Crystal Lake resident Alex Quigley is the assistant program director and is a fill-in host on various programs on WGN Radio 720 AM. WGN Radio is the flagship station for the Blackhawks, whose run to their second Stanley Cup championship in four seasons has dominated the discussion around Chicago for weeks now, making for good business for folks such as Quigley.
With our role being the home for all the (Hawks) games, we do take a little more ownership of it than other media outlets. Basically, we’re the home for it. I think we live and die with the team a little more than most. That may not be good journalism, but this is sports entertainment. I’m not asking the hard-hitting questions, I’m reporting what’s happening or discussing with fans what’s happened or what’s going to happen. The speculation part has been fun, but I think most people – ever since that 24-game streak or after 15, 16 or 17 games, starting thinking, ‘Boy, this team, it would be disappointing if they don’t want the Stanley Cup at this point. But hockey – of the four major sports – is the one where people are the most superstitious about counting their chickens before they’re hatched or counting their Cups before they’re clinched. So a lot of times, we had to be a little more careful because our audience would snap us back and say, “Hey – we ain’t done nothing yet.”
It’s been amazing to watch even the difference between this run and the 2010 run. The 2010 run really primed the fan base and re-introduced hockey to the casual fan. I think this year, the casual fan was ready this year and I think what happened was that those casual fans converted into ardent, more hardcore fans and the hardcore fans became completely obsessed. And the completely obsessed fans, uh, they lost their jobs, because they watching 24/7. OK. Not really, But I think [the run] elevated the level of engagement along every rung of the ladder of fandom. You have the playoff beard phenomenon where over the last couple of weeks where, I’m clean-shaven now, but you could look at a guy and you’d give each other the silent head nod because you knew what was going on. It was cool to see.
We pride ourselves on having hosts that know Chicago. You don’t have to talk about sausage or Ditka all the time, but we really do respect our own. If we’re not the No. 1 talk (radio) market in the country, we’re absolutely in the top 3 and I think that has something to do with being a Chicagoan. When I say Chicagoan – us living out in McHenry County – we pretty much identify ourselves as a Chicagoan, We don’t get the four-star flag tattoo on our armband and we don’t talk about, ‘Going over there by the Jewel,’ – but certainly, we identify with the city. There aren’t may cities like that and we have a huge area, but Chicagoland – thank you Col. McCormick for that – but that’s really what we are. But us, out in McHenry (County), we kind of get the best of both worlds. I can drive for 15 minutes and I’m back in the cornfields of my youth, but yet, I pretty much get all the benefits of living in in a great metropolitan area.
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