Podcast delivers postmortem on Chicago’s Edgewater Hospital

Todd Ganz and Stephani Young

Among the dozen or so employees who lost their jobs in mass layoffs at Hubbard Radio Chicago last spring in the wake of the pandemic, few could claim the talent or the tenure of ace production director Todd Ganz.

His 24-year run with the three-station group included award-winning stints as a part-time on-air personality, morning show executive producer and, for the last 13 years, manager of content production.

But there turned out to be a silver lining for Ganz. Losing his job at Hubbard allowed him to shift full attention to completing an ambitious podcast he’d been planning to produce independently with his partner, Stephani Young, a former part-time host at hot adult-contemporary WTMX 101.9-FM.

If the Walls Could Talk

Living in the Edgewater neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side, Ganz and Young had become fascinated with the mysterious complex of abandoned buildings down the street that once made up Edgewater Hospital, founded in 1929.

In researching its backstory, they discovered a sordid history of corruption, fraud, mystery and death.

The result of their work is “If the Walls Could Talk,” a 13-episode weekly podcast series premiering Sunday and available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and other podcast platforms.  (Here is the link.)

“Edgewater Hospital is the birthplace of Hillary Clinton and John Wayne Gacy and, that alone, is a metaphor for its legacy — a once-prominent and leading Chicago hospital that became a victim of moral and economic decay,” Ganz said.

“It closed in 2001 in the wake of a Medicare fraud scheme at the hospital. Two patients died in the scheme to unnecessarily admit patients and then perform medically unnecessary tests on them. A handful of doctors went to jail as did a hospital administrator.”

Ganz calls the podcast “a hybrid of the history and true crime genres as the Edgewater story extends well beyond the walls of that hospital.”

“This is a snapshot of egregious medical fraud,” says one of dozens of former employees and patients, lawyers, FBI agents, and urban explorers interviewed for the series.

Together they tell how a once prestigious hospital “deteriorated into a bloody fraud machine” before it finally disappeared.

Wednesday’s comments of the day: Mark Goldsmith: No disrespect sir but who in their rite mind listens to John “records” Landecker. You must b the only one.

John Landecker: I’m not looking for people who are in their “rite” mind. Just everybody else. And get those fucking quotation marks off my mother’s maiden name.