MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee radio legend Gene Mueller is set to retire early next year.
TMJ4's Charles Benson talked with the WTMJ's Wisconsin's Morning Show host about his life on the radio.
For generations of Milwaukeeans, mornings were a cup of coffee and a conversation with Gene Mueller. He's witty, unpretentious and sincere about the people and places he has always called home.
"You know after 44 years of getting up at 1:30, 2 o'clock in the morning, the novelty kind of wears off. I'm kind of done with that aspect," said Mueller. "I love the job but the rigors of that shift wears on you, and it'll be nice to get my circadian rhythm back."
Mueller's passion for radio began at Sheboygan North, where his hometown high school had a 10-watt radio station.
Mueller: "I was always drawn to the media, like radio. I was fascinated by the people in it, the personalities. I kind of, sort of could write, so I figured, okay, this is a skill set I can maybe parlay into something."
Benson: "Was there an icon or someone who you were like, that's cool, I want to do that?"
Mueller: "Eddie Doucette, play-by-play guy for the Bucks back in the day. I had his poster on one wall. Larry Lujack in Chicago was another one."
His first full-time radio gig was at college in Steven Point in the late 1970s. By 1982, he was the other half of Reitman and Mueller morning show on WKTI- FM, with Bob Reitman, who retired in 2006.
In 2007, he stayed with the same radio ownership family but jumped to the AM side as host of WTMJ's Wisconsin's Morning News.
Mueller got emotional talking about all those life-sharing moments through the years.
"The people that stamp their life events, life events that happened to me like the birth of my daughter. I'd have women come up to me and say: 'I was pregnant when your wife was pregnant with your daughter Alyssa,' or, 'I remember when your son was born.' All those other things that we share on the air, because it is a warm medium. What makes you authentic is sharing your life."
Being the hometown kid not only allowed him to cover his favorite sports teams, but also be there for some spectacular sports history, like the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl.
"To be able to go to Dallas and see the Packers win that year, and to be on the field at Lambeau when they brought the Super Bowl trophy home, that was magic."
Mueller turns 65 years old next year and plans to officially sign off the air in early 2022.
Benson: "What's the next chapter for Gene Mueller?"
Mueller: "Sleeping past sunrise, that'll be the first accomplishment."
Mueller also wants to travel with his wife, LuAnn, and in his whimsical way of saying things, "take advantage of the free time and burn up some of the kid's inheritance."