Bears

5 Questions with...V103's Joe Soto

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5 Questions with...V103's Joe Soto

CSN Chicago Senior Director of Communications
CSNChicago.com Contributor

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

On Wednesdays, exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeks guesta Chicago native and local radio standout with three decades in the broadcasting biz under his belt and he just keeps getting better each yearnot only is this guy a standout on-air personality at the mega-popular V103, hes also a teacher, a man of deep faith, a proud husband & father, a stellar baseball player and, in addition to our own David Kaplan, hes probably THE biggest Cubs fan youll ever meet, not to mention a true class actwhat are we waiting for, its 5 Questions withJOE SOTO!

BIO: Joe Soto has been in radio for 31 years. He now teams with Ramonski Luv for "The Real Show" weekday evenings from 6:00-9:00 PM on V-103. He also does his own show, "Back in the Day" on Saturday evenings from 5:00-10:00 PM.

He is a native Chicagoan who graduated from Farragut High School on the west side and Daley College on the south side where he received his Associate of Arts degree. Joe then moved to DeKalb where he earned his Bachelors in Radio, Television and Film at Northern Illinois University.

Joe has been married to his wife Darlene for 17 years. They have two daughters and a son (Sonia, Samantha and Sonny). They also have 2 dogs named Katie and BJ.

Aside from his family and radio...baseball is his passion. He plays for The Oak Lawn Rifles of The Roy Hobbs League. He has won National Championship rings with teams out of Dallas and Memphis.

Joe also teaches Announcing and History of Radio at Kennedy King College and is a member of the CPS "Real Men Read" program. He is also a "Proclaimer of the Word" at St. Leonard's Church in Berwyn, Illinois.

Joe's favorite movie is The Godfather. His favorite sports team is the Chicago Cubs. His favorite musical groups are Santana and Steely Dan and his favorite color is blue. He's also quite fond of leopard print.

1) CSNChicago.com: Joe, as a radio veteran in the Chicago market, youve established yourself as a standout on-air talent at one of the top stations in the market. Describe your style as it pertains to connecting with your V-103 listeners?

Soto: I've done a lot of formats at a lot of different stations over the past 31 years. I can easily say that V103 is definitely a lifestyle station for me. First, I really love the music. In particular, the songs I get to play on "The Back in the Day" show on Saturday nights. I relate to this music because it's the stuff I grew up with. I really love those songs best.

As far as connecting with the listeners, that is the easy part. I don't think there is too much difference between us. In most cases, we are all native Chicagoans who grew up in the same place and relate to one another on a lot of levels. When I'm in the community, they treat me and talk to me as if they've known me all my life. They even ask about my family members by name. That is an honor to me. Our listeners are like family as well. That's why we refer to them as our "V103" family.

2) CSNChicago.com: As a teacher and outspoken literacy advocate, youve been a champion for the importance of education in our city and society in general. Do you think its safe to say the parents have increased their involvement with their childrens education these days or are we still a long ways away from getting to that point?

Soto: I do think there is more attention paid to education as a whole nowadays. Yes, parents are doing better, but we have to keep at it. As a parent myself, I find that children can have a range of emotions and sometimes their judgment can get cloudy. I'm not a dinosaur, but I am old-fashioned when it comes to the kids of today. It's better to be stern and clear with young people. When they see a weakness in an elder, they will try to take advantage. I won't allow that to happen. I am not my children's friend, I am their Father. By the same token, I am not my student's friend either. I am there Instructor. When I think back, my best teachers were the ones that were hardest on me. I didn't care for them at the time, but I never forgot them either. Now I thank them for being tough on me and helping to shape me. It's much appreciated.

3) CSNChicago.com: Kudos to you Joe for still going out there and playing baseball to this day. As were all getting older, that cant be an easy task. Hows your overall game today and do you still look at new ways to improve yourself on the diamond?

Soto: Thanks for the nice words. It's actually not an easy task. Ever since I was a kid, I was always good enough to play on the team. I was never the star player, but I always contributed. It's the same today. Despite my advanced age, I can still get to the ball in the outfield. Can't throw it as well, so I have my cut-off man come out another 20 feet for the relay. As we say on the diamond: "got no gun. But it is my defense that has kept me in the game this long. My stick has suffered over the last couple seasons, although I usually have a pretty good on-base percentage. I'm always looking to improve. Any suggestions? I'm open. I spend a lot of time throwing the ball around with my 9-year-old little league playing son. He seems to enjoy it. I hope he stays with it. I can truthfully say that both baseball and radio are in my blood. Oh...I want to take this opportunity to say hello to my teammates, The Oak Lawn Rifles of the Roy Hobbs League.

4) CSNChicago.com: Theres no hiding the fact about your love and passion for the Chicago Cubs. Are you excited about the front office moves the Cubs have made this past off-season or would you say youre cautiously optimistic?...also, lets throw in a follow-up question: who is your all-time favorite Cubs player? (and a brief line or two about why you admire that player so much)

Soto: I'm always excited about the Cubsespecially in the off-season. I already miss baseball so much. But before you know it, pitchers and catchers will be reporting. I like the fact that the Cubs have been lying low and not signing these big money players. I think they've added some good pieces. We need to play as a team and not rely on one or two studs. I hope they make moves to secure pitching more than anything else. Yes...I do believe in "THEO-logy". Good things will happen for our Cubs. I know it!

As far as my favorite player. There were so many. But I got to go with Jose Cardenal. He played right field and first base, just like me. He also wore 1, just like me. And, back in the day, we both had the big fro's stuffed underneath our baseball caps. I actually met him once and had my picture taken with him. He showed me his World Series ring he earned as a coach with the Yankees. That was a cool day. Yup! I love me some Jose!

5) CSNChicago.com: With Christmas Day fast approaching, lets go Back in the Day to your youth. What was the best Christmas present you ever received when you were a kid and what made it so special to you personally?

Soto: Easy. I was 13. Christmas 1972. My Father bought me a blue MacGregor Willie Mays baseball glove. I believe it cost about 20. That was a huge amount of money back then. I was so happy. I'm smiling about that glove right now as I write this. It was beautiful. The brand new leather smelled so good. I remember unwrapping it and running out to the alley to play catch on a cold December day and there was snow on the ground. But I did not care. I used that same glove thru four seasons of High School baseball at Farragut on the west side. It will always be my favorite glove.

Incidentally, I still own my first baseball glove. I was 6-years-old. It was a Rawlings Mickey Mantle glove and it never leaves my baseball bag. I carry it with me every time I play. It always reminds me of being a kid. Because in a lot of ways, I am. Kids don't work. They play. Just like me. I get to play Radio 6 nights a week and then I get to play Baseball on the weekends 6 to 7 months a year. Thanks God!

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything youd like to promote Joe? Tell us, CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it

Soto: Join me and my on-air partner Ramonski Luv for the "Real Show" week nights at 6pm. If you love 70's, 80's and even 90's music like me, join me for the "Back in the Day" show Saturday nights from 5pm-10pm. Call me with your requests at 312-591-8103. Also, if you know of a teacher or school that has special reading activities or events, I'd love to come and read to your students. Happy Holidays and thanks Comcast SportsNetI'm a big fan!

Soto LINKS:

V 103 official websiteJoe Soto page

Joe Soto on Facebook

Joe Soto on Twitter

As NFL Draft looms, anything is possible for Ryan Pace and the Bears

As NFL Draft looms, anything is possible for Ryan Pace and the Bears

Ryan Pace’s pre-draft press conference began with the Bears’ general manager dryly referring to it as “always fun,” which elicited a round of chuckles from the assembled media at Halas Hall. Two days before the NFL Draft commences in Nashville, there’s no chance Pace is going to publicly tip his hand for what he’s planning to do later in the week. Fun, right?

Pace did tip one thing, though: When the 24th pick comes around — the first of the two first-round picks the Bears shipped to the Raiders last Labor Day weekend — he’ll pull up highlights of Khalil Mack in Halas Hall’s high-tech new draft room. Consider it a welcome reminder of why Pace doesn't have a first-round pick and might as well hook a Nintendo 64 up to the digital draft board and challenge anyone in the building to MarioKart on Thursday night (if this is possible, Toad on Koopa Troopa Beach is always a winner). 

While the Bears won’t be on the clock until pick No. 87 in the third round (last year’s trade to move back into the second round to draft Anthony Miller is also why), Pace said the pressure on him remains the same as it was the last four years, when he made four selections in the first nine picks of those drafts. So that’s one aspect of this year’s draft that won’t change. 

Another: The Bears aren’t going to switch their philosophy to drafting for the few needs a 12-4 team coming off a division title has. For Pace, the reasoning is twofold: First, he’s always been a best-player-available guy; second, he doesn’t see any truly glaring needs on his roster. 

“We feel fortunate with our roster right now,” Pace said. “This press conference feels a little different in that there's no pressing, huge needs. We can honestly select the best players. That's a great spot to be in.”

That’s not to say the Bears don’t have any needs. Another running back, a reserve receiver, a backup tight end, cornerbacks and safeties for the future — those are all needs. Teams can never have too many offensive linemen, defensive linemen and edge rushers. 

Of those, though, the only position with a path to a starting/prominent role on offense or defense may be running back. Even then, Pace said Mike Davis — who the Bears signed in March — is “built to handle a lot of carries,” so if a running back is drafted the expectation will be for him to be part of a rotation, not necessarily a true No. 1 starter-type. 

“Right now, I know running back's been talked about a lot, but we feel good about that position,” Pace said. “We feel good about Tarik (Cohen), we feel really good about Mike Davis, we feel good about Ryan Nall and we feel good about Cordarrelle Patterson and the things he can do out of the backfield.

“… I think there's probably always a storyline with every draft. I understand why it's that way, but I don't feel like we go into this draft saying, 'Man, we have to take this position or we're in trouble.' We're in good shape.”

So consider this another intentionally-murky statement by Pace in this pre-draft press conference. The Bears probably need to take a running back, but he’s not going to say that and tip his hand or paint himself into a corner three days before he actually gets to make a pick. 

(That Pace mentioned Nall, a 2018 undrafted free agent who spent last year on the practice squad, by name was at least interest-piquing.)

So as Pace took questions on Tuesday, most of the answers were some variation of “sure, it’s possible.” Trading down? Sure, it’s possible. Trading up? Sure, it’s possible — though not into the first round. Drafting a quarterback? Sure, it’s possible. A kicker? Sure, it’s possible. Not drafting a running back? Sure, it’s possible. 

We’ll have a complete picture of what Pace was actually thinking come Saturday evening. But while he didn’t reveal much on Tuesday, and doesn’t have much draft capital with which to work, this draft is important. The Bears can find players for the present and future — when their roster will be more expensive — starting on Friday night. And hitting on a few of these picks will be critical for keeping the Bears’ window to win open as long as possible. 

“If we take a player where we happen to have a lot of depth right now, but it’s a good player, that’s okay,” Pace said. “I think it’s short-sighted to say, ‘well, this guy might be able to play a little bit quicker so let’s take him.’ Let’s just take the best player. If that means it takes a little bit longer for him to play, let’s just make sure we take the best guy.”

Season in Review: Wayne Selden gives Bulls house money after Justin Holiday deal

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USA TODAY

Season in Review: Wayne Selden gives Bulls house money after Justin Holiday deal

Over the next month we'll be recapping each of the Bulls' individual 2018-19 regular seasons.

Previous reviews: Lauri Markkanen | Shaq Harrison | Ryan Arcidiacono | Otto Porter 

Midseason expectations: The Justin Holiday trade was far more about the second-round picks the Bulls acquired than the players. MarShon Brooks never even came to Chicago, and Wayne Selden was expected to get some run on the wing as an end-of-the-bench rotation player. His expectations shifted slightly when Chandler Hutchison suffered a broken toe and ultimately missed the remainder of the season. Selden was expected to log minutes, keep the ball moving and hit a few shots here and there. Again, whatever he provided was simply house money after acquiring a pair of second-round picks from Memphis.

What went right: Well, he was just about as subpar as Justin Holiday was? Seriously, the Bulls were buyers at the trade deadline and Selden was essentially a throw-in to match up salaries, and Selden’s 8.1 PER in Chicago was slightly worse than Holiday’s 8.8 in Memphis. Selden had a terrific January and with the Bulls prior to the All-Star break, he averaged 7.1 points on 44 percent shooting. Nothing to write home about, but solid (and hit 44 percent of his 3-pointers). Also, while Selden only averaged 1.7 assists he did a nice job on the second unit pushing pace by himself, driving and kicking and finding open shooters. He wasn’t necessarily a positive defensively but wasn’t poor on that end, either.

What went wrong: He showed very little consistency. As always, it was difficult for any of these young players to put together good stretches of play given the injuries and roster turnover, but Selden was up and down once the All-Star break rolled around. His shooting dipped down to 39 percent and he hit just 24 percent of his triples in his last 21 games. He popped up now and again with a 20-point outing or a double-double, but it was few and far between a simply average season.

The Stat: 20-8-4

Alright, so we cherry-picked it. But work with us. Selden had an outstanding night in the final game of January, scoring 20 points on 6 of 10 shooting along with four 3-pointers and eight assists. That statline of 20 points, 8 assists and 4 3-pointers was accomplished only one other time by a Bulls player in 2018-19, when Zach LaVine had 47 points, 9 assists and 6 3-pointers in the quadruple-overtime game. LaVine accomplished his feat in 56 minutes; Selden needed just 36.

2019-20 Expectations: Will he be back next season. He’d be a cheap option and the Bulls are going to have to fill out their roster. It might depend on what happens with Ryan Arcidiacono in restricted free agency and what the Bulls do in the draft. For the sake of this story we’ll assume he’s back on a small, one-year deal.

Selden’s goal will be consistency from beyond the arc and pushing in transition. The return of Denzel Valentine could give the Bulls two nice options on the wing behind Arcidiacono (or even Kris Dunn) to provide some offense. Even if Selden can work his way up from 31.6 percent to 34 or 35 percent it’ll make a world of difference for his NBA future. Past that, he’s simply going to be a practice body behind the Bulls’ starting wings and Hutchison.