Dick Biondi out at WLS-FM

Radio legend calls it a career – or more likely, someone called it a career for him

In what looks like the end of the line for one of Chicago’ most iconic radio personalities, Cumulus-owned WLS-FM has released Dick Biondi from his contract.

As first reported by Robert Feder, the 85-year old broadcasting legend was off the air for a little over a year due to a leg aliment, and Biondi was hoping to return to his weekend morning shift at WLS. But late last fall as the station’s management was transitioning, Biondi’s employee status at WLS went from “inactive” to “former”. Cumulus was also in the middle of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings during this time.

The Sunday time slot Biondi was in is now occupied by reruns of American Top 40: The ’80s, with original host Casey Kasem. The station recently dropped the ’70s version of the show.

Biondi was one of Chicago’s most popular and recognizable personalities in the medium, starting his local radio career here at WLS-AM in 1960, shortly after the station changed to a Top 40 format. His nighttime show on the station drew over half the nighttime radio audience at one point and was heard in much of the country and in Canada.

His Chicago radio stops included the former WJMK-FM and WJJD-AM and a short-lived stint as morning personality at WBBM-FM in 1983-84. Biondi helped launch the new WJMK when it debuted its Oldies format in 1984.

Among numerous honors Biondi has received included being inducted into The Radio Hall Of Fame, and an honorary street designation sign in an alley south of WLS’ old Michigan Avenue studios.

As expected, reaction to Biondi’s departure was meet with a mixture of sadness and of course, some anger – this is Cumulus we’re talking about. At one point during his WLS-FM tenure, Biondi was on in late-night hours – 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., to the dismay of many of his longtime fans.

If this is the last stand for Biondi, we should wish him the best and thank him for all the great radio he has blessed us with.

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