The O'Connor Show Hosts
Bridget Ellen Looney, fondly referred to as "Breege" hails from Belmullet, Co. Mayo. She is one of seven children. Bridget arrived in Chicago, and that very same night she met the man she would marry; Tom Looney. Bridget and Tom have four grown children and six grandchildren (so far). They own The Abbey Pub, one of the sponsors of The O'Connor Show. Bridget arrived in the studio one day to promote one of the many events she and Tom are involved in. The story goes that Mike needed some help answering telephone calls, so he asked Bridget if she wouldn't mind. After the program was through for the day, he asked if she thought she might like to come back and help out. That was around 25 years ago, and Breege is still answering the phones and adding so much to the show. She loves to chat (yes, we all do), and always has news. We are so grateful to her for all the help she has generously given us through the years. Bridget came on board with media experience; she and Tom had a cable program for a number of years which gave the current news in Ireland, including sports, and had entertainment as well.
When asked what her proudest accomplishment is, after naming off all of her children and grandchildren, Bridget will tell you it was being nominated and winning "Erris Exile of the Year". Here is the description given by the official Mayo website:
"The 'Erris Exile of the Year Award' is open to persons born in Erris and who are now resident outside of Ireland, who have distinguished themselves by exceptional achievement whether through charitable, philanthropic or sporting endeavours, or notible commitment to the place of their birth."
Much deserved. Congratulations, Bridget.
Here is Bridget with one of her favorite people, boxer Henry Coyle. He comes from around Bridget's place in Mayo.
Margaret O'Connor has been involved in the Mike O'Connor Show from day one. From the beginning, it was her support that made the show what it is today. Margaret has done it all; from wiping the vinyl records to hosting the show during Mike's annual trips to Ireland. Margaret was born and raised in Kiltulla, Co. Galway, Ireland. She is the eldest of five. Her parents John and Mary Ellen (Finnegan) Whyte were primarily dairy farmers. They kept ducks and hens and a few odd sheep. Her home included her parents, siblings, her grandmother "Ma Whyte" and her tyrannical Aunt Maggie. She attended school in Athenry, Galway. She completed her leaving certificate (5 honors) and left Ireland to go to her Uncle Tom Whyte in Boston. It was there she met and married Mike O'Connor. She has raised three children, has nine grandchildren, and is Mike's full-time caregiver. She continues to work full-time. Her wit is legendary, her impatience
for insincerity renowned, and her humor is the kind of funny that makes your stomach hurt. She describes herself as a "tough Galway woman". A few little known facts about her include: she attends Mass daily, bakes the best Irish Bread (soda bread) on the planet, she feeds the hungry, and would offer you her coat on a minus zero day if she felt you needed more than her. She will also offer to take you down a peg or two if you need it, so mind your tongue.
Mary Ellen and John Whyte (holding John Jr), Ma Whyte and
Marion (it's only in Chicago she's Margaret) Whyte. About 2 years old.
She kept the crazy curly hair, but lost the blonde.
Siobhainn O'Connor helped out on the odd occasion on her father's radio program growing up. Siobhainn did not become a permanent fixture until 1991 The Mike O'Connor Show. She was thrown right into the mix. Siobhainn read whatever she was given; local events, Benefit announcements, and commercials. At the urging of her father, Siobhainn's responsibilites increased. She started selling air time and managing guests during the program. Her father was delighted and encouraged her to take on more and more responsibility. Mike felt free to take Saturdays off whenever he desired-but he listened very closely to the show, and had a critique ready for his daughter at the end of each program. Eventually, Siobhainn took over all the duties of the program when Mike became too ill to continue. Mike O'Connor's interest never waned; every Saturday afternoon he would inquire after the program-who was there, what happened, what was said-even after his mental abilities failed in so many other areas.
He was delighted and pleased that the legacy he created continues.
Above is a photo of the Celtic Tenors in our studio. Siobhainn is the pleased looking one in the middle. They were an absolute riot to interview, and they sang us a few songs, too!
(L to R), James Nelson, Matthew Gilsenan(rear), Siobhainn, and Niall Morris
us to ride on top of the hay with my Uncle Johnny. It was such a thrill! Note the enormous draft horse-my mother says they were all named "Fanny".
This shot was taken sometime in the 70's. We spent summers in Ireland with my grandparents.
The 2014 St. Pat's Parade Queen!
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