Mike Wagner: “The Mike Wagner Show”

Film, Music, Television

Mike Wagner, radio host, personality, producer, voiceover artist and host of The Mike Wagner Show, has developed an up-beat collection of celebrity and indie artist interviews as well as a loyal fan base. As a 30 year radio veteran it’s no surprise that he knows exactly what’s he’s doing as he has conversations with the coolest people on the planet.

After personally being a guest on his podcast myself, I couldn’t resist sharing some questions and answers with him myself….

What first inspired you to get into radio/podcasting and interviews?

I began my career in 1982 while attending school at Harper Jr. College outside Chicago while studying computers and being trained as a sportswriter and wanting to try something new. I’ve enjoyed listening to the radio as a kid growing up outside Milwaukee WOKY, WTMJ, WISN and later moving to suburban Chicago listening to WLS, WLUP, WCFL, WCKG, WGN etc. Plus I had a weather radio given to me as a birthday gift from my Dad thru his friend Sam working at a Mobil gas station listening to outside stations in St. Louis, Little Rock, Dallas, Denver, Boston, Minneapolis, Detroit, Cleveland and of all places…Cincinnati (not WKRP…lol)..I spent 3 years at WHCM at Harper College and after graduating realizing I was made for radio as I transferred to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL  graduating in Radio-TV, then coming back to Chicago (WRMN/WJKL, WKTA,WNVR, etc) continuing my career in radio then expanding into voiceover, emceeing many events and working in management while raising a young family. After spending 8 years working for a private school with a ministry, I got back into the game doing voiceovers in Milwaukee while running sports in that area. In 2007, I was recruited by an Arizona consulting firm to run some media outlets in Western North Dakota and proceeded to be a consultant for KDKT and in August 2010 went to KFYR in Bismarck as a sports producer then on-air personality.

I began the Mike Wagner Show in August of 2018 out of KFYR on a trial basis just to see how I did with interviews (and try something different) and Sandy Helberg was my first guest. I admit I was very nervous thinking I would mess up since I haven’t done interviews in a long time, but as time went on, it felt like I was talking to a friend. And sure enough, I later made it a podcast and have proceeded to interview over 300 guests and counting.

What do you think sets your show above the noise and makes it unique?

I got tired of all the negative garbage and trash in today’s media and people putting down each other plus creating bad news for everyone to be afraid of and way too many people are trying to be the next Howard Stern, Larry King, Rush Limbaugh etc…I modeled the show after watching the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett, etc. and simply making the guest the star of show talking about their careers, what inspired them , how they got started, etc. plus some laughs and interesting stories along the way. I also helped guests open up about themselves with their amazing stories and also keeping it simple just like a casual conversation over a cup of coffee like old time radio days. My goal is to keep it conversational, entertaining, upbeat and classic.

If you could have anyone on your show who would you choose and why?

Either Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr…what life is really like as a Beatle, what could’ve happened if the Beatles didn’t happen or what would they do if it wasn’t for music or playing with the Beatles…Also Mick Jagger on what he would do as a career if the Rolling Stones broke up earlier….or Phil Collins on becoming a multi-dimensional entertainer…

Who have been your most enlightening interview…..funniest….and scariest?

That’s tough…lol…Out of 300+ interviews, I would have to say the majority have been enlightening, funny, and a few…scary…

The most popular is would say to date has been Dr. Joye Pugh with nearly 1,000 listeners on all sources talking about Bible Prophecy, the End Times, and what people need to know during this crisis…Willie Mueller who played the Duke from the movie “Major League” is the next popular (and funniest) talked about his days pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers and how he got the play The Duke and hilarious stories about the cast members including Corbin Bernsen who yelled for someone to dust his chair off! (LMAO!!!!) Plus Ron Rabinovitz and The Jackie Robinson Story on how he first met Jackie in Wisconsin and sharing heartwarming about Jackie being a great inspiration and an excellent role model to everyone…and famous celebs like Richard Karn, Eddie Deezen, Jim Peterik from The Ides of March, Sadie Katz, Laurene Landon etc. have all been a blast to chat with!

If you could say anything on the planet to your fans and followers what would it be?

I would say use your gifts and talents very wisely, because God put you on this Earth for a reason…if you use your talents wisely, you will be thanked…if you don’t or misuse your gifts or destroy them, you’ll be sorry in the long run…and if you don’t have a calling or purpose or know of one, take time to discover and spend more time finding out about yourself, or have someone help you…

Plus be an inspiration to those around you, make them smile or laugh, or rejoice or feel for them in times of trouble…and prayer helps…

If you could make me ask you any question on the planet, what would that be and how would you answer it?

If there was no Mike Wagner Show or if you weren’t in radio, what would you do? Most likely continue my career as a sportswriter, work in computers or business management or try a new career…except the only thing I stand out in is broadcasting…

Do you have a favorite interview ?

Hmmm…good question….out of 300+ interviews I’ve done, 300+ have been my favs…Jazz guitarist out of New York Frank Piombo is always great to chat with, guitarist Billy Craig from Brownsville Station is always inspiring, Jim Peterik from the Ides of March was a blast, and comedians Allan Gitlin and Jeff Vaughn have always made me laugh…I enjoy everyone I interview..

And my newest favorite interview…is with you Eileen…:-)

Do you have a hero?

I have a few…God (who saved me from destroying myself as a teenager), my family, my wife Serena and my children, my childhood friends and college buddies plus the many co-workers and bosses I’ve worked with…

In terms of the popular world…Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr of the Green Bay Packers, Johnny Cash, Cat Stevens (first artist listened to), Lloyd Pettit (play-by-play of the Chicago Blackhawks), Jack Brickhouse of the Chicago Cubs and Harry Caray of the Chicago White Sox for making the game fun, and to the many people who gave me the opportunites to do what I love…

Aside from radio what is Mike Wagner about?

A regular yet caring person who knows how to inspire, enlighten, entertain, encourage, and aside from radio(having an interesting sense of humor helps)…I’m just an ordinary family man (fairly intelligent) making sure the bills are paid, food on the table, lights on, roof above our heads, clothes on our backs, enjoying the things we love to do and our family learning how to be successful and have God with them…

The official website for The Mike Wagner Show may be found at http://www.themikewagnershow.com


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