Thursday, March 27, 2008

Passing of a Chicago Icon

A big part of my life growing up died yesterday.

From the WGN website-

Legendary WGN Host Wally Phillips Dies
Longtime Morning Man Loses Battle With Alzheimer's

(WGN-AM) - Wally Phillips, considered by many in the radio industry for helping to pioneer the modern day talk radio format, has died. He was 82.

The WGN mainstay hosted the morning show from 1965 through 1986. During that time, he ruled the roost in morning drive, at times attracting half of the market's listening audience.

Phillips arrived at WGN Radio in 1956, retiring from a weekend show in 1998. His lasting legacy at the station is the "Neediest Kids' Fund," a children's charity. Phillips had been battling Alzheimer's disease for the past five years.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

And from the Trib-
Longtime WGN radio host Wally Phillips dead at 82

Wally Phillips was the voice I heard on the radio every morning for as far back as I can remember. I remember many a Thanksgiving drive to Nana's house where Wally played Alice's Restaurant. I may not have understood the song much back then, but it became a family tradition of sorts for us.

I also remember that it was Wally Phillips who introduced me to the terms 'hog futures' and 'pork bellies', when he would have Orion Samuelson (pronounced Or-ee-an) on each day to read the farm report and kibitz a while.

Of the three WGN Radio personalities I grew up with, Wally Phillips, Roy Leonard, and 'Uncle' Bobby Collins, on Roy is still with us.

Wally was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1993, and you can read more about his career here, at Wally Phillips on WGN Gold

Like they said at the bottom of the WGN Gold page, If you are from Chicago, chances are you have said more than once, "I grew up with Wally Phillips." So did radio.

Very true.

Rest in Peace Wally



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