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Remembring Ricky the Cat's Visit with Steve King and Johnnie Putman on WGN Radio


Maybe 20, maybe 30 times over the years Ive been a guest on WGN  radio with Steve King and Johnnie Putman. Yet, they never interviewed me, they talked with me – it was an easy conversation, like in the backyard over the fence with a neighbor.

Of all those appearances, my favorite was with a partner -named Ricky. My Devon Rex cat played the piano. Being a fan of fine music, I thought Steve and Johnnie might enjoy having my feline friend in the studio for a concert. I knew Ricky wouldn’t be one of those animals who would freeze up under pressure. At this point – sometime in the late 1990’s – Ricky was media veteran appearing on many national TV shows, local news and on the radio.

Indeed, Ricky did delight Steve, Johnnie and the audience with his improvisational jazz.

During a commercial break, Ricky, being inquisitive, wandered around….and as we were all chatting, Ricky took a bit of a stroll on the console….and a paw pushed on something….and suddenly we heard nothing. It seemed as though my cat had knocked WGN off-the-air.

As my heart stopped….Steve King didn’t miss a beat. Not sure exactly what he did, he did it so fast and he was so calm, cool and collected as he pushed one button, then another, and another….and the monitor came back on. Ricky was never invited back.

A few years later, Lucy, then our new puppy visited Steve and Johnnie in studio…I believe my first appearance on with these two great people was way back over two decades ago….and I was the puppy. I had written a book about the Simpsons. And I talked with Steve and Johnnie about Bart, Lisa, Marge and Homer.

Truly, Steve and Johnnie are incredibly smart – it’s amazing to me how much they know about so many things…Before we purchased our current car, I consulted with Steve and Johnny; I’m pretty certain they know as much about computers as their Website Wednesday experts; and when it comes to music trivia – no one can beat Steve. At commercial breaks he’d ask about ‘one-hit wonders’ or songs with dogs or cats in the title…How could I possibly compete with him?

Sorry Steve – but I must remind you and thank you…As a kid, I’d listen to the radio and learn from the best….and that list includes Steve King. I was truly a fan, of course, listening to him on WLS.

So, with admiration for a great run at WGN, and knowing your amazing careers continue. Thank you for keeping Chicago (and much of America) company overnight.


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