Borrowing a page from ex-partner Steve Dahl, Chicago radio personality Garry Meier is about to offer a premium subscription podcast service to listeners who pay a monthly fee.
Back behind a microphone after 16 months away, Meier will launch his new independent venture Saturday at GarryMeier.com. Initially he plans to produce three one-hour shows each week for free as he seeks to convert listeners to paid subscribers.
“If you enjoy my free shows and would like to support them, you can do so . . . by signing up for a monthly subscription that would provide you with one to two additional shows per week as well as at least two interviews with various unique, interesting people per month," Meier said in a statement Thursday. “You may also get random videos of anything that pops into my mind from time to time.”
His first headliner will be radio superstar Howard Stern, whose two-part interview with Meier will be uploaded March 16 and 18. “Howard and I came through the radio ranks during the same era and experienced a lot of the same things,” Meier said. “While he is the King of All Media, I am more of the jester of said media.”
Other early guests, he said, will include John McDonough, president and CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks; restaurateur Rich Melman, chairman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, and Will Lee, former bass player for Paul Shaffer’s band on ”The Late Show With David Letterman.”
Meier has been sidelined since November 2014 when Tribune Media pulled him off its online stream at wgn.fm and paid him through the remainder of his contract. Before that he was heard on Tribune Media news/talk WGN AM 720 from April 2009 to May 2014.
Details of Meier’s business plan — including the cost of a subscription — are not yet known. In opting for a paid subscription model, he’s following the lead of Dahl, who was among the first locally to seek payment from listeners when he converted dahl.com from a free podcast in 2011. The two worked together from 1979 until their acrimonious breakup in 1993.
Ironically, Stern famously disparaged the medium Meier has embraced. “If you want to be in radio, forget a podcast,” Stern was quoted as saying. “Podcasts are for losers.”