Straight Talk | Lemon to lemonade



In November of 2002 the morning show, “Breakfast with Royce and Roger” began on WOAM, 1350 AM. It starred my dear friend comedian Royce Elliott and featured so many wonderful friends from Pete Vonachen to Mayor Jim Maloof, George Shadid, Bob Michel, Jonathan Winters; gosh, not enough space to name them all. The morning show was the third time we jumped into the broadcasting arena. We did a morning show on FM 90.4 and a weekly show on WIRL 1290 AM. The two of us also did a half-hour show on cable television.

Since my background was radio, this was the medium I enjoyed. Royce loved any place any time to make people laugh including restaurants in the Peoria area. Unfortunately, there were occasional bumps in the road for our morning show. WOAM went off the air under the ownership of Kelly Communications. I remember when Bob Kelly came into the studio just before we ended our show and said there would be a meeting at 9:05, “Be there,” he said. Royce quipped, “I don’t do meetings.”

Royce was there when Kelly announced the station was going “dark” at 5 p.m. that day, and so ended that broadcasting run.

The 1350 transmitter came alive a few months later when it was purchased by Larry Nelson of Plano, Ill. The station’s studios were located on North University and Willow Knolls and once again Royce and Roger brought to the radio dial our unique programming format of talk and music. To make a long story short, to which Royce would say, “Too late,” we had tours of broadcasting on the internet and then and now on WAZU–FM 90.7.

Sadly, Royce died in 2013, but I decided to carry on with “Breakfast with Roger and Friends.” Thank God I did because over the years I’ve met some very special and wonderful people.

As you can tell from this historical account, we’ve had our challenges. We just had another one. I received an evening call at home and was told all our broadcasting equipment and furniture had to be out of our leased studio by the end of the next day because of construction plans for the building. So this 85-year-old “youngster” and another man, thoroughly cleaned out the studio the next day ending at 7 p.m. The following day we were on the air in the East Bluff Community Center, better known as the former St. Bernards School, and never missed a day. Ray LaHood, who attended the school as a young boy, was one of our first guests. Each day we climbed the three flights to the broadcasting studio. By air time, we catch our aged breaths.

Meanwhile, we began the search for yet another location, and find one we did. Actually, two possible sites. Long-time friend Ray Becker offered a studio room at Landmark, but Jim Bixby had negotiated a studio room in the four story building at 4507 North Sterling that included a nice reception area, conference room and a small kitchen area. With the help of John and Tracy Meisinger and one of their grandsons and friend, as well as Louie Linder, we moved everything within six hours. To be sure, the eviction could be termed a lemon, but in the end, we wound up celebrating the delicious taste of lemonade.

Time to end Quest

What will it take to convince District 150 school board members to realize the grand educational experiments are failures? Remember Edison? It was a major flop that cost Peoria taxpayers millions. Then along came Quest, its successor, and once again taxpayers pumped millions into another not so great education program. They’re about to do it again to the tune of $6 million a year despite multiple lawsuits and court cases involving former teachers and at least one basketball coach. Quest will submit a five-year proposal this fall estimated to cost more than $30 million to teach 600 students. Students are selected by lottery, but siblings of students already enrolled are accepted automatically. Teachers are non-union. Interestingly, though District 150 loses responsibility for 600 students, administration staff has remained the same in number over the same time period.

County appointments

County board members have three vacancies to fill following the deaths of state’s attorney Jerry Brady, county clerk Steve Sonnemaker and board member Dr. Greg Adamson. Reportedly four people have applied for the clerk’s position. One of those works in the office and will probably be selected. To date, only one person has applied for state’s attorney. Four Republicans have expressed interest for Adamson’s seat on the board according to sources. Look for the board to make their selections at the Aug. 8 meeting.

Media notes

Congratulations to editor Clare Howard and the Community Word for reporting the OSHA violations at the Peoria Journal. The newspaper did its best to keep the tragic story a secret about the employee who lost his leg on the job. It didn’t work.

I don’t know how she does it, but Lauren Rainson, weather gal on WMBD-TV, is a fashion queen. She always has the cutest and most attractive dresses on television and probably has a closet the size of my two-stall garage.

Channel 19 apparently had some background noise during a newscast Friday July 19, that included profanity. The on-air anchor apologized for the verbal glitch, but failed to do so on its web site. Why is it communicators sometimes have a difficult time communicating?


“Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

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