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Larry Lujack (born June 6, 1940), a Top 40 Music radio disc jockey, was known for his world-weary sarcastic style, "Klunk Letter of the Day" and darkly humorous "Animal Stories" along with "sidekick Little Tommy", and "Cheap Trashy Show Biz Report." He was also referred to as Superjock, Lawrence of Chicago, Uncle Lar, and King of the Corn Belt.
Born in Quasqueton, Iowa and raised in Idaho as Larry Blankenburg, he later changed his last name to that of his football idol, Johnny Lujack. He attended the College of Idaho (in Caldwell) and University of Idaho (in Moscow) and was a radio disc jockey, starting in 1958, at KCID in Caldwell. His entry into radio came when he was a biology major at College of Idaho and at the time was a matter of finances; he was looking for a part-time job. He originally intended to go into wildlife conservation. He subsequently worked at several other radio stations, including KJR (AM) in Seattle, but is best known for his antics on Chicago AM radio stations WLS and WCFL.
"Animal Stories" came about because WLS was still receiving farm magazines long after they went into Rock and Roll in 1960. Lujack started reading some of them and began airing stories from them instead of reading the grain reports connected with the Farm Report. When the Farm Report was officially discontinued, the feature became Animal Stories.
He initially retired in 1987, shortly after his son John from his first marriage died in an accident. In 1997, he moved from Palatine to the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Lujack began working again in May 2000 for then-WUBT in Chicago, via a remote ISDN link from a New Mexico recording studio. He was teamed up with Matt McCann, who was based in the Chicago studio. The ratings for the show out-paced the rest of the radio station. In 2003, he re-teamed with his Animal Stories partner, Tommy Edwards (Little Tommy), on WRLL (1690 AM) in Chicago, to broadcast his signature features on weekday mornings. On August 16, 2006, Lujack was fired along with the entire WRLL on-air staff as it was announced that the station's "Real Oldies" format would cease on September 17, 2006. The broadcast duo were on the air once again as part of the WLS "The Big 89 Rewind" on Memorial Day, 2007 and 2008 where the station returned to its "MusicRadio" programming, featuring many of the former WLS personalities and special guests, other DJs, etc.
Lujack was inducted into the Illinois Broadcasters Association's Hall of Fame in June 2002 and the National Radio Hall of Fame on November 6, 2004. On April 15, 2008, Larry Lujack was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame during their annual convention in Las Vegas.
Lujack is married to Judith (Jude), his second wife, and has two surviving children: Anthony Lujack and Linda Lujack-Shirley.
|KFXM 590||San Bernardino||CA||1963|
|KJRB* 790||Spokane||WA||1962 – 1963||evenings|
|KJR (AM) 950||Seattle||WA||April 1964 – September 1966|
|WMEX 1510||Boston||MA||September 1966 – December 1966||as Johnny Lujack|
|WCFL 1000||Chicago||IL||1967||four months; all-nights|
|WLS (AM) 890||Chicago||IL||August 1967 – July 1972||afternoons, then mornings|
|WCFL 1000||Chicago||IL||July 3, 1972 – March 16, 1976||afternoons ^|
|WLS (AM) 890
|Chicago||IL||September 16, 1976 – August 28, 1987||mornings; then in 1985, afternoons**|
|WUBT 103.5||Chicago||IL||May 25, 2000 – January 10, 2001|
|WRLL 1690||Chicago||IL||September 8, 2003 – August 15, 2006|
* KNEW and KJRB refer to the same radio station.
^ After WCFL switched to "Beautiful Music" in 1976, Lujack remained on staff, as he had a high-paying contract. When WLS made him an offer to return to work there, the two stations each paid half of Lujack's remaining WCFL contract.
** WLS continued to pay Lujack for five years after his 1987 departure to keep him from competing with them in markets where ABC had local radio outlets.
- Lujack, Larry; Jedlicka, Daniel A. (1975). Superjock: the loud, frantic, nonstop world of a rock radio DJ. Chicago: H. Regnery Co. ISBN 978-0-8092-8302-6. OCLC 1500182.
- Lujack, Larry; Edwards, Tommy (2007). Uncle Lar' & Li'l Tommy's best of animal stories. Lake Forest, IL: Animal Stories. OCLC 232150780.
- audio file-Reel Radio-Klunk Letter of the Day Composite-WCFL
- Background on "Animal Stories", Lujack and Edwards
- audio file-Reel Radio Lujack WLS-AM aircheck-March 1983-includes an "Animal Stories" piece
- Shannon, Bob, ed. (2009), Turn It Up! American Radio Tales 1946-1996, Austrianmonk publishing, pp. 214–220, ISBN 1-61584-545-3, retrieved 2010-04-11[dead link]
- 1985 Larry Lujack Interview
- audio file-Reel Radio-Larry Lujack aircheck-KJR-July 1966
- Mr/ Pop History-Week of July 13, 1972-Larry Lujack joins WCFL-page 4
- audio file-Lujack's own words about how Animal Stories began
- audio file-Lujack's Farewell-WLS-AM-August 28, 1987
- Copy of "Last Day" WLS memo from Lujack to the staff
- HighBeam-from Chicago Sun Times May 29, 1986-Larry Lujack's son John, 22, dies in fall from motel roof. (Boise)
- Encyclopedia.com-from Chicago Sun Times June 3, 1986-Larry Lujack bids dead son farewell. (on air at WLS-AM)
- RootsWeb-Canyon Hill Cemetery-Caldwell, Canyon Co., Idaho-Lujack, John S 1963-1986
- YouTube video of Big 89 Rewind-2007
- YouTube video of WLS Rewind 2008
- "Hall of Fame Award". Illinois Broadcasters Association. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
- "Larry Lujack, Disc Jockey". Radio Hall of Fame. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
- National Association of Broadcasters Press Release-Larry Lujack to be Inducted into NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame
- audio file Reel Radio-Larry Lujack aircheck KNEW-July 1963
- Spokane radio-history of KPEG
- Larry Lujack at the National Radio Hall of Fame
- Scott Childers' The History of WLS Radio The Rock of Chicago, the 1980s. Read about Lujack in the context of WLS history.
- YouTube audio of Larry Lujack and the end of Rock on WCFL-March 15, 1976
- audio file-Reel Radio "The Legendary Lujack" Composite
- YouTube video of WLS-AM "Animal Stories" Promo featuring Lujack and Edwards
- audio file of Lujack's first day on the job at WLS-1967
- Real Oldies 1690 AM WRLL. Through Sept. 17, 2006, hear an automated version of the station where Lujack and Tommy Edwards (Little Tommy of Animal Stories) hosted mornings from October 2003 through August 15, 2006.