WZND has announced that nine Illinois State University alumni will be inducted into the prestigious Illinois State University Broadcasting Hall of Fame. The induction will take place at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 9 at the Uptown Normal Marriot Hotel and Conference Center in Normal, Illinois. These individuals are inducted for their exemplary work in broadcasting.
Hall of Fame Class of 2022:
Mark Grote ’95
A true icon of Chicago sports radio, Mark Grote will forever be known as one of the voices narrating the races of the 2016 Chicago Cubs and 2005 Chicago White Sox World Series, and he’s got the rings to prove it. Grote’s career goes far beyond the diamond, having spent time covering the Bears, Blackhawks and NCAA basketball tournaments. Grote is also no stranger to central Illinoisans, having spent time at WMBD in Peoria, WVAX in Lincoln and WMAY in Springfield.
Katie Neal ’12
A native of central Illinois, Katie Neal wasted no time in achieving career success after her time at Illinois State. Shortly after graduation, she packed her bags for New York, where she continued to host lunchtimes at New York’s Country 94.7. Winner of the Alliance for Women in Media’s Gracie Award, Neal is now the host of the nationally aired ‘Katie and Company’, heard on country stations coast to coast. Katie is originally from Peoria.
Keith Porter ’86 ’91
After beginning his career at several local stations, Keith Porter got his big break as co-host and producer of Common Ground, a weekly global affairs show syndicated to over 200 public radio stations in North America. Since then, Porter has been regularly featured on several nationally syndicated radio programs. Now at the Stanley Center for Peace and Security, Porter’s work has been honored by the National Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists, among others.
Greg Dwyer and Bill Michaels ’88
After meeting at WZND, Greg Dwyer and Bill Michaels continued to share the morning airwaves for over 30 years. Since arriving in the Quad Cities in 1990, Dwyer and Michaels have achieved both critical and ratings success, ranking as the top morning show in at least one demographic during each ratings period and topping a shares 30 several times. Now syndicated in other markets, Dwyer and Michaels continue to entertain listeners across the Midwest.
John Siuntres ’88
Pioneering the world of online content delivery with the Word Balloon podcast, John Siuntres’ work has been seen and heard by millions over a career spanning five different decades. Whether it’s boxing coverage, your favorite Chicago radio commercial, a report on WBBM, or his podcast, the many voices of this Emmy-nominated legend are known to listeners around the world.
Meredith Wilken ’01
After making his radio debut at B-104 in Bloomington and later WNDV in South Bend, Indiana; Meredith Wilken spent two decades as a listener favorite in Salt Lake City. As Deputy Program Director for KODJ, Wilken has been waking up listeners with her husband AJ since 2012. Living a true broadcaster ethos, Wilken serves on a committee for Make-A-Wish Utah and has also participated in the annual SLC event. Making Strides Against Breast The Cancer event as a media partner. Meredith is originally from McLean.
Jeremy “Otis” Maher ’03
Known as Otis to listeners across the country, Jeremy Maher has earned top ratings in every market he’s aired in. With a programming career spanning both Top 40 and country, Maher’s show is syndicated with iHeart in 25 markets, and he’s been nominated multiple times for Music Director of the Year at the SIN Awards. A proud entrepreneur, husband, father, and philanthropist, Maher has worked with Autism Speaks, St. Jude, and local animal shelters. Jeremy is originally from Morton.
Zack Nechvatal ’04
A leader on multiple platforms, Zack Nechvatal is the convenient creative point for major Chicago station brands, live concerts, behind-the-scenes Lollapalooza content, events and arena shows like the B96 Jingle Bash. Professionally, Nechvatal is most proud of his participation in the St. Jude Radiothon, raising more than $750,000 a year. As Regional Director of Creative and Marketing Operations at Audacy, Nechvatal works with his team to inspire excellence and encourage others to follow their passion.
The Illinois State University Broadcasting Hall of Fame began in April 2016. Alumni of Illinois State University television and radio programs are chosen for outstanding performance and leadership in their careers as well as for their services to their communities. Special consideration is also given to individuals with exemplary service at Illinois State University Radio and Television Programs and the School of Communication. With nine new additions to the Hall of Fame this year, the Hall of Fame has grown to 32 people.
Those with questions can contact Deb Lesser (309) 438-7409.