Radio host Jim Bohannon dies

Chicago was one of his stops in long, storied career

Nationally syndicated radio host and Hall Of Famer Jim Bohannon died on Saturday from cancer. He was 78.

Bohannon made his final appearance on his Westwood One show October 14, four days after he announced he was retiring due to being diagnosed with stage four terminal cancer. Nexstar’s WGN-AM was one of three hundred affiliates airing the show with the Chicago station airing it in overnight hours. Taking the reins for the time being is Rich Valdes, who filled in for him this summer due to Bohannon’s illness.

“Our industry has lost a legend in the passing of Jim Bohannon, who embodied the spirt of broadcasting”, said NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt. “His charismatic nature, distinct style and engaging programs have left an enduring mark on radio and the generations of audiences whose lives he touched. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to be a guest on his show and was honored to induct him into NAB’s Broadcasting Hall of Fame earlier this year. We offer our deepest condolences to Jim’s family, friends and fans.”

Born in Corvallis, Ore. and raised in Lebanon, Mo., Bohannon got his start at the city’s KLWT in 1960 and after serving in the military, returned to radio in Washington D.C. covering news for three stations during his time in the market. In 1980, came to Chicago where he was morning anchor at WCFL-AM when the station was owned by the Mutual Broadcasting Network, which he joined in 1983 as an anchor and reporter and also was a fill-in for Larry King’s radio show. In his Chicago days, he also was a bureau reporter for CNN.

In 1984, Bohannon got his own Saturday night radio call-in show at Mutual and took over for King full-time in January 1993 as he wanted to focus more on his CNN nightly show. The same year, Bohannon also started anchoring America In The Morning, a one-hour early morning syndicated morning show for 31 years, stepping away in 2015.

Among the accolades Bohannon would rack up in his career include inductions to the NAB Radio Hall Of Fame, the National Radio Hall Of Fame, and the Missouri Broadcasters Association. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from Talkers magazine and a Special Recognition First Amendment Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA).


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