John Williams talks to Tracy Weiner, former producer of Spike O’Dell, about her troubles with the Wiki Warlord on trying to update Spike’s Wikipedia page.
This is the entry that got denied:
William (Spike) O’Dell is an American Talk Radio Show Host.
Spike was born in Moline, IL May 21, 1953. The son of East Moline Police Chief Merle and Dot O’Dell, along with siblings John and Jeni. He graduated from United Township High School in 1971, and then spent two years at York College in Nebraska in 1971-1973. An unlikely radio guy, Spike worked summers on a garbage truck and was a security guard at International Harvester in Rock Island, Illinois when he took a part time job at WEMO-AM radio. The rest, shall we say, is history.
Spike’s first gig was at WEMO-AM in East Moline at the age of 25. While working at the factory, Spike spun records on weekends there as well as fill-ins. In 1977 he took another part time job with WQUA radio in Moline Illinois. His next big break was a full time morning position at KSTT-AM where he affectionately was referred to as “Spike at the Mic”. In 1981, Spike hit the big leagues with a Major Market Morning Radio gig at WBT-AM in Charlotte, NC. After a brief stint as morning guy, he returned to KIIK-FM (“KiiK 104”). In 1987, Billboard Magazine awarded Spike “Top 40 Air Personality of the Year” in a Medium Market. This award changed everything and lead to his fateful call from then program director Dan Fabian to come and interview at WGN-AM in Chicago. In 1987, Spike was hired as the afternoon drive host for #1 Rated WGN-AM. Spike would go on to work 21 years at this heritage station, with the powerful call letters W-G-N. He remained at the top of the ratings in all the dayparts he hosted. He was moved around a few times during his tenure at WGN. Ultimately, moving to the coveted seat, the Morning Guy at WGN-AM 720 after the untimely death of then host Bob Collins. Spike O’Dell made the decision to retire at the top of his game, during a successful time of his career, to move to Nashville and be closer to his children, Michael and Caroline. His last broadcast was December 12, 2008 and was broadcast at the Metropolis Theatre in Arlington Heights, IL.in front of a live studio audience filled with his listeners.
He now enjoys spending time with his 5 grandchildren, golfing, photography, watercolor and acrylic painting, and sleeping late.
1976-1977 WEMO-AM East Moline
1977-1978 WQUA Moline, IL
1978-1980 KSTT-AM Davenport, IA
1980-1982 WBT-AM Charlotte, NC
1982-1987 KIIK-FM Davenport, IA
1987 WGN-AM Chicago, IL – hired as afternoon host 3-7pm moved to mornings on February 9, 2000 after Bob Collins was killed in a tragic plane crash.
2008 Final Broadcast of “The Spike O’Dell Show” at the Metropolis Theatre.
Renamed River Drive that was next to the KSTT studios and across the street from the “Hostess Foods Bakery” to “Twinkie Blvd.”
Coined the phrase that would become a staple term at WGN-AM “The 50,000 Watt Love Pump”
Created a hilarious segment with his Sports Reporter, David Kaplan, called “Theme Sports”.
Claimed he could do an hour on any topic someone could throw at him. He went on to do 1 hour on PENCILS and MUSTARD.
Made Famous, his signature giveaway prize, “The Goose Island Spike O’Dell Hat”, which showed up Presidents, Astronauts, Late night comedians, both the north and south poles, etc..
Also known for frequently including in his broadcasts the phrase, “You aint gettin this kind of radio up and down the dial”.
A segment called “Now You Know” that required listeners to remember a crazy bit of trivia for prizes
Started the “Spike O’Dell Coffee Cup Museum” (a collection of paper coffee cups signed by people interviewed on his show) located in Door County Wisconsin
FREQUENT CALLERS AND CORRESPONDENTS ON “THE SPIKE O’DELL RADIO EXPERIMENT”
-Otis Fanortner from Anchorage, Alaska
-3 Chicagoland boys fresh out of college touring America in their Chevy Van would call in from various spots across country as a spin off of “See the USA in Your Chevrolet”.
-Donald Koch from “Koch’s Shell” in Cairo, IL for a gas price report.
“Ruthie”, the elderly gossip columnist from the small town of Buda Illinois.
Created Bite Your Butt Mustard (BYB) and a full line of condiment products which went on to make over $1 million dollars for WGN-AM’s main charity “The Neediest Kids Fund”
Published a cookbook that included recipes using the “Bite Your Butt” products with proceeds going to “The Neediest Kids Fund”.
Sold personal artwork and Christmas ornaments yearly that also benefited “The Neediest Kids fund”.
RECOGNITIONS AND AWARDS
1987 Billboard Magazine “Top 40 Air Personality of the Year in Medium Market”
1999 A.I.R (Achievement in Radio) Awards recipient “Best Afternoon Show”
2000 Inducted into his high schools “Hall of Fame” (UTHS)
2001 Chicagoland A.I.R. Awards winner for “Best Morning Show”
2003 Planetary Studies Foundation Received the Astronaut James A. Lovell
“Failure is not an Option” annual award
Consistently ranked as one of America’s Top 100 talk show hosts