The late, great Glenn Mitchell invented KERA’s Anything You Ever Wanted to Know, the oddly compelling call-in show where people ask questions and then other people answer those questions. It’s hard to say when, exactly, he did this. Somewhere in the ’90s. Lore has it that a guest didn’t show up one day, and that’s how Mitchell filled the hour. He just opened the mic and started taking calls. If he couldn’t answer the caller’s question, he invited his audience to do so. The show became a Friday afternoon staple in 2001.
After Mitchell died, in 2005, his producer, Jeff Whittington, took over the show, which his buddies (me included) prefer to call Anything You Ever Didn’t Google. After 12 years of hosting it, and after 22 years with KERA, Jeff is leaving the station to spend more time with his family.
Generally, when you hear that phrase in connection with a workplace separation, it sounds like something has gone horribly wrong. In Jeff’s case, that is exactly what has happened.
For the past five years or so, Jeff has been boring his friends with overly long updates on the plan that he and his wife, Nicole, have to drive around the country in a Ford Transit van that they themselves are customizing. The day he installed the toilet, Jeff delivered a 45-minute PowerPoint presentation on his accomplishment to a mostly uninterested audience at the Lakewood Growler.
So, yes, his departure from KERA has long been in the works. He is going to spend weeks and weeks driving around with his wife in a van. Oh, and their two dogs. They’ll be aboard, too. Like I said: something has indeed gone horribly wrong in Jeff’s life. He’ll need your thoughts and prayers. Someone should probably start a GoFundMe campaign for him.
Jeff’s last show will be this Friday at noon. The station hasn’t yet decided how it will fill that airtime on a permanent basis. For now, I’ll just say this: the KERA screeners need to be on their toes Friday. I happen to know a few guys who have some questions.