Wally Phillips – Chicago’s Radio Superstar

For someone who grew up listening to J.P. McCarthy on WJR, tuning into Wally Phillips‘ shtick on Chicago’s WGN probably felt like entering an alternate universe. Whereas J.P. Was always urbane and on the level, it was anybody’s guess where Wally might take the listener. Whether it was breaking news or pranking Pavarotti, anything could happen when Walter Richard Aloysius Phillips was on the air. The Chicago radio legend was number one, almost from the moment he came to town and regularly pulled in a record share of the potential listening audience for the next two decades. He’s credited by many as a pioneer who helped define talk radio. Listening to a montage of his air work may seem tame by today’s standards, but his ability to tiptoe toward the edge of the envelope without going past it made his show a must-do for stars like Lucille Ball, Sophia Loren and hundreds of others. Phillips passed away on March 20. He was 82.

Mar 31st, 2008 | Posted in Keener
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