Wally Phillips, perhaps the most popular radio personality in the history of Chicago, died Thursday morning from complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
He died at his home in Naples, Fla. at the age of 82.
He came to Chicago’s Tribune-owned WGN-AM in 1956 from Cincinnati’s WLW-AM radio and dominated Chicago’s extremely competitive radio market for two decades. Phillips was one of the first radio announcers to take on-air calls from listeners -- routine now, but revolutionary back in the 1950s.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, at his peak, he attracted one-half of all Chicago morning listeners, which, the paper said, made him the most-listened-to radio host in the country.
Phillips worked at WGN for 42 years, and he was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame in 1997.