Robert Chase Remembers Chicago’s New Rock Alternative

Alternative Rock Station “Q101” in Chicago to flip format.
Robert Chase
Chicago’s Q101 was my radio home for nine years.
July 13, 2011  3:29 PM

Robert Chase with Bryan Ferry at Q101 in Chicago

In the Fall of 1992 Chicago radio station “WKQX-Q101” moved from playing middle of the road adult music to Alternative Rock. Q101 embraced the grunge sound and all it’s off shoots, and it would make Q101 the KROQ of the midwest. I joined the ranks at Q101 in January of 1993 and stayed until December 2001; those nine years were filled with events, some were personal, some were personal that would become public, nearly all of them recall great memories. Q101 will flip formats beginning July 15th, 2011, it’s believed to a talk radio format, although what type has yet to be disclosed. I’ve been asked by the station to share some stories from my time at Q101, stories that I’ll be sharing on air in Chicago on July 14th.
For example:

In 1993 Green Day was just breaking into the mainstream with their album “Dookie”, and the band was playing The Vic theater in Chicago, a venue which holds about 1500 people. At that time Q101 was a station many loved to hate, some teens and twentysomethings didn’t want “their music” brought to the mainstream, and never was that more evident than when I stepped on stage that night to introduce Green Day. Before I went on stage I’d spent a good half hour hanging with the band backstage and at some point had said to them that I anticipated a reaction of some sort when I went out to introduce them, to which Billie Joe Armstrong said “just tell ’em to “F*@K OFF” (we laughed), because the band was very happy to be breaking into the mainstream. So with Billie Joe’s advice fresh in my mind it was time for me to go onstage to do my job. Immediately after saying “Q101” I was pelted with anything the crowd could find to hurl at me. I could have left the stage, and I’m pretty sure just about anyone else would have, but not me. I grabbed the mic and told the crowd that they weren’t as loud as I was, which prompted a roar of frightening proportions. Again, I’m pretty sure anyone else would have vacated the stage, but I stayed and repeatedly told the crowd “F*@K You”, and the crowd replied in kind. Knowing full well my time was up I began to leave when out came Billie Joe Armstrong on microphone to reprimand me. My final words on stage were “I guess I’m F*@KED”. Once off stage I ran around to find Billie Joe and remind him of his own advice, and that I was just havin’ a little fun, but he was already in the dressing room and security escorted me out. Once the adrenalin of the moment wore off I was pretty sure that was my last day working for Q101, after all I’d just told a sold out crowd to shove it. I didn’t sleep that night, I kicked myself for being so foolish, but also chuckled at how it had been so much fun. I decided it would be my goal to be the first person to tell my boss of what had happened in hopes of explaining it away, and also promise to never act that way again when representing the station. The next morning I got through to the station receptionist right at 8 a.m. and she put me through to my boss who answered, “F*@K YOU”. To my sleepy astonishment he had already heard the news, and furthermore he found my actions of the night before to be of great virtue. And so began a long run for me at Chicago’s New Rock Alternative.

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