5 Questions with ... Melissa McGurren


5 Questions with ... Melissa McGurren

CSN Chicago Senior Director of Communications
CSNChicago.com Contributor

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the city's most popular personalities on the spot with everyone's favorite local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with... On Wednesdays, exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeks guest ... a standout cast member of the enormously popular Eric and Kathy Show on 101.9 FM THE MIX ... shes a Northwest Indiana native whose love of media and personal drive to make it in the crazy world of radio broadcasting landed her at just about the best place one can hope to be at in the biz ... plus, she's pretty damn funny too ... here are 5 Questions with ... MELISSA McGURREN!


BIO: Moving to Chicago wasn't a far trip for Melissa McGurren, who grew up in Portage, Ind. At the age of 8, Melissa was already writing and creating radio shows on cassette tapes to play for her mom. Although the shows needed some work (come on, she was only 8 years old), she decided to pursue a career in radio. Melissa started her radio career in the Hoosier State in Hammond and Merrillville before becoming the sidekick/traffic reporter at THE MIX. She consistently strives to be the best Melissa she can be and says there is always more to learn through new experiences in life. The new love of her life is her son Porter, who was born in December 2010. "With a twinkle in his eye, he stole my heart. Ok, so that's super cheesy," she says, but it's completely true.


1) CSNChicago.com: Melissa, first off, congrats to you and your fellow cast of characters on the massive success of the Eric and Kathy Show. The shows popularity seems limitless right now. There's no doubt you've attained a solid fan base over the years thanks in part to your great sense of humor and ability to put your male counterparts in their place if needed! As the aforementioned primary sidekick to E & K, do you have any aspirations to one day soon have your own radio show? Do tell.

McGurren: Well, I'll say this ... I don't know what the future holds for me. I love my job, I love radio and I can't imagine not being on the air. I think my future is radio. Likely in the capacity of on-air, but as long as there is growth with the Eric and Kathy Show, both on the air and in the studio, I'll be there. If the show ever ends (let's say, 30 years from now), I'll probably just retire. All kidding aside, who knows what path the future holds, but when something "feels right", I just go with it. Right now, the Eric and Kathy Show "feels right."


2) CSNChicago.com: Being a public figure as a radio personality naturally opens up your personal life to your listeners (i.e. the trials and tribulations of motherhood, relationships, etc.). Was/is that particular aspect of your job difficult for you or do you feel that it is just an absolute requirement in order to further connect to your audience?

McGurren: When I first started, I didn't mind talking about some aspects of my life. This was when I was on another morning show. Yeah that's right. I did a different show (for a short time). Anyone remember Tim and Willy, on Kick's Country? Actually, I loved those guys but you probably don't remember. They weren't around very long. When the popularity of the Eric and Kathy Show increased, so did the information about our personal lives. I must admit, it was a HUGE adjustment, but there's something about sharing some parts of your life with the audience that not only makes them relate more to you, but you relate more to them. This comes in the form of e-mails (mostly). People share their stories with me. They introduce themselves when we're out and they attend our functions. I love it. I actually feel like I'm friends with them as much as they are with me.


3) CSNChicago.com: You've stated that you don't know that much about sports ... not sure if I can believe that. Blackhawks star Patrick Sharp, for example, regularly appears on the show as do other athletes from time to time. Simple question: do you ever get nervous when an athlete is on the show in fear of your self-proclaimed lack of sports knowledge?

McGurren: Well you can believe it. I don't know much about sports. I definitely know more now that we talk about it on the show, but I don't really follow it. I get why people love sports. I've gone to some games myself and have thoroughly enjoyed all that goes on, be it the tailgating, the camaraderie, etc. As far as being nervous when pro athletes come in, nah...not really. Typically they listen to the show anyway and already know the dynamics. We talk about a lot of things non-sports related so I'm fine in that aspect.


4) CSNChicago.com: If you could be one celebrity for one week, who would it be and why?

McGurren: Just one? There are at least 11 that I would pick, but if I can only pick one ... Chelsea Handler. She says what she wants, does what she wants, is very funny and I still think deep down she is a pretty nice lady. I know I worry too much about saying the wrong thing to people or hurting their feelings.


5) CSNChicago.com: Name your Top 3 favorite songs/artists that would NEVER be played on The Mix?

McGurren: Ok, first up, give me some old Dixie Chicks and I'm pretty much in heaven. There's something appealing about a song that speaks to a lot of women who aren't ready to settle down and want to have fun instead of the stereotype ... a woman that just wants to find a man and have babies. I went through a time of just wanting to have fun myself and so have my girlfriends. So boys, don't just jump to conclusions on the ladies. Also, I'd have to go with Foo Fighters -- I may not always be in the mood for them, but when I am ... look out! Besides, David Grohl is dreamy. Michael Jackson -- Like most people, I started listening to his music again after his sad death. His music will forever be timeless to me. Can I add a fourth? ANY Frank Sinatra song is fantastic!


BONUS QUESTION! CSNChicago.com: Anything you'd like to promote Melissa? Tell us ... CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it!

McGurren: I have StyleFile events that start every spring and last all summer. We get hundreds of people coming. I love hosting them, I love the people that come and it's just "a good ol' time." Listen on the show for upcoming events starting soon! Plus -- I'm looking for a charity that I can really be involved in that deals with animals. I don't want to donate money (I already do that). I want to be involved in the creative solutions to stop animal cruelty. If YOU know how to get me in there to help, email me (Melissa@wtmx.com)! I'm not looking to host events. I want to do more than that. I want to bust the bad guys!


McGurren LINKS:

Official WTMX Eric and Kathy Show home page

Melissa McGurren on Faceboo

What can the Cubs expect from the Cleveland Indians in the World Series?

What can the Cubs expect from the Cleveland Indians in the World Series?

CSNChicago.com’s Dan Hayes and JJ Stankevitz saw plenty of the Cleveland Indians while covering the White Sox in 2016, and set their sights on what kind of a challenge the Tribe will provide the Cubs in the World Series.


The American League’s second-best offense has slowed down considerably in the postseason as its .635 OPS ranks seventh among 10 playoff teams in 2016. But the Indians have received enough clutch hitting from part-timer Coco Crisp and their star in the making, shortstop Francisco Lindor, to make the most of their stellar pitching in the playoffs.

In the regular season, the Indians finished second in the American League in runs scored (777) in part because of an aggressive approach on the base paths and even though the team’s best player, Michael Brantley, was limited to 43 plate appearances because of injury. The Indians ranked second in the majors in extra bases taken with 186, two ahead of the Cubs, according to baseball-reference.com. The team also finished second in the majors with an extra bases taken percentage of 45 and led the AL with 134 stolen bases in 165 tries (81 percent).

The offense is centered around designated hitter Carlos Santana, who blasted a career best 34 home runs and posted an .865 OPS. First baseman Mike Napoli and second baseman Jason Kipnis also established career highs in homers with 34 and 23, respectively. Kipnis finished with 68 extra-base hits, including 41 doubles.

Third baseman Jose Ramirez picked up much of the slack for a team that also was without projected outfielder Abraham Almonte for half the season because of a suspension for PEDs. Ramirez had 46 doubles among his 60 extra-base hits and produced an .825 OPS in an outstanding all-around campaign that could garner him a few MVP votes. Rookie Tyler Naquin also filled a big void in the outfield with 14 homers and 43 RBIs in 365 plate appearances.

So far, Indians manager Terry Francona has divided up the plate appearances among his outfielders in October. Only right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall has received consistent playing time as the Indians have platooned Crisp, Naquin, Rajai Davis, who stole 43 bases this season, and Brandon Guyer.

-- Dan Hayes


Andrew Miller may be having the best postseason a relief pitcher has ever had. The big-ticket trade deadline acquisition threw 11 2/3 innings in the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox and ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays, striking out 21 while allowing only five singles and two walks (that’s good for a laughable .132/.171/.184 opponent slash line). Manager Terry Francona hasn’t been shy about using Miller early in games, too — he inserted the 6-foot-7 lefty in the fifth inning of Cleveland’s ALDS Game 1 win over the Red Sox, and half of his six playoff appearances this year began in the sixth inning or earlier. Miller’s ability to throw multiple innings will put pressure on the Cubs to score early and often against the Indians’ rotation.

Francona’s willingness to use Miller early has been critical toward helping maximize the success of a starting rotation without two of its three best arms in the postseason. Carlos Carrasco (fractured gone in right hand) won’t pitch in the World Series, though Francona hinted that fellow right-handed All-Star Danny Salazar (strained flexor muscle in right forearm) could return to start in the World Series. Right-hander Trevor Bauer, who sliced his right pinky open while repairing his drone and only managed to record two outs before his finger gushed blood in Game 3 of the ALCS, will start Game 2 or 3.

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With or without Salazar and/or Bauer, though, Cleveland’s rotation has been effective. Corey Kluber is the unquestioned ace of the staff and allowed only two runs over 18 1/3 innings in three postseason starts, which stands as a continuation of his strong regular season numbers (18-9, 215 IP, 3.14 ERA, 3.26 FIP). Josh Tomlin has had a short rope, only throwing 10 2/3 innings in his two starts, but allowed three runs in that span with 10 strikeouts and three walks. Rookie left-hander Ryan Merrett threw 4 2/3 shutout innings in a clinching Game 5 win over the Blue Jays last week, too, showing no signs of “shaking in his boots” in his first postseason start.

The rest of Cleveland’s bullpen -- which tied for the second-best ERA in the American League (3.45) in the regular season -- has found success in addition to Miller in the playoffs. Hard-throwing closer Cody Allen has looked unflappable in five save opportunities, allowing five hits and three walks with 12 strikeouts. Right-handers Dan Otero (3.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) and Bryan Shaw (5.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR) have been go-to options if Miller can’t bridge the gap between the starting pitcher and Allen, too.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that Cleveland has found pitching success in the playoffs, even with so many injuries, given their 3.86 staff ERA ranked 7th in baseball.

-- JJ Stankevitz


Nobody has been as outstanding of a defensive team as the Cubs in 2016. But, the Indians are still near the top of the second tier team and have proven a remarkably improved squad over the past two seasons. Much of their improvement stems from the stellar play provided by Lindor, who ranked second in the majors in Ultimate Zone Rating (20.8) among shortstops and fourth in Defensive Runs Saved with 17, according to fangraphs.com. Combined with Kipnis, who ranked sixth in UZR (7.3) among second baseman, the Indians have a strong double play combo. Ramirez also proved to be a steady defender at third base after taking over as the full-timer following the release of Juan Uribe.

Though the club has missed the presence of starting catcher Yan Gomes, it has handled his absence extremely well. Not only does replacement Roberto Perez rate among the game’s best pitch framers, he also threw out 13 of 26 runners who attempted to steal a base with him behind the dish.

-- Dan Hayes


Francona won two World Series trophies with the Boston Red Sox, including the one in 2004 that ended that franchise’s 87-year title drought. He’s led Cleveland to two postseason berths since taking over in 2013, and the Tribe haven’t had a losing record in his four years at the helm.

The 57-year-old has been lauded for his aggressive use of Miller in the playoffs, deploying the lights-out lefty as a study bridge between a starting rotation beset by injuries and dominant closer Allen.

First baseman/catcher/designated hitter Santana is hardly a prototypical leadoff man, but he’s hit first in six of Cleveland’s eight games in the postseason after leading off 85 games in the regular season. And that’s the batting order position he’s been most effective from --- In the regular season, Santana hit .260/.385/.502 with more walks (67) than strikeouts (60) as a leadoff man. Francona’s willingness to eschew stolen bases and speed on the base paths has put early pressure on starting pitchers by having Santana on base so frequently.

Said Cubs starter Jon Lester, who pitched for Francona in the Red Sox 2007 championship run: “I know that manager on their side’s going to be prepared, I know their coaching staff’s going to be ready.”

-- JJ Stankevitz

Jon Lester says Cubs haven’t done anything yet: ‘Nobody likes second place’

Jon Lester says Cubs haven’t done anything yet: ‘Nobody likes second place’

As Cubs players and generations of fans celebrated Christmas in October, Jon Lester had to be The Grinch for a moment. Sure, the Cubs would party from Saturday night into Sunday morning, probably get “a little bit” drunk and enjoy the franchise’s first National League pennant in 71 years. But the reality of the Cleveland Indians would set in once the Cubs got rid of this hangover.

“We ain’t done anything yet,” Lester said during the Wrigley Field celebration after the Cubs eliminated the Los Angeles Dodgers. “Nobody likes second place.”

There are enough Boston Red Sox connections in this World Series that Lester already knows what to expect, starting with Indians manager Terry Francona, who became a father figure as he dealt with a cancer scare as a rookie.

There are ex-teammates from those championship teams in 2007 (Coco Crisp) and 2013 (Mike Napoli, Andrew Miller) at Fenway Park. There is the accumulated experience from throwing 119 postseason innings (2.50 ERA) and becoming one of the best big-game pitchers of his generation.

“I don’t want to sound like a smart-ass, but we got a long ways to go,” Lester said. “I know that manager on their side’s going to be prepared. I know their coaching staff’s going to be ready. I know their players are going to be ready, just based on one player alone, and that’s Mike Napoli. I know what he brings to the table. He helped transform our 2013 team.

“Come Tuesday, we got to put the gloves back on. We got to get ready to fight and grind and do what we’ve done well all year. We got four more games to win.”

After limiting the Dodgers to two runs in 13 innings, and being named the NL Championship Series’ co-MVP along with Javier Baez, Lester should be a worthy Game 1 starter opposite Corey Kluber, the 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner.

This is why Lester took a leap of faith with Cubs bosses/ex-Red Sox executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer and chairman Tom Ricketts’ family and what had been a last-place team in 2014.

Two seasons into the $155 million contract that signaled the Cubs would be serious about contending – and not just in the Baseball America/Baseball Prospectus prospect rankings – the franchise has won 200 games and four playoff rounds and remained in position to dominate for years to come.

“Theo and Jed and the front office and Tom and all these guys had a belief,” Lester said. “I believed in that belief. The talent here speaks for itself. I didn’t do anything – I came here because I wanted to win in Chicago. I’m just happy to be here and be a part of this and get to this point.

“(But) we’re four hard wins away from doing what we set out to do in spring training.”

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As bright as the future looks on the North Side, Lester will be 33 next season and his left arm has already accounted for more than 2,000 innings during his decorated career. John Lackey turned 38 on Sunday. Jake Arrieta only has one more season before becoming a free agent.

The Cubs built their franchise around young hitters, with the idea that they can figure out the pitching later with free agents, change-of-scenery trades and bounce-back guys. Easier said than done. They have a true No. 1 starter now in Lester, who as a free agent watched a recruiting video that imagined what it would be like when the Cubs win the World Series.

“This isn’t it,” Lester said. “It’s been a tough playoffs for us to this point and it’s only going to get tougher. We’re going to enjoy it. We’re going to show up Tuesday in Cleveland ready to play. We’ll see what happens.”