The Team

Team member Mike NowakAbout Mike Nowak

In 2019 Mike Nowak celebrates 22 years talking about gardening, the environment and green living on Chicago radio. Before WCGO, Mike hosted programs on WGN Radio, WCPT 820AM and Que4 Radio. For two seasons, he was co-host of the local gardening and food TV program Dig In Chicago. His award-winning column is on the inside back page of Chicagoland Gardening Magazine. In 2014, Around the Block Press published his first book, Attack of the Killer Asparagus and Other Lessons Not Learned in the Garden.

In 2017, Mike and co-host Peggy Malecki (below) were prime movers in creating the Chicago Excellence in Gardening Awards (CEGA). That program revived a more than 50-year-old Chicago tradition that had been abandoned by the City in 2011. Mike co-founded the Midwest Ecological Landscape Alliance (MELA) and served as MELA’s president for four years. He is an Illinois Master Gardener and Openlands TreeKeeper. He is also former board member of the Illinois Recycling Association and past president of the Chicago Recycling Coalition.

Mike often says that his background in gardening is show business, which is pretty close to the truth. He started on the Chicago stage, where where he garnered awards for acting, directing and writing. He also has awards for radio production work. As for horticulture, he remains a fervent amateur when it comes to growing things.

About Peggy Malecki

Team member Peggy Malecki2019 is Peggy Malecki’s ninth year as publisher of Natural Awakenings Chicago magazine. It is an independent monthly publication focused on living a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle. Living green is important to Peggy, who strives to incorporate sustainable habits into her everyday life and teach others to do the same. Peggy is in her fourth year as part of The Mike Nowak Show team.

Although she grew up on the northwest side of Chicago, Peggy says she spent countless childhood hours with her grandparents in then-small-town Antioch, IL. There she learned how to compost, grow veggies without chemicals and appreciate the outdoors.

In prior business incarnations, Peggy specialized in marketing, technical and process documentation, training development and delivery, and product and project management. She also has experience developing website content, penning newsletters, chairing national sailing regattas and publishing a sailing magazine. As described above, she worked with Mike to create the Chicago Excellence in Gardening Awards (CEGA), which were presented for the first time in 2017. An avid sailor, Peggy was the first (and only) woman commodore and board president of the North Shore Yacht Club, and served as a Lakefront Commissioner with the City of Highland Park. She is also a Highland Park beach captain for the annual Adopt-A-Beach clean-up.

About Rick DiMaio

Team member Rick DiMaio

Rick DiMaio is not just a weatherman on The Mike Nowak Show with Peggy Malecki. He is our expert on climate, climate change and all the ways our environment shapes and is shaped by us. A professional meteorologist and climate scientist, Rick DiMaio specializes in aviation meteorology and environmental sustainability. Rick is a Chicago media veteran of outlets that include Fox 32 Chicago, CBS 2 Chicago, WGN Radio and The Mike Nowak Show…for 10 years! He is also an instructor at several local colleges, including Loyola University and Lewis University, and serves as a flight operations aviation meteorologist.

Rick previously worked for United Airlines for 11 years as a forecaster for both the domestic and international operations. During his tenure at United, Rick designed and produced an International Pilots Weather Manual for the airline’s European and North Atlantic operations. He also produced various in-house case studies on diverse weather conditions and supervised and co-published a one-year thunderstorm study.

All of that is seriously impressive, but Rick is also impressive when he’s not serious. He has a real penchant for the kind of jokes usually told by seven-year-olds. Aside from that, he’s pretty funny.