Published on Tuesday, 18 December 2012 13:22
On Christmas morning, former WGN-AM and WIQI-FM morning show host Greg Jarrett will return to the Chicago airwaves, as he will host the three-hour holiday special, "The Gift: A Holiday Tribute to America's Military and Their Families" on WLS-AM. The show will air in its entirety twice that morning.
"The Gift" is a spoken-word Christmas show that tells inspirational stories of America's wounded warriors and their families. The three-hour special looks at what military life is like today, from the front lines in the middle east, to their lives and loved ones back home. Listeners will hear compelling stories of soldiers recovering from serious injuries and the help they are receiving, as well as ways they have triumphed over the obstacles posed by their injuries.
This is the second year in a row for this now-annual special, which for the first time this year, will be hosted by veteran newsman, Greg Jarrett. He replaces San Fransisco radio voice Gil Gross, who previously hosted "The Gift" in 2011.
A longtime war correspondent, Jarrett saw firsthand what America's military has to go through. He is also the son of a World War II pilot and the son-in-law of a former Marine Corp Captain.
Locally, Greg Jarrett is best known for his time as the highly-rated host of WGN-AM's morning show. Jarrett, who celebrated his 41st anniversary in radio this year, joined WGN-AM in June 2009. A virtual unknown to Chicago audiences at that time, Jarrett was given the position due to his vast resume of news experience, including many years at San Fransisco's KGO-AM and as a news correspondent for two decades with ABC News. During that time, he covered news in Iraq, Bosnia, Somalia, as well as all over the U.S. He had improved the ratings at WGN-AM over the two morning shows that preceded his, and except for two months at the start of this year, had ratings well higher than WGN-AM's current morning show. Jarrett was #1 in the all ages Arbitron ratings for his time slot for 21 out of the 30 months he was there (#2 the other 9 months).
On December 2nd last year, WGN-AM management decided to take the talk station in a different direction and parted ways
with Greg Jarrett, who still had a few months to go on his three-year contract.
In June of this year, he signed on
with WIQI-FM/FM News 101.1 as morning show host, as the station was preparing for a flip to a news/talk format with Greg Jarrett as its anchor. His addition to mornings almost instantly tripled the station's ratings in that daypart. Three weeks later, station owners abruptly canceled the format, released most everybody that worked there, and flipped to an automated music format.
The airing of "The Gift" on Christmas morning, will be the first time Greg Jarrett has been heard in Chicago since the end of FM News 101.1 in July.
More than just holiday programming, "The Gift" also raises awareness for Fisher House Foundation
, which provides free housing to the families of injured U.S. soldiers while their loved one is being treated at a military or VA hospital. It is similar to Chicago's Ronald McDonald House, but for families of wounded warriors.
Thanks in part to exposure it received in 2011 from the airing of "The Gift," Fisher House Foundation saw a 30% increase in holiday donations.
In agreeing to air "The Gift," WLS-AM will also be airing 24 30-second Public Service Announcements for Fisher House for the remainder of this year.
WLS-AM will air "The Gift: A Holiday Tribute to America's Military and Their Families," hosted by Greg Jarrett, on December 25th from 5:00am-8:00am, and will immediately re-run the show from 8:00am-11:00am -- a total of six straight hours.
"The Gift" is distributed to stations nationwide pro bono via Cumulus Media Networks. Last year's special aired on 84 news/talk radio stations, including top-rated outlets in 29 of the Top 30 markets. This year, "The Gift" will be heard on well over 120 markets, including all of the Top 20 markets in the U.S. and on Armed Forces Radio, heard worldwide.