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Date Posted: 00:52:06 10/15/15 Thu
Author: Terry
Subject: O'Brien and....Dearborn?

Bob Dearborn posted this on Facebook. It's an interesting story of how Larry O'Brien came to work at WTAE in 1972:


"TBT: Dearborn & O’Brien, mornings on WCFL-Chicago, 1972

WCFL’s Larry O’Brien was not having a particularly happy summer in 1972, and no wonder. Programming and personnel changes included the exits of friends Dick Biondi, Jerry Kay and Robert E. Lee, as well as the arrival of Larry Lujack and “Big Ron” O’Brien. The two Larrys got along fine, but the relationship between the two O’Briens soon was made awkward when station management swapped their air shifts, demoting Larry from his 7-10 p.m. slot to 10 p.m.-2 a.m., and moving Ron earlier to 6-10 p.m.

Unknown around that time to everyone but Larry, he began negotiating with WTAE in Pittsburgh, a radio station he believed was more stable, with management that recognized the breadth of his talent and worth, a place that offered him a better, happier future than he thought possible at ‘CFL.

Imagine his surprise when suddenly that summer our general manager, Lew Witz, threw him another curve by suggesting he team with me for a new morning show on WCFL. At that point I had been holding down the station’s midday time slot for several months and it was working very well. Lew knew we were great friends and figured that if we cleaned up some of the Jock Office banter he’d heard between us, we’d have a show!

The Dearborn & O’Brien Show premiered in the second week of October 1972. It lasted all of three weeks.

Imagine MY surprise when Larry told me about the extraordinary offer he’d received from the Pittsburgh station to be their new morning host. We both were enjoying our new morning show in Chicago, we recognized its potential and were not at all pleased about pulling the plug on it, but the Steel City station had presented him with a golden career opportunity. That, together with his growing disenchantment with ‘CFL management, made his decision to leave a no-brainer.

In the end, we both thought his departure was the best move for him, and it sure was! We’ll never know what our team might have achieved, but he went on to have a highly successful, decades-long run in Pittsburgh doing some of the best radio I’ve ever heard.

My radio life was also full of rewards: a pioneering satellite-delivered network show based in New York, years of station ownership, as well as on-air, programming and consulting adventures in some of North America’s greatest cities. And, best of all from a personal standpoint, before those 1980s-and-beyond rewards, Larry and I got to work together at the same station again in the late 1970s when I joined WTAE as their afternoon host."

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