Alumni Spotlight: Chuck Schaden, class 6/52

Chuck Schaden

Chuck Schaden, class 6/52
Charles Leroy “Chuck” Schaden, born June 29, 1934, is a Chicago-area broadcaster and historian who hosted the program Those Were the Days on local radio from 1970 to 2009.

Schaden played recordings of classic old-time radio shows and reminisces with radio personalities about the early days of broadcasting. The program first aired on WLTD in Evanston in 1970 and then moved to WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 to 2001, and since 2001 it has been heard on WDCB 90.9 FM, a public radio station in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

For his efforts in preserving and documenting radio history he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1993, the first radio fan to receive this honor. A former newspaper editor and marketing executive, he turned his hobby into a vocation and would draw inspiration from a collection of more than 50,000 vintage broadcasts to prepare his programs.

As a founding member of the Board of Directors of Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications, he is the Midwest’s leading radio historian and a resource for public libraries, metropolitan daily and community newspapers, and colleges and universities throughout the country. He has provided archive materials to the Library of American Broadcasting at the University of Maryland and is an active member of the First Generation Radio Archives, an organization devoted to preserving radio’s past.

On October 9, 2006, he became the new host of the nationally syndicated When Radio Was! series, replacing Stan Freberg (who had hosted the show since 1995). His first show for When Radio Was! was “A Salute to Stan Freberg.” Chuck stepped down as host of this series in October 2007, with XM Satellite Radio’s Greg Bell taking over the program beginning with the broadcast of October 8. The program was heard in more than 200 markets from coast-to-coast.

Schaden is the founding editor and publisher of the Nostalgia Digest and author of WBBM Radio: Yesterday and Today, and he also wrote The Cinnamon Bear Book (1987) and Speaking of Radio: Chuck Schaden’s Conversations with the Stars of the Golden Age of Radio (1998).

Chuck retired in June of 2009, after nearly four decades of producing and broadcasting his Those Were the Days old-time radio show. After more than 2,000 Saturdays, radio broadcaster, historian and Radio Hall of Fame member Schaden left the broadcasting booth at WDCB 90.9-FM 90.9, the public radio station at the College of DuPage.

His final show, broadcasted from the Morton Grove Civic Center, was on June 27, 2009, just two days before his 75th birthday. Mr. Schaden currently resides in Morton Grove, Illinois, where he lives in retirement with his wife of 50-plus years, Ellen.

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