Author Archives: jskordas

Tom Bevan – Beto on the Ballot, College Admissions Scandal, and the New Zealand Tragedy

In today’s show Tom discusses the presidential candidacy of Beto O’Rourke, shares the latest updates about the New Zealand mosque shooting and the local response to Chelsea Clinton’s vigil attendance. Also in today’s show Tom highlights the growing situation with the college admissions scandal where actors and business executives paid to have their kids admitted to top-end colleges. Guests include Reed Galen, Joe Concha, and Carl Cannon.

EPISODE 40 – Hidden Gems in Party Cities

Special Guest
Tim Hentschel – CEO of Hotel Planner
Deep discounts on hotels!

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Hidden Gems in Party Cities

Destination: New Orleans, Louisiana
Accommodations: JW Marriott New Orleans on Canal St. – Centrally located, safe area.
Brennan’s Restaurant – Opened in 1946. Classic New Orleans. Food is a combination of French and Spanish cuisine. Elegant, old-world dining rooms.
Commander’s Palace – Refined Creole fare & an elegant jazz brunch. Been around since 1880.
St. Louis Cathedral – Church where Harry Connick Jr. got married. Opened in 1794 and is the oldest cathedral in the United States.
Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium – The largest free-standing American museum dedicated to insects.
When to visit:
Looking to party for Mardis Gras? Arrive the weekend before Fat Tuesday and stay through that day. If visiting for Mardis Gras, be sure to book your hotel a year in advance!
Looking for less crowds? December and January are the least busy and “coldest” months (temps in the 40s – 60s). For less crowds and warm weather – Early March and late April, and between September and November
Cost of flights: As low as $120 from Chicago in off season, like September (sometimes cheaper). Cheapest in July, August, and September.
When to book:
For Mardis Gras, book in Sept. (about 5 months out)
For off season, book 4-6 weeks in advance
Airport to fly into: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, located about 15 miles east of downtown New Orleans.
How to get around: Walk or pedicab, also streetcars.
Any other tips? Best (and safest) place to stay is on Canal Street in the French Quarter. It’s popular place to stay, but while it may be more crowded, it’s easy to access a lot of places from the area without renting a car.

Destination: Las Vegas, Nevada
Accommodations: The Venetian Hotel and Ride a Gondola or Bellagio Hotel. You can even watch the fountain show!
Meal/Restaurant: Firefly and Beer and Tacos
Activities: Red Rock Canyon, take in a show. Lady Gaga has an open run. Janet Jackson too!
When to visit: March to May and Sept to November
When to book: The best time to book flights to Las Vegas is roughly four weeks before departure. You may be able to find flights that are 10% cheaper than average fares or more.
Cost of flights: Currently anywhere from $135 on Spirit nonstop to $330
Airport to fly into: McCarran International Airport
How to get around: Take a taxi or airport shuttle to the Strip or your hotel. Public transportation to the Strip takes about an hour and requires a transfer. A taxi or rental car can get you there in half the time.
Any other tips? Las Vegas is also home to hundreds of conventions each year. Be sure to check which hotels are hosting them ahead of time so you can avoid high room rates.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
$89.95 on
Vintage-style radio that comes in a variety of colors (we got one red, one black). It also has a CD Player, AM/FM Radio, Dual Alarm Clock, Dynamic Full Range Stereo Speakers and a Headphone Jack.

$79.95 on
Crosley’s most popular vintage turntable, also available in a variety of colors available (we got sand white). Encased in a portable, suitcase-style shell, plays at 3 speeds, and you can even sync to the Bluetooth connection and stream digital music right through the built-in speakers.

What’s on your phone?
Trail Wallet – Free to download with in-app purchases – iPhone
Trail Wallet is an easy travel expense tracker, where you can organize your expenses by trip or by month, set a daily budget, and easily add expenses. Great for traveling on a budget!

What’s the tip?
7 Ways to Travel Abroad for Free (
House swap – Many websites where you can swap homes with someone.
Become a WWOOFer – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms gives you the chance to volunteer on a farm in exchange for food, accommodation and learning opportunities.
Exchange and accommodation programs – Sites like GlobalFreeloaders or BeWelcome provide cultural exchange, free accommodation
Apply for scholarships or fellowships – Students or recent college grads
Volunteer or apply for an exchange program – Try
Crowd fund a passion project – Try

Review of the full size Toyota Avalon

WLS News Anchor Jennifer Keiper, General Manager Mark Bilek and Chicago Auto Show Marketing Director Jim OBrill review the full size Toyota Avalon sedan, talk about the Geneva Auto Show in Switzerland, and provide more intriguing automotive trivia.

Review of the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

WLS News Anchor Jennifer Keiper, General Manager Mark Bilek and Chicago Auto Show Marketing Director Jim OBrill discuss the new extended wheelbase Jeep Gladiator, review the sporty Hyundai Santa Fe, and share which auto manufacturer is limiting speeds in their models.

Tom Bevan – North Korea Summit Failure, the Michael Cohen “Trump Dump,” and the Chicago Mayoral Election

In today’s show Tom gives an investigative look into the breakdown of the summit earlier this week over nuclear aspirations between President Trump and Chairman Kim. Plus the Michael Cohen ‘Trump Dump’ in congressional hearings this past week, and a look at the fiercely contested Chicago mayoral race. Guests include Dr. Charles Lipson, A.B. Stoddard, Phil Wegman, and John Kass.

The Award Winning RAM 1500

WLS News Anchor Jennifer Keiper, General Manager Mark Bilek and Chicago Auto Show Marketing Director Jim OBrill discuss the award winning RAM 1500, chat with Mark Gilles from Volkswagen about the new Jetta GLI and a tease of what Volkswagen has lined up for the next couple of years.

Episode 37 – New York City

Episode 37 – New York City

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for New York City

Best/worst times to travel to NYC?
Best: The winter months (Jan – March) and late summer (July – August) are the least busy times and cheaper times to visit.
Worst: The time between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve
What airport does Colleen recommend?
LaGuardia – To get from LaGuardia to your hotel, for $2.75 you can take Bus Q70 Limited to Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Ave Subway Station, then another $2.75 to take the subway from there (about 2 hours). There’s also shuttle services offered starting at $19.
The Moxy NYC Times Square – Prime location to plenty of shopping, food, attractions. It’s also a decent price, starting around $130 per room.
Restaurant: The Moxy – Great breakfast and free coupons!
Tips for Getting Around:
Take the subway or local bus for $2.75. For traveling to NYC, we recommend: 7-Day Unlimited Pass for $32.00. Good for unlimited subway and local bus rides until midnight, 7 days from day of first use. It can also be refilled if you want to extend your stay.
Money saving tip:
Take in the view with a drink rather than paying for a pricey ticket up to the viewing platforms. Since a lot of famous buildings also have bars, it’ll be cheaper to buy a drink at one than pay for a ticket.

Best time to book flights for a trip to NYC?
Flights booked in January and February are estimated to be the cheapest in 2019 (14% off the average ticket price for the year). Avoid booking in June, where prices seem to be the highest compared to the other months. It’s also best to book your flight one month in advance.
The Lotte New York Palace – Located in Midtown Manhattan, also features suites, a spa and a beautiful location, complete with a courtyard.
Restaurant: Old Tbilisi – Georgian Restaurant in Greenwich Village
Tips for Getting to and from the Airports:
The AirTrain – Only $8 for JFK to Manhattan, or $13 for Newark into Penn station. Remember that taking cabs from the airports into New York do involve pricey tolls!
Tips for Traveling to NYC?
Don’t stay in Times Square or Rockefeller Center if you can help it. Go see them and take photos, but don’t stay there.
Explore other parts of New York City – Check out Lower Manhattan and take a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge or head to the Bronx or Queens to see a baseball game. Shop and do lunch in Soho!

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
AirPods – Apple Wireless Headphones
$159 –
AirPods simply connect with your iPhone and Apple Watch, offer up to 5 hours of listening time with one charge, and even detect when AirPods are in your ear, so they only play when you are ready to listen. Great for traveling or on long plane rides!

What’s on your phone?
NYC Ferry Service App by Hornblower
Free on Android and iPhone – Allows you to buy tickets, view ticketing information, ferry schedules, and explore route options in NYC.
Time Out – New York
Free on Android or iPhone – Trip planner app that you can use for any major city you’re visiting to help you find places to visit in customised locations, and plan your trip around the best events and activities.

What’s the tip?
Saving money in NYC
• Check the NYC attractions to see if it is required to print tickets if you pre-book online.
• Check the websites of museums you plan to visit and see whether they offer any free or reduced-price admission days.
• Join free walking tours of New York led by locals. The two most well known are Big Apple Greeters and Free Tours by Foot. Be sure to book your spot in advance.
• Skip the touristy (and pricey) harbor cruises and take the Staten Island Ferry instead for fantastic views of New York Harbor. The free ferry runs between Whitehall and Staten Island.
• The Downtown Boathouse offers free 20-minute kayaking tours on the Hudson on the weekends (May – Oct)

Review of the 2020 Mazda CX-5

WLS News Anchor Jennifer Keiper, General Manager Mark Bilek and Chicago Auto Show Marketing Director Jim OBrill are back in the studio to review the Mazda CX-5, share highlights of last week’s Chicago Auto Show and provide the latest in automotive news.