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i'm mark highland news anchor wbez radio in chicago for the next half hour i'd like to tell you about our station coverage of the death of mayor harold washington and the political struggle which followed with a stamp less than half the size of others in the market we were able a broadcast nearly forty hours of live programs during the crisis and transition we know our coverage was unique we believe it was extraordinary and we hope you agree november twenty fifth was cool and gray mayor harold washington was up early taking part in a groundbreaking ceremony for new low income housing tomorrow would be special thanksgiving but this day promised to be routine then at eleven o'clock the promise was broken while meeting with his press secretary at city hall harold washington's slumped in a seat alton miller summoned bodyguards who began cpr and called fire department paramedics when i first heard what happened wbez is program director ken davis decided to drop the day's format and begin a radio vigil he called the stations medical expert dr
quentin young when media meet feared the worst brilliant what the working of myocardial infarction or heart attack and after my first impression matters of the heart function was to prove to bed because they really are just weakness of the injury brain but supply and the mayor went into a consciousness and i hope very very much about driver's brain damage but i have to fear that other medical experts city leaders and political observers soon joined us to share their thoughts on the situation and amos was joined at the anchor desk by news director diane de vol and program host richard steele two reporters were sent to northwestern memorial hospital another to an impromptu prayer service and a fourth city hall reporter cheryl corley to her post we have allies and friends of the mayor and the people who normally i'm very sympathetic to the mayor coming into city called basically to just wait and see whats happening you had power and richard now on the line a few moments ago
on the people who have come into the office to i'll probably get together this our prayer vigil that we held in a few moments our alderman bobby rush jessica madison was also hear dr superintendent of the park district they're not saying much of the time because they don't know much either gone i wanna play a bit of tape here from that the two people who will solve the mayor right after this happened and this was the impromptu press conference that was held with be a spokesman for them fire department jerry lawrence lessig at hsbc's banks businesses say chinese cities but miller would not speak until later that afternoon as reporters and the public waited for some word of harold washington state the vigil continued at wbez program host carolyn rose go call from home or she was taking the day off with her children employment
it's bad jerry can i just interrupt for a moment here minister leading a prayer vigil for the mayor the daily plaza announced on just months ago that the mayor had died again now we have not been able to confirm that surpassed that all really well that's the closest we have to anything the problem is though that what you could be getting is what we talked about earlier and you know the literally evan if this was announced at the vigil well i don't have to fight them like a word of
that mm hmm i don't think you know much will obviously see okay thanks by now a bad news was coming from another source mark were being in the wbez news room a quick confirmation of report from california tom bradley of los angeles has released a statement given his condolences to the city well the there washington is that i can read the statement says for mayor tom bradley of los angeles i'm extremely sad and shocked at the news of mayor washington's death the people of the city of los angeles to join the people of the city of chicago in this time of mourning the loss of his leadership and humanity to chicago and the nation our hearts go out to the family relatives and they're washington and the opponents are with reports of the mayor's death coming from so many unofficial sources why we're
official sources taking so long a list of all and steele offered some speculation as much as we may not like to talk about it we're talking about some very heavy political considerations here were talking about approaching an election year in the presidential election were talking about a lot of things out were talking about a newly emerging hispanic influence in terms of political power in chicago you know sales a lot at stake here and i can sort of understand better than say the hesitancy but i mean any arrangements mean you know being made politically while all of this is on hold and even in routine cases when somebody is rushed to the hospital they're always given the emergency treatment for however long doctors think it is a worthwhile and there usually is a word of that for a long time and this is the mayor of the city of chicago also john dempsey joins john and then we got word before the hospital over here that there will be an official state maybe forty five minute to an hour
people getting the payment will be about her apartment and the merits of pokemon op ed miller woman came out in april and elderly black woman when the official word finally came wbez was the only radio station to share the announcement live which one from that moment the radio vigil became a way of sorts listeners and friends of the late mayor called to share their memories at a memorial service at operation push was broadcast live that evening the reverend henry hardy told the crowd and our audience that harold washington was like the little engine but who you know yes
yes i know you yes i do no one's at home which means oh my
and with technical assistance from wbez jesse jackson himself was able to address the crowd from kuwait as we're going to interrupt our program right now do we have the reverend jesse l jackson from liberty and all on the line and is pomona a place you know eleven happened we know you're on the line with the grateful that you're with a room apartment know you rather than those that have it
that you know that we could work together i'm along with a lump of the year by the end of the next morning wbez operates on memorial as listeners and staff remembered the mayor carolyn was go recall her days as wbez's city hall reporter you know people keep saying this but it has to be said the man was charming i mean and could embarrass you i am happy to have ever been a fairly and asked as i have by held watch running joke i know in the last press conferences i covered it sitting on i was very very pregnant at the time and it was an important issue that i can even remember and we're all on deadline and there was running late and on those same one question each one question each
so i asked my one question and we went on to something else and then i guess another question ok i tried to ask another question you know just because the press secretary says you can doesn't mean you don't try and another reporter who should probably go unnamed that he's an education reporter who wears glasses with channel seven says no i don't and now been airlifted in elected me said oh let's be charitable look at this poor woman let's just say this one's for the baby you rank iraq want to say washington was a man of words but also a man of music and davis decided to remember the mayor would song let's let's just explain what's happening here in a little bit of something that they're from back in last christmas special moment for some of us there are programs to the oil originated you
may remember from harold washington's kitchen table we just took the whole show over there and one of the things we asked him beforehand was if you could give us a short list of a couple of his favorite tunes and this was his favorite record it is beauty it
is mourners also say they're all along the route of his funeral procession on monday morning again wbez carried the whole drama line cheryl corley was stationed at christ universal temple well the church mayor washington can trade with the american blank nominee which double whammy washington where they're going and they break neck and it can't it can view the back around to fight like that when that is where the fighting began when they are family and i wanted in a few moments ago in our in the middle while the over to the right are all of the old and the other dignitaries among the dignitaries illinois governor jim thompson and reverend jesse jackson well it could be just campaign
ferociously political comeback what most importantly determined that his elections would mean something for people and for this great city and on wednesday last in the afternoon he greeted on with that really take on a poster how long and i guess the office he died within a lot scott it was a lot because he had to have a big plot
for all chicago yet to have a heart for the size we may see various this as bishop with washington now laid to rest of fight to overcome began again a memorial at the university of illinois billion turned into a political rally crowd learned a special election will be held at city council on tuesday night rumor had it owes of the late mayor had cut a deal with some of these former allies to bypass washington's floor leader
kim evans and elect the machine candidate alderman eugene sawyer succeed washington reporter john dempsey was at the university of mary and diane the ball at the anchor desk and we should mention that this was the same site where the late mayor wasn't until two largest campaign rallies south red beret billion before about the world primaries and eighty three in eighty seven it sounds from what i'm hearing like it's almost another campaign atmosphere in there that's true we saw a lot of tenderness to bail out of a kind word spoken about mayor washington are all day today during the funeral services and that the senator are you at one point however i heard outgoing very mayor richard hatcher asked how he thinks the mayor would feel about all the politicking that is going man during this time of mourning and an hatcher said that he believed that the washington would've thought it was ok lose a political person he knew that
this is the way politics is especially in chicago he would probably expect in the sky and probably have been part of it hadn't been here is that a lot of people are saying let me ask you about a few developments today this afternoon the up black independent soon after the memorial began organizer conrad world spoke to the crowd followed by newspaper columnist bird and gerrit and alderman wiese would erase all upholding the election so we're at i'm scott simon oh
geez so i used that now that was you know not denying iran the sort of seal that we gave him into elections honestly like this evolves and terrible just a scene of what is going on league and not allow the old lady is that now may we have all right we have the right we have a bank oh my
yeah yeah on tuesday night thousands who heard those words did surround and kill city hall and again wbez carried the drama of chicago politics lawyer evans they've also been chanting things like we don't want ethics we want the washington twenty six down with sawyer up with evans we did hear it was that there was a small contingent so we're people that were pushed aside your cotton mr collins evans supporters but i see no evidence of any violence leaves town there without any police officers that now the police the police officers are busy trying to control the town on the second floor right outside the council chambers where the metal detectors located there is still a line of people trying to get
in and in about a seventy foot space in the hallway i counted thirty police officers in that space alone china hold actress as scout some people mostly ebola japan's why don't go home or people waiting lying or they're not going to get in you know that they're going to say they're standing there maybe they're hoping that to seats open arthur well i'm well aware that there are seats available i think that you know we're here to show that you are these seats here in the city and i'm sure that now that the amount of people that are outside that not
everybody was in nineteen seventy one album and illustrator with us all the main street there has been a supporter of timothy evans remained a supporter of timothy evans us about the negotiations going on and i've been with the people mr lange right mandy the council meeting had
been scheduled to begin at five thirty tuesday but the vote did not come until nearly four am wednesday after a string of emotional speeches and demonstrations at one point a crowd of protesters convinced of dirty deals behind closed doors began waving and throwing money now in this city on the city council
the military it's interesting
yeah exactly and so the change was made as old chicago listened to piece of interest in the position meanwhile lawyers were nine ninth inning at many stations
in chicago rose to this occasion with good coverage of the sorrow and political strife which followed harold washington's death but wbez chose not to package the event with shorts soundbites and occasional updates instead our dedicated informed and energetic staff brought wbez listeners history as it happened i mark island the purpose be it's just
sad one of eyes teeth
WBEZ Radio News
1987--excerpts, Mourning a Mayor and Moving On
Producing Organization
WBEZ (Radio station : Chicago, Ill.)
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Episode Description
"When Chicago's mayor died, suddenly, on November 25, every radio station in the city faced a challenge. Many performed well in covering the sorrow and political strife which followed Harold Washington's death. But we here at WBEZ feel that our coverage was extraordinary, transcending the process of newsgathering and reporting to become a community experience -- radio at its best. "We have less than half the employees of our all-news competition, fewer studios, cars, mobile phones and the like. Even so, we were able to broadcast some forty hours of live material from the day Washington died to the day he was replaced (November 25 - December 1, 1987). "We relied heavily on the energy, intelligence and enthusiasm of our staff and the [willingness] of countless local experts, community leaders and listeners to participate in the radio vigil, wake and transition process. "Our contest tape begins with several excerpts from the day of Washington's death -- an especially difficult one for reporters who found it impossible to get official information on the mayor's fate until three hours after his collapse. WBEZ turned to unofficial sources and was able to prepare listeners for the worst very early in our coverage. "We will take you to Washington's funeral, to a memorial service which became a [fiery] political rally, and to the tumultuous city council meeting which lasted all night and led to the election of Washington's replacement. We believe our coverage was rich, deep and important since it allowed Chicagoans to hear history as it happened."--1987 Peabody Awards entry form."
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Executive Producer: Davis, Ken
Producer: Allison, Lisette
Producer: Resnick, Davis
Producer: Paul, Linda
Producing Organization: WBEZ (Radio station : Chicago, Ill.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-babf09c30dc (Filename)
Format: 1/4 inch audio cassette
Duration: 00:27:00
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Chicago: “WBEZ Radio News; 1987--excerpts, Mourning a Mayor and Moving On,” 1987, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 30, 2023,
MLA: “WBEZ Radio News; 1987--excerpts, Mourning a Mayor and Moving On.” 1987. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 30, 2023. <>.
APA: WBEZ Radio News; 1987--excerpts, Mourning a Mayor and Moving On. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from