Walking ON AIR: Adventures in Radio

by Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

Let’s start with the complaining. When the request came in for an on-air interview from WGN Radio at midnight I immediately went to that place of ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I haven’t been awake and coherent at midnight for years. But the girls, as they are so often called upon to do, did an intervention with me. Translation: they explained RedEye Remix to me and gave me some background on hostess Amy Guth: social media professional, novelist, journalist, funny person, pop culture mover and shaker. I stopped them there. I reminded them that I am technically in adrenal distress (per an actual physician) and should always be in bed when the streetlights go on and then I relented and said, let’s go for it. Thank God for that or I would have missed out on some really big fun. Hence this post and my message for the day. We have to make sure that little girls know how fun work really is – at least some of the time – when you get really lucky and the warm and funny and smart people reach out to you.

WGN_IMG_7479 green smoothie jammies

Fresh flowers, birthday cards, and pedicures – all left over from Annie’s birthday just days before. The green smoothie was fresh.

A bit of Saturday evening napping, followed by the Duggan Sister make everything possible elixir of life – a Green Smoothie with whey powder stirred in – and we were good to go for some Late Night Fun! That and the selection of our most pajama-like outfits, more commonly referred to as our IKEA ensemble, for obvious blue and yellow reasons. Fortified and almost in-bed-cozy, we were off to the city lights. And that’s when the iconic city at night, skulking in the bowels of the metropolis, fun of it all began.

WGN_IMG_7485 lower Michigan

Yes, I felt like Bat Girl as we pulled into below-the-city parking and got beeped in by security because “The Duggan Sisters Are Here For An Interview With Amy Guth.” It sounded very important at the time. The clock struck midnight as we pulled into a spot next to the loading ramp and listened in as Amy told her listeners that her guest for the evening was The Duggan Sisters …really, it was super exciting. Again, we don’t get out much – but it really was exciting. And we were ON.

WGN_IMG_7491 arriving security ladies

These gals were still pretty excited, what with the gift bag, and all. They hadn’t figure out yet that it was just deodorant.

Step One: engage the security staff. Act like you are somebody, and they will think  you are SOMEBODY. Until they hear the part about being deodorant makers. Though they did seem perfectly delighted to be going home that night with a snazzy sample kit from the Duggan Sisters. Gosh, I wish I’d had a minute to talk lymphatics with them and guide them about proper application. Oh, well.

WGN_IMG_7493 security gets bag

This lovely guard shared a joke with us. But we aren’t allowed to share it for at least six months. I assured him he did not have to wait six months to share his deodorant gift pack with his wife. He seemed pleased and got us our escort into the Tower.

We were getting pretty stoked as we approached the hallowed halls of the Chicago Tribune. Talk about a landmark building in my life – from Mike Royko’s column at the dinner table when I was a kid growing up in a very political family to my post-menopausal phase, where Mary Schmich is my mid-life journalistic Facebook “friend.”  For goodness sake, this is where Kevin Pang has romanced me with foodie talk for years. This is plain and simply unreal!

WGN_IMG_7517 outside wide angle

All of that seven degrees of Kevin Bacon drama was kicking in big time. Once we got out of the garage, that is, which is pretty much just dank and damp, unless you allow yourself to feel like Bat Girl. Which I did. KAZAM! And of course all the bundled stacks of Sunday papers waiting to be delivered and devoured. Mine amongst them somewhere.

WGN_IMG_7505 Katie Gibson in booth

Amy Guth’s adorable Producer, Katherine Gibson, swept us up and into the Green Room, where we waited for a few minutes and that’s when the whole thing triggered just the biggest Frazier flashback ever. It was getting very, very real as we peaked through the window into the Allstate Showcase Studio. We were actually going on live radio. Which I had only really conceptualized as wonderful and convenient because I wouldn’t have to hold my stomach in; but which was now appearing so much cooler on a so much bigger level. And then POW! and WOW! we were actually in studio and ON AIR.

WGN_IMG_7503 on air amy at mic

If you are not a Chicagoan, or have never visited Chicago – okay, first shame on you – you need to know that this studio is ground level, full surround windows, North Michigan Avenue amazing. Just outside the window is the sculpture of Hall of Fame Broadcaster, Jack Brickhouse. This is quintessential Chicago. I spent decades of my life working dismal jobs all over the city and would walk AM and PM past this window on my way to the train, oftentimes stopping to check out the celebrity being interviewed, while I licked Garrett’s Popcorn residue from my fingertips. And now here I was in that very studio with my own sisters, being warmly welcomed on LIVE RADIO by the just as pretty in real life Amy Guth, as she pointed to our great big chairs and directed us to cozy up tight to the giant microphones while she narrated on LIVE RADIO that the sisters were in the house, describing our IKEA corporate jammies to the listening audience. You know those moments, don’t you, when you wish your parents were still alive as they would be so proud of you. Yep, that kind of moment.

WGN_IMG_7496 on air light

50 free-wheeling, fun, easy-listening minutes followed. We don’t have a publicist; but we have garnered just enough press attention to know that it isn’t always fun and being interviewed is frequently not easy at all. At times it can be really stressful. Almost as stressful as reading the piece days or weeks later and marveling at the twists and turns your words and thoughts took on their journey to the page. But, enough of that for now. This time it was fun.

WGN_IMG_7509 on air annie mary amy


Only a few minutes had passed before Katie (oh yeah, we’re tight now and done with the Ms. Katherine Gibson thing) was whipping out a bakery box stuffed to elastic-waist-band-overflowing with gluten-free cupcakes in honor of Annie’s birthday. Clare and I were in on this bit of subversive activity; but even we were surprised when, I swear, I thought Annie was going to cry ON AIR. Annie has had quite the birthday this year. Next year we might even have to dial it back just a bit. Unless, that is, Howard Stern calls.

WGN_IMG_7512 cupcakes

Best. Cupcakes. Ever. I know we are all getting a little bit tired of that stylistic device; but really they were. And we will certainly be getting ourselves to Sweet Ali’s for some more.

But don’t be thinking it was all cupcakes and situation comedy flashbacks. Amy Guth is a consummate professional and she guided us skillfully through just the Best. Interview. Ever. There it is again, and I promise I am trying. But, seriously we got so much said and so much shared that I wish every single encounter we have with the media could be so in-depth and comprehensive. It was rewarding to not have to carefully manage sound bites, especially with cupcake crumbs falling out of our mouths. Though I do want it said, I did not eat any cupcake while ON AIR. I can’t say the same for my sisters. And that is why when Sunday morning breakfast rolled around about 3 PM that afternoon, I was entitled to an extra cupcake – but I didn’t get one – but again, I am making a real effort here to curtail the complaining. Just. This. Once.

WGN_IMG_7523 selfie with amy guth

This epic selfie with our new bff Amy Guth shows our IKEA outfits to real advantage, don’t you think?

I know this is a blog and I should have kept it shorter; but really, how often do I get to say that the Duggan Sisters were ON AIR and that it was so much fun? It’s a well-kept secret, I’m afraid, that some of the most amazing women actually are doing the most wonderful things with their working life. They are smart and funny and generous with their time and helping others along and making a great big difference in the world – thank you for that Amy and Katie. I want to start getting that secret told to young girls coming up. Oh yeah, you are going to work your tails off in this world. And you are going to meet lots of real jerks and have your hearts broken and your dreams derailed and at times, even your soul crushed. But there will be days when it will be just the best. Even if the day is actually the night and your doctor would prefer you were in bed because your adrenal glands are shot.

Don’t miss out on the fun!  Click to hear the show on this nifty Redeye Remix podcast.


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About the author:

Mary Duggan is Co-Founder and President of the Duggan Sisters

The Duggan Sisters cracked the code and created a natural deodorant that actually works: lifestinks. And that was just the beginning. We hope you will spend a few minutes exploring duggansisters.com to experience their spirited approach to wellness through their natural products and healing stories.

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2 Responses to “Walking ON AIR: Adventures in Radio”

  1. Mary Enright-Olson says:

    This was so much fun to read – I was skulking around dark of night CHItown with you. And listening was even more goodness. Congrats on such a great job.

    • Mary Duggan says:

      Hi Mary, Great to hear from you. We had so much fun the first time around that it’s hard to believe it could possibly be all that fun all over again. But we will do our best to spread the love and the bug repellent. Hope you and Allan are having a wonderful summer. It has been a strange one here in Chi-town, lots of chilly nights, and a fair number of chilly days, as well. And enough rain to drive up lifestings sales along with umbrellas. Crazy times. We’ll be sure to do a “report” from behind the scenes of our glamorous life as the makers of deodorant and bug repellent. Our adoring fans deserve no less!!! Hugs, Mary and the sisters

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