23 episodes

Murrow Award-winning broadcast journalist Charlie Meyerson shares historic interviews from decades of reporting—and new encounters, too.

Charlie Meyerson interviews Charlie Meyerson

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Murrow Award-winning broadcast journalist Charlie Meyerson shares historic interviews from decades of reporting—and new encounters, too.

    Science fiction writer Greg Bear in 1994: The Internet’s future

    Science fiction writer Greg Bear in 1994: The Internet’s future

    [Updating this original post—from March 1, 2015—on Nov. 20, 2022: Greg Bear is dead at 71.]  Science fiction writer Greg Bear in a 1994 interview with me on WNUA-FM, Chicago, on the future of the Internet: “It’s going to be a huge intellectual telephone line, with graphics and library materials, all available at a few minutes’ notice. That, I think, will be revolutionary. ... We have a lot of people from the entertainment industries thinking it’s going to be a lot of the same old, same old — where they can simply market movies in new ways, and I don’t think it’s going to be that way at all. ... The people who are loosely called Generation Xers are going to have their say on this. And I think we may not be able to predict what they’re going to do with it.” Update, Jan. 4, 2018: A later interview with Greg Bear, from 1996, when we talked about the prospect of life on Mars.

    Why I should never sing in public

    Why I should never sing in public

    Chicago Reader columnist Ben Joravsky was kind enough to invite me on his show this week—we talked Wednesday, the podcast was published Saturday—to answer questions about how and why I do what I do for Chicago Public Square. I was honored along the way to express my admiration for columnists Neil Steinberg and Robert Feder, Reader critic Jack Helbig, The Onion, WXRT-FM News pioneers C.D. Jaco and Linda Brill, Square reader Angela Mullins, radio DJs Bob Stroud and Marty Lennartz, my college radio station WPGU …  … and to deliver an ill-advised musical tribute to my alma mater, Carl Sandburg High School, whose fight song I was—for reasons that elude me now—moved to butcher. You’ve been warned. Here it is. If you like this, check out more of my conversations with thought-leaders through the years on this website, in Apple Music, on Pandora or Spotify, via your favorite podcast player and at Chicago Public Square.

    1995: Peter David, Chris Claremont and Gary Colabuono discuss the comic book industry’s flirtation with disaster

    1995: Peter David, Chris Claremont and Gary Colabuono discuss the comic book industry’s flirtation with disaster

    [It’s been a while since we dove into the archives. But now that hour’s come round at last—again.] In 1995, the comic book industry was approaching what later became known as “the Great Comics Crash of 1996”—triggered in part by Marvel Comics’ 1994 purchase of the business’ third-largest distributor, converting it to distribute Marvel’s stuff exclusively. So that was a significant topic June 30, 1995, when I sat down at WNUA-FM in Chicago—just ahead of the 20th annual Chicago Comicon*—with acclaimed comics writers Peter David and Chris Claremont, maybe best known then for their work on Marvel’s The Incredible Hulk and The Uncanny X-Men, respectively; and the convention’s CEO, Classics International Entertainment President Gary Colabuono, also then the proprietor of Moondog’s comic shops. Here’s how it went. Looking back on that time now, Colabuono recalls: “Marvel’s decision to distribute their own comics was not only the death knell for direct market distributors, it was also the beginning of the end for the vast majority of comic book specialty shops in the U.S. Of the 21 stores in the Moondog’s chain, 20 were out of business within a year of Marvel’s move.” I’ve also asked David and Claremont for their perspectives on that time. I’ll share them as they arrive. But here’s David’s July 28, 1995, reflection on that year’s con: “If Gary Colabuono … asks you to be guest of honor, two words—Do It. Gary is the consummate host, making sure that you want for nothing and taking care that every need is anticipated.”If you like this, check out more of my conversations with thought-leaders through the years on this website, in Apple Music, on Pandora or Spotify, via your favorite podcast player and at Chicago Public Square. * For a show that was broadcast July 2, which explains David’s joke at the end, “Boy, am I exhausted from that!”

    Ex-Chicago Tribune editor James Squires warned in 1993 about the corporate takeover of America’s newspapers

    Ex-Chicago Tribune editor James Squires warned in 1993 about the corporate takeover of America’s newspapers

    Back in 1993, a former editor of the Chicago Tribune sounded an alarm about the growing conflict between the drive for corporate profits and traditional journalism’s social-reform agenda. That was close to six years before I joined the Trib and close to two decades before that trend inexorably led to a gutting of the paper’s staff. As the paper welcomes a new editor, now seems like a good time to revisit the words of Jim Squires, talking about his book Read All About It! The Corporate Takeover of America’s Newspapers—in an interview recorded Feb. 3, 1993, and aired Feb. 7 on WNUA-FM, Chicago. Listen up. If you like this, check out more of my conversations with thought-leaders through the years on this website, in Apple Music, on Spotify, via your favorite podcast player and at Chicago Public Square.

    Email pioneer Aaron Barnhart interviewed in 1996

    Email pioneer Aaron Barnhart interviewed in 1996

    Of all the interviews I’ve conducted, none have influenced my career more than this 1996 sit-down with Aaron Barnhart, whose Late Show News newsletter pioneered the email news biz. Listen to us discuss his model for how, in my words, “a lot of us in this profession will … do our work in the future” and you’ll hear the siren call that two years later would draw me from radio to the internet—and, not much later, to lead the Chicago Tribune’s email program. Decades later, Barnhart’s work inspired the launch of Chicago Public Square. First aired June 23, 1996, this show remains great and relevant listening, and it spotlights Aaron as one of the internet’s early visionaries. Also: A cool time-capsule about the state of late-night TV in 1996. Listen here. If you like this, check out more of my conversations with thought-leaders through the years on this website, in Apple Music, on Spotify, via your favorite podcast player and at Chicago Public Square.

    Chicago 7 lawyer William Kunstler in 1994: That trial ‘changed me totally’

    Chicago 7 lawyer William Kunstler in 1994: That trial ‘changed me totally’

    Prepping to watch The Trial of the Chicago 7 on Netflix, I revisited my Sept. 16, 1994, interview with The 7’s defense lawyer, William Kunstler, who told me then that the trial “changed me totally. … “I never knew what it was to really fight until I watched Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Dave Dellinger, Hayden and so on fight in a courtroom—do things that would make the jury understand that they were being persecuted: Bringing in a birthday cake for Bobby Seale, a Viet Cong flag on their table, standing out and protesting the binding and gagging of Bobby Seale in the courtroom. “There were so many things they did that showed they were fighting—they weren’t gonna sit there like bumps on a log and be railroaded. “And the net result was they won.” I realized I never shared this file to this blog and the accompanying podcast series. So here you go. Check out more of my conversations with thought-leaders through the years on this website, in Apple Music, on Spotify, via your favorite podcast player and at Chicago Public Square. _____ P.S. I was apparently the first to inform Kunstler in 1983 of Judge Julius Hoffman’s death.

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