Amid ‘outpouring of love,’ WXRT’s Terri Hemmert to sign off middays July 9

Terri Hemmert (Photo: Amy Boyle)

Culminating a ton of well-deserved tributes to Terri Hemmert, the beloved Chicago radio icon will mark her final broadcast as midday personality on WXRT 93.1-FM July 9.

After 45 years on the Entercom adult album alternative station, Hemmert, 71, announced last month she’s cutting back to part-time status. The Radio Hall of Famer said she’ll continue to host her Sunday morning “Breakfast with The Beatles” program and fill in for other on-air hosts many weeks throughout the year.

News of her stepping down from the 10 a.m to 1 p.m. shift she’s held since 1992 triggered an avalanche of accolades from fans and friends on this blog and across multiple social media platforms.

Greg Solk, operations manager and program director of WXRT, confirmed the date of Hemmert’s final midday show and announced the station’s new Monday-through-Friday talent lineup in an email to employees Monday.

Greg Solk

“In my many decades in this business, I have never witnessed such an outpouring of love and appreciation for one of the greatest who has ever been behind a microphone, or more importantly for a truly caring and giving person who has spent most of her career giving back to the community that she loves so deeply,” Solk wrote.

“Luckily XRT has an amazing deep bench of world class personalities and music lovers. Terri’s full-time departure allows us the opportunity to stretch out some shows and give our other stars a bit more airtime.”

Effective July 17, the weekday schedule will be: Lin Brehmer and Mary Dixon from 5:30 to 10 a.m.; Richard Milne from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Marty Lennartz from 2:30 to 7 p.m.; Ryan Arnold from 7 p.m. to midnight; and Emma Mac from midnight to 5:30 a.m.

Here is the text of Solk’s email to staff:

Chicago team, it was a week ago that Terri sent out the attached personal note announcing her “B-side” plans. In the past week, Terri has received thousands, yes “thousands” of deeply personal and deeply moving comments on many social media platforms. The common theme to these posts was simply “thank you!”  Thank you for the many hours of companionship on the radio.  Thank you Terri, for all the lives you have touched through your many community service initiatives and passions, and thank you for being a wonderful role model for all of us to look up to.
 
In my many decades in this business, I have never witnessed such an outpouring of love and appreciation for one of the greatest who has ever been behind a microphone, or more importantly for a truly caring and giving person who has spent most of her career giving back to the community that she loves so deeply.
 
If you have yet to personally thank Terri for her 45 years of dedication to XRT, you have another week to meet Terri after her show and give her a hug. Next Tuesday July 9th will be Terri’s final shift in her full-time role. Terri will not miss a beat however on Breakfast with the Beatles, that show will continue each Sunday from 8-10am.

As Terri did say in her note, “How can you miss her when she isn’t going away.”  Terri will be back on XRT during the midday show on July 23rd and August 31st through September 6th, and many more weeks throughout the year as she fills in for vacationing hosts. 
 
With Terri leaving her 10a-1p daytime shift, it leaves three very important hours to fill. Luckily XRT has an amazing deep bench of world class personalities and music lovers. Terri’s full-time departure allows us the opportunity to stretch out some shows and give our other stars a bit more airtime.    
 
Beginning on Wednesday, July 17th the XRT lineup will sound like this:

5:30–10a Lin & Mary
10-2:30p Richard Milne
2:30-7p Marty Lennartz
7p-Mid Ryan Arnold
Mid-5:30 Emma Mac                                       
 
We are also fortunate to continue to have the best part-time staff in the industry, with Frank E. Lee, Johnny Mars, Jason Thomas, Bill Artlip, Don Davis, Lara Mondae and Laura Vaughn all a part of our weekly presentation. We are a fortunate bunch.
 
We all love you Terri, enjoy this ride as much and as long as you care to.  You will always be part of 93XRT and we all owe you a debt of gratitude for what you helped build all these years.

Monday’s comment of the day: Bill Moller: What the industry needs is better story selection (read … less superficial crime coverage), better storytelling (hiring people who have a demonstrable command of language, questioning and observational skills and the ability to work under hard deadlines), and giving reporters/producers the time to properly apply their craft. I believe there should be less focus on dry facts and more on the human/emotional aspects of daily news. Watching the work of Steve Hartman or Charles Kuralt … you feel something. If our viewers viscerally responded to more of our stories, if what they saw meant something to them and got them talking about it around the dinner table (akin to NPR driveway moments), I guarantee they’d make a point to come back. The audience is telling the local news industry it no longer finds what we have been doing all these years interesting or relevant.

Photo credit: Amy Boyle