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WGN Radio, Milt Rosenberg Parting Ways

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 18, 2012 2:45PM

"Extension 720" host Milt Rosenberg (left) with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. (Photo via Rosenberg's Facebook page.)
TimeOut Chicago's Robert Feder reports on bittersweet news from the world of local radio: Milt Rosenberg, host of WGN-AM’s “Extension 720” program, will air his final broadcast Thursday, Dec. 20.

The 87-year-old Rosenberg, who’s hosted the program since January 1973, told Feder he’s been working without a contract for a while, has no plans for a major retrospective on his tenure as host, and would like to continue in radio.

"I'm on the older side, obviously, but I'm still full of piss and vinegar," the 87-year-old Rosenberg told (Feder) Monday. "Publicly, I want to say it's mutual. Obviously, they initiated it."

Rosenberg, who also holds the distinction of being a guest on “Extension 720,” is a former University of Chicago psychology professor. His intellect, preparation and ability to communicate with his guests allowed him to hold court on a dizzying array of subjects and guests ranging from royalty and political playmakers to humble bloggers like yours truly.

Rosenberg’s exit is the latest in a series of shake-ups at WGN. Afternoon host John Williams is leaving the station at the end of the year and moving to the Twin Cities, where he will continue to host the afternoon show he’s simulcast from the WGN Studios. Rick Kogan, meanwhile, seems to have filled in nicely at WBEZ, where he’s hosting “The Afternoon Shift.” (Feder mentioned WBEZ as a possible fit for Rosenberg after he signs off from WGN.)

Feder didn’t mince words on Rosenberg’s exit, accusing WGN interim general manager Jeff Hill of misleading him when he asked about Rosenberg’s future with the station a couple weeks back and pointing to Rosenberg’s exit as another “casualty of mismanagement and financial distress at the Tribune Co.-owned radio flagship.”

Charged with following in Rosenberg’s giant footsteps is local radio veteran Turi Ryder, best known for hosting evenings at the former WLS-FM in the 90s and for stints hosting late nights at WLS-AM.

Rosenberg is handling the news with grace and class.

“It’s certainly amicable as far as my relations with the people I deal with,” he said of his parting. “There’s been no particular bad feeling, no insults, no shouting.”