Most Chicagoans don't realize that the unfinished building at the corner of State and Kinzie streets that seems to be forever under construction is supposed to home to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, a 62,000 square foot operation which would include the National Radio Hall of Fame. The construction has been stalled because funding for the project promised by former Governor Blagojevich failed to materialize leaving Founder/President/CEO Bruce DuMont stuck with a partially built museum.
On Saturday (November 7) at the museum's annual induction ceremony, which was held in a local hotel ballroom because of the hold up on the new facility, DuMont announced that the Illinois House and Senate have included a $6 million line-item in the next budget. While having the line-item in the budget doesn't necessarily mean the money will come through, the Web site Radio-Info.com reports the current commitment should be enough to restart construction on the long awaited museum.
Chicago's own Studs Terkel was inducted posthumously at Saturday's ceremonies. Other members of the class of 2009 include legendary purveyor of novelty songs Dr. Demento, nationally syndicated conservative radio host Neal Boortz, Washington D.C. radio pioneer Ed Walker, urban radio host and newly anointed television personality Wendy Williams and radio syndicator Norm Pattiz who founded the company Westwood One.
The class also included two other posthumous inductees, Philadelphia sports broadcasting legend Harry Kalas, who's passing was the reason for the HK that the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies wore on their uniforms this year, and the first ever Hispanic inductee, Jose Miguel Agrelot, a well known personality in Puerto Rico.