Class of 2022: Chicago TV’s Silver Circle to add eight broadcast legends

Don Cornelius

Don Cornelius, who created, produced and hosted the long-running and culturally influential dance music show “Soul Train,” will be honored posthumously with the Chicago TV industry’s highest honor.

Cornelius is one of eight notable broadcasters chosen for induction this spring in the Silver Circle of the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

He and the other 2022 honorees were announced Sunday at the virtual 63rd annual regional Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards.

Cornelius, who was born on Chicago’s South Side and graduated from DuSable High School, worked as an announcer at WVON Radio and hosted “A Black’s View of the News” at Weigel Broadcasting WCIU-Channel 26 in the 1960s before launching “Soul Train” there as a local daily show in 1970. It entered national syndication in 1971. Cornelius died in 2012.

Here are the other 2022 Silver Circle honorees:

Phil Ponce

Phil Ponce, former host and correspondent for “Chicago Tonight” at Window to the World Communications WTTW-Channel 11 and former reporter at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2.

Martha Teichner, correspondent for CBS News and “CBS Sunday Morning” and former reporter for NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5.

Roz Varon

Roz Varon, traffic and transportation anchor for ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, who’s credited as the first in the country to bring traffic rush-hour reporting to TV morning news.

Mary Margaret Bartley, an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning scenic designer in Chicago for 40 years.

Derrick Blakley

Derrick Blakley, former CBS News correspondent and former news anchor and reporter for NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 and CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2.

Morris Jones (posthumously), videographer and photojournalist for CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and former broadcast technician for Nexstar Media WGN-Channel 9 and NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5. He died in 2016.

Dick Johnson

Dick Johnson (posthumously), former news anchor and reporter for NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 and ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. He died in 2020.

The Silver Circle Award, established in 1992, recognizes individuals who have devoted 25 years or more to the television industry and have made significant contributions to Chicago broadcasting. They are selected annually by a committee of academy board members.

The induction ceremony will be May 13, 2022.

Friday’s comment of the day: Burt Levy: Sadly, due diligence at the Sun-Times should be a fairly quick process as there is little revenue left. Most major categories have disappeared and there is zero fight from within to regain that revenue. Hiring more editorial folks is not going to solve that problem. When an agency president confides in me that he hasn’t heard from the Sun-Times in over two years and he has 50+ clients, one has to wonder what they are doing over there!