5 Questions with ... Melissa McGurren

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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

Denzel Valentine: Bulls' versatility will 'make us so dangerous'

Denzel Valentine: Bulls' versatility will 'make us so dangerous'

The Bulls are undergoing a "retooling" in their backcourt after dealing Derrick Rose to the Knicks, drafting Denzel Valentine and attempting to re-sign E'Twaun Moore in free agency.

That, combined with Jimmy Butler, the addition of Jerian Grant and an already versatile frontcourt will give Fred Hoiberg plenty of options that Valentine believes will make the Bulls "dangerous" in 2016-17.

"I think that's going to make us so dangerous this year, is we are versatile with our guards," He said on Wednesday night's White Sox broadcast. "And in those three positions I feel like we're going to be able to guard and do a lot of things offensively and throw a lot at you when we're coming down on offense. And the defensive end, too.

"I think we're going to have a really good team this year with all that we have, and I'm glad to be part of the building year, or whatever you want to call it."

On paper the Bulls will have more versatility than a year ago. Valentine is capable of playing either wing position and can handle the ball, though he doesn't project as a point guard. Butler can play and defend four positions, and Grant is capable of playing either guard spot. Bringing back E'Twaun Moore would benefit that versatility greatly, as he's capable of playing on or off the ball.

In the frontcourt, the Bulls will need to replace Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah, neither of whom provided much versatility. Robin Lopez is entrenched at center, which will give the Bulls' stretch forwards Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis more room to roam the perimeter.

Wherever Valentine plays, and however Hoiberg uses him in Year 1, the Michigan State rookie said he's ready to do what's asked of him from a franchise known for winning.

"My job is to just come in, do what I can do best and just work on my game and try to lead as best as I can," he said on SportsTalk Live (in the video above). "I'm not coming in to step on anybody's toes but I'm going to do what I can to lead and be a good teammate and try to win some games."

White Sox P Zach Putnam: 'It was definitely time to speak up' about injured elbow

White Sox P Zach Putnam: 'It was definitely time to speak up' about injured elbow

He’s evaluating his options and hopes for the best, but Zach Putnam knew it was time to speak up to the White Sox about his right elbow.  

The White Sox right-hander is on the 15-day disabled list with ulnar neuritis in his right elbow. His options are two types of surgery, including reconstructive elbow surgery, or to rehab the injury. Putnam said he’s constantly dealt with some general soreness in the same area in which he had bone spurs removed during an August 2013 surgery. But some of the pain Putnam -- who has a 2.30 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings this season -- recently has felt is beyond what he had previously experienced.

“My last two outings … I started having some pretty serious issues again that I couldn’t ignore,” Putnam said. “It’s one of those things were you’ve got to try to find the line between what you can work through and what’s typical reliever stuff and when to say something. I felt like in my opinion that it was definitely time to speak up.”

“I was having a hard time throwing strikes, losing some feeling in my fingers. It was starting to become an issue. Like I said, we are trying to address it non-surgically and hope for the best. Worst-case scenario, yeah probably end up having something done. But we are going to try to avoid that.”

Putnam has been working out, but hasn’t thrown a baseball. The current plan calls for resting his arm and letting the inflammation die down. But he could at least attempt to play catch again soon, perhaps this weekend when he accompanies the team to Houston.

“I’m just not doing baseball specific stuff,” Putnam said. “I’m not throwing right now. That may change in the next couple of days as we try to ramp it back up. We are not going to waste too much time down from throwing. It kind of defeats the purpose.”

“I’m going to continue to work on it every day and maybe start throwing for the first time over the weekend. Not totally sure. As I say, it’s day to day. Every day I come in, we try to evaluate. Meeting with team doctors every other day to try to figure out where we are at and what the next step is.”

Setting the 'Panic City' scene for Cubs vs. Mets: Is this it for the defending NL champs?

Setting the 'Panic City' scene for Cubs vs. Mets: Is this it for the defending NL champs?

The tabloids are already asking the questions, even before the Fourth of July traffic starts, two weeks out from the All-Star Game. It’s on the New York Post’s website: “Is there anything else that can go wrong for the Mets?” And there’s this Daily News headline: “Will this week be the downfall of the 2016 Mets?”

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson delivered his “Panic City” line to the New York media last summer, right around the time Cubs manager Joe Maddon green-lit “Simon the Magician” for a performance inside Citi Field’s visiting clubhouse.

At the time, this looked like a potential National League Championship Series matchup, a made-for-TV, big-market battle between power pitchers and power hitters…maybe in 2017.

On July 2 last year, the Cubs finished off a three-game sweep in New York, giving them a 7-0 regular-season record against the Mets, who dropped to 40-40 before heading out to the West Coast to face Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke at Dodger Stadium and the defending World Series champs in San Francisco.   

The Cubs responded to getting swept by the Mets in the NLCS with a spending spree in free agency that approached $290 million, fueling World Series-or-bust, Embrace-The-Target expectations, moving to 25 games over .500 with a 9-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday at Great American Ball Park.

The Cubs and Mets will now play seven times between Thursday night in Queens and July 20 at Wrigley Field, which should give us a better idea of whether or not Alderson can pull another rabbit out of his hat at the trade deadline, if Maddon should be pressing the panic button on his bullpen phone and how realistic an October rematch might be. Setting the scene for this four-game series at Citi Field:

• The “Panic City” state of mind returned with this week’s revelations that Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard have been pitching through bone spurs in their elbows, showing how fragile New York’s championship hopes might be. This is why the Cubs have been so focused on building with young hitters, the idea that it’s too unpredictable to plan around elbows and shoulders and when pitchers might feel healthy.

The presence of Cubs coaches Chris Bosio, Mike Borzello and Lester Strode has almost created a cavalier attitude toward pitching and an extremely optimistic view of change-of-scenery guys and bounce-back candidates. And the Cubs understood Jon Lester had a bone chip in his left elbow when they signed him to a six-year, $155 million megadeal after the 2014 season.

But the Cubs have prioritized spending so much capital on their lineup – first-round picks, trade chips, free-agency dollars – because Theo Epstein’s regime sees hitters as more robust investments.

• The Mets saw what Ben Zobrist did for the Kansas City Royals in the World Series last October, toured him around the affluent suburbs in Westchester County and Connecticut during the offseason and even offered him a four-year contract that came with more guaranteed money ($60 million) than the deal the Cubs put together ($56 million).

Zobrist has cooled off in June (.672 OPS) after a red-hot May (1.137 OPS), but is in position to be the NL’s starting All-Star second baseman. The Mets quickly shifted gears at the winter meetings, trading a spare pitcher (Jon Niese) to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Neil Walker, who’s already hit 14 homers in his final season before free agency. The balance of power in the NL East, however, might have shifted when Daniel Murphy (.349 average, .964 OPS) – the Mr. October who crushed the Cubs in the playoffs – signed a three-year, $37.5 million deal with the Washington Nationals.

• A full season of Yoenis Cespedes (18 homers, 45 RBI through 70 games this year) hasn’t dramatically changed New York’s offensive profile. The Mets entered Wednesday ranking 13th out of the NL’s 15 teams in runs scored (274, or 129 less than the Cubs). Corner infielders David Wright (neck surgery) and Lucas Duda (stress fracture in his lower back) are on the disabled list while catcher Travis d’Arnaud missed almost two months with a strained rotator cuff.

• The owners of professional sports franchises and the executives running those teams always talk about doing things the right way – and then act out of self-interest. It will be that way if the New York Yankees actually sell and the Cubs put a second-chance spin on closer Aroldis Chapman, who began this season serving a 30-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s new domestic violence policy.

The Mets already felt desperate enough to bring back Jose Reyes on a minor-league deal after he was arrested on domestic violence charges, served a 52-game suspension and got released by the Colorado Rockies. Reyes – a homegrown Met who turned 33 this month and is five years removed from his last All-Star selection – could join the team this weekend in New York.

• As a polished, left-handed college hitter, Michael Conforto certainly fit the profile as the Cubs weighed their options with the fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft. But the Cubs wanted Kyle Schwarber, with Epstein in particular developing a man crush on the Indiana University catcher/outfielder. The Mets grabbed Conforto with the No. 10 pick and watched the fast-track outfielder from Oregon State University become a catalyst for last year’s World Series surge. 

Well, the Mets just demoted Conforto to Triple-A Las Vegas over the weekend, another reminder to appreciate how many young players the Cubs have graduated to the big-league level, without taking it for granted (see Schwarber’s recovery from season-ending knee surgery).

“This year, I think we have a little more confidence, a little more swagger,” said Kris Bryant, the Rookie of the Year/All-Star third baseman who has lived up to the hype. “But the Mets are going to be a really good team for a long time, especially with that staff.”