WGN Radio has lost a legend. Milt Rosenberg has passed away. A member of the inaugural WGN Radio Walk of Fame class in 2014, Milt was the legendary host of WGN Radio’s Extension 720 and a unique voice for decades. His dear friend Joe Morris shared the following:
With sorrow I advise of the death late on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, at Chicago, of Milton J. Rosenberg. Mr. Rosenberg died of pneumonia and its complications after entering the hospital on New Year’s Day. He would have been 93 on April 15th.
Milt was a remarkable client and a treasured friend. A full-time professor of psychology at The University of Chicago from the mid-1960s onward, he was also a fixture on Chicago radio, hosting “Extension 720”, a daily two-hour festival of intelligent talk on WGN-Radio, the flagship station of the former Tribune Company, for nearly 40 years, from 1973 until the end of 2012.
He was a polymath, a perceptive analyst, and a keen questioner. These traits, combined with a prodigious memory born of wide reading and experience, made him an outstanding interlocutor of political leaders, business executives, academics, journalists, artists, and others in the long parade of guests whom he welcomed to his studios and to the extraordinary conversations that he then held for the benefit of millions of Americans listening to his program each night in their homes and cars across the nation as streamed by clear-channel radio at 50,000 watts. For four decades his show was the mandatory first stop on the book tour of every author of a serious work of fiction or non-fiction.
His career was also described by the arc of a moral conversion, carried out in public via his nightly broadcasts, from the “soft mindless leftism of an East Coast academic” to an embrace of free market economics, traditional social values, and an appreciation of the United States as the world’s best hope for the defense of freedom and human decency in global affairs.
Milton J. Rosenberg was born in New York City on April 15, 1925. He earned his undergraduate degree at Brooklyn College, the A.M. at the University of Wisconsin, and the Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Michigan in 1954. Before joining the faculty of The University of Chicago, he taught at Yale University, the Ohio State University, Dartmouth College, and the Naval War College.
He married Marjorie Anne King on September 5, 1954. They had one son, Matthew Rosenberg, now of Seattle. His widow and his son survive him. He is survived, as well, by two grandchildren; by a devoted friend, Claire Fabvier; and by thousands of students and millions of listeners who will no longer hear his voice probing the far reaches of the cosmos, the fine details of history and literature, and the depths of the human mind.
WGN Radio will air a special tribute to Milt Rosenberg, Thursday night, January 11, at 7pm.
Three of Milt’s “Best of Extension 720” programs:
Milt is inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame, June 27, 2014: