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Ron Onesti and 'Backstage’ broadcast are the ‘Toast of the Town,’ Chicago style

Chicago native Ron Onesti appears to be following the path blazed by entertainment industry dynamo Ed Sullivan—writer, entertainment producer, host, and a “toast of the town.” The latest project to come from Onesti Entertainment is the live-streamed WGN-FM “Backstage with Ron Onesti,” the buzz of Chicagoland, and everywhere on the Internet, especially for those who love classic rock. On Jul. 24, 2014, Alex Bauer, Creative Director and Producer of “Backstage with Ron Onesti,” said, “this program is only in its fourth week, and the reaction has been spectacular.” Ron’s guests for Friday, Jul. 25, include “co-host Jim Peterik, and interviews with Pete McMurray (WGN Radio), plus Randy Bachman and Fred Turner of Bachman &Turner.

Ron Onesti and Jim Peterik of The Ides of March and Survivor on WGN-FM, "Backstage with Ron Onesti" Jul. 25, 2014.
Ron Onesti and Jim Peterik of The Ides of March and Survivor on WGN-FM, "Backstage with Ron Onesti" Jul. 25, 2014.
Onesti Entertainment, used with permission
Tune in and watch 'Backstage with Ron Onesti' Friday mornings at 9 a.m. on WGN Radio.
Courtesy of, used with permission

Jim Peterik is one of the most gracious, vibrant entertainment talents in Chicago, hands down. Bauer said, “Ron’s show this Friday was actually filmed throughout Jim Peterik’s house. It’s amazing!” Alex also noted that “audiences would be delighted by an acoustic performance of one of Jim’s compositions.” Sneak peek hint: try and count how many guitars Peterik has in his collection.

Jim’s biography, “Through the Eye of the Tiger” with Lisa Torem, is set for release this fall and can be preordered through his site, Of course “Eye of the Tiger” is one of Peterik’s compositions, for the group Survivor, of which he’s a founding member. Then “Vehicle,” another Peterik hit, was first made famous by the boys of Berwyn, better known as The Ides of March. That song found new life, thanks to Bo Bice, during his “American Idol” days. Bice rode that “Vehicle” into a great starting lineup spot, as he often performs today as lead singer of “Blood Sweat and Tears.”

Pete McMurray is one of the most popular announcers and friends of Chicagoland in his own right. Whether he’s on his regular program on WGN Radio, or whether he’s all about Da Bears on the Fox Kickoff Sunday pregame, or involved at The Laugh Factory, you’re going to have a good time with Ron and Pete’s visit. Together, they know everyone in town.

Really, though, who in the world of Chicago entertainment doesn’t know Onesti, together with his brother Rich, and a wonderful staff who’s like family at At the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, Illinois, he features phenomenal entertainment lineups that pack the house, time and again. It’s just Ron Onesti calling up his friends and saying, “you know, we need to have you all back here, let’s book a date for you.” Done. And he knows what his audiences want to hear and brings them in.

Onesti knows what he’s doing in entertainment. He writes a weekly column in the Kane County Chronicle and he’s a “three-time Emmy award winner for his work in television.” Sounds just like Ed Sullivan, right?

Carl Giammarese, co-host of Onesti’s show on Jul. 11, noted “Ron is one of the nicest men you’ll ever meet in this business. He’s the consummate host when you perform at his venue. In fact, when The Buckinghams appeared with Gary Puckett and Christie Copeland at The Arcada in February for our “Groovin’ the 60s” show, Ron even made this tremendous full Italian buffet for dinner before the show!”

Another guest that day was Danny Hutton, the second lead singer of Three Dog Night. Together with their band, Danny and Corey Wells still tour the country bringing much needed, wait for it, “Joy to the World.” A second Danny, Danny Seraphine, founding drummer for the band Chicago, was the third guest on Jul 11, 2014, and they talked about his book, "Street Player" and his band, California Transit Authority, in an hour that flew by fast.

The venues for “Backstage with Ron Onesti” change every week. With Giammarese as co-host, the duo met up at the famous “Gene and Jude’s in River Grove, and even if you were just listening to the tape of the program, you were dying for one of their magnificent hot dogs by the end of the show. Check out the slide show for more photos.

Bauer also announced that next week, Friday, Aug. 1, “Ron’s co-host will be another beloved Chicago musician Jimy Sohns from The Shadows of Knight. You’re already humming “Gloria” in your head, aren’t you? Find out what Jimy’s been doing lately, and the fun things ahead. By the way, Jimy is at Streetsboro Family Days on Fri. July 25 at 8 p.m.The show also includes an interview with Corey Wells,” another dynamic member of supergroup Three Dog Night. Plus they’ll have the Black Star Riders, veterans of Thin Lizzy.

If you miss any of these shows, you can find them on YouTube, as the videos found at WGN-FM's link. Subscribe there so you won’t miss any in the future. In the accompanying video, even Carl Giammarese calls Ron "Mr. Chicago," because of his knowing everyone!

What Ed Sullivan was to variety programming in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, Ron Onesti is to the 21st century. His “Backstage with Ron Onesti” can be heard and watched live on the internet at 9 a.m. on Friday morning and Bauer noted “we post video segments online so you can catch the show at your convenience.” Tune in tomorrow morning. It’s going to be another “really big show!”

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