WBBM Newsradio’s Sherman Kaplan retires (again)

Sherman Kaplan

Sherman Kaplan

Veteran news anchor Sherman Kaplan, one of the most familiar voices on Chicago radio, is retiring after more than 46 years at CBS Radio all-news WBBM AM 780/WCFS FM 105.9.

His last day on the air will be September 22, according to Ron Gleason, director of news and programming at WBBM Newsradio, who announced the retirement Wednesday.

“Sherman has anchored virtually every shift at the station, leading through example with top notch journalistic integrity,” Gleason wrote in a memo to staff. “His voice has been instantly recognizable by millions over the years as synonymous with WBBM.”

Kaplan, 74, most recently has been co-anchoring midday newscasts and “The WBBM Noon Business Hour” with Kris Kridel. No replacement has been named.

“It was a good mutual decision,” Kaplan said of his retirement. “I had been thinking about this for time, probably before the end of the year. It was very cordial.”

It’s the second time Kaplan has stepped away from the microphone. In 2004 he retired after 35 years, saying: “I’m just tired of anchoring five hours a day, and I just don’t want to work so much. Me and Johnny Carson.” But he soon came back for more on a freelance basis.

A fine arts graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Kaplan spent three years as a radio news reporter for WTVN in Columbus, Ohio, before joining WBBM in February 1969 — nine months after the launch of its all-news format.

For many years he doubled as restaurant reviewer and theater critic for the station.

Kaplan is the second veteran of WBBM to retire this year. In March John Cody stepped down after 48 years as a general assignment reporter at the station.

Here is the text of Gleason’s memo to staff:

To all:

One of the true WBBM Newsradio originals is calling it a career.  Sherman Kaplan has decided to retire after more than 46 years covering the news in and around Chicago.

Sherman joined the station less than a year into our Newsradio existence, coming to WBBM from Columbus in February 1969.  His first assignment was anchoring in the afternoon with the legendary Mal Bellairs before heading to report from the street that evening.  Sherman has anchored virtually every shift at the station, leading through example with top notch journalistic integrity.  His voice has been instantly recognizable by millions over the years as synonymous with WBBM.  For years his “K-rating” reviews were quoted by restaurants throughout the Chicago area.  And before and since his first semi-retirement in 2004, Sherman has been a fixture on the WBBM Noon Business Hour.

We’ll miss Sherman’s wit and wisdom in our daily meetings, just as our listeners will miss his on-air interactions.  His last day will be Tuesday, September 22nd just ahead of his latest European excursion (yes we’re jealous of his many trips to France and elsewhere!) 

Please join me in wishing Sherman all the best.