lin 3851 About Lin Brehmer

Nothing much survives from Brehmer’s high school years except rumor and innuendo. He distinguished himself as the starting pitcher for the varsity baseball team from 1969 to 1972. He also spent winters in a Kelly-green Speedo as a member of the McBurney swim team. All pictures were destroyed by the government. College radio seduced him in the summer of 1974 at Colgate University. So did his future wife. After a collegiate experience of one part pocket billiards and two parts obscure literature seminars, Brehmer turned to WQBK-FM in Albany, New York for a job in January, 1977.

Dubbed the Reverend of Rock and Roll, Brehmer drew on the influence of Old Testament prophets and AC DC to fashion a radio program designed to break down rational consciousness. When this didn’t work, Brehmer accepted a job in 1984 at WXRT, Chicago. Brehmer spent ’84 to ’90 as the Music Director of WXRT. During that time he lived in the bleachers, learned to match wines with food and demonstrated a predilection for extolling rock bands that no one would ever listen to. Lin was named “Music Director of the Year” by trade magazine, The Friday Morning Quarterback, in 1987, 1988 and 1990. In 1990, the Hard Report’s readers chose Brehmer as the “Music Director of the Decade.” This last award made just as much sense as a Playgirl article in 1985 naming him as one of America’s Sexiest D.J.’s. C’mon! His picture is right in front of you!

In 1990, Brehmer accepted a job as the program director of KTCZ in Minneapolis because Chicago just wasn’t cold enough. In Minnesota, he learned to ski. And as a Chicago baseball fan, he enjoyed a whole new experience. The Minnesota Twins played in a tournament known as the World Series. Excited by the prospect of the Cubs or White Sox being allowed to participate in such an event, Brehmer moved back to Chicago almost immediately after the conclusion of the 1991 fall classic. Nursing bad knees, Brehmer failed to secure his dream job: vending cotton candy at sports arenas. Instead, he began an odyssey as the morning D.J. of WXRT that continues today. Lin Brehmer continues to find spiritual direction from Keith Richards. His motto is borrowed from the writings of Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Flesh fade and mortal trash fall to the residuary worm’, you and I might as well Rock and Roll.”

Eating Rocks

Restaurant guides are an enduring fascination for me. I keep a Zagat in my car at all times. What you and I need, however, is a guide to places to eat after a concert. There’s too much pressure trying to dine before a concert. If I have to emcee a concert, my stage fright prevents me from thinking about food until the concert is over. Then, of course, I am ravenous. A ravenous Lin Brehmer is not a pretty sight, not that a well-fed Lin is.

Allow me then to direct you to some dining experiences near some of our favorite concert and theater venues. Steppenwolf Theater: Boka is at the corner of Willow and Halstead not more than half a block from the theater. I once had a chance to work in Charlie Trotter’s kitchen for a charity auction and when I was there, Charlie wasn’t. The guy running the kitchen was a friendly savant named Giuseppe. He’s the new chef at Boka, a warm, casually hip room that has always made cuisine a priority. Two words. Veal cheeks.

House of Blues: Bin 36 is a well established mecca for the wine lover. John Caputo’s tasting menu is an enduring temptation. Why not try the “Oven Roasted Artic Char, lobster dumplings & english pea ragout, chanterelle mushroom gravy.” Nice. For dessert, I can’t resist a flight of fine cheese with a glass of vintage port. If the concert runs late, they have a very comfy, casual café area that has a late night menu.

Favorite Restaurants In Chicago

  • Best Total Dining Experience:Spiaggia
  • Best Sushi on the Northside:Katsu
  • Best Upscale Mexican for when you want to leave the kids home: Topolobampo
  • Best Upscale Mexican for when you have the kids with you:Don Juan’s
  • Best Legendary Rib Joint:Twin Anchors
  • Best Best New Rib Joint:Smoque
  • Best Italian Before a Sox Game:Franco’s
  • Best Place for Martinis and Oysters:Shaw’s Crabhouse
  • Best Hidden Luncheonette: Heaven on Seven in the Garland Building
  • Best Old School Steakhouse: Myron and Phil’s
  • Best New School Steakhouse:Keefer’s
  • Best East Coast Pizza: Piece
  • Best Late Night Steak Burrito: La Pasadita
Comments (53)
  1. Dennis G. Berdanis says:

    Is your classic riff on American Idol online anywhere? I’d love to link to it for some friends who have not heard it.

    1. Lin Brehmer says:

      Should be back on itunes for free download in the next few weeks.

  2. martyn Earplug says:

    Hump…or death.

  3. Denise Borden says:

    Hi Lin Old friend of Dick Thyne’s here from Troy (Eagle Mills) Ny just ran across a great tribute to you and Your Hump day moments on nippertown and got thinking about the wonderful days of radio when You & Dick and Walter and Peggy and on & On were RADIO..remember your interview with Terry Adams and Tom Ardolino of NRBQ complete with Waltons Lunch Box full of 45’s ” little love bug” and Joe Friday from Dragnet..and the Shaggs ~Jake and the Family Jewels..etc. All wonderful..and our “see You Off” dinner at the Maharasha Indian Food restaurant for Dick Thyne before he left for California (just one of many times that he would leave for the West coast only to return again..and leave again..and ) Rest in Peace Dear Soul of Friend called Dick…anyway Lin Thanks for All the wonderful radio memories when WQBK was king of radio for all here in Albany with fond memories Denise & Rich Borden

    1. Lin Brehmer says:

      Hey Denise,
      Dick Thyne. One of my mentors. Wildly creative with eyes like Rasputin. He once read a commercial about some hot dog place and said, “I’d love one of those gutbombers right about now.” Yes, he got in trouble, but now whatever I’m selling I love to pay tribute to Dick by saying, Boy I’d love one of those (fill in the blank) right about now. Thanks for the memories.

      1. Denise Borden says:

        Captain Beefheart has left this mortal coil and we are listening to a ” mixed tape recording’ of his music given to us back sometime around 1979 by Our ( and Your) old pal Dick Thyne…..RIP Captain BH and DT…I’m sure that You will find each other and will be in good company Denise

    2. Mary Rinella says:

      Lin, I have been a fan of yours for 20+ yrs. I couldn’t find another way to contact you so this is a bit of a strange request perhaps on the XRT website. I am a liver doctor at Northwestern Memorial and am chairing a fund-raiser for the American Liver Foundation. It is a very cool culinary event with several chicago restaurants each cooking table side. Would you be willing to consider being the MC?

  4. ariel brennecke says:

    Lin- I am curious as to the title and artist of the song you signed off with yesterday, Wed May 19th at the end of your morning gig. It was also mentioned that said artist was going to be at Pritzger Pavillion on Aug 25th. The song had the term “Draw the Line” in it. Can you tell me the artist and song? Thanks so much

  5. pj mckay says:

    Lin: Listening again to Randy Newman’s “Rednecks”, I wonder: what are the best songs you simply can’t play on the radio, and what have been the consequences when you have played them anyway?

  6. Scott says:

    What is the name of Lin’s intro song for his morning program?
    And the name of the band?


  7. Leisa Braband says:

    Lin – are you available as a guest speaker at a professional association event? Our bar association would love to have our favorite DJ address its lawyers at its annual dinner in September. Please advise.

  8. Don says:

    While going through your Lin’s Bin archives, there was a comment on the Mailman topic from a Laura Harris trying to get discount tickets to Lollapalooza. If WXRT can act as an intermediary, I will gladly send a money order for the three day pass. How weelchair friendly is Lollapalooza?

    1. Good Morning, Don.
      Lollapalooza ticket info can be found here:
      If you have specific Lolla questions, you can contact them here:

  9. kristine says:

    Thanks, Mr. Brehmer, for hosting Justin Currie in your studio some weeks back. I first became enamored of Mr. Currie’s songwriting and vocal prowess when I lived in the Midwest in the 90s; had the chance to see him front the Dels in Mpls, Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago (and recall a similar studio spot w/XRT right before the Dels released “Some Other Sucker’s Parade” at some record shop downtown). He hasn’t lost a step, in my eyes, since going solo, even if his label support has weakened. Now living in the Pac NW, we were not graced w/a tour date this go ’round, but I am glad to see he still has ongoing support from his Midwest base and from XRT. Thanks for continuing to be a resource for him – this guy deserves a much bigger platform than he’s got.

  10. Linda Kotowski says:

    What’s with all the” WHISTLING” in songs lately?

    1. Chris Ferrelli says:

      Ms Kotowski: Did you know that pucker whistling is the most common form of whistling used in most Western music. Typically, the tongue tip is lowered, often placed behind the lower teeth, and pitch altered by varying the position of the tongue. In particular, the point at which the tongue body approximates the palate varies from near the uvula (for low notes) to near the alveolar ridge (for high notes). Although varying the degree of pucker will change the pitch of a pucker whistle, expert pucker whistlers will generally only make small variations to the degree of pucker, due to its tendency to affect purity of tone. Musicians from Andrew Bird and Les Paul to Otis Redding all have incorporate the art into their music.

  11. Carol Stone says:

    I’ve read your facebook profile,so I know your great taste in music. You work for the best radio station in the US and you can play anything you want to play. So my question is…why Cheryl Crow? Why not put a bee in my ear canal for 3 1/2 minutes?

  12. Cyn says:

    Loved your response to the bagpipe question! “Speaking” as one for whom the sound of a bagpiped Amazing Grace is an instant throat-clencher, I think they are indeed the most powerful way to enter into the next life. Thanks for the great words.

  13. Dave Monti says:


    Long time fan of yours and rock and roll!

    PLEASE check out the new disc from Steve Lukather (of Toto fame). This guy is one of the greatest guitar players and vocalists of all time, a six time Grammy winner, was recently inducted in the MUSICIANS HALL OF FAME (an honor many deem much higher than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), has played on and with anybody “BIG” in music including all of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album (check out his discography on his website, and is really coming into his own on his two solo records (2008 – Ever Changing Times, 2010 – All’s Well That Ends Well).

    The new release came out less than two weeks ago in Europe and the sales have been so strong that the U.S. label has moved up the U.S. release to December. More importantly, the album should be available next week on iTunes. Here’s a link to clips of the songs from his website:

    Its time that XRT and other radio stations started playing this guy again. He sells out 20,000 seat venues in Europe but there were about 150 of us two years ago at Durty Nellies in Palatine. If you can’t get a copy, I’ll let you borrow mine…

    Thanks for listening, hope to hear from you soon!


  14. Tj Henrie says:

    Why don’t you ever play Ronnie Baker Brooks? He is such a great performer, with a blues pedigree. If you what to keep the Blues Alive for next generation of XRT fans, He certainly is the one. Great live perfomaces, Great recordings, check him out !!One of Chicago’s very own

  15. Yolanda says:

    Hi Lin, I just nominated you for Regis and Kelly Live’s sweepstake. Live’s Men’s Radio Co-host for a Day Search. You get to co-host with Kelly Ripa while Regis is away. I hope you win after all you are my best friend in the whole world! :o)

  16. Deb Wright says:

    I have a good topic for your bin: Big & Tall people at shows.
    How do you see if someone with a big head sits in front of you?

  17. Robert Katz says:

    Hey Lin,
    Any chance management will replace you and Mary with former morning man, Scott McConnell and former newsman C.D. Jaco?

  18. TLjr says:

    Great pick on the Brubeck track yesterday. RIP Joe Morello.

  19. Ardes says:

    Hey Lin,

    What’s up with stalkers? Why do people follow around ex’s when they already know IT DIDN’T WORK! IT’S NOT GONNA WORK!


  20. denise says:

    hi Lin
    I know you love Armands pizza…they opened a new place 4100 block of Western Ave in Chicago….

  21. Greenberg says:

    Lin, long time no talk. the phone number that’s listed on the home page is disconnected. people contacted me last week when you replayed my lin’s bin question about bowling. i have a new job which is closer to home so i’m not in the car for lin’s bin at either time of the day. i saw friday dance yesterday on channel 5 from yakzee’s.

    greenberg, greenswag’s friend

  22. Barry says:

    Lin, Spot-on perfect Lin’s Bin this morning, followed by McMurtry. You remain my broadcasting hero.

  23. Roseann Murphy says:

    Lin…What is your e-mail address? I have a question for Lin’s bin 🙂

  24. Bob O'Brien FLY 92 says:

    How about the the Lark Tavern on the corner of Lark And Madison, for a few cold ones after the the air shift

  25. Larry Meneghini says:

    Hi Lin,
    Growing up I was passionate about the band “Chicago.” I’ve never heard a Chicago song on XRT and this morning prior to the Rahm Emmanuel interview I thought , “Cool, a Chicago song.
    Now as a long time listener to XRT I understand that XRT doesn’t play flowery pop songs like “Colour my World” et al… however many Chicago tunes are not flowery pop songs. “I’m a Man” for example.They have recorded many a gritty tunes that meet XRT’s repetoire. Thanks!

  26. Paul Bernacki says:

    Yesterday at 5:30am, you played a comdey bit on donkey basketball. It was very funny, and I was wondering who performed that bit, or what album was that from

  27. jerry Morrow says:

    Great to see you at the Misericordia Family Fest last summer. I am planning a second Easter Seals (Kids Twist Party) benefit with our ole Albany buddy /hero E Angel and the LosStraitjackets Oct 23rd at Fitzgerald’s. Lookin for a silent auction item….maybe a time machine or something. Keep up the great work Lin….yes you’re my hero too!

  28. Dave Barbieri says:

    Hey Lin,

    I have a question for Lin’s bin.

    What’s the deal with bands that use the name of the front man and then a name for their backing musicians? You know what I mean, like Bill Haley and The Comets or Neil Young and Crazy Horse. Who was the first to do this and why. Is it just a way to make it easier to split up the money? As my former RMAT proctor I am sure you will have an answer.

    Thank you,

    Dave Barbieri

  29. Terry says:

    EmmyLou says Hi.
    I had breakfast with EmmyLou Harris in Telluride last week. When I told her I was from Chicago she said to make sure I passed along her fond wishes to you. See you soon.

  30. ddkk says:

    Lin!! Heard you this morning claiming you are nothing less than a Portuguese Man o War, nice! But you must fill us in, you must… what IS that music playing behind your voice in your intro.
    All the best!

  31. Paul G. and Lee says:

    Hi Lin, My fiancee’ and I are longtime listeners and fans of you and XRT. We have been networking on a small project for a couple weeks when I suddenly realized we should check with our best friend in the whole world (whom we have never met!) because it is a Chicago area music question.

    We are in your age group (few years younger probably) and putting together a party at our house soon. I wanted to hire a musician/singer for this party who was grounded in classic rock and blues, and keeps current with rock n roll. Do you run across anyone like this locally? You and family would be invited too as our best friend? Or how would you suggest finding someone? Thanks for listening and love your work. Best DJ ever!

  32. Tommy Coleman says:

    It’s great to be alive…. Tommy Coleman.. Marge Arnolds Brother playing with my wifes facebook… Remember me? and my Brother Brian?? Shteve Earle? Ryans Wedding.. Milwawkee? Be my wifes friend.. It’ll blow her mind.. ps. i cry on that back to school Lynns Binn 3 Yrs in a row…

    1. Tommy Coleman says:

      I ment Lin.. I’m Drunk forgive my spelling…

  33. John says:

    Lin, I have a question for ya for Lin’s bin

    If you were forced to quit DJing for XRT, what job would you get other than DJing or hosting a radio show?

    1. John says:

      Oh and i loved today’s topic. The part about staying inside and watching baseball on a beautiful Saturday is so true for me

  34. bill pisano says:

    “The Christmas Crook” is The Surface Plugs new Christmas single

    If you like and would like to play I can send the hi-res file on disc.

    Thanks for listening!


  35. Nancy says:

    Lin did a Lin’s Bin on “Best Wedding Song”. It was a song that I had never heard and it was before Shazam or texting the station to get the last 3 songs was available. Does anyone remember what it was?

    1. Lin Brehmer says:

      Was it Lowen and Navarro “Not Like You”?

    2. Nancy says:

      I never actually heard the name of the song…so I will have to go listen to make sure. I appreciate your reply, thank you.

  36. Karen says:

    let’s face it…Lin is sort of the Gandhi of Chicago…

  37. bob says:

    Hey Lin .. can not believe I found you on here … I listened to you faithfully on WQBK for your humpday unusual moments .. the best radio dj ever .. I also now am in business as a dry cleaner and 2 of my customers worked with you . Do you remember Doc Perryman and Steve Fitz ? Steve passed away about a month ago and he always talked highly of you … I am also a record collector . If you get a moment could you send me an email . Would be great to chat with you .. Remember Peggy Apple and John Cooper …? recordguy bob at yahoo dot com is my email . Thank Lin

    1. Lin Brehmer says:

      My email is Peggy is on facebook I know.

  38. Skip Haynes says:

    Hi Lin and Lake Shore Drive fans,
    We’re recording a new Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah album to be released in July and need a little help to finish recording. The link below has all the information.

    We need several hundred people for this to be successful and we only have 26 days to do it. Any help will be appreciated. Please pass this link along. Thanks for playing our music.

    Skip Haynes & Mitch Aliotta

  39. Nancy Mengel Baird says:

    Nice piece in the Chicago Trib Sunday! I listen to you everyday at work. Never knew you went to Colgate which is where I went! Don’t think I know you, but there were so few women at Colgate I know your wife? I graduated 1977. What’s her maiden name?
    Great place. WRCU still lives on. My nephew was a DJ there while ‘vacationing’ in Hamilton and when he was not at the Jug.

  40. Linda says:

    Hi Lin, Just reading a book called SIN BOLDLY by Cathleen Falsani and loving it and the message and also the chat with you she had. Had to check out your station and listen the music you play and so off I go. 🙂 Thanks, Linda ‘from the land of the tall trees’

  41. Kathy Gorkis says:

    Hey Lin…Just wondering…….When did I become such a problem? I’ve noticed that saying “no problem has replaced “you’re welcome.” i.e. Me: “Thank you for the refill. Server “No problem” Me; thank you for bagging my groceries. Bagger; “No problem.” Is it really a problem to do your job or am I really problem?

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