrell Hammond from Saturday Night Live. He actually came in to do an interview with Danny Bonaduce, who was on before me, and I kind of stalked him and told him I thought he was really funny. So, he decided to stick around and hang out on the air with us. We really hit it off and he would call into the show every week when they were doing their dress rehearsal on Thursday nights and he would just put various people on the phone….Cheri Oteri, Tim Meadows, Tracy Morgan, and even Will Ferrell jumped in on the conversation.
Warren Haynes and the late Allen Woody from the Allman Brothers Band came up to the studio to jam and later on that night when we did a thing called the “Pothead Party Line, (just random phone calls from stoners) Warren and Allen called up the request line from their hotel room and joined in on the fun. After that, they’d just call in whenever they felt like it.
And then, there was always the impromptu call from Betty Loren Maltese. She happened to be listening when I mentioned her mascara. I wanted to know what kind she used, because it really did the trick. So, she called up to talk makeup and she invited me to Cicero to have a spa day with her and grab a beer. Maybe I’ll take her up on that when she gets out of prison.
Rick: You’ve really done it all in radio. You were a rock jock, a music personality host, a talk show co-host, a newsperson, and a traffic reporter. What did you like the most about each of those gigs, and where do you think you’re heading from here. Is there something you haven’t tried yet that you’d like to try?
Wendy: I love being on the radio–period. Being a rock jock was perfect for a young 23 year-old who grew up in Brookfield, listening to the Loop and then getting to be ON the Loop. Being a closet news-junkie, I really enjoyed doing the news; thankfully it wasn’t all that serious. A few real stories and then the rest were entertainment or bizarre news stories from around the world. I could never be called a credible journalist.
I think I’d have to say that doing a talk show was the best. It was a lot of work, but it was really gratifying to put out an entertaining show. And when you’re working with a good co-host, it’s an equal playing field, not all the pressure is on you. It’s great to be able to bounce things off of someone and really be yourself on the air. And, let’s not forget about my brief singing career. I was in Buzz Kilman’s band for about 4 or 5 gigs. It was great while it lasted.
What’s next? Getting back on the air here in Chicago. Until then, I’m going to keep trying to figure out how to use my MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/wendysnyderradio.
As for emails, you can reach me at SnydeRmrks@aol.com.
I really want to thank all the listeners for all their support and kind words. I can’t wait to get my headphones back on. I’ll keep you posted on my return. Stay tuned…