Friday, April 22, 2011

On the Beat With Jill Urchak

Jill Urchak has graced Chicago radio since the mid-1990's.  She has been a host, co-host, news reporter and traffic reporter.  She has also written some poetry and is an avid White Sox fan.
I have heard Urchak for years, but I first really became a fan during her time at WSCR, when the various hosts made her a part of their shows.  I contacted Urchak recently and she answered my questions.

Q-You have done a lot in your career. If you could pick one dream job (in or out of your fields of expertise) what would it be?

JU-That's a tough one. The reason I went into radio was because I love music and wanted to be surrounded by it. My career has encompassed a little of everything and yet, I always go back to music. My dream job in radio would be to have a music show that plays a little of everything. The show would concentrate on music from the 60's, 70's and 80's. I would play old clips from the artists, air audio from each era to accompany each segment. It would be comparable to "TV LAND of RADIO". I'm old school and I think it would bring in a new generation of people. Also, I would bridge the gap between then and now. Music is music and it all ties together eventually! I would LOVE to have my own show.

AND if I wasn't in radio, I would work with children who need role models. I think teaching Kindergarten would be a blast. Kids are like sponges and are ready to learn. Children keep it real!

Q-Which job (or assignment) made you the most nervous?

JU-I literally just tried out for the Channel 2, CBS Traffic gig for the morning show. I've done a little TV, but not like this. I was a nervous wreck. Stepping out in front of the camera with all the blinding lights was very intimidating. I'm used to being in a studio in jeans and a T-shirt with nobody watching me. To have your every move watched takes getting used to. I had fun and was incredibly challenged at the same time. I hope my adrenaline worked for me and not against me. You get one shot and if you blow it, then you blow it. Yikes!

Q-How did it feel when someone asked for your autograph or recognized you for the first time?

JU-I thought it was a joke. I was doing a remote for WSCR and some guy wanted my autograph and I kept on asking him...WHY? Why do you want it? I don't get it? I was very embarrassed and thought it was a joke. It's very sweet and still blows me away(not that it happens often). I was at a Sox game and heard some guy screaming, "Hey Urchak! How's the traffic"? It's flattering and still surprising when it happens.

Q-You are a legendary Sox fan. If you could make your all-time favorite line up, who would you pick?

I don't even know how to answer that question. All I know is that it would include Alexei Ramirez, A.J. Pierzynski, Paul Konerko and Jim Thome (bring him back). I think if you shuffle those guys around in any order then you can't lose.

Q-Are you writing more poetry? Any plans in that direction?

JU-I only write if I feel a really strong emotion. I don't just sit and write something for the heck of it, I have to be inspired. Thank God for my ex-boyfriend. He gave me so much material (lol). It's true. It was a good way blow off steam. Writing poetry makes me feel good. It's an outlet that just comes naturally and it's safe. I'll always write and never stop!

6-What is your favorite vacation spot?

JU-I haven't been to too many places to make a comparison. I can tell you that
Las Vegas is the place to be. I'm not a gambler by any means, but Vegas has so much more. In Vegas you can lay out in the sun all day(your tropical experience), play slots in between(your Vegas experience), see a show(Broadway experience), shop and people watch. What other vacation spot offers so much in one location?

It's great to know a bit more about the person behind the voice I have heard for so many years.  To learn even more about Urchak, you can go to Chicago Now and check out In Check With Urchak. I really appreciate Urchak's time and thoughtful answers. Thanks, Jill and if you ever land that dream radio job, count me as a listener!


Tommy Smith said...

She was the best part of some of those shows on the Score!

Ellie said...

I just checked out her poetry. I had no idea she wrote anything, let alone that good. Thanks for the extra info on Ms. U.

Joey Torkelson said...

Great reading about Jill.