Matthew Erich "Mancow" Muller (born June 21, 1966 in Kansas City, Missouri) is an American radio and television personality. He is best known from Mancow's Morning Madhouse formerly on WKQX-FM (Q101), a Chicago-based radio show that has, in recent years, been nationally syndicated mostly in small markets by Talk Radio Network. Muller's career with Q101 was cut short in July 2006, when Marv Nyren, Vice President and General Manager of Emmis Radio in Chicago announced "We’ve decided that the time has come for us to develop a morning show that will better serve the needs and sensibilities of this audience.
Radio career beginnings
Thanks to his radio mentor, Marion Woods and Kendra Utterback, Muller's radio career began at KOKO-AM (a one-kilowatt AM radio station) in Warrensburg, Missouri
, playing commercials during the Larry King
satellite feed. His role gradually expanded until he got his own afternoon show.
Among Muller's fans was the general manager of KLSI-FM in Kansas City, who offered him a full-time job as head of station promotions. Muller accepted the position, plus a weekend air shift, while completing his final semester at Central Missouri State University (now known as the University of Central Missouri).
After a stint at KDON
in Monterey, California
, Muller headed north to San Francisco. In 1993, Muller made national headlines working for radio station 107.7 KYLD
-FM in San Francisco, California
, when a story was circulating that President Bill Clinton
tied up traffic on an LAX
runway for over an hour getting a haircut on Air Force One
. Muller staged a parody of the incident on the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge
during rush hour. He used vans to block the westbound lanes on the bridge while his then sidekick, Jesus "Chuy" Gomez, got a haircut.
As a result of this publicity stunt, Muller was prosecuted and subsequently convicted of a felony by a San Francisco Municipal Court. His sentence included three years probation, a $500 fine and 100 hours of community service. The radio station eventually paid $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a bridge commuter.
Mancow's Morning Madhouse
After leaving California, Muller came to Chicago where he was offered a job by Evergreen Media President Jim de Castro at more than double his salary if he would move to Chicago to work at WWBZ-FM, "The Blaze". "The Blaze" had lost its fire and it was renamed to "Rock 103.5" (WRCX-FM), and created his radio show, Mancow's Morning Madhouse
which debuted in July 1994.
Within two Arbitron ratings periods he took the station's 19th-ranked morning show to #5 among all teens and adults, and #1 among 18-to-34 year olds.
Originally, he broadcasted from WRCX-FM (Rock 103.5) studios in the John Hancock Center and in 1998, moved to the city's foremost alternative rock station, WKQX-FM (Q-101) 101.1, where the show was broadcast from the Merchandise Mart for eight more years.
Muller's "Mancow's Morning Madhouse" ended its live run on Emmis' Alternative outlet in Spring 2006, and had the highest rated audience in Chicago with Men Ages 25 to 54 (among English speaking stations). According to Arbitron, a radio ratings service, Mancow's show, measured in Average Quarter Hour listening percentages (AQH) had a 5.7 Share. The next closest station was all-news WBBM with a 5.3 Share.
In his target demographic, Men between the ages of 18 and 34 years, Mancow AQH was an 11.8 Share of the audience in that age group, the highest Share of any other English-speaking station in Chicago.
In terms of average audience size (12 years and older), Mancow had an average audience of 52,700 listeners during any given quarter hour during his time slot from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Monday through Friday. Mancow's total cumulative audience of all listeners (total number of listeners per day), measured in Cume, was 308,200 daily listeners. Typically, Mancow's audience on WKQX was three to four times higher than any other time on this station, and over a 5 year period, Muller's program typically outranked most other stations in Chicago targeting male listeners. Even Howard Stern, a top rated show in Chicago on CBS owned WCKG, was challenged by Mancow. In Stern's final survey in the Fall 2005 with Men ages 18-34, Mancows 's Share was 10.1, compared to Stern's 4.3 Share of the audience, showing Mancow had over twice the amount of listeners in that demographic.
Mancow and the FCC
Muller and Emmis Communications
, the company that owns radio stations on which Mancow's Morning Madhouse is broadcast, have had numerous run-ins with the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) for broadcasting offensive or obscene material. In particular, in 1999 David Edward Smith
, the then-Executive Director of the Illinois
-based Citizens for Community Values
, began filing complaints with the FCC. While the first several of these complaints were initially dismissed by the FCC for lack of context , eventually FCC began levying fines on Emmis—largely as a result of persistent efforts thereto from anti-obscenity commissioners Gloria Tristani
appointee Michael Copps
. By June 2002 various media sources reported that Emmis had paid $42,000 in fines for FCC violations on Muller's program.
Smith continued to file complaints about the content of Muller's show. In 2004, Muller filed a suit against Smith, claiming that Smith was violating his First Amendment rights to free speech. A federal judge declared this suit to be "frivolous and insubtantial" and as a result Muller dropped the suit on August 3, 2004. Shortly thereafter Emmis Communications announced it had reached a "consent decree" with FCC, agreeing to pay $300,000 and to admit that the Mancow program had at times violated FCC regulations. In the meantime, Smith had petitioned FCC to deny the renewal of Emmis station licenses, including one for a station, WIBC-AM in Indianapolis, that did not broadcast Muller's program—which was unsuccessful.
Smith has maintained at least as recently as 2006 that he continues to monitor Muller's radio program for objectionable material.
On November 20
, Ray Hofstatter, aka Cowboy Ray, a 45 year old mentally challenged
frequent caller and guest on Mancow's Morning Madhouse
, was struck by a car in a hit-and-run
accident and critically injured. Ray died shortly after his life support was terminated on January 11
. During the month that followed, an allegedly devastated Muller offered a $23,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the faceless culprit, but was unsuccessful. The hit-and-run case of Cowboy Ray was featured on Fox
's America's Most Wanted
television show on February 25
. As of 2008
, the driver responsible has still not been found.
For many years, the show hosted a plethora of unusual contests in which listeners would be subject to humiliating ordeals, such as eating cat food
and other disgusting items. On other occasions, the show would use contestants to play pranks on Chicago businesses, walking into a Chinese dry cleaner
with a bloodstained shirt while feigning anguish over a supposed murder. Other contests were designed to scare passersby, such as "Grand Theft Auto
" where contestants would be issued car keys, and instructed to find an expensive automobile
which would preferably be parked on a busy Chicago intersection. However, only one of the keys would actually work. Even so, a contestant could win the car without the proper key by pretending to be a car thief to an uninformed observer.
Fred Durst incident
After Wes Borland
left Limp Bizkit, Fred Durst
was to be a judge in a Guitar Center
competition allegedly to find the next guitarist for the band. Hundreds of people showed up to audition. Durst showed up late for the event, gave everybody in attendance the middle finger
, then promptly left. In response, Muller posted a photo on his website of Durst flipping off the guitarist competition audience and began periodic on-the-air anti-Durst rants.
For a full week leading up to Limp Bizkit's Summer Sanitarium 2003 concert in Chicago, Muller continually mocked Durst on his radio show and invited listeners to attend the concert with anti-Durst placards. When Muller's fans complied by showing up with the placards, openly taunting the singer, booing him and pelting him with refuse, Durst erupted into a profanity-laced homophobic tirade and left the stage only 17 minutes into the show. Durst was eventually sued for breach of contract (for not completing the show) by Chicago lawyer Michael Young in a class-action suit.
Jim Norton incident
Comedian Jim Norton
appeared on Muller's Chicago radio show as a child molester character to be chastised by Muller and his crew. Rather than presenting this as a comedy piece, Norton was asked by the show's host to perform in dramatic character.
Howard Dean incident
On December 6
, Muller drew controversy when he vilified Howard Dean
on Fox News Channel
's Fox & Friends
, referring to Dean as "vile", "bloodthirsty", and "evil". He also commented on Dean's negative opinions on the War in Iraq
, calling Dean a traitor that "ought to be kicked out of America" and "tried for treason".
Janet Dahl incident
In 1999, Janet Dahl, the wife of Chicago talk radio host Steve Dahl
, filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Muller over lewd comments Muller made about her on his show. In 2001, the case was settled out of court. Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed, it reportedly reached seven figures.
Foundation For Responsible Radio
In 2007, following the "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" Controversy Muller claimed to start the Foundation For Responsible Radio, calling for the end of "voyeuristic radio", a style of radio he has been known for in the past. He also released a list a commandments for radio personalities, many of which he has broken on his own show in the past. Both lead to heavy criticism from others in radio including Opie and Anthony, Don and Mike and Bubba the Love Sponge. The Foundation For Responsible Radio was in reality, just a publicity stunt orchestrated by Mancow and the company who syndicates his radio show, Talk Radio Network.
Fox Chicago Morning News Interview
On Monday June 2, 2008, Mancow made a special appearance on an early morning news program of WFLD
the Chicago affiliate of FOX. Mancow was asked to give his opinions on the Democratic Primary, in particular Barack Obama. Mancow claimed that Barack Obama
is a closet Muslim
and Hillary Clinton
had secret information about a video tape showing Michelle Obama in a racist tirade. Mancow insisted this was why Hillary Clinton was remaining in the race, as the alleged video tape would presumably harm Barack Obama's candidacy. Mancow went on to claim that he was going to meet the Pope in November 2008 and that he was going to visit to Israel as an official guest of the Israeli government. According to him, his meeting with the Pope was arranged by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin
(Cardinal Bernardin died in 1996). After this, the news anchors tried to end the interview.
Since February 14
, Muller has been married to Sandy Ferrando, a former publicist
. He also has twin daughters named Ava Grace and Isabella Sofia Muller.
He is a Libertarian and endorsed Wayne Allen Root for the party's presidential candidate.
There is a mention of a Mancow billboard in the 27th episode from season four of FOX animated series Family Guy
called "Untitled Griffin Family History
". On the DVD this episode is referred to as "The Griffin Family History
During a recreation of the crossing of the Red Sea a character on the show Peter Griffin (as Moses) makes a commandment where the followers are ordered not to read the many billboard signs they pass as they walk through the desert. One of the signs is read aloud by a member of the group as "Mancow in the Morning”. A distant drawing roughly depicts Mancow's face or a facsimile of one of the billboards for his show.