Chicago radio legend Steve Dahl won't be in attendance when he and former partner Garry Meier are inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
Dahl said Thursday he's decided not to attend the black-tie ceremony Nov. 9 at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, citing his “general disinterest in the proceedings” and chiding Meier for not returning his phone call to discuss the event in advance.
Meier previously notified Radio Hall of Fame chairman Bruce DuMont that he would attend.
Slated to induct the duo is Greg Solk, senior vice president of programming for Hubbard Radio. Solk began his career as a 16-year-old producer for Dahl and Meier's morning show and later became their program director and station manager.
In his first comment since this year's Radio Hall of Fame honorees were announced last June, here's what Dahl told me:
“I wanted no part of it until Greg Solk told me he got roped into inducting us. He said he didn't want to do it if I wasn't there, so I called Garry and left him a voicemail. I said it might be fun, but only if we did something together. He never returned my call. I asked Jim deCastro [president and general manager of WGN AM 720] to check into it for me. It's been two weeks and even Jim has been unable to prevail.
“They used a shit picture of me, I'd have to buy a $5,000 table for my family, and they want to approve my 90-second acceptance speech. All of that combined with my general disinterest in the proceedings has made me anxious to stay home and listen to Garry explain how he got there — and why — in his allotted minute and a half.
“Maybe I'll buy an ad in the program to promote my podcast.”
From their first day on the air together in 1979 until their acrimonious breakup in 1993, Dahl and Meier redefined radio for hundreds of thousands of listeners in Chicago. “They became the most talked-about radio team in the city’s history, representing a generation and ushering in an era of content envelope pushing that was imitated nationwide,” the Radio Hall of Fame announcement said.
Dahl, who left terrestrial radio in 2008, launched a subscription podcast venture in 2011 and continues to host a daily program from home studios. After nine years with Roe Conn at WLS AM 890, Meier went solo again and joined WGN in 2009. He now hosts afternoons on the Tribune Broadcasting news/talk station.
Other Radio Hall of Fame inductees this year are broadcasters Blair Garner, John Lanigan, Paul W. Smith, Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo and Charley Steiner, and (posthumously) radio manufacturer Powel Crosley Jr. Hall of Famer Larry King will serve as emcee.
As conspicuous as Dahl's absence from the Radio Hall of Fame has been, it's also been a sore subject for Dahl. In 2010, after he lost for the third time in public balloting, Dahl told fans he no longer cared to be inducted. This year’s inductees were hand-picked by DuMont and ratified by the 20-member steering committee. There was no public voting.
Dahl won't be the first living honoree to be enshrined in absentia. Howard Stern, who had been merciless over the years in mocking the Radio Hall of Fame, was a no-show at last year's ceremony. He was inducted anyway.