"The Steve and Johnnie Show" is an overnight kaleidoscope of people, places and things ranging from breaking local, national and international news stories, to celebrity interviews, to creative sculpture (with Spam), to in-studio "jams" with visiting rock groups featuring Steve on guitar.

Steve King

Steve King joined WGN Radio on Christmas Eve in 1984. Along with his wife, Johnnie Putman, he co-hosts Chicago's number one all-night show. A native of Chicago's south side, Steve's initial career path did not include radio. Instead, he used his musical talent to establish himself as a singer/songwriter and musician winning a Downbeat magazine jazz contest and recording as a rock singer/guitarist for various labels including one of the industry giants, Mercury Records. Along the way, Steve counted among his band members now famed chamber/blues composer Corky Siegel, Peter Cetera and Marty Grebb. Peter later went on to gain fame with the group Chicago and as a solo artist, Marty became well-known for his work with the Buckinghams and artists like Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Nicks. After ten years in recording studios and on the road, Steve decided it was time for a change in direction.

stevestudio020830SJmedIn 1966, having taken a course at Midwestern Broadcasting School in Chicago, Steve joined WJOB-AM in Hammond, IN. One year later he moved to WLTH-AM in Gary, IN, eventually becoming that station's Afternoon Drive Personality and Program Director. Next, he moved to Indianapolis where he joined the staff of the flagship station of the worldwide Indianapolis 500 Race, WIBC-AM/WNAP-FM. After two years in "naptown," having added the responsibilities of FM music director to his on-air duties, Steve returned home to do afternoon drive at Chicago's WBBM-FM.

In 1973, Steve's commanding lead with the FM afternoon drive audience brought him to the attention of WLS-AM who hired him away for a five year run as their 10pm-2am personality. In 1978, Steve got into talk radio when he joined WIND-AM. After a short stint with WDAI-FM, where he did first afternoon drive and then morning drive, Steve returned to WIND and talk radio until 1984. While at WIND one of Steve's favorite "subjects" soon became Johnnie Putman. The duo was thrown together a lot for station promotions culminating with the ultimate "promotion"... their wedding.

In 1985, Johnnie joined Steve on WGN and their pairing resulted in "The Steve & Johnnie Show" spending the better part of 20 years as Chicago's #1 nightly radio habit.

King's broadcast experience is not limited to radio alone. For three years, he hosted the program, "Chicago," which aired on WFLD-TV. During Steve's final season as host (with Johnnie producing), the show received an Emmy nomination. Steve and Johnnie have co-hosted WGN-TV's MDA Telethon, and in 1987 hosted WGN-TV's eleven hour salute to Elvis Presley (which they also co-wrote). Steve and Johnnie have also been featured on NBC-TV's "Today," as well as providing their voices for an episode of NBC-TV's "ER."

Steve and Johnnie quite frequently find themselves on stage or doing a special project to help raise money for a worthy cause like The WGN Neediest Kids Fund. Hosting the "Street Carols" Christmas concerts and the sales of their "Life After Dark" CD (featuring live performances from Steve and Johnnie's show) raised thousands of dollars for the fund. They were also honored to be asked to host and perform on the stage of the legendary Ryman Auditorium, in Nashville, TN to benefit the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame Foundation.

In addition, on a more personal level, since being diagnosed with Celiac Sprue (a complete intolerance to gluten) Steve has become very involved with local and national Celiac organizations in educating and helping others with the disease.

Off the air, Steve's interests (other than Johnnie) include guitars, writing, computers, comic books, cars, and not surprisingly, music. One of his "pet projects" is the construction of a home recording studio which, when completed, will be the site of sessions for a planned solo album.

Even off-air though, whether it's "skim-reading" seven newspapers a day (and countless magazines a week), working on show ideas, and potential guests, or answering e-mail, "snail mail" or off-air calls from listeners, Steve's thoughts are never too far from the show. It's this kind of commitment to his listeners that has helped make WGN Radio's "Steve and Johnnie Show" Chicago's number one all-night radio program.

Johnnie Putman

Johnnie Putman, co-host of Chicago's number one all-night show on WGN, "The Steve and Johnnie Show," is a woman whose experience in broadcasting is as impressive as it is extensive. After graduating from Columbia College in 1977, Johnnie joined the staff of WMRO-AM/WAUR-FM in Aurora, IL. For five years she displayed her versatility hosting both a talk show on the AM and a contemporary music show on the FM. After her second year she was named the station's Operations Director.

In 1982, Johnnie headed off to the "big time" in the Windy City. As the newest member of the staff of WIND-AM, she became one of Chicago's first female talk show hosts. For promotional events, the station paired Johnnie with another one of their talents, Steve King. The match worked perfectly, not only for WIND, but for them, as well. They were married in 1984.

johnniestudio020830SJmedDuring this same year, Johnnie moved across town to WCLR-FM. While working as the station's Morning and Afternoon Drive Traffic Reporter, she also produced Steve's Emmy nominated program on WFLD-TV, "Chicago." On Valentine's Day in 1985, Johnnie sat in with her husband during one of his programs on WGN Radio. The favorable response which followed led her to move to WGN. Her work as a traffic reporter on the Wally Phillips and Bob Collins Shows, led to her position as Steve's co-host on Chicago's number one overnight radio program.

Although Johnnie's career is clearly based in radio, she has not let go of her interest in television. Johnnie has hosted the Chicago Auto Show Television Preview for WGN-TV, and has spent many Labor Day weekends with Steve, co-hosting The MDA Telethon. In 1987, she and her husband wrote and co-hosted WGN-TV's eleven hour memorial salute to Elvis Presley, and in 1989, she appeared as a celebrity contestant on the TV game show, "Win, Lose or Draw." Johnnie and Steve have also been featured on NBC-TV's "Today" and in 1995 their voices were heard on NBC-TV's "ER."

A native of Tennessee, Johnnie's favorite hobby is going to the movies. Her love of film began in college with the production of her own three pieces, one of which became an award winner.

An avid reader who has been known to devour three hard back books a week, Johnnie's other off air interests include a passion for gardening, decorating (listeners constantly request pictures of her year round holiday tree) and cooking. And speaking of cooking, as a result of even more listener requests, Johnnie hopes to finish writing her Gluten-Free cookbook.

With all of her years of experience and professionalism, Johnnie is anything but jaded and still brings to the show a wonderful sense of excitement and awe that has been known to surface freely on special occasions such as when Paul Harvey, Bobby Sherman or Mickey Mouse called just to sing "Happy Birthday" to her.

Johnnie's involvement with her WGN listeners does not end when the show does. She has been known to spend hours off the air helping a listener solve a problem. Along with Steve, she devotes much of her time to worthy causes such as WGN's Neediest Kids campaign, or non-station events such their annual Easter visit to Children's Memorial Hospital to distribute toys for the kids.

For many years Johnnie and Steve, sometimes joined by Dick Clark, were the opening day hosts for the Les Turner ALS Foundation's Mammoth Music Mart.

Johnnie Putman's enthusiasm for her many on and off air activities makes the difficult look easy and sometimes makes you forget she has helped open doors for women in broadcasting in Chicago. Such enthusiasm comes through the radio to thousands of overnight listeners who have made "The Steve and Johnnie Show," on WGN Radio, their number one nightly habit.