On-air ceremony set for Friday, September 13
CHICAGO (May 31, 2019) – WGN Radio announces its sixth class in the 2019 Walk of Fame: Legends of WGN Radio this morning on the Steve Cochran Show.
This year’s class includes four native Chicagoans, two of whom are present-day voices, one who hosted a show for 60 consecutive years, and a behind-the-scenes staff member with 52 years of service to the station. The honorees are Andrea Darlas, “Tenpin Tattler” Sam Weinstein, Marlene Wells and John Williams.
“There’s unforgettable wisdom in each of this year’s inductees,” said Station Manager and Vice President of Content Todd Manley. “They are among the greatest WGN ambassadors and inventive entertainers.”
The announcement comes one day in advance of the station’s 95th birthday marked on June 1. On that date in 1924, supervising engineer Elliott Jenkins spoke the words “This is WGN, formerly WDAP…” and WGN was born. The 95th birthday celebration will include a re-launch of the WGN Hometown Voices Tour with stops at Geneva’s Swedish Days, Lisle’s Eyes To The Skies Festival, and the McHenry County Fair.
Listeners can tune-in to the Walk of Fame induction ceremony broadcast live from the Chicago Architecture Center Friday, September 13 at 10am.
WALK OF FAME INDUCTEE BIOS
Born and raised in the southern Chicago suburbs and a proud University of Illinois alumna, Andrea Darlas had said that she always knew she wanted to be a reporter on the radio or TV. In a career spanning more than 21 years at WGN Radio as a news anchor, reporter and show host, Darlas has covered two Olympic Games, multiple corruption trials, the 2016 presidential election, three Blackhawks Stanley Cup rallies, World Series rallies for the White Sox and Cubs, Oprah’s last show, President Obama’s victory speech in Grant Park and the funerals of four Chicago baseball legends. Her work has received accolades from the Associated Press, Illinois Broadcasters’ Association and Chicago Headline Club. Andrea Darlas has also been a reporter on WGN-TV and a contributor to the nationally syndicated TV show “House Smarts.”
“Tenpin Tattler” Sam Weinstein
“Tenpin Tattler” was both the moniker of host and Chicago native Sam Weinstein and the name of his show, once the longest-running radio program with one host. The show debuted on WCFL on August 24, 1935 as a 15-minute program that included news from the bowling world and a live interview with a prominent bowler. In 1966, the show moved to WGN Radio to air Saturday nights as a five-minute program, from 5:55pm to 6pm, until August 26, 1995. Weinstein had become hooked on bowling as a 17-year old and once said, “I thought bowling deserved more publicity than it was getting. So, I thought why not put bowling on the air and make a buck for myself.” Weinstein was a pioneer in developing TV bowling shows in the 1950s and co-invented the “fingertip grip”, the grip of choice of professional bowlers today. He was the recipient of several awards including one that was later named for him. Sam Weinstein died on June 4, 2003.
Listeners may have heard the name “Marlene Wells” mentioned a time or two on the airwaves. As a part of the station’s marketing and sales teams, Marlene joined WGN Radio in 1967 and, while her role has evolved over the years, she is a behind-the-scenes legend in her own right. If you’ve come to a Kathy and Judy Convention, Hometown Voices, Cubs and Blackhawks Conventions, SoxFest, Taste of Chicago and countless other remote broadcasts and events, Marlene will have been there before, during and after, making sure it all goes as planned – and intervening when it does not. As she remarked to the Bill and Wendy Show in 2018, “It’s the greatest company…it’s a family.” Marlene celebrates her 52nd anniversary with WGN this October.
A native of Joliet, John Williams first walked the hallways of WGN Radio as an intern for Wally Phillips and Bob Collins. In September 1997, Williams became the midday host before moving to afternoons in 2000. “King John” brings a thoughtful perspective and quirky sense of humor to both his on-air shows and the staged presidential shows he hosts. John Williams is quoted as saying, “I would want my epitaph to read: ‘He listened.’ You could write of any talk radio host: ‘He talked.’ But what I really try to do is listen. I’ll get my time to talk; the hard part is to listen.” One of his bits involves the self-imposed nickname “King John”, a reference to his hope that someday he might be king – he’s just still waiting for the paperwork to come through. John Williams has received several broadcasting awards over the years and is currently heard weekdays, 1pm – 3pm and Saturdays 10am – Noon and on the podcast “The Mincing Rascals,” a weekly news roundtable.