Tuesday, June 29, will be a Red Letter Day for Chicago and for radio. That's when the city will officially dedicate the northwest corner of East Lake Street and North Garland Court as "Dick Biondi Way." I don't know about you, but I wouldn't miss it for the world.
In a ceremony starting at 2 p.m., the honorary street designation will salute the legendary disc jockey and Radio Hall of Famer who recently celebrated the 50th‚ anniversary of his first broadcast on WLS-AM (890).
"It's a great honor and I am happy to join so many wonderful people who have had streets named in their honor," Biondi said in a statement Wednesday. The 77-year-old dynamo is still going strong from 7 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday on Citadel Broadcasting oldies WLS-FM (94.7).
Speakers at the dedication are expected to include 42nd‚ Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly, who sponsored the resolution in the Chicago City Council; Michael Damsky, president and general manager of WLS; and veteran broadcaster Bob Sirott, who spearheaded the drive for the honorary street designation.‚ "Dick's gone from 'on top of a pizza' to underneath Michigan Avenue, and with his‚ sense of humor, humility, and love of every inch of Chicago, it's the perfect spot to bear his name," Sirott said.
The location of "Dick Biondi Way" was chosen for its proximity to the 360 North Michigan Avenue building that housed the studios and offices of WLS-AM (890) for decades.
"Dick is truly a Chicago legend and it is very fitting that he's being honored in this manner," said Michael La Crosse, operations director of WLS-FM. "It is something that is long overdue, but extremely well deserved.‚ It is yet another memorable accomplishment in an extraordinary career."
In another treat for Biondi's legion of fans, WLS-FM has created a series of web pages containing audio podcasts, videos and photographs from his 50th‚ anniversary show on May 2. (Here is the link.)