When Pat Cassidy abruptly quit as morning news anchor at WBBM-AM (780) last year, bosses of the CBS-owned all-news station reached out to John Hultman, who'd retired from the job a decade earlier.
The idea was for Hultman to fill in on a free-lance basis -- through the end of the year at the most -- until a permanent replacement for Cassidy could be hired. That was 16 months ago. Hultman, 72, is still there every morning, sounding just as great as he did during his original 30-year run at "Newsradio 780." Along with anchor partner Felicia Middlebrooks, he has kept the station's morning drive ratings at or near the top. (The latest Arbitron figures show them solidly in third place among all listeners as well as among those between the ages of 25 and 54.)
Although Hultman's bosses admit they wish he'd stay on forever, they're reluctantly bowing to his request to step down. Sources said they've narrowed the list of top candidates to three -- including one unnamed insider -- and hope to have a successor in place by early next year.