Michael Heidemann is a music journalist who works for World’s Greatest Newspaper, aka WGN in Chicago. Our friendship takes root in a common need to waste some time on a weekday afternoon. We ran into each other at a bar and started talking. Months later, I reached out to find out more about his music industry journey.
First, what is your job title/s?
I am a National Music Journalist as well as Executive Producer and fill-in host at WGN Radio Chicago.
BTM: What exactly does that title entail?
MH: As a Music Journalist, I’ve interviewed hundreds of musicians, artists, producers and influencers in the music/entertainment industry. I’ve also traveled across the globe covering music acts and festivals from Lollapalooza to SXSW in Austin, TX. This position also requires booking guests and publishing articles & audio pieces every week on multiple platforms online/broadcasted on air. As a producer and host, the job can be anything from booking guests, arranging topic ideas with WGN Radio hosts, developing, organizing and preparing regular guests/segments to daily tasks that include preparing audio clips for air, maintaining social media accounts, editing and posting podcasts to http://wgnradio.com/
When did you first know you wanted to make yourself a part of the music business? Was there an “Aha!” moment?
As a scrappy teenager, I joined a punk band in my hometown. I just did it because I loved music at first but after seeing the organization that goes into creating a successful product (and going to college to see the educational aspect of the music industry), I knew I wanted to be a part of something that makes such a positive impact on so many people’s lives.
BTM: What advice do you wish someone would’ve given you when you were first starting off?
MH: That you need to truly LOVE what you are doing first…and the money will come later. Also, that everyone is pretty much on the same page… so the simple act of being thankful and kind to others will get you very far in this business (mainly because you will be an outlier).
You’ve interviewed so many people both on the radio and in person, any unexpected experiences with artists over the years?
There have been a lot of amazing moments in my career so far that I have been very thankful for… I never thought I’d be able to see Victor Wooten/M. Ward play three songs for myself and my co-host in a closed room, or to sit down for a one on one interview with Mick Fleetwood, Thrice and/or Garth Brooks, but all these things happened because I took the risk to jump into this career. There was a funny time where I did an interview with an artist named “Poppy” and she spoke like a robot the whole time… (Let’s just say it was a quick interview) haha!
BTM: Anything you’d like to close with?