Mike Baker And The Forgotten 45s www.mikebaker45s.com
Mike Baker And The Forgotten 45s
Mike Baker and the Forgotten 45s
The music of the stars like Frank Sinatra and the Beatles
Songs of our generation like "The Twist"
Original hits from the golden age of top-40
including the hits not played by other stations referred to as the forgotten forty-fives
A Hometown Christmas
An annual oldies show of holiday music
featuring forgotten forty-fives of winters past
TheDoings-Elmhurst.com Member of the Sun-Times News Group
NEWS :: __________
Christmas on air
Computer specialist works as weekend radio broadcaster
December 21, 2006
By Jane Michaels | STAFF WRITER
Mike Baker likely will be surrounded by the sentimental strains of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" on Monday.
But the La Grange resident won't be joining his family until later in the evening. Instead, for the 12th year he'll visit thousands of Chicago area homes as a radio call-in host on WJJG-AM 1530.
"My family is used to not seeing me, but hearing me," Baker said. "At the beginning they weren't too keen on me missing out on Christmas or working around my schedule. But they have me on (the radio), and I'm there in spirit."
Reflecting the independently-owned Elmhurst station's emphasis on "live and local" broadcasts, Baker will put callers on the air to make musical requests, share holiday greetings and tell what they got for Christmas. The show airs from 7:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., and listeners can call (708) 493-1530.
"Kids tend to do more participating than adults," he said. "Kids are smart, and some of the funniest stuff comes out."
The young callers are rarely tongue-tied on the air with Baker.
"If they're shy, I go down to their level," he said. "And there's little tricks. I can plan music in the background, or 'ho, ho, ho' and Christmas sound effects."
The Christmas call-in gives Baker a little exposure during the hiatus of his mainstay show, "Mike Baker and the Forgotten 45s." The program, which features oldies with a Chicago connection, airs Saturday evenings from March through October, due to available air time and the station's licensing restrictions during daylight hours.
While the interruption forces Baker to rebuild his audience each spring, he said a loyal group of listeners is waiting in the wings.
"It's like they know I'm in hibernation, and they're just waiting for the spring thaw for me to come back with the music," he said.
Baker specializes in spinning tunes of the '50s, '60s and '70s recorded by such Chicago groups as the Buckinghams, the Cryan' Shames or Shadows of Night. Many of his listeners are, like the host, age 45 and older, though some are in their 30s, he said.
Station co-owner Carol Gentile said Baker is a valuable asset to the station she and her husband, Joe, purchased in 1995. Baker works Saturdays as a producer and engineer, helping clients who purchase air time to host their own shows.
"He helps us with a lot of different things and keeps everything in tip top shape," Carol Gentile said. "He's loved by everyone, like one of the family."
The radio personality got his start in the business at Lyons Township High School's radio station WLTL, where he gained production and engineering experience. The 1979 graduate took broadcasting classes at Columbia College in Chicago and liberal arts courses at Northern Illinois University.
Baker has worked at radio stations in Joliet and Chicago while also honing computer skills for his day job as a systems analyst at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He also has worked as a part-time student supervisor at WLTL since 1993.
"I wanted to give back what I got from my education," he said. "I bring my experience from WJJG and other stations and tell the kids what to expect. You can't just be a disc jockey now. You have to know computer software."
Baker introduced the use of MegaSeg software at WLTL, after he updated WJJG. The program allows operators to click and drag selections to a playlist, similar to iTunes, so that a request can be played within seconds.
"We used to have to cue up a record, or hunt for a tape or CD," he said. "Now I just type the name of the song in the search field."
Decades ago, callers' requests were taped days in advance, or on-air assistants coached callers on what to request according to the day's play list, he said. Today's nationally syndicated shows or stations owned by conglomerates continue those practices, he said.
And the most requested song on Christmas?
"Bing Crosby's 'White Christmas' " Baker said. "I still play it no matter how many times people ask for it."
The Doings Elmhurst
© Copyright 2006 Sun-Times News Group
Christmas one hit wonders
Artists and/or groups who’s only hit single is of the Christmas genre (1948-1989)
ii., iii., iv.
Art Carney, "Santa and the Doodle-Le-Boop" (1954)
Augie Rios, "Donde Esta Santa Claus?" (1958)
Band Aid, "Do They Know It's Christmas" (1984)
Becky Lamb, "Little Becky's Christmas Wish" (1967)
Cary Grant, "Christmas Lullaby" (1967)
Dancer, Prancer and Nervous, "The Happy Reindeer" (1959)
Derrik Roberts, "There Won't Be Any Snow (Christmas in the Jungle)" (1965)
Elmo & Patsy, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" (1983)
Felix Gross and His Orchestra, "Love for Christmas" (1949)
Four Coachmen, "Wintertime" (1959)
Harry Harrison, "May You Always" (1965)
Harvie June Van, "Natividad" (1967)
Jack Halloran Singers, "The Little Drummer Boy" (1962)
Joe Ward, "Nuttin' for Xmas" (1955)
Johnny Kaye, "A Christmas Love" (1963)
Lise Miller, "Love Is" (1967)
Melodeers, "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" (1960)
Michael Holm, "When a Child Is Born" (1974)
Milton Cross, "The Night Before Christmas" (1948)
Moonlion, "The Little Drummer Boy" (1976)
Ricky Zahnd and the Blue Jeaners, "(I'm Gettin') Nuttin' for Christmas" (1955)
Sister Janet Mead, "The Lord's Prayer" (1974)
Vonnair Sisters, "Goodbye to Toyland" (1962)
Yogi Yorgesson, "I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas" b/w “Yingle Bells” (1949)
Harry Harrison was born in Chicago.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was born in Chicago (1939)/Montgomery Ward
Yogi Yorgesson charted both sides of his Capitol F781 45rpm single
i. “Holidays chock-full of one-hit wonders” by Jerry Osborne/Chicago Sun-Times
ii. “Joel Whitburn Presents Christmas in the Charts (1920-2004)” Billboard
iii. “Joel Whitburn’s Pop Memories 1890-1954” Record Reseach
iv. “Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles 1955-1990” Record Research
Mike Baker And The Forgotten Forty Fives @MikeBaker45s