Milwaukee Talks: Mark Reardon
Media is a tough business. Personalities come and go as readers, listeners and viewers learn to accept the constant change and dynamics that drive the business. In a Milwaukee market that never has been quick to change, personalities usually persevere. On a powerhouse station like WTMJ-AM, tradition trumps -- so when an anchor is fired, it's news.
In this OMC Milwaukee Talks exclusive, former WTMJ-AM talk show host Mark Reardon discusses his days at the station, the Milwaukee media scene and for the first time, tells us where he's going next -- St. Louis.
A 20-year radio veteran, Reardon was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, but moved to St. Louis in 1979 and spent the next 17 years in Missouri. Reardon is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School. His passions include politics, hunting and fishing, movies and of course, his two children. He joined WTMJ in 1997.
OMC: So, how are you doing?
Reardon: I'm doing fine. Being out of work has been great for seeing movie screenings, playing poker and working out. I've lost about 10 pounds since getting fired! I think I'm going to write a book "The Unemployment Diet."
OMC: Give us the real scoop. Were you actually fired from WTMJ-AM? Did you know it was coming?
MR: There really isn't a "scoop." It was a budget-cutting move, and I understand that these things sometimes happen in radio. Look, because of the sports programming there were times I was only on the air for an hour or less. That might have been good for my golf game in the summer but it didn't make sense to have a full-time person in that position. Actually my golf game still sucked -- but you get the point. I had no idea it was coming, but there are times when someone needs a good kick in the ass -- and this certainly accomplished that.
OMC: Any parting thoughts/shots for the local media here?
MR: Only good stuff. Some of the people that I worked with the past nine years will be missed a lot. John Jagler, Gene Mueller, Dan Kyle, Bill Michaels -- these are all good friends. Even though Kyle still hasn't called me since this happened. I might have to take him off the list. Phil Cianciola not only became a good friend and cycling partner but one of my great disappointments is that we won't get to work together on the air anymore. At least for now. I always had the most fun doing "The Greenhouse." I'd suck up to Sykes but really, don't enough people do that? Oh, and one more thing. One of the first people to call when I got fired was Mike Gousha -- and not only is he about as talented as they come, but one of the classiest guys in this entire business.
OMC: Where are you heading and what will you be doing?
MR: I'm picking up and moving back to St. Louis to work for one of the best radio stations in the country: KMOX. It's a signal at 1120 on the AM dial that hits 44 states, and I'll be doing a Sunday night show and working in the wee hours of the morning Tuesday through Friday. I'll also be doing a lot of fill-in like I did at TMJ and some movie and entertainment related things. Quite honestly it's not the most glamorous shift, but it's a foot in the door that I just couldn't turn down. There are also some family-related matters that just make this a no-brainer.
OMC: What will you miss the most about Milwaukee?
MR: Here's the great irony of my stay in Milwaukee. I came here as a huge Cardinals fan. When the Cards beat the Brewers in 1982 I skipped high school that day to go to the World Series parade. But I have become a huge Brewers fan. I love this team and now just when they're getting good I have to leave! But you know, the Brewers open up the new ball park in St. Louis, so hopefully I'll be there.
MR: December, January, February, March, April and May. I'm sick of the cold weather.
OMC: Compare/contrast Milwaukee and St. Louis. You grew up in St. Louis, right?
MR: I actually grew up in the 'burbs of Chicago, but I spent more time in Missouri than any place else. Milwaukee is a city that when I came here people down there made fun of. I still have friends who think I live in Minnesota. I'm not kidding, either. St. Louis is a much bigger city, but that's not always a better thing. I hope when I visit Milwaukee in the future the city continues to move forward. I think there are big challenges, but in my nine years living here the city has come a long way.
OMC: Thoughts/predictions for the Oscars?
MR: I hope "Crash" wins best picture. "Brokeback" is a decent movie, but a bit over praised because of its theme. If that movie had subtitles for when Heath Ledger was on screen it would have been a better film -- I couldn't understand a thing he said. I'm also rooting for Amy Adams for Best Supporting Actress in "Junebug." Awesome performance. "Murderball" was one of my favorite films of 2005, and it probably won't win best documentary, but it should.
Reardon will anchor the 2-5 a.m. shift at KMOX, and his first show will air March 15. "The Mark Reardon Show" will cover everything from the news of the day to news out of the ordinary. Listeners will hear plenty of intelligent conversation related to politics, lifestyle, sports and pop culture. Reardon will also serve as a fill-in host for different day parts. He can be reached at Marktalk@aol.com.
John said: Mark was my main choice on weekday nights; I couldn't get enough of the guy's show. I even got to talk to him on the air a handful of times--something I consider quite fortunate. But now with this replacement of his--the name of the woman still escapes me, the nights are slow and loathsome until Michael Savage hits the air. I hate to dig on somebody, but I think WTMJ did something awful in letting Mark go for this tinny-voiced somebody.
leapeach said: I liked Mark; I don't care for his replacement, Jessica McBride. Maybe I will have to give her more time, but so far uhuh.
buckthorne said: Not one negative comment yet; I don't see an aberration here. WTMJ passed on a very talented person and left a large hole in their lineup to fill sometime in the future. We'll miss you, Mark. Jim
Jon D. said: The Soprano's theme is "Woke Up This Morning" by Alabama 3. It is not Mark's theme.
Alice said: Glad to see the web link for Mark's new station. Will be listening on the internet. TMJ really screwed up this time. Mark was a breath of fresh air!
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