Dean Richards is WGN-TV’s Emmy Award-winning entertainment reporter and critic. His work is also seen and heard on several Nexstar Media Group properties around the country. He was cited in a New York Times front-page article as the company’s “Man of Many Hats.”
Dean joined WGN-TV as a staff announcer in 1991. In 1998, he appeared as a guest reviewer and was brought onboard as a regular contributor soon after. His interviews with national and local celebrities, reports on showbiz and reviews of the latest movies are seen on WGN’s newscasts, including “WGN Morning News” and “WGN Midday News,” as well as Nexstar Media Group stations in additional markets. He has also hosted and co-produced specials such as the award-winning “Bozo, Gar & Ray: WGN TV Classics,” the Oscar preview special “The Envelope Please,” “Stories of Hope: Facing Breast Cancer,” “Unforgettable: Living with Alzheimer’s,” “Chicago’s Summer Blast,” “Family Classics” and “Bozo’s Circus: The 1960s.” Dean has also contributed to national cable channel WGN America, classic TV network Antenna TV, the Chicago Tribune and RedEye. In 2016, he was inducted into the Chicago Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Silver Circle; and in 2017, he was honored with the Chicago International Television Festival’s Chicago Award.
On WGN Radio (720 AM), “Dean Richards’ Sunday Morning” covers Chicago’s entertainment and lifestyle scene including movies, theater, food and dining, Sundays from 9am-1pm. Dean’s entertainment reports and reviews can also be heard Monday through Friday on “The Steve Cochran Morning Show” from 8:10 -8:30am and “The Bill & Wendy Show” Thursdays at 11:35am. Since joining WGN Radio in 1994, he has won over 30 local and national awards for programming and production, including the Peter Lisagor Award for Outstanding Journalism, the Associated Press Best Feature of the Year, the Illinois Broadcasters Association, UPI, Chicago A.I.R. Awards, and Promax International Promotion and Marketing Awards. In 2016, Dean was inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame, which pays tribute to the station’s legendary talent.
For over 2 decades, Dean’s radio and television specials on the fight against breast cancer have garnered many national and local awards and citations from breast cancer organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer organization, the Lynn Sage breast Cancer Center and the “Y-ME” National Breast Cancer Organization, for contributions to the fight the disease.
On and off the air, Dean has been a tireless worker related to HIV/AIDS issues, hosting charitable functions for decades including “AIDS Run & Walk Chicago” and “Dance for Life Chicago.” He has lent support to numerous organizations including Howard Brown Health Center, Horizons Community Services (now Center on Halsted), Open Hand Chicago, and was awarded a citation by Stop AIDS Chicago for his contributions to the fight against AIDS. The AIDS Foundation of Chicago also recognized him in their annual “Faces of AIDS” publication for bringing HIV/AIDS issues to mainstream media and, in 2006, cited him with a special commendation for his work in the field.
For over 25 years, Dean was part of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon benefitting the Muscular Dystrophy Association; for many of those years serving as the telethon’s co-host on WGN-TV. He has also hosted numerous events for hunger, homeless, and domestic violence organizations.
A native of Chicago, Dean worked his way through a string of suburban Chicago radio stations after completing his Broadcast Communications/Marketing degree at Columbia College. A veteran of the Chicago’s broadcasting scene since 1975, he has worked at WNUA, WCLR, WIND, WCFL, WFYR, WPWR and WFLD. He also hosted a nationally-syndicated morning radio program for the ABC Radio Network, while also acting as its Operations Manager.