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Bob Reitman: The Man Who Started & Ended His Career At WUWM

Bob Reitman and his son Bobby in the WUWM studio, hosting "It's Alright Ma, It's Only Music."

All year WUWM is celebrating its 55th birthday. One of the voices you heard in WUWM's first years  — and can still hear today — is Bob Reitman's.

Reitman was a manager at a cemetery prior to working at WUWM. He got his start doing poetry readings at the Avant Garde coffee house, where he was asked if he would do a reading on the radio with WUWM. This opportunity cultivated his segment Sense Waves, which started in 1966.

Reitman recalls that one day he and his buddies at the station asked Station Manager Ruane Hill if they could have three more hours to play music on the radio. This is where Reitman says he got his big break — the freedom to play what he wanted, hoping it would resonate with listeners. That later became It's Alright, Ma, It's Only Music, a weekly alternative music show that refers to a partial name of a Bob Dylan song.

READ: WUWM's First GM Reflects On The Station's Rich History

Playing music that no one else was, is what he says got him the ratings that made it possible for him to start his career.

"We never were hungry for a massive audience. The whole thing has always been about the music," he adds.

"The whole thing has always been about the music."

During the 40 years since working at WUWM, Reitman worked at several radio stations in the Milwaukee area including: WZMF, WAWA, WTOS, WQFM and WKTI. At WKTI, he teamed up with Gene Mueller, co-hosting the morning show for more than 25 years.

"I've learned so much after all those years of radio," says Reitman. "It's like this universe that you get shot into."

After retiring, Reitman returned to WUWM in 2007 resurrecting It’s Alright, Ma, It’s Only Music. He and his son Bobby continue to co-host the show.

To this day, Rietman says he feels lucky that he started and ended his career here at WUWM.

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.
Maggie Holdorf
Maggie Holdorf started as a WUWM Lake Effect intern in September 2019.
Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.