John Lodge from The Moody Blues

John Lodge called in to the show to talk about first new solo album since 1977, “10,000 Light Years Ago.”  After trying to pry his secret about how his vocals sound basically the same after 50 years (one of these days I’ll find out), we talked about how the album came together, his songwriting process, and how important record stores were to his becoming a music fan and a musician.

Freddy Rodriguez from “The Night Shift”

Freddy Rodriguez is an Emmy-nominated actor (I loved his work on “Six Feet Under”) who currently stars as Michael Ragosa on NBC’s “The Night Shift.”  We discussed his Chicago roots, the evolution of his character and the challenges that presents as an actor, and also further explored what happens at the JR Lemon-led live tweeting/dance party events (previously confirmed by Jeananne Goossen and Brendan Fehr).


Emmett J. Scanlan, “Saul/Paul” on “A.D. The Bible Continues”

Emmett J. Scanlan stars as Saul of Tarsus (SPOILER ALERT: Later to be known as Paul the Apostle) in NBC’s “A.D. The Bible Continues.”  We had a very informative and entertaining discussion about how the gravity of the story can affect one’s performance, how he summoned the energy and intensity to portray a man with such intense faith and belief, and how he proposed to his girlfriend while working on the series (another SPOILER ALERT: now his fiancé!)

“A.D. The Bible Continues” airs Sunday nights at 8 on NBC-5 Chicago.

Giuliana Rancic

Giuliana’s has just released her autobiography “Going Off Script: How I Survived a Crazy Childhood, Cancer, and Clooney’s 32 On-Screen Rejections.”  We had a very entertaining conversation about how she decided to finally write the book, how she learned English from Eddie Murphy, and why she strives for honesty and authenticity in all of her projects.  I also shamelessly pester her for a good table at RPM.

Kat Foster and JoBeth Williams

Kat Foster and JoBeth Williams are two of the co-stars on TBS’s new comedy, “Your Family or Mine,” which premieres tomorrow night at 9CT.  The impressive cast also includes Ed Begley Jr., Richard Dreyfuss and Cynthia Stevenson.   We had a fun chat about how this show presents a unique twist on a “traditional” family comedy, how intimidating that much star power on one show can be, and why they’re much, much better at acting than I could ever possibly hope to be.

Josh Weltman, author of “Seducing Strangers”

Josh Weltman is a 25-year veteran of the advertising business and a co-producer on Mad Men.  His new book is “Seducing Strangers: The Little Black Book of Advertising Secrets.”  We discussed his work on Mad Men (he helps to ensure that the show accurately depicts ad pitches and how clients are serviced, among other critical details), how the book came about, and whether or not he’s in danger from rival agencies for revealing the secrets told in the book.

Mookie Wilson

It was fun talking with Mookie Wilson, who called in to promote the new paperback version of his book “Mookie:  Life, Baseball and the ’86 Mets.”  We talked about the Cubs-Mets rivalry in the mid-80s, how much fun the ’86 Mets were, and why we’ll likely never see such a collection of characters assembled in one clubhouse again.

Victor Levin, director of “5 to 7”

Victor Levin is a four-time Emmy nominee from his work as a writer and producer in television.  His debut as a feature film director is “5 to 7,” which opens in select theaters on Friday.  We talked about how the script came about (he’s also the screenwriter), the challenges of shooting an indie film in Manhattan, and whether success on the film festival circuit translates to success in the mainstream.


Kimberly Snyder, author of the “Beauty Detox” series

Kimberly Snyder’s latest book is “Beauty Detox Power,” where she wants us to look beyond food and get to the root of what is causing our weight and health issues.  During our talk, Kimberly really made me think when she called me out on a way I was viewing my eating habits — she’s very good at what she does!

Ben Gleib on Season 2 of “Idiotest”

The very funny Ben Gleib returned to The Big Wakeup Call to talk about Season 2 of his popular “Idiotest” game show.  We learn about a new touchscreen, better looking contestants, and a focus group’s opinion on Ben’s hair.  Careful listeners will hear that Ben and I start the interview pretty much as best friends, have a bit of a falling out in the middle, but reconcile at the end.

Catch the season premiere of “Idiotest” tonight at 7 Central on Game Show Network.