Local Chaos: Celebrating 25 Years on WONC

- Local Chaos

by Austin Paulson

The spirit of Local Chaos is linked directly with the music written and performed within our incredible community. As fans first, we find that there’s nothing more important than promoting and uplifting the art of the people around you. Naturally, musicians come and go. Some stay active for a brief moment, while others may achieve national, or even global, recognition. Regardless of success, however, everything begins at the local level and being an active participant in your scene is vital to its growth, a belief Local Chaos has carried for over 25 years.

In the summer of 1997, Jon Shapiro, Dan Voight, and Brad Petersen hosted the “Looney Bin,” a show that aired on FM89 from midnight to 2AM. A lot can happen in the studio during those hours, but on a random summer night, a band called the request line to chat, hoping to come on-air. After some back and forth, DuPage County’s own Lucky Boys Confusion visited FM89 the next week for their first ever radio performance. Jon enlisted the help of his roommate and FM89 deejay, JC Heerdt, to help mix the band. After that night, inspiration struck JC to start a locally-based radio show on FM89 and at the beginning of the fall semester, alongside Dan and Brad, Local Chaos was born with Lucky Boys Confusion as its first guest.

Fast forward 25 years and many hosts later, Local Chaos is still operating as FM89’s longest running music program, highlighting artists in the Chicagoland area. On September 18th, we celebrated the show’s history with JC, Jon, and Dan all returning with music and stories from the show’s first few years. Guitarist Adam Krier of Lucky Boys Confusion and AM Taxi, fresh off his Riot Fest appearance, stopped by the studio where his band had made their radio debut more than two decades earlier. From Tuesday night drives to the Metro, appearances by Chevelle and the Plain White T’s, and even a chili pepper mascot costume, there didn’t seem to be a shortage of fond memories.

The voices behind the mics may change, but the goal will always remain the same in building off the show’s original vision. While it’s doubtful these former hosts could have foreseen the longevity of their idea, they should be proud of the music and positivity Local Chaos has helped bring to the community as it looks onward to another 25 years.

Tune in to Local Chaos on Sundays, 8-10PM, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to learn about future shows, interviews, and music from around the Chicagoland area.

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