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Staff Bios

Elburn, Illinois, native Eric Ferguson has awakened and entertained Chicago radio listeners for over a decade after working around the country including Colorado, Florida and Pennsylvania. This University of Iowa alum claims he was attracted to a career in radio mostly because of the flashy, form-fitting uniforms that he gets to wear and the early hours allow him to pursue his dream of caddying on the PGA Tour. Eric likes to spend time with the most important people in his life… his wife Jen, his four kids, David Letterman, and the guy making the burritos at Chipotle.

Email Eric Ferguson

Coming to Chicago wasn’t a far trip for Melissa, who grew up in Indiana. At the age of 8, Melissa was already writing and creating radio shows on cassette tapes to play for her mom. Although the shows needed some work (we’ve heard them) she decided to pursue a career in radio. Melissa started her radio career in the Hoosier State in Hammond and Merrillville before becoming a researching, idea generator at THE MIX. She consistently strives to be the best Melissa she can be and truly believes there is always more to learn through new experiences in life. The new love of her life is her son Porter who was born in December of 2010. “With a twinkle in his eye, he stole my heart”. “Ok, so that’s super cheesy” she says, but it’s completely true. Check out photos of him on her Facebook page.

Email Melissa McGurren

Whip has worked in Chicago radio for literally half his life. He was born in Blue Island, but lived on the Northwest Side of Chicago for his first twelve years, then moved to the Western Suburbs, then went to the University of Illinois – where he studied broadcast journalism, and still remembers the people there who told him not to get into this business, because it’s too unstable. He also likes to say that he’s done a lot of broadcasting in his career, and just a little bit of journalizing…meaning, that his studies have come in handy. He enjoys reporting news, but hates reporting traffic, although he makes a point of trying not to cry about it in front of people when he’s asked to fill in for Melissa. Whip now lives with his wife Stacy, daughter Tori, and two sons Kyle and Alex in the Northwest suburbs, after spending the formative years of his adulthood living on the North Side.

Email Brian “Whip” Paruch

Violeta was born and raised in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. Being first generation American in a super Serbian, restaurant family life has been interesting to say the least.

Violeta attended Resurrection High School and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

While attending UIC, Violeta held down several internships including a Congressional Campaign, The Boys and Girls Club of Chicago and Check Please! on WTTW. However, it was an internship in the Newsroom for a Chicago Radio station where she found her calling….writing, monitoring and compiling traffic reports.

When not making everyone aware of slowdowns and gapers delays during your morning commute, you can find her practicing hot style yoga or enjoying a good happy hour deal. She loves crème brulee, bowling, and birthday’s (but who doesn’t?).

Email Violeta Podrumedic

When he’s not working on home improvements, writing haikus or practicing rhythmic gymnastics – you may catch Glendale Heights native, “Swany”, on the other end of the phone when you’re calling in to Eric in the Morning with Melissa & Whip. He’ll be the one telling you to “turn off your radio!” before you get on the air. This Columbia College grad is happy to be working in Chicago radio and is the creative mind behind many of those catchy musical clips you hear in the morning. You may or may not be surprised to learn that Swany still hangs out with his junior high school teachers and that his guilty pleasures include Phineas & Ferb, Holmes on Homes, and Will Ferrell movies.

Email John “Swany” Swanson

Cynthia’s guilty pleasure is celebrity gossip and happily starts her day reading People, US Weekly, TMZ and Page Six (It is in her job description!). She married her husband in May of 2010 and they are busy loving life in Logan Square, enjoying all of the new restaurants coming into that area. You’ll likely find Cynthia browsing Chicago’s trendiest boutiques, getting her mani/pedis, and seeing concerts in Chicago. For now, Cynthia and her husband are busy taking care of their twin daughters Alexandra Mary and Isabella Kaye.

Email Cynthia DeNicolo

Social Media Manager “Mel D” was born and raised in the Southwest suburbs. She graduated from Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park and went on to attend DePaul University where she majored in Communications and Media. While at DePaul she served as a Promotion Assistant on THE MIX Road Crew. In September 2017, Mel D was tapped to head up the Social Media efforts of Eric in the Morning and THE MIX.  
She loves live music! Her favorite bands include – The 1975, Bleachers and Imagine Dragons. She is a Fixer Upper fanatic. One day she hopes to dine at Magnolia Table. When not out walking her two dogs Schmidty and Healy you can find her binge watching New Girl on Netflix or reruns of The Office.

Email Mel D

Lisa was born and raised on the south side of Chicago and has been part of the Chicago landscape for over ten years. When she’s not on the air, you can find her checking out live music, trying out new sushi places or waiting for the next episode of The Walking Dead to air. Her favorite things include playing tourist in Chicago, tattooed boys with guitars and anything involving guacamole! After several years working weekends at THE MIX, Lisa has landed her dream job as Midday host and is thrilled to be back at a place she calls home!

Email Lisa Allen

As a youngster, Koz hoped of one day blazing a trail in the sky as a pilot, but he soon came to realize that if you goof off in the cockpit, something really bad could happen. Radio allows for much more wisecracking, so Koz got into broadcasting in L.A., Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Denver, but he is happiest to be working in his hometown at THE MIX.

Email Kevin “Koz” Koske

Jen moved to Chicago from Virginia at the age of 2 with a toddler southern accent, but quickly replaced it with a telltale Chicago one recognized by others when she travels. Jen grew up putting on plays, concerts, and comedy acts to anyone who would listen (usually only her older sister) so a career in radio seemed logical when considering what to do with her life. She is fortunate to have spent her entire career in her hometown!

 Jen attended Lincoln Park High School on the city’s north side, and now resides in the western suburbs with her husband, 2 human daughters, and 2 cat daughters. When she’s not at work, she’s coaching figure skating, baking, or planning her next trip to Disney World. Jen also volunteers her time with a non-profit that provides support to children and families facing the pediatric autoimmune disease PANDAS/PANS http://www.pas.care and has helped raise funds for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and the Scott Hamilton Cares Foundation.

Email Jennifer Roberts

Born and raised in the North Suburbs of Chicago, Chris comes home to Chicago after several years in Los Angeles where he worked as Associate Creative Director for cool clients like SEGA, Square-Enix and Blizzard. Chris is also the co-creator, co-executive producer, writer and lead on the TV series The Jamz on Amazon Prime and Apple TV and co-hosts the Not From Here podcast.

Chris is an accomplished musician and Stand Up comedian having appeared at The Comedy Store LA, Flappers and The Ice House. In addition to his evening duties, Chris also serves as Director of Digital Content here at THE MIX. Chris, his wife Amy, daughter and dog Roscoe reside on the Northside of the city.

Email Chris Petlak

It all started for me with making mixtapes in high school (I would mix The Cure and Nine Inch Nails vocals together to form sentences🤷‍♀️).  Since then, my passion for radio and music has never stopped. For the past 10 years, I have been fortunate enough to be the Music Director for THE MIX. My husband and I live in the city with our 9 year old son, who might I add, has attended every Lollapalooza since he was 3! (P.S. Kids under 12 are free and kiddipalooza is great!) I’ve always had such an appreciation for many different types of music. I LOVE talking to MIX artists, so having the opportunity to do this show falls right in line with what I was always destined to do. BUT, when the music stops, you’ll either find me at a Cubs game, schooling people on all things Michigan State, and/or having a glass of wine on any patio that’s open.

Email Nikki