Bob Ramsey 1957-2022

Bob Ramsey

As an experienced TV programmer, manager and executive, Bob Ramsey left an indelible mark on two Chicago broadcasting companies and on colleagues who remember him with “love, respect and affection.”

Ramsey, who was 65, died Tuesday at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California. He succumbed to complications while awaiting a liver transplant, according to friends.

Before he retired — first to Palm Springs and later to Mexico — Ramsey held senior management jobs at Weigel Broadcasting Co. and the former Tribune Co., then owner of WGN-Channel 9.

Will Givens, senior vice president of network marketing for Weigel Broadcasting, worked closely with Ramsey at stations in San Diego and Chicago, recalling him as “a very special person.”

“Across a successful broadcast career that spanned multiple TV stations, markets and companies, Bob was admired and beloved. He was talented, smart, generous and above all a true gentleman,” Givens said.

“I knew him many years and it is safe to say everyone he worked with remembers him with love, respect and affection. All of us. I sure do. He will be missed by everyone he touched.”

Ramsey, a Chicago native and graduate of Southern Illinois University, started his career as a sports anchor in Terra Haute, Indiana, and spent 17 years working for Tribune Broadcasting stations. He first came to Chicago in 1998 as program director of WGN and later was promoted to vice president and station manager.

In a statement Thursday, WGN officials said: “Bob Ramsey was an amazing director of programming and then station manager. A lifelong Sox fan, he was truly one of Chicago’s Very Own. We were shocked and saddened to hear the news of his passing.”

Ramsey left WGN in 2002 to serve as general manager of Fox affiliates KSWB in San Diego and KTXL in Sacramento before returning to Chicago to join Weigel Broadcasting as vice president and general manager of WCIU-Channel 26 in 2011.

Two years later he was promoted to executive vice president of local media, overseeing broadcast operations in Chicago, Milwaukee and South Bend.

In 2015 Ramsey stepped down from the company and out of the business. He credited working Weigel Broadcasting chairman Norman Shapiro and vice chairman Neal Sabin as a career highlight.

“The fun thing about my job is I work with a bunch of teams and have my hands in a lot of different projects,” Ramsey told me at the time. “Neal comes up with the ideas, Norm comes up with the plan, and we execute it. It’s been an awful lot of fun.”