10 Questions with ... Lin Brehmer
January 30, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Hired by Jack Hopke in January, 1977 at WQBK in Albany, New York. After Jack left for RCA Records, I worked for John Cooper as DJ and eventually, MD. Norm Winer brought me to Chicago as Music Director 1984-1990. Followed Alan Lawson as Program Director at KTCZ Minneapolis 1990-1991. December 30, 1991, back at WXRT as morning DJ.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
77 WABC. WMCA Good Guys. New York Top 40 in its prime. Then came late nights listening to WNEW 102.7 on your FM dial. Rosco followed by "Come fly with me, Alison Steele, the nightbird." That stuff was awesome. Eclectic and unpredictable.
2. Who are/were your mentors?
My mentors were mostly the PDs I worked for. Jack Hopke, who managed an uber-progressive format. John Cooper, who came over from WOUR with his collection of Stiff imports. Norm Winer, the legend, who hired me twice. I've always been a fan of the pioneering PDs of the late '70s and early '80s. Denis McNamara from WLIR and Dave Einstein of WHFS
3. How would you describe your show on the station?
Music-intensive: A mix of doomed singer-songwriters, new adult-alternative, folk rock, grunge and classic rock.
4. How has it evolved over the past 20 years?
When a station is introducing new music and new bands, you feel as if you're a part of a growing, breathing organism. A large portion of the music I play did not exist 20 years ago. The past nine years have included radio essays that I write and production savant Pete Crozier puts together with music and audio clips. These essays are part of a feature called Lin's Bin. Tons of work. Tons of personal satisfaction.
5. What do you like best about your job?
Live music, fine dining and turning the studio monitors up to 11.
6. What have been some of your biggest career highlights?
Interviewing Mick Jagger for an hour in 2001. Sitting down with the secret light of my life, Emmylou Harris, last summer for an interview during the Dave Matthews Band Caravan. Doing the first or second U2 interview in America when Bono stopped by WQBK in 1981 before a $3 budget show at J.B. Scott's. I mispronounced his name. And oh yeah, Congressman Mike Quigley paid tribute to XRT's 40th Anniversary and my 20th Anniversary as morning man on the floor of The House Of Representatives.
Isn't that better than a memo from Lee Abrams?
7. How do you and Mary Dixon interact in the mornings?
I vex her. She beats me.
8. I hear you are a baseball fan ....?
Originally, I was a Yankees fan who loved Mickey Mantle. Gave up that Bronx Championship nonsense for the Greek tragedy of being a Cubs fan. Season ticketholder for over 20 years. This will not be the year.
9. What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Sweat the details.
10. If you wanted to completely change careers today, what would you do?
Off to culinary school to work on my mad knife skills so I could open a soup kitchen. And I wouldn't mind doing baseball play-by-play for the Minnesota Twins. I would have picked the Cubs, but I like Pat Hughes and Len Kasper too much to think of replacing them.
Last non-industry job:
I've been employed in the radio business continually from 1977 to the present, but while I worked part-time at WQBK, I was a condominium village pool lifeguard and a record store clerk.
First record ever purchased:
First two non-Beatles albums were Jeff Beck "Truth" and Jethro Tull "This Was."
Arlo Guthrie at Wollman Skating Rink. Grand Funk Railroad at the Fillmore East was a memorable early concert.
Favorite band of all-time:
Rolling Stones -- the Mick Taylor years.
Tell Us About Your Recent 20th Anniversary Party/Broadcast:
An avalanche of friends and colleagues gathered for a two-hour live broadcast with my friends The Waco Brothers playing live rock and roll. The highlight? My two brothers flew to Chicago in a snowstorm to surprise me at the broadcast. Shades of George Bailey.