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‘Chicago ‘ Ed Schwartz To Be Honored On WGN Radio Walk Of Fame

March 27, 2015

I can think of no better way to start this post except with stating the obvious.

It was ‘Chicago ‘ Ed Schwartz who made me aware that a radio announcer could be a friend to those who listened.  Equally important Eddie was wildly successful even though he did not have what might be considered a classic sounding radio voice.  Both of those lessons were ones I took with me to my job at WDOR radio in Sturgeon Bay when I sat in the broadcast booth.

Today it was announced that WGN Radio will include Eddie “Chicago Ed” Schwartz  on its 2015 Walk of Fame class.   Friday, May 29th, ten broadcasting legends will be honored with a ceremony and live broadcast from 1-2pm at the Tribune Tower at 435 N Michigan.  Steve King and Johnnie Putman will also be included in the list of famed broadcasters.

Eddie “Chicago Ed” Schwartz was at the helm of the late-night WGN Radio airwaves from 1982 through 1992 on a show that was all Chicago. Both crusader and advocate, Eddie started the Good Neighbor Food Drive, one of the largest one-day food drives in the country, and fearlessly called politicians in the middle of the night in search of answers to listeners’ problems.

Ed Schwartz’s voice was softer than that of most who find themselves on radio, but his authority and professionalism when behind a microphone was never in doubt.  But the connection he made with his listeners both in Chicago, and as far as the airwaves would allow him to be heard, showcased his civility and big-heart for the causes that he loved.  When he promoted his food drive for hungry folks in Chicago there was no doubt that his concern was deeply ingrained within him.  He wore his heart on his sleeve, and it reverberated inside the radio.

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It might seem strange that as a boy in Hancock, Wisconsin I would be tuning into talk radio from Chicago, and bypassing the stations that were closer to me with much stronger signals.  But the world as presented by local stations were too small, and lets face it there is nothing more exciting than Chicago politics.  More importantly over the past years I recognize how lucky I was to have grown up with civil and professional radio broadcasters such as Eddie Schwartz, Steve King, and Clark Weber.  As a teenager I never knew radio to be ill-tempered, lewd, or boorish.

I still recall  an awesome snowstorm that hit Chicago, but one that missed central Wisconsin.  As a boy I wanted the snow in my backyard, but instead turned to Eddie Schwartz  as he broadcast hour after hour about how Chicago was crippled by the snow and wind.  I recall being in my bedroom and feeling like I was there in the midst of a wild storm.  As he talked with snowplow operators, police, and folks trying to get off the expressways I understood the power and intimacy of radio.  I suspect that there are few young people today who can comprehend what I am talking about.

I am so moved by this tremendous honor for one of the nicest men to have ever graced the airwaves.

eddie

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