Edward "Eddie" Volkman
We are extremely honored to bring your an Interview with Eddie Volkman!
Q: Would like to feature a paragraph BIO. Can you short answer these questions and I will write it up? -A little on where you grew up? -Where you attended school? -Family? -Hobbies? -Anything else you would like to share?
A: I Grew up in Glenview, Illinois (Near north suburbs) and attended Maine North High School (The Breakfast Club school!) before it closed.With a father in broadcasting —Harry Volkman, the meteorologist—I was always fascinated by broadcasting and often accompanied him to work at WGN-TV or WBBM-TV, Channel 2. But I was always more infatuated with my favorite DJs on the radio like Larry Lujack or John “Records” Landecker. Besides, there was another kid around my age who loved weather and would call my dad with weather reports from Aurora. His name was Tom Skilling!(True! They remained friends all my dad’s life and Tom even did the eulogy at my dad’s memorial) I was a “jock” before I was a “disc Jockey”… I played football, basketball and baseball in high school and walked on to the U of I Champaign baseball team my freshman year and hadn’t even declared a major. When it became painfully obvious I wasn’t going to be on the Cubs roster anytime soon, I chose to take broadcasting classes and transferred to my dad’s alma mater, The University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. It was a much smaller school where I got instant hands-on radio and TV experience and led to my first full-time radio gig as the screaming teen-idol night jock on top-40 KAKC-AM in Tulsa.
From there I developed a morning radio show for about 4 years in Austin, Texas and then got my big break as the morning guy on KITS-FM in San Francisco in 1984. Two years later, B96 gave me the call that changed my life. I was the morning guy with Karen Hand and Mike Elston until we decided in late 1988 to shake things up and bring Jobo to the morning show from his nigh shift. I love being on the radio but never lost my love of playing sports and still play pick-up basketball and softball. I also sing lead for “The Eddie V Band”, performing classic rock and other stuff mostly for charity events. (See EddieVband.com)
Q: What were some of your most memorable moments at the B-Bash and Summer Bash concerts?
A: Those show were the highlight of the Summer every year. The very first one was actually called “Eddie and Jobo’s Summer Jam” and we made a grand entrance: Jobo rode into the Tinley Park venue on the back on an elephant and I actually skydived into the parking lot (Tandem—I’m not COMPLETELY insane). The artists were always great and I have incredible stories about snarfing down pizza with an 18-year old Beyonce or arriving at the Joliet Speedway in the same helicopter as Ricky Martin, or finding Rihanna in Sean Paul’s dressing room through a thick fog of weed smoke! ha ha! But some of the coolest moments were the extra surprises we came up with: For instance, right after the Bulls had won their first NBA Championship, we surprised the audience with Steve Kerr walking out onstage!We handed him a basketball (We had a pole and net set up) and he took two dribbles and nailed a 3-pointer with one try. The place went nuts! Another time, we walked out with Harry Caray while he was still with us and he led the entire crowd in “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”, then fan favorite Mark Grace walked onstage with a bat and batted balled-up B-shirts into the crowd that Jobo and I lobbed to him! We always tried to have a little extra Chicago flavor—When Devin Hester was in his prime he and a few other Bears made their way onstage in Bridgeview at Toyota Park. The crowd always went nuts!
Q: I understand you’re a huge workout guy. What do you do to keep in such incredible shape?
A: I’ve been blessed with pretty good physiology—maybe being on B96 all those years keeps me young. Having a 6-year old daughter doesn’t hurt—I have to chase her on every piece of playground equipment. You know the saying—You don’t stop playing because you get old; You get old because you stop playing! I make working out a priority and it’s all part of a healthy lifestyle.
Q: I see you and JoBo all over those United Auto Insurance TV commercials. Do you actually have them as your car insurer?
A: I got my insurance through UAI, yes! But they are an insurance broker who represent multiple companies, hence the “United” name. So I actually have State Farm Insurance as arranged by UAI and pay less that if I called State Farm myself. I asked the company why I can’t say that in the commercials and they said, “Well, because not everybody qualifies and there would be legal issues”. So, the short answer is YES!
Q' We loved driving to school listening to the Eddie & JoBo show in the mornings. Do you have a fondest show memory you tell us about while broadcasting on the show?
A: People bring up favorite moments all the time when they meet me, even listeners to my show now on 103.9 The Fox.Honestly, I loved coming to work every morning because it was so fun to entertain such a lively and appreciative audience. People readily did stunts—smashed things, ate things, etc.—and really made the show! Some of my greatest memories include the Cold Water Wake-up Calls, where people splashed someone awake live on the air on their cordless phone, The Marge McDouche Love Tests, and the various crank calls I did as Mrs. Pilifuf, “Da O.J.” or even Osama Bin Laden!
Q: What was your favorite thing about working for B96?
A: The freedom we had to create and perform. We did interviews, stunts and humor that would never be allowed by corporate radio these days
Q: Can you name some of the B96 morning shows / skits you did? For instance, private lives, prank call, etc?
A: Private Lives was actually Karen Hand and Dr. Kelly—a Sunday night show they moved to mornings to fill the gap when Jobo and I were fired in ’94 over legal issues. They tried multiple morning show ideas to get back the ratings that fell when we left for those two years. We had theme days: “Monday Sucks”, Irene Hughes, the ‘psychic’” on Tuesdays, “Confession Wednesday”, “No-Panties Thursday”, and the “Friday Joke-off".
Q: Where can people find you today in media? (We see you on Windy City live all the time!).
B: I’m honored to be a semi-regular on Windy City Live, but I host a morning show on 103.9 The Fox out of Crystal Lake Monday thru Friday, 6-10am. The signal covers most of McHenry, Kane, and Lake County and the northern part of Cook, but you can also listen online at RockTheFox.com r the 103.9 The Fox app. We’re also on the verge of launching a signal translator from the top of the Hancock building which will expand our signal greatly! I’m approaching my 1 year anniversary at the station and the ratings are about 6 times what they were when I arrived!
Q: Do you keep in contact with any of the B96 personalities or DJ’s that worked during the 90’s and early millennium (when you worked)?
A: Oh yeas! After 20 years those people are my second family! I teach at Illinois Media School in Lombard and Candi Gomez is the coordinator of the student station, “The Edge on Air”. so I see her daily. I still host frequent flashback parties with Tim “Spinning’” Schommer, “Julian “Jumping’” Perez, Brian Middleton and others. I speak with Karen Hand and the rest regularly on social media or tests.
Q: Where can people find your PodCast?
A: I formerly did a podcast on The Radio Misfits Podcast Network, but unfortunately did not have time to continue that once I started full time radio again.
Q: Someone here has a deep fascination with the old B96 5 O’Clock Traffic Jam mixes that aired on B96. Were those done and mastered by C.L. McSpadden? Can you elaborate at all on these mix shows?
A: I really wasn’t involved in the mix show. That name doesn’t ring a bell. Maybe that was after I left.
Q: Where can people find you or contact you online (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter)?
A: I am on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as Eddie Volkman and also on Snapchat, Swarm, Ello, LinkedIn, Klout, Yelp, Tunein, Foursquare—You get the idea. I teach my broadcasting students you have to be connected everywhere!
Q: What was the last day like on the B96 airwaves (November 21, 2008)?
A: We still had about a year left on the huge multi-million dollar contract we signed in 2002, but the stock market crash of 2008 had really hurt radio advertising and sales. It was a financial move by CBS Radio to save money. B96 had also pigeonholed themselves into the “Hip Hop” corner, and it was an awkward fit for a couple of white guys approaching 50 years old! Ha ha! It should have been framed as “B96 buys out Eddie & Jobo’s contract” rather than “fired”, but management didn’t think that far ahead. It would have been classier to let us graciously hand off the show to a successor but instead they took a lot of grief and it literally took them years to recover in the ratings. Everyone in the building that day was told there was an all-station staff meeting but Jobo and I were not informed. That’s when we knew something was up. Hey, I was sad but understood the economics of it all and took the payout. It was nice to relax while getting paid that kind of money for a while. I took a trip to Italy and a month in Hawaii and that’s when I started playing with my band. Life goes on!
Q: Ok Eddie, anything you want to tell our readers or promote?!
A: I will always appreciate the passion and love shown by “The World’s Most Dangerous Audience”! We shared a bond that still exists today and I meet people nearly every day with a story of something they liked, a club where we met, a radio memory or mostly just being their morning companion for years. God bless everyone and the Killer Bee will live on in our hearts forever!
On behalf of the Cb96 crew, THANK YOU for your time Eddie! We look forward to catching up with you on TV and the Airwaves!