The Team

About Mike Nowak

2018 marks 21 years that Mike Nowak has spent 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 has appeared on the inside back page of Chicagoland Gardening Magazine since 2003. 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), which 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, a former board member of the Illinois Recycling Association and past president of the Chicago Recycling Coalition, where he served on the board for more than a decade.

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’s also picked up a few awards for his radio production work. As for horticulture, he remains a fervent amateur when it comes to growing things.

About Peggy Malecki

2018 marks the eighth year that Peggy Malecki has been publishing Natural Awakenings Chicago magazine, 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.

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, learning 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’s also developed website content, penned newsletters, chaired national sailing regattas and published 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

Rick DiMaio is not just a weatherman on The Mike Nowak Show. 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. Since 1985, Rick has served the Chicago area as a TV and radio broadcast meteorologist on outlets including Fox Chicago, CBS Chicago and The Mike Nowak Show. 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.