WGN Radio to induct five honorees into Walk of Fame
Ceremony and broadcast on Friday, May 18 at Tribune Tower
CHICAGO (March 27, 2018) – WGN Radio announced its fifth class in the 2018 Walk of Fame class this morning during the Steve Cochran Show. This year’s inductees will be celebrated in a ceremony and live broadcast from 10am to 11:30am on Friday, May 18 at the Tribune Tower at 435 North Michigan Avenue. This will be the last class to be honored at the Tribune Tower.
“In this year’s class, we give tribute to two prominent Chicago sports personalities, an affable weatherman, an announcer from the ‘golden days of radio,’ and a trusted voice in morning drive for over two decades,” said WGN Radio Station Manager Todd Manley.
The 2018 Walk of Fame class is: Pierre Andre, David Kaplan, Chuck Swirsky, Roger Triemstra and Mary Van De Velde.
WALK OF FAME INDUCTEE BIOS
With a voice as rich as velvet, Pierre Andre was an announcer first, then program host at WGN Radio for over 30 years beginning in 1930. From dance hall music broadcasts to hosting one of radio’s first programs before a live audience at WGN’s 10th anniversary celebration, Andre also emceed presentations at WGN’s Michigan Avenue Playhouse as well as the station’s 40th anniversary special. Andre was also “Uncle Andy” on the popular radio serial “Little Orphan Annie.” He sang the show’s theme song and it was his persuasive pitches for sponsor Ovaltine that sent the public into a frenzy to send away for every specialty premium the brand produced. A sales poster for Andre’s weekday show proclaimed him as “one of the outstanding commercial men in the industry.”
David Kaplan, leading Chicago sports voice and personality, joined WGN Radio as a sports staff reporter in 1995 and would go on to spend 21 years at the station. Kap hosted “Sports Central” with co-host and former Chicago Bears player Tom Waddle and then by himself. The show and the duo would garner two achievements: the #1 rated sports talk show and the longest on-air sports talk duo in Chicago radio history at the time. Kaplan was also the longtime host of Cubs post-game shows and he also hosted “WGN Sports Night” and “The Kap and Haugh Show”, WGN Radio’s first long-form TV simulcast.
Nicknamed “The Swirsk”, Chuck Swirsky has left an indelible mark across Chicago sports and its teams. At WGN Radio, Swirsky was play-by-play announcer for DePaul University basketball, hosted various sports talk shows and worked with legends including Jack Brickhouse, Harry Caray, Wally Phillips and Bob Collins. From late 1981 through 1994, his titles included sports producer, reporter, managing editor and director. Swirsky produced and co-hosted with headliner Jack Brickhouse “Sports Central”, the new nightly sports show that debuted on April 5, 1982 and went on to become Chicago’s longest running sports talk show.
Before Skilling was a household name, there was Roger Triemstra. A native of South Holland, the meteorologist updated Chicagoans on the city’s ever-changing weather patterns. Triemstra delivered more than 50 weather reports and folksy humor each week from 1965 to 1998, announcing some of his forecasts from the full weather station in his home. This weather dodger also helped plan for the station’s present and future meteorological broadcasting needs. He joked that weather is so predictable he could “generally make an accurate forecast by looking out the window.” Triemstra’s concern for the environment and the dangers of pollution grew from his work as a meteorologist and he endeavored to educate others on global warming and its effects.
Mary Van De Velde
This Labor Day marks Mary Van De Velde’s 21st year of anchoring traffic on WGN Radio and covering transportation stories for WGN Radio News. Van De Velde currently reports traffic on the “Steve Cochran Show” and “Bill and Wendy Show” but has been on the morning and afternoon airwaves with Wally Phillips, Bob Collins, Spike O’Dell, Kathy and Judy and Jonathan Brandmeier. In the beginning, she ran Traffic Central and its light-up map from the Showcase Studio before it moved to inside studios. Van De Velde also has done extensive voice over work and it was Mary whose voice was the first one heard on WGN Radio’s first podcast in 2005.