WGN’s Andrea Darlas to join U of I as Chicago liaison

Andrea Darlas

After more than 21 years as a multitalented and award-winning news anchor, reporter and program host at news/talk WGN 720-AM, Andrea Darlas is opening a new chapter in her career.

Darlas has been hired as senior director of constituent engagement at her alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, starting May 8. From Chicago, she will lead the university’s engagement and outreach efforts throughout the metropolitan area and serve as public affairs and media liaison.

“I feel I’ve accomplished everything I wanted to do at WGN — I’ve anchored, reported and hosted — and I’ve covered stories people only dream about covering,” she told me Wednesday. “I look at this as a new chapter and a new beginning for me. Representing the U of I is a passion that fills me with pride.”

Darlas said she won’t be severing ties with the Tribune Broadcasting station. She’ll continue hosting “Andrea Darlas and The Reporters,” a weekly roundtable of journalists she launched in January. (It airs from 7 to 10 p.m. Mondays except when it’s bumped to another night by sports broadcasts.)

Darlas has maintained close ties to the U of I since she began in radio as a DJ at campus station WPGU and graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism in 1994. She continues to serve as a member of the University of Illinois Alumni Association Board of Directors and the College of Media’s National Alumni Board.

Born in Oak Lawn and raised in Orland Park, Darlas joined WGN in 1997 after four years at WJOL 1340-AM and the former WLLI in Joliet. Since 2011 she also has worked part-time as a free-lance reporter for WGN-Channel 9.

In addition to winning two Peter Lisagor Awards for her radio and television work from the Chicago Headline Club and five Silver Dome Awards for best newscast from the Illinois Broadcasters Association, Darlas was named best reporter by the IBA Silver Dome Awards in 2017.

Wednesday’s comment of the day: Glenn Stefano: Let’s not forget Johnson Publishing Company also owned WJPC-AM 950, a popular urban based music outlet, as well as an FM 106.3. Helped launch the careers of Tom Joyner, Sam Weaver, LaDonna Tittle and many other staples of the format.