Wally Phillips R.I.P

The legendary Chicago radio personality…

“Wally Phillips, whose wit and charm dominated the art of the on-air radio personality in Chicago for two decades, has died after battling Alzheimer’s disease for the last five years, WGN Radio announced Thursday. He was 82.”


Wally Phillips was truly an innovator in broadcasting. He was constantly creative - and in an era when you couldn’t rely upon lazy call taking constantly. Phillips was a kingpin of the dial and radio world who brought so much to the airwaves and whose model has been repeatedly imitated. Plainly, without him, there wouldn’t be any of the other famous personalities we now have. Here is a man to whom everyone in the world of broadcasting ought to tip their hats today. If anyone deserves a statue on Michigan Ave. out in front of Tribune Tower it is him!

Watch and listen to every tribute available at that link above.

Chicago, March 27, 2008…Wally Phillips, considered by many in the radio industry for helping to pioneer the modern day talk radio format, has died after a five year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 82.

The WGN Radio 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.

“Wally’s voice was the first millions of Chicagoans heard every morning from 1965 to 1986,” said Tom Langmyer, Vice President/General Manager of WGN Radio. “In total, he spent 42 years on WGN (1956-1998). His kind approach and connection to his audience was well known in Chicago and throughout the Midwest. He was one of a kind, and he was a “Broadcaster” in the truest sense.”

Phillips’ lasting legacy at the station is the WGN Radio Neediest Kids Fund, which he founded in 1969 as a holiday drive to purchase gifts for needy children. Since then, the Fund has evolved into a year-round program that awards grants to organizations that fight childhood hunger and provide job preparation and training and stay in school programs for at-risk youth, in addition to supporting needy kids during the holiday season. Since its inception, the Neediest Kids Fund has raised over $35 million. The Neediest Kids Fund is now a fund of the McCormick Tribune Foundation.

Wally is survived by his wife Barbara, daughters Holly and Jennifer, and son Todd. Funeral arrangements are pending. Go to wgnradio.com to learn more about Wally, hear some of his great moments on WGN, post memories, and make a donation to the Neediest Kids Fund in his honor.


Listen to Wally:




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