Sound Opinions with Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot
(Please scroll down for complete topics list)
Take two nationally respected rock critics, the latest music news, personal commentary, and exclusive interviews and performances, add a huge pile of records old and new, and the result is Sound Opinions, which, in the style of Rolling Stone magazine, is proud to call itself “the world’s only rock and roll talk show.” Based in Chicago, Sound Opinions is hosted by Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot, two of the finest and best-recognized pop music writers in the nation. The show broadcasts to more than 120 radio stations across the country (plus a popular podcast!). For over a decade, they were dedicated competitors at Chicago’s two daily newspapers—Jim at the Chicago Sun-Times and Greg at the Chicago Tribune.
Today, Jim writes about music for WBEZ.org and teaches criticism at Columbia College, while Kot continues to cover his beat at the Trib.
Every week, Sound Opinions fires up smart and spirited discussions about a wide range of popular music, from indie rock to classic rock, hip-hop to R&B, techno to soul, and every genre under the sun. Its consistently informed, engaging, and controversial dialogue makes it a unique and essential source for the top stories, albums, and trends in popular music. This is cutting-edge criticism and journalism presented in the great tradition of Siskel and Ebert, and the discussion is as indispensible to the hardcore music fan as it is to the casual music fan that feels out of touch. Now, you can bring Jim and Greg to your school or venue to make new discoveries, debate, learn about pop culture, have fun and find new ways to further enrich your lives through music!
Links for more information:
A (relatively) concise history of Sound Opinions
(looking back on the occasion of their 500th episode for Chicago Public Media)
Programs now available on a variety of topics:
(note: most programs include 60-to-75-minutes of prepared material along with a 20-minute Q&A, unless otherwise indicated)
New! "The Top 10 Most Important Artists in Chicago's Musical History"
Jim and Greg trace the rich musical history of the Windy City via the 10 artists they feel have contributed the most enduring and influential sounds over the past half-century.
New! "Woody Allen, Daniel Tosh, R. Kelly, and Bill Cosby: Does Separating Art from the Artist Perpetuate Violence Against Women?"
It probably goes without saying that all of us in the academic world are free-speech absolutists.
But what is our responsibility if we enjoy - or fail to speak out about - the troubling themes in an artist's work? If we revel in Woody Allen's films, are we silencing the stepdaughter who charges him with sexual assault? If we laugh at Daniel Tosh's or Bill Cosby's stand-up acts, are we condoning rape? If we dance to R. Kelly's super-heated grooves, are we negating his long, public record of sexual transgressions?
As art critics and art lovers, can we really separate the art from the artist? And, perhaps more importantly, should we? This is one timely hot topic worthy of your next speakers' series!
“The Future of Music: New Trends in the Music Industry”
Fans aren't just consumers anymore, but tastemakers, music distributors and even collaborators with artists. How does this impact artists' careers? Will anyone get paid for making music anymore? How does this up the ante for concerts and festivals? This talk is Jim and Greg’s most popular, and it has been well-received in Chicago, Des Moines, Philadelphia, Columbia (MO), Seattle, and elsewhere. The content for this program is updated regularly and can reflect last-minute changes in the industry!
“The Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones”
It has now been more than 50 years since they first hit the world stage, and the Beatles and the Stones continue to bring people together—and tear them apart. This is one debate you won’t want to miss! (special note: Greg and Jim can provide a book-signing of their popular book on this topic as part of your event!)
“20 Albums that you haven't Heard,
that you need to Know About”
We're all familiar with the standard lists of "the Greatest Albums in Rock History" from Rolling Stone magazine, VH1, and the like, and they're always full of the usual suspects. In this presentation, Jim and Greg will introduce you to albums that they consider every bit as classic and essential as, say, "Sgt. Pepper's" in terms of musical and lyrical brilliance and enduring influence on subsequent generations of musicians, but which aren't as often cited in the canon, and which you may never have heard! This program is updated regularly; no two shows are alike!
“The Greatest Rock Movies of All Time”
Jim and Greg choose several of their favorites, show a key scene from each, and discuss why it made their lists—as well as what, in general, makes a great rock ‘n’ roll movie. This program was a big hit when the boys delivered it at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee, and it’s the logical way to bring their popular “Sound Opinions at the Movies” to the road!
“Everything You Need to Know
About the Music Industry in 2015"
A half-day (3.5 hour) rock'n'roll boot camp where students and performers learn the top 10 things they need to know to take their bands from the basement to the stage! Greg and Jim provide an insider's guide to practical business-related topics for those interested in a career in the Music Industry. Topics include: How to market your music; Common mistakes young artists make; Legal issues and concerns; Who's on my support team? (Do I really need a manager, agent, and p.r. person?); and much, much more! Participants receive handouts with helpful tips and resources. American Songwriter magazine covered our program at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music: "Everything You Need to Know...2014"
“Rock as Literature, Literature as Rock ’n’ Roll”
When do lyrics qualify as poetry? When does poetry work as rock ’n’ roll? Drawing far and wide, from Oscar Wilde’s “The Critic as Artist” to Patti Smith’s poems, and from Bob Dylan’s prose to Public Enemy’s lyrics, this far-ranging discussion originated as a program at the Rose O’Neil Literary House at Washington College in Maryland and has been a big hit every other time Jim and Greg have brought it to an audience.
Additional topics available, contact Michael Nejman for more information!