Larry Lujack

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Larry Lujack
Larry Lujack WCFL 1974.JPG
Lujack at WCFL in 1974.
Larry Lee Blankenburg

(1940-06-06)June 6, 1940
DiedDecember 18, 2013(2013-12-18) (aged 73)
Other namesSuperjock, Lawrence of Chicago, Uncle Lar, King of the Corn Belt
Alma materCollege of Idaho
Washington State University
Occupation(s)Radio host, disc jockey
Spouse(s)Gina (div.)
Judith Seguin
(m. c.1972–2013; his death)
AwardsIllinois Broadcasters Association's Hall of Fame (2002)
National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame (2008)

Larry Lujack (born Larry Lee Blankenburg; June 6, 1940 – December 18, 2013), also called Superjock, Lawrence of Chicago, Uncle Lar, and King of the Corn Belt, was a Top 40 music radio disc jockey who was well known for his world-weary sarcastic style. Some of his more popular routines included Klunk Letter of the Day,[1] the darkly humorous Animal Stories[2][3] with sidekick Tommy Edwards as Little Tommy, and the Cheap Trashy Show Biz Report.

Professional life[edit]

Lujack came to Chicago to work for WCFL-AM. He spent a few months there before being hired at WLS. While at WCFL, Lujack closed the air studio curtains during public visiting hours.[4]

His Animal Stories routine came about because WLS was still receiving farm magazines long after the station changed to a rock-music format 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.[5][6] A perfectionist about his work, Lujack would review every word he spoke on the air after each broadcast by listening to an audio cassette skimmer tape which recorded only when the microphone was open.[4]

Lujack retired in 1987,[7][8] shortly after his son John from his first marriage died in an accident.[9] In 1997, Lujack moved from Palatine, Illinois to the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico and, in May 2000, began working again, for then-WUBT (WKSC-FM) in Chicago, via a remote Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) link from a New Mexico recording studio, teaming 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 reteamed with his Animal Stories partner, Tommy Edwards (Little "Snot-Nosed" Tommy), on WRLL (1690 AM) in Chicago, to broadcast his signature features on weekday mornings. On August 16, 2006, Lujack was terminated 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[10] and 2008[11] when 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,[12] the National Radio Hall of Fame on November 6, 2004,[13] and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame on April 15, 2008, during their annual convention in Las Vegas.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Born in Quasqueton, Iowa as Larry Lee Blankenburg, the family moved to Caldwell, Idaho when he was 13.[15][16] He later changed his last name to that of his football idol, Johnny Lujack. He attended the College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho, and Washington State University and was a radio disc jockey, starting in 1958, at KCID in Caldwell.[17] His entry into radio while a biology major at College of Idaho was a matter of finances; at the time he was looking for a part-time job. He originally intended to go into wildlife conservation.[5] He subsequently worked at several other radio stations, including KJR (AM) in Seattle,[18] but is best known for his antics on Chicago AM radio stations WLS and WCFL.[19]

Lujack had three children from his first marriage and a stepson from his second.

Away from the job, he was a golf enthusiast. After triple coronary artery bypass surgery in 1991, Lujack marked his calendar for the date his doctor told him he could return to the sport. Not just a "fair weather" golfer, Lujack suited up in winter clothing and snowshoes to play Chicago area golf courses in winter. On January 23, 1985, he played a full 18 holes at Buffalo Grove, Illinois; the temperature was 27 degrees below zero with a windchill of -75 degrees. Lujack collapsed afterward.[20]

Lujack died December 18, 2013 at a Santa Fe, New Mexico hospice of esophageal cancer.[16][21][22][23]

Radio stations[edit]

Station City State Dates Notes
KCID 1490 Caldwell ID 1958
KGEM 1140 Boise ID ?[17]
KNEW* 790 Spokane WA 1963[17][24]
KPEG 1380[25] Spokane WA 1963[17]
KRPL 1400 Moscow ID ?[17]
KFXM (AM) 590 San Bernardino CA 1963[17]
KJRB 790 Spokane WA 19621963[17] evenings [a]
KJR (AM) 950 Seattle WA April 1964September 1966
WMEX (AM) 1510 Boston MA September 1966December 1966 as "Johnny Lujack"
WCFL (AM) 1000 Chicago IL 1967 four months; all-nights
WLS (AM) 890 Chicago IL August 1967July 1972 afternoons, then mornings
WCFL (AM) 1000 Chicago IL July 3, 1972March 16, 1976 afternoons [b]
WLS (AM) 890
WLS-FM 94.7
Chicago IL September 16, 1976August 28, 1987 mornings; then in 1985, afternoons [c]
WUBT 103.5 Chicago IL May 25, 2000January 10, 2001
WRLL 1690 Chicago IL September 8, 2003August 15, 2006
  1. ^ KNEW and KJRB refer to the same radio station.
  2. ^ After WCFL switched to beautiful music format 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.[5][17]
  3. ^ 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.[26]


  • 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.


  1. ^ audio file-Reel Radio-Klunk Letter of the Day Composite-WCFL
  2. ^ Background on "Animal Stories", Lujack and Edwards
  3. ^ audio file-Reel Radio Lujack WLS-AM aircheck-March 1983-includes an "Animal Stories" piece
  4. ^ a b Bridges, Les (March 4, 1979). Larry Lujack, Permanent Fave (PDF). Chicago Tribune. pp. 39, 41, 54. Retrieved March 9, 2014.(PDF)
  5. ^ a b c "1985 Larry Lujack Interview". Archived from the original on August 16, 2003. Retrieved 2010-04-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. ^ audio file-Lujack's own words about how Animal Stories began
  7. ^ audio file-Lujack's Farewell-WLS-AM-August 28, 1987
  8. ^ Copy of "Last Day" WLS memo from Lujack to the staff
  9. ^ Multiple sources:
  10. ^ Video of Big 89 Rewind-2007 on YouTube
  11. ^ Video of WLS Rewind 2008 on YouTube
  12. ^ "Hall of Fame Award". Illinois Broadcasters Association. 2009. Archived from the original on July 9, 2010. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
  13. ^ "Larry Lujack, Disc Jockey". Radio Hall of Fame. 2009. Archived from the original on 2005-01-13. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
  14. ^ National Association of Broadcasters Press Release-Larry Lujack to be Inducted into NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame
  15. ^ Fox, Margalit (December 23, 2013). "Larry Lujack, a Cranky Radio Voice That Carried, Dies at 73". The New York Times.
  16. ^ a b Weingarten, Paul (September 30, 1984). "Superjock". Chicago Tribune. p. 192. Retrieved October 16, 2017 – via open access
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h Shannon, Bob, ed. (2009), Turn It Up! American Radio Tales 1946-1996, Austrianmonk Publishing, pp. 214–220, ISBN 978-1-61584-545-3, retrieved 2010-04-11
  18. ^ audio file-Reel Radio-Larry Lujack aircheck-KJR-July 1966
  19. ^ Mr Pop History: Week of July 13, 1972-Larry Lujack joins WCFL-page 4. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011
  20. ^ Hanley, Reed (December 11, 1991). "Chicago:Winter Golf Hotbed". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  21. ^ Manchir, Michelle; Channick, Robert (2013-12-18). "Larry Lujack, legendary Chicago DJ, dies". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
  22. ^ Hoekstra, Dave (December 18, 2013). "Legendary 'Superjock' Larry Lujack dies at 73". Chicago Sun Times. Archived from the original on February 17, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  23. ^ "Famed Chicago radio host Larry Lujack dies at 73". San Francisco Chronicle. 2013-12-19. Archived from the original on 2013-12-20. Retrieved 2013-12-19.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  24. ^ audio file Reel Radio-Larry Lujack aircheck KNEW-July 1963
  25. ^ Spokane radio-history of KPEG
  26. ^ "Network buys out Lujack's contract". Journal and Courier. July 23, 1987. p. 19. Retrieved October 16, 2017 – via open access

External links[edit]