Radio lost one of its most popular personalities Monday with the sudden death of Doug Banks, stunning fans and radio industry insiders alike.
Banks was found dead in his Miami home Monday morning due to complications from diabetes and kidney failure. Banks was absent from his syndicated radio program late last fall recently due to health problems requiring him to be hospitalized, but did return to the airwaves on February 1. Banks’ show has aired afternoons on WVAZ-FM (V103) since January 2008, where it is often the top-rated show in its timeslot.
His last public appearance happened to be in the place where he had his greatest success – Chicago, where he made an appearance at Today’s Black Women’s Expo at McCormick Place on Friday where he broadcasted his show.
A native of Philadelphia, Banks started as a radio personality for Detroit’s WDRQ-FM while still in high school. He later held radio gigs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas before landing in Chicago at the former WBMX-FM in 1982.
Banks later jumped to WGCI-FM where he subsequently replaced Bob Wall in morning drive. In 1994, Banks signed a syndication deal with ABC Radio Networks to do afternoons, and moved back to mornings three years later. Off the air for a few years in Chicago, Banks’ syndicated show finally cleared WPWX-FM (Power 92) in 2001, which used it to launch its Urban Contemporary format.
In late 2007, Banks signed a new deal with Citadel Media to launch a new syndicated afternoon show hosted by him and longtime sidekick DeDe McGuire, and was heard locally over WVAZ – one of the first stations in the country to clear his show. In July 2010, Banks shifted syndication to American Urban Radio Networks and was renamed The Doug Banks Radio Show.
In addition to his radio duties, Banks was also a co-host on WLS-TV’s former weekly magazine show 190 North for over a decade, and appeared on Windy City Live. Banks also was in an episode of My Wife and Kids, ABC’s former hit sitcom with Damon Wayans.
Banks is survived by his wife Wendy and two daughters: Kennede, 20 and Kelli, 18. He is also survived by two older children.