One of Chicago’s most popular radio personalities of all time, Wally Phillips got into broadcasting on a lark. A “man on the street” tape, done as a drama school assignment led to his first job as a radio announcer on a small station in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Phillips, who was born on July 7, 1925, in Portsmouth, Ohio, by 1950 was working for WCPO/Cincinnati, where he entertained listeners with his humor and zany stunts.
In 1956, Ward Quaal brought Phillips to WGN/Chicago, where he continued to amuse and entertain listeners with spontaneous pranks. Wally’s playful nature was perhaps best evidenced by his use of sound effects, commercial clips and movie soundtracks, which he crafted together for comedic effect.
Phillips did more than make Chicago laugh. He was there when tragedy struck as well, using his incredible sources to bring the latest news and analysis of important issues to his vast audience. Phillips reigned supreme and was Chicago’s most popular personality for more than 20 years—winning every single ratings book.
After ending his incredible WGN career on January 25, 1998, Phillips retired briefly, but returned to host a Saturday morning program on WAIT/Chicago.
Wally Phillips passed away on March 26, 2008.
Wally Phillips was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1993.