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The Midnight Special Counts Down to 2014

Spuyten Duyvil

Spuyten Duyvil

Don’t forget to make WFMT the soundtrack for your New Year’s Eve! We go live at 8:00 PM with The Midnight Special. Host Rich Warren answers some questions about the show.

How long has The Midnight Special been doing a New Year’s show?

Well…at least since 1955-56—could be longer because Midnight Special started as a live show. Mike Nichols was the host (he went on to be a film director, producer etc), Win Stracke, who helped found the Old Town School, and Fleming Brown; along with George and Gerry Armstrong; they were all involved. I’ll tell you a little anecdote. Did you know they met on The Midnight Special? George and Gerry were both performing, she was in a group called the Willow Singers, or something like that, and he was playing bagpipes.

How did WFMT become such a hot scene in the 60’s?

All the folk clubs were hopping on New Year’s Eve, and once they closed, all the performers would empty out into the WFMT studios. Second City used to come, Roger Ebert, Steve Goodman. You name it, they were here. It was quite an affair. Also, Midnight Special used to run until 6:00 AM on New Year’s Eve, and of course we always played requests as well as live music, which we’re doing tonight. Remember, FM radio stations used to sign off at midnight. We’d sign off at 1:00 AM on Saturdays, and midnight the rest of the time—EXCEPT New Year’s Eve, when we were the only ones on the air, going to 6:00 AM.

What can we expect tonight?

We have a lot of really talented musicians who are really excited to participate including, a funk folk band called Spuyten Duyvil; Garnet Rogers, Kim and Reggie Harris, the trio Brother Sun; and Bonnie Koloc, who’s been doing this show since the mid-60’s. The enthusiasm shown by the musicians—I am just honored and thrilled to be a part of it.

  • Therese Jacobson

    New Year’s Eve has never been better than it was last night! WFMT’s guests gave tremendous performances, inviting audience participation throughout. We loved them all, especially the Harrises and Brother Sun, whose joyful harmonies and charisma offered a bright 2014 ahead. Thank you, WFMT!

  • David

    Is there anywhere to listen to a recording of this show?