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Monday, July 13, 2020

Kankakee Broadcasters share memories of Ed Munday, trusted community voice since 1965

The voice of Ed Munday, promoting the OMNI program. [Audio provided by: WKAN]

That’s the voice of Ed Munday.

Three years before the iPhone debuted, six months before LeBron had his first NBA game and a day after President George W. Bush famously declared “Mission Accomplished” on the war in Iraq, Munday signed off after four decades in radio.

WKAN has been a voice in news radio for Kankakee since 1947, and Munday was there for most of it.  The longtime News Director spent his time earning the trust of the community as a reliable area reporter, spending 27 years in the role.

During his final broadcast on May 2nd, 2003, Munday said, “I have had the opportunity over the past two-plus decades to meet governors, senators, congressmen, city and county officials, presidents of the United States, famous personalities and –most enjoyable of all, many of you. It was you, the listeners, that have given me that opportunity and my appreciation for your continued listenership is boundless.”

Following his retirement from radio, Munday served the community as Executive Director of the former Bradley-Bourbonnais Chamber of Commerce, a Little League Coach, and most recently worked on a sight-seeing tour boat in Florida until being hospitalized.

This Monday, Ed’s post-radio career came to an end.

A tribute to Munday that originally aired on WKAN’s OMNI program. [Audio provided by: WKAN]

Ed Munday found himself pulled out of working as a local rock and roll disc jockey in Parkersburg, West Virginia after the assassination of JFK in 1963. Since then, Munday found himself pulled into the coverage of the news cycle.

The Broadcaster came to Kankakee in 1965 briefly before being drafted and sent to Germany, where he did part-time radio until he returned once again to Kankakee and WKAN in 1975.  For a time the broadcaster worked for a local Kankakee television station, but preferred radio to television, saying in an interview before his death it felt “more immediate.”

His most treasured professional memory came on a rainy night at the Kankakee Airport after finding out Barbara Bush had flown into town to attend a campaign rally for her husband, George H.W. Bush.  After a brush with security, she granted him a quick interview that turned into a 30-minute conversation in bad weather.

Munday was a true pioneer of the news cycle in the pre-internet world.  When he retired, the term “video phone” was just developing in the tech industry.  During his time in Kankakee, Munday earned not only the respect and admiration of the community but his fellow also broadcasters.

Country Herald reached out to current and former broadcasters alike in Kankakee County to voice their memories of Munday. Their comments have been left unedited for contextual purposes:

“I always like to say I got to ride the coattails of Ed Munday and Jan Parcell when it comes to local radio news. They had already set the bar for trustworthiness and had built the relationships that are an important part of the radio business. There was no more trusted name in news in Kankakee county than Ed Munday.”

ROB RODEWALD, FORMER NEWS DIRECTOR AT WKAN

“Ed was truly an icon of the Kankakee news media. He would have been a top newsman in any size market so we were lucky to have him here. I was privileged to learn from Ed at the start of my career. He was passionate about his job and a kind and gentle mentor. He was respected by his coworkers and the newsmakers he covered. It’s difficult to single out a specific single story about Ed because he was just so good at everything. He could walk in the radio station with his notepad and sit down immediately and do an entire live newscast using only those notes. His live election coverage was as good as any at any level. And he was an entertaining partner for all the on-air music hosts. But mostly I will remember Ed as a good friend who took pleasure in announcing the births of my two daughters, was a passionate and caring Little League coach, and shared his knowledge and skills generously while mentoring his less-experienced coworkers.” – Jim Brandt, former Operations Manager at The Valley WVLI 92.7

“Ed was a wonderful guy. Whenever we met, our favorite topic was employees. We agreed leadership & guidance was best served by allowing people to find their own way. Mistakes are the seeds of skill & knowledge. I remember him saying: “micromanaging people is a fool’s errand”. Radio was missing him long before he left us.”

MICKEY MILNER, FOUNDER OF MILNER MEDIA IN BOURBONNAIS.

“You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in local radio who had the opportunity to work with Ed Munday at WKAN who wasn’t influenced, mentored or inspired by him. Ed set the local standard for journalistic integrity. Ed’s contributions to WKAN and the community are beyond measure. He was a true radio professional, a ready wit, and a genuine human being. When I worked mornings with him, his energy and attitude made each air shift a joy. He left an indelible impression on WKAN and on local radio.” – Dave Becker, Sales Department at STARadio Corp. and former co-worker of Munday.

“I never met Ed, but his name was mentioned with incredible regard and respect during my time at WKAN. This was true especially of those who worked most closely with him, but also among his colleagues in the community and those whose lives intersected his – and that’s a lot of people.”

JOHNATHON ELTREVOOG, MORNING SHOW HOST AT WBGL

Ed Munday, valued community member and broadcasting legend, died Monday in Florida. He was 77.

Shane Saathoff
Shane Saathoffhttp://www.SocialSnowball.com
An active writer for two decades, Shane's focuses on local news and events throughout the area, Shane is an active historian, science nerd, and tech geek. Shane is a native of Bourbonnais, IL, and alumni of Olivet Nazarene University.

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