GP Loane

Dave Loane poses for a photo in May 2015 at Illinois Field in Urbana, where he has called Illini baseball games for decades.

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Each week, we offer a Q&A with a local personality. This week, staff writer Paul Wood chats with 61-year-old News-Gazette Media radio personality DAVE LOANE, who is set to retire Tuesday, about his love of sports and music, and broadcasting both. A beach kind of guy, he now lives in Philo, but he’ll eventually be moving to his second home just off Lake Michigan.

Dave, you’ve done rock, then sports, then both. What songs are you going out on?

Dave Loane’s Last Rock and Roll Diary: “Working Man” by Rush, a song my ball team takes the field on; “W.O.L.D.” by Harry Chapin, which anybody in the radio business can relate to; and “Rock You Like A Hurricane,” by the Scorpions, my favorite band.

Have you enjoyed your career?

I feel very fortunate; I’ve always been in the right place at the right time.

You called Illini games for 31 years. Are you still fresh?

Yes, but I also feel ready to go.

What got you started in broadcast journalism?

I worked at the newspaper at my high school in Chicago, the Taft Tribune. There wasn’t a school radio station. But I always wanted to go into radio.

And how did you do that?

I started at the University of Illinois in 1976. There was a radio station called WDBS (dorm broadcasting station), AM 640. It was a carrier current — you picked it up through the electrical outlet in your dorm room. As a freshman I signed up, and they put me on from 4 to 6 a.m. on Wednesdays. I played mostly rock, from Fleetwood Mac to Montrose (named after guitarist and founder Ronnie Montrose). That was hard rock.

Where did you work then?

After about a year, I moved up to the student station, WPGU, where I played Dan Fogelberg and Supertramp. I really liked to play REO Speedwagon and Bob Welch as a solo artist.

Did you ever work at stations before the WDWS family?

I worked at K104. Mike Haile hired me! He’s still the boss here. First I worked part-time, then I was promoted to the mid-afternoon drive time. It was Jim Turpin who hired me here to do volleyball. I’d played a little. I was also the sportscaster for a while at WLRW. Then I did a morning sports show with Jim Manley (on WDWS).

Did you ever get back to music?

I was asked to do it at WKIO 107.9 FM and I said, where do I sign up?

You’ve worked a lot of long hours in your radio career. How do you get up at 4:30 a.m. after sometimes working a game the night before?

I’m pretty used to it. Doing games and coming back to Willard Airport at 2 a.m., then home at 3, that can be tough. I roll with the punches. But the road really burned me out.

Right now you mostly work from 4:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Will you miss that?

A little. I hope to do a little freelancing with a station sort of near where my Michigan house is. A friend has asked me to do it.

What do you do for fun?

I love golf. But I suck at it.

Is there a place you’re dying to go to?

Mears, Mich. Because I just built a new house there.

Do you have a boat?

I don’t have a boat, but I have a boat slip.

Do you have a favorite pet?

My dog Riley. Miss my buddy.

And your favorite sports team?

The Fighting Illini.

Do you have special sports connection?

I loved doing volleyball, my first time in sports, and I’ve played a little.

Who would you invite to a great dinner party?

Scorpions lead singer Klaus Meine, NASCAR driver Ryan Newman and my girlfriend, Janet Manthei.

Reporter

Paul Wood is a reporter at The News-Gazette. His email is pwood@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@pvawood).