Each week, Th e Hannah and Fred Show takes listeners on an upbeat journey told from two unique perspectives—one local, one global. But what makes the program truly special is the connection between radio journalist Hannah Stanley and Weigel Broadcasting executive producer Fred Weintraub, longtime friends with more than six decades of combined media experience.
Weintraub, who earned the title of “Chicago’s Royal Watcher” for his coverage
of the British royal family, developed a friendship with Stanley during his guest appearances on her show on WGN. Their natural chemistry inspired him to approach Stanley with the concept of creating a digital media company together.
“I thought to myself, ‘You know what? Something really clicks between Hannah and I,’” Weintraub explained. “For me, Hannah checked all the boxes. We treat people well and we’re both very curious about what’s going on in the world.”
In 2019, the duo launched the first episode of The Hannah and Fred Show, which airs 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays nationwide on Smart Talk Radio and WIMS 1420 AM, wims.com. Each week, the two friends tackle a variety of topics and regularly invite celebrity guests to join them on the show.
“Usually what we try to do is create the radio show we would want to listen to,” Stanley said. “So, I’m approaching the guest as ‘this is super interesting’ or ‘this is a great story’ or ‘this is something we’re curious about’ ... We’re not necessarily going off of bullet points—we’re going off of our curiosity.”
Because Weintraub is “on the road,” sometimes 170 days of the year, the two
friends often host the show continents apart. Stanley typically goes on-air at a studio in Chicago, while Weintraub divides his time between London, Chicago and various locations around the world.
The key to the show’s success is mutual respect and trust, Weintraub said. He appreciates that Stanley is always respectful of the show’s guests and “never gets flustered” because of her seasoned broadcast experience. Stanley said she enjoys Weintraub’s enthusiasm and the work he puts into preparing for each episode.
“It’s yin and yang, and that’s what makes it work really well,” she said. “I can’t count the number of times where we’ve said, ‘It’s going to be a really good show this week,’ because we say it every week.”
While the show is a meaningful project for both, it represents just one part of their friendship and the digital projects they participate in, Weintraub said.
“We get lots of emails and texts from people saying, ‘Hey, do you guys really like each other when you’re off the air?’” he said. “And the answer is, yes we absolutely do, and I think the audience knows that. What you get on the air is what you get off the air. This is clearly a labor of love.”