The Dick Staub Show
Summary: The award winning Dick Staub Show was launched on KING Broadcasting in Seattle (NBC affiliate) in 1987, moved to Chicago where it was nationally syndicated in 1991 and was carried on over 60 stations. It moved back to Seattle when Dick did in 2001. An afternoon drive-time show, it was billed as a home of warm hearts, active minds and hungry souls and was noted for the wide variety of topics explored as well as Dick’s signature interviews with a who’s who of cultural influencers.
Dick’s Story: Kathy and I were among the pioneers in computer matched job searches for international jobs. We started the International Placement Network in 1986 and out most of our life savings in it. By 1987 it was in full swing and I was traveling out of the country 1/3 rd of the year. In December of that year I got deathly ill and was rushed to the hospital with what turned out to be a case of the pneumonia Jim Henson died of. I was in the hospital for two weeks, in bed for two months and was drained of energy. I had destroyed 1/3rd of the oxygen sacks in my lungs and I was left with an asthmatic condition that left me doing breathing treatments every 90 minutes fro almost two years.
While I was in the hospital Bob Powers visited. Bob was manager of a couple of rock n’ roll stations. Since I could only have family visitors Bob claimed to be clergy. I had tubes in my nose to help me breather and an IV drip. In that moment Bob had an epiphany. “You should do a talk show,” he said. “Why travel around the world to make a difference when you can sit behind a microphone and reach more people?” Given the circumstances this was a ludicrous suggestion.
Nevertheless two months later as I got out of bed Bob introduced me to Brian Jennings, program director at KING. They wanted to start a new weekend show and Brian asked what I would if I hosted it. I was a humanities major who had traveled to 50+ countries, was widely read and loved to converse. I already read 5 newspapers a day and subscribed to 10+ periodicals.
Within a week Brian had me come in to host afternoon drive for one day and two days later he hired me. I was amazed to learn I could get paid for reading, thinking and talking about what I was interested in.
I started 2 hours Saturday and 2 hours Sunday. Then it went to 3 hours each day and then 4 hours each day. Eventually I moved to weeknights. At that point we sold our business and cast our lot with broadcasters. For about 9 months a national network recruited me and when I agreed to explore Chicago, a visit in May 1991 led to launching the Chicago-based Dick Staub Show in July.
Within a few weeks of launch the Chicago Tribune wrote a very flattering piece about the show. Then Andrew Herman of the Chicago Sun Times wrote a piece after listening to 24 hours of Chicago radio. He singled out me show as one that actually took the time to book guests who had something to say. Media escort, Bill Young, heard the show and began routing all his A-list authors to the show. Within a few months the who was growing a loyal audience, attracting media attention in Chicago, and of course, growing a sizeable audience, first local then national.