Published on Monday, 24 September 2012 13:13
WLS-AM announced this morning that Don Wade, longtime morning show co-host along with his wife Roma Wade, will be off the air for an extended period. This will be due to a growth that was found on Don Wade's brain, which will need to be surgically removed.
Don & Roma Wade were off the air for the last two weeks for a pre-planned vacation to New York. They were there to take part in the Central Park wedding of their daughter Heather.
Unfortunately, while there in New York, Don Wade had a seizure. Wade, who is 71 years old, then underwent a series of tests to find a reason behind the seizure. From those tests, doctors discovered a growth on his brain. Wasting little time, surgery will be performed on Thursday morning to remove the growth.
Due to the recovery process from this delicate surgical procedure and possible treatments afterwards, Don & Roma's morning show will be off the air a minimum of four more weeks.
Late morning hosts, Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft will continue to guest-host Don & Roma's shift from 5:00am-9:00am in the interim. WLS-AM weekend host Jake Hartford and Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass will fill-in for Wolf & Proft's 9:00am-11:00am shift.
Today's statement from WLS-AM, which is now posted on the station website
, said: "The Cumulus/WLS family sends our love and very best wishes to both Don and Roma."
The statement also stated that "Don and Roma remain positive and optimistic."
The duo approached the situation with their usual sense of humor. In a separate statement today, Don Wade said (with tongue planted firmly in cheek): "I think it's all the BS coming from the left that really gave me the seizure." Roma Wade added: "It amazes me that Don can still be the smartest guy in the room with only half his brain."
Fans of Don Wade can offer get well wishes to him via email at
, or by sending their wishes via regular mail to: Don Wade, c/o WLS-AM, 190 North State Street, 9th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60601.
Born Donald Wehde in New York City, Don Wade came to Chicago in 1982 to WUSN-FM, after working as a music DJ in numerous other markets nationwide (and once in Canada). He joined WLS-AM as its midday DJ in 1985. The following year, WLS-AM flipped from a music format to a talk format. While most of the music DJs exited, Wade remained and tried his hand as a talker. His producer in 1986 was his wife Roma, who was often heard on the air with him, although the public was unaware they were married. (A secret they were able to keep hidden until 1998.) John Gehron, the WLS-AM program director at that time, liked the chemistry he heard between the two and officially paired them on the air, renaming the show "Don Wade and Roma." In August 1989, Don & Roma took over the morning show at WLS-AM, where they have been ever since (not counting seven weeks in 2004, when they were off the air in a contract dispute). Just over 23 years later, they are still WLS-AM's morning foundation.
Don & Roma's current contract with WLS-AM expires in December of this year. While it is still over three months away, there has been no word on if the couple will have their morning reign extended with the station or not.
Don Wade is known in Chicago radio circles for having one of the greatest work ethics. For his show that begins each morning at 5:00am, he wakes up around Midnight, gets to the station around 3:00am, and does not leave the station until well into the afternoon. When not on the air, he preparing for his time on the air, hours before and after each show. On the air, Don Wade can be a divisive personality, whose very conservative opinions and anger at the news may not sit well with those who may have differing opinions, while off the air is one of the kindest people around and is rarely seen without a smile on his face.
Don Wade comes from a radio family. One of Don Wade's two brothers, older brother Carl, was also a longtime radio personality, known on the air as Long John Wade. The popular east coast DJ passed away from heart failure in May 2006. For a short time, Don Wade was also called "Long Don Wade" on the air, and even "Long John's Other Brother." All of the Wade brothers are well over six feet tall, which is where the "Long" nickname originated. Early on his radio radio career in the 1960s, Don Wade also had on-air nicknames such as "The Swinging Six Plus One" and "Don Juan."