Q: For the past few years, I have spent many a midnight hour with Jon Grayson on his “Overnight America” show on KMOX. Then, about a month ago, he suddenly was gone — poof! — without any explanation. I even called the station to find out why, but they told me they couldn’t comment.
Victor Schwartz, of Fairview Heights
A: That’s not surprising. It’s a good bet no powerhouse radio station wants to trumpet the fact that one of its star personalities has left for a cross-town rival.
Yep, if you like Grayson, you’ll soon have to ignore that age-old admonition of “Don’t touch that dial!” Starting Monday, he will trade his overnight stints for the 10 a.m.-noon shift on the “Big 550,” KTRS-AM. And, that’s not the only steal of sorts that KTRS has made from the Mighty Mox recently. After more than a year since leaving KMOX, former AM-1120 morning host Doug McElvein will be joining Grayson as part of KTRS’ answer to Charlie Brennan and Rush Limbaugh.
It’s a talent transfer that has been going on since KTRS took to the airwaves on April 15, 1996. Long-time listeners will remember how the new station made a huge raid of the KMOX stables, stealing away morning hosts Wendy Wiese and Bill Wilkerson along with Kevin Horrigan, Jim Holder, triviameister Dave Strauss and producer Fred Zielonko as it initially set up shop in the old WIBV studio south of Belleville. Currently, KMOX alums McGraw Milhaven, John Carney, Kent Martin and Paul Harris are at KTRS.
Now, after 17 years at KMOX, Grayson has made the switch as well. His fans will remember how the Waterloo resident first did impromptu chats with Carney on his “Grayson Files” in the early morning. The pair soon proved they were ready for prime time, so they were given the 8-11 p.m. slot for a while starting in January 2006.
Then, in 2012, Grayson went national when Westwood One syndicated his Overnight America show to WCCO in Minneapolis and broadcasting pioneer KDKA in Pittsburgh. But in January, Westwood One announced that it was dropping its distribution of the show. Once the syndication ended, Grayson disappeared from 4-5 a.m., leaving some wondering whether he already had left the station. A month later, Grayson did just that, hosting his final Overnight America during the wee hours of Feb. 12/13.
At the same time, KTRS was welcoming the return of McElvein, who (at least to me) was unceremoniously axed by KMOX in January 2016 after a 22-year career there and has never been adequately replaced. In mid-February, he began substituting in various slots through the day at KTRS in preparation for his duties with Grayson. They will be replacing Randi Naughton and Martin Kilcoyne, who returned to KFNS (AM-590) Feb. 20 to do more sports talk.
Q: When a wire service like Associated Press, McClatchy, etc., sends out a story, do they write the headline that appears in your paper as well or do you?
Norm Geolat, of Belleville
A: That’s easy — we do for reasons that, hopefully, will become quickly obvious.
When a wire service sends out a story, it has no idea how a paper is going to use it because it doesn’t design the page on which the story will appear. That’s our job. So while we might run the story across six columns on the front page, the Post-Dispatch might use it across three columns while the Kansas City Star might choose it as a one-column filler on page 10B. In every case you’d need a different headline, and a wire service could not possibly satisfy a seemingly endless combination of layouts and typefaces.
That’s why clever copy editors get paid the big bucks — or should, at least — for writing headlines that will draw the reader’s interest.
Q: The USS Maryland was mentioned several times in recent articles. Either I missed it or it wasn’t said if it was destroyed or where is it now.
M.E., of Marissa
A: Commissioned in 1921 and lightly damaged during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, “Fighting Mary” quickly returned to duty in World War II, first supporting the fleet during the Battle of Midway before going on the offensive during the battles of Tarawa, Kwajalein, Saipan, Leyte Gulf and Okinawa.
Sadly, after the war, this one-time proud flagship of the fleet that received seven battle stars for its service was decommissioned on April 3, 1947, and sold for scrap in 1959. It is, however, still honored with a monument of granite and bronze proudly displayed at the State House in Annapolis, Md.
Where would musclemen go to enjoy the Weightlifting Hall of Fame?
Answer to Friday’s trivia: According to a poll done in 2002, 37 percent of women said they believed their lipstick helped them flirt their way out of a speeding ticket. It sounds like they may be getting good bang for their buck. In 2013, polling by the Huffington Post and YouGov estimated that the average woman will spend $15,000 on beauty products during her lifetime — including $3,770 on mascara, $2,750 on eye shadow and $1,780 on lipstick. Collectively, the poll found that women spend about $426 million on beauty products annually, so while it may be only skin deep, beauty doesn’t come cheap.