Only In Indiana: Johnny

Johnny Mueller, better known as "Johnny George," says goodbye to his group at Skyline Chili.

Their names and faces may not be familiar, but their voices are another story.

Many of our city's older radio personalities share more than an occupation. Every Friday, they also share a love for chili.  

It is almost too much to comprehend. It all started nearly 30 years ago. "Johnny George," not his real name, started all this on September 5, 1986.

"I never ate it. I didn't like chili when this first started. Mixed chili was the closest I had ever had in Broad Ripple," Johnny said. "I can't go without it. I crave it now."

Somehow, long before there was an Internet, Facebook, or Twitter, the word got out by word of mouth.

"Old broadcasters never die. We just lose our voice," Johnny said.

Now, you can't keep them away. Every Friday, the legends of Indianapolis radio congregate at 11:30 a.m. to get the latest news and industry gossip and to eat Skyline Chili.

"There are so many people who come here because of all the consolidations of all the radio stations. They are out of jobs and all. It is a great place to find leads for work," Johnny said.

But the news at a recent meeting was bittersweet. Johnny George, his real name is Johnny Mueller, is moving to Arizona.

"Too many memories with Pam, which makes it difficult to get a new start. Easier to get a fresh start out there," he said.

Many times when Johnny got to Skyline, he was not only joined by his radio brethren, but also his wife of 38 years, Pam. The couple had planned to go to Arizona together.

He lost her to cancer in March 2015. But she is still right there, in the memory book the manager at Skyline made for Johnny.

"We love you and we are going to miss you," she told him.

Now, all that history is all in one place.

"The question I am being asked by everybody is, 'So, are you going out to Arizona to retire?'," Johnny said. "Hell no! I am going out there to start Johnny 2.0 and reboot my life, basically, and that allows me to take that to the next level, so I can start talking like that, you know?"

There is still plenty to do. He hasn't lost his voice yet, he just needs to find it again.

"With that, I say I love each and every one of you guys for supporting this," he said.

The group will continue to meet, even though Johnny is moving away. Others are stepping up to keep it going.

Johnny will return in September to mark the group's 30th anniversary.

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