If Steve Dahl ever considers making a comeback on terrestrial radio, you can be sure it won’t be on WGN AM 720.
In a 10-minute rant on his daily podcast Friday, the Chicago radio legend excoriated the Tribune Media news/talk station and directed particular vitriol at his former boss, Jimmy deCastro, now president and general manager of WGN.
“It’s like the worst radio station ever now,” Dahl told listeners. “It’s as bad as it was when I got to town in 1978, only it’s people my age and younger doing it — committing these heinous broadcasting crimes.”
Saying “it’s time to dial up the hatred,” Dahl called Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder “the world’s worst afternoon show,” and Steve Cochran a “fucking dipshit,” among other things.
What set him off was a photograph posted on Marianne Murciano’s Facebook page of WGN employees assembled in front of the station for the dedication of Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes’ plaque on the WGN Walk of Fame. Kneeling front and center in the photo are deCastro and Todd Manley, vice president of content and programming.
“You know they’ve got that fake WGN Walk of Fame or whatever, which is classic Jim deCastro,” Dahl said. “I refuse to call him ‘Jimmy’ because he’s a grown man. It’s like the whole WGN staff out there. The great Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder, the world’s worst afternoon show. It’s to honor Pat Hughes, right? But he’s in the back row, and out in front is Jim deCastro, like posing. I wanted to write on Marianne’s post: ‘When did Jim deCastro announce for the Cubs?’ . . . That guy’s such a fucking glory hog.”
Added Dahl: “When I saw that picture, I was: ‘Really, man? Really, Jim? You’re out in front?’ He looked liked he was in one of those Russian dances, you know, where they get down on one knee and the other leg’s extended. He was stealing all of the thunder of everybody else in the photo — including Pat Hughes, the guy who was allegedly being honored on the fake Walk of Fame.”
The Radio Hall of Famer became a millionaire working for deCastro at WLUP FM 97.9 in the ’80s and ’90s, but apparently that’s all water under the Loop. “Jim deCastro made his bones off of Steve and Garry, Johnny Brandmeier, other people’s talent,” Dahl said. “And now he acts like he’s the talent behind that radio station. It’s really weird. And then he’s out in front of everybody, making this hammy pose.”
Dahl also ripped WGN for dropping the Cubs broadcast rights and then honoring Hughes on his way out. “They’re acting like it’s a happy occasion,” he said. “It’s gonna end up being a huge mistake. . . . First off, it was a really bad idea to not re-sign them [the Cubs] because that means more Wendy Snyder and Bill Leff every afternoon. When John Williams is the best guy you have on the air, you’ve got big problems — with all due respect to Bob [Sirott] and Marianne [Murciano].”
One more shot: “If you listen, like every other commercial is ‘Hey, I just had my gutters repaired by so-and-so, or I just had my, you know, poontang hair removed by so-and-so.’ Stop. Everybody stop. Just stop. Turn it off. Turn it off!”