John Williams New Morning Man On WGN Radio!


When Spike O’Dell decided to retire as the morning radio personality on WGN Radio (AM 720) so to smell the roses and enjoy life, I posted a thought about his replacement.

My personal favorite would be John Williams, but would be happy with Steve Cochran.

Today WGN Radio announced that John Williams will indeed be the new voice that greets us each morning.  Williams has a keen mind, a curious nature, a charming wit, along with an easy going style that will be a winning combination for both the station and listeners.  This was a wise business decision for WGN, and a great pick for those of us who like our morning radio free of crass remarks, foul language, and cheap shots.  In other words, those of us who like mature radio.  WGN has style, and placing Williams in the morning chair confirms that fact.

John Williams, a onetime WGN-AM 720 intern who has been game for just about anything the station ever asked of him, has landed its biggest on-air job.Wally Phillipsin the 1960s, through Bob Collins and O’Dell, who took over after Collins’ death in 2000.

WGN has chosen Williams to succeed retiring morning man Spike O’Dell in what historically has been one of Chicago radio’s most listened-to slots, dating back to

Langmyer cited Williams’ “passion, dedication, community involvement, creativity and commitment in building WGN’s brand across multiple platforms.”Tribune Co., launched RedEye, its free commuter edition, in 2002, Williams contacted Jane Hirt, then RedEye’s editor and now the Tribune’s managing editor. He suggested a newspaper-radio tie-in with the Sudoku puzzle.

Weeks after the Chicago Tribune, which, like WGN, is owned by

Together, they came up with the idea of publishing how long it took Williams to complete each day’s puzzle, challenging readers to beat him. He remains a RedEye fixture to this day.

“Our listeners expect a smart, informative, relevant and entertaining show. John brings that,” Langmyer said by e-mail. “He is very intelligent and inquisitive. John is truly involved in the community, he works very hard, goes everywhere, brings back interviews, builds content and production elements for the show and he is well-respected. … John Williams is also a very good person. Character counts at WGN, and he is a person of good character.”

6 thoughts on “John Williams New Morning Man On WGN Radio!

  1. Jonathan started his radio career, if I am correct, in the Fox Valley here in Wisconsin.

    It will be interesting to see who fills the daytime slot of Williams…Nick seems more a night time fit for the station on weekends, but perhaps with a bit of redo he could be daytime. He draws a younger more ‘hip’ type but it will be fun to watch.

  2. ferrellgummitt

    Jonathan Brandmeier has actually been back in Chicago for last 3 years after being in Los Angeles for like 15 years. The theory going around was that either Brandmeier would take Spike’s spot on WGN or Steve Cochran would take Spike’s spot and Jonathan Brandmeier would be brought over for Steve Cochran’s spot.

  3. That surprises me to a degree. I figured that Dr. Rosenberg would be retiring soon and that Williams would be the only choice to fill the slot, if they stayed in house. I wouldn’t envy anyone taking over for Milt, though. I would think that the morning is a pretty easy gig, since the host is on only about 20-25 minutes per hour at most. He won’t be able to do any in-depth interviews, unfortunately. While you are right for the most part about the lack of crassness, Mr. Williams’ comments were very disrespectful for Mrs. Palin and not up to his usual standards of analysis. Very disappointing.




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