Chicago stations collaborate on celebrating 2020 grads

Oprah Winfrey to speak to local grads

The coronavirus pandemic has wiped out graduation ceremonies all over the Chicago area, but they get to celebrate virtually – with an assist from Chicago’s local stations.

In a very rare show of collaboration, Chicago TV stations are simulcasting a virtual celebration titled Grad 2020: For Chicago by Chicago, honoring the Chicago area’s 2020 graduates Sunday at 1 p.m. 

The special is hosted by Hamliton’s Miguel Cervantes and features local artists Common and The Voice’s Katie Kadan with a commencement speech from Oprah Winfrey, who started her successful media career in Chicago. 

The special is being simulcasted on eight commercial TV stations and PBS’ WTTW, and numerous radio stations ABC-owned WLS-TV is producing the special with Citadel Investments. 

Passing on Grad 2020 are Ion’s WCPX-TV and religious independent WJYS; Fox’s WPWR is scheduled to run infomercials but sister station WFLD is carrying the event. 

And there’s more programming celebrating Chicago area grads. At 2 p.m., ABC 7 is airing Grad 2020: The After Party with Cheryl Burton and Hosea Sanders at 2 p.m. and at 4:30 p.m., CW 26 is airing Graduate Together, Celebrate Together: Class of 2020 hosted by the Jam’s Amy Rutledge. The special is also airing earlier in the day at 12:30 p.m. on The U. 

WTTW is also airing a post-Grad 2020 special, Pomp Under the Circumstance: A Virtual Commencement at 2 p.m. 

The specials and collaboration are certainly welcome at a time when Chicago is reeling from the pandemic and most recently, the fallout from George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis by police which triggered riots here, in the Twin Cities, and other cities. 


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