Dave Hoekstra’s ‘Nocturnal Journal’ joins WGN weekend lineup

Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra, the Chicago media treasure and former Sun-Times columnist and critic, is bringing his unique style and wide range of interests to weekends on WGN AM 720.

Starting December 6, Hoekstra’s “Nocturnal Journal” will air for three weeks from 10 p.m. to midnight Saturdays on the Tribune Media news/talk station. As of January 3, the show will move to its permanent slot from 9 to 11 p.m. Saturdays.

Featuring interviews with in-studio guests and artists from all parts of Chicago, it’s being billed as a “Lazy Susan revolving around the things Dave has turned us all on to — roots music, tunes off the beaten path, supper club sounds, backroads travel, tiki culture, world music, old diners, rhythm-and-blues and Merle Haggard.”

“I’m so thrilled about the show,” said Todd Manley, vice president of content and programming at WGN. “It is just the sort of whimsy every Saturday night needs.”

Coinciding with the addition, WGN will reduce Nick Digilio’s work load to five nights a week, as he requested. Digilio’s show will continue to air from 2 to 5 a.m. Monday through Friday.

For 29 years Hoekstra was a celebrated storyteller for the Sun-Times who covered everything from music, travel and food to sports, pop culture and history. Since he left the paper last March he completed his latest book, The People’s Place: Soul Food Restaurants and Reminiscences From the Civil Rights Era to Today. With a foreword by Chaka Khan, it will published next fall by Chicago Review Press. He also has been blogging regularly at davehoekstra.com.

Hoekstra credits Jonathon Brandmeier with encouraging him to do the show and talking it up to WGN bosses. “They’re really giving me a lot of leeway,” he said. “We’re kind of using the template of all the things I did at the Sun-Times. It’s going to be a great challenge and a neat opportunity.”