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WZND Broadcast Hall of Fame honors alumni

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Illinois State's student radio station is celebrating its 35th anniversary celebration.

WZND, Illinois State University’s student radio station, will unveil the new Broadcast Hall of Fame on April 9, in honor of the 35th WZND Reunion.

The Broadcast Hall of Fame will be inducting an inaugural class of nine. The inductees include the following Illinois State University and School of Communication Alumni: Chris Rongey, Joe Zydlo, Mark Hill, Mike Bucek, Mark Bruker, Deb Lesser, Rafe Sampson, Rob Kass and Caryn Lee.

Rongey ’99, ’01, is known for his work as an announcer and anchor on WSCR 670 The Score in Chicago. Rongey is a veteran in Chicago sports media, and has spent over a decade broadcasting Chicago White Sox games as both a studio host and play-by-play announcer. His career is highlighted by calling the only game with zero attendance in Major League Baseball history when riots in Baltimore forced the Orioles and White Sox to play in an empty stadium.

Zydlo ’93, is a senior vice president of MSW Marketing in St. Louis. Zydlo has carved out a career with extraordinary accomplishments in both broadcasting and public relations. As a former assistant sports director at WZND, Zydlo has been heard on Missouri Valley Conference television broadcasts since 2008 and was named East Coast Hockey League Broadcaster of the Year in 2002.

Hill, WZND/WGLT chief engineer, has over three decades of service to WZND, WGLT, and the Illinois State University School of Communication. Hill is a legend in both the university and broadcast engineering communities. He served as State Emergency Communications Committee regional chairman and was recognized as a member of the ISU College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Civil Service Staff in 2007.

Bucek ’82, is a management all-star in Major League Baseball. Bucek has served as the vice president for marketing and business development for the Kansas City Royals since 2009. He was instrumental in helping the Royals set franchise attendance records and corporate sponsorship benchmarks. Previous to working with the Royals, Bucek spent time with the Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Indy Racing League, and the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes.

Bruker ’85, ’87, is a veteran of the advertising industry. Bruker received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Illinois State University. Bruker is a creative director and partner at Ogilvy and Mather Advertising in Chicago, where he works with television, radio, print, and digital advertising. His career highlights include working with celebrities including Ice T, Charles Barkley, Owen Wilson, and Norm Macdonald.

Lesser, WZND faculty advisor and ISU director of radio, has over 30 years of both leadership and love. Lesser was able to bring WZND to national prominence and cement a legacy of excellence for the Illinois State University radio program. In addition to being named National College Media Advisor of the Year, Lesser has a long list of awards from Illinois State University, including Outstanding University Teacher, Professor of the Year, the Distinguished Service Award and RSO Advisor of the Year twice.

Sampson ’82, has echoed throughout the Chicagoland media market and beyond for decades. As an accomplished voice artist and audio producer, Sampson founded his own media company, Sampson Media, in 2001. In addition to his own audio work, Sampson has spent time teaching voicework, radio programming, and audio production to aspiring broadcasters.

Kass ’97, is a Nielsen veteran with strong radio roots. Kass plays a lead role in setting strategy and direction for clients as Vice President of Digital Audio for Nielsen. Prior to his work with Nielsen, Kass spent time at CBS Radio in Chicago (B96) and at Radio Bloomington. Rob also holds a graduate degree from Roosevelt University, where he graduated with honors, and is a member of Nielsen’s North American Leadership Forum.

Lee ’94, is regional director of Promotions for Interscope Records. Lee has been a leader an innovator in the music community for two decades. Lee’s career also saw her work with Dreamworks and Warner Brothers Records, and she has helped promote music from award-winning artists, including Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, and Earth Wind and Fire. Lee entered the music industry after working in radio for several years, most notably at WGCI in Chicago.

For additional information on the honorees, contact WZND Public Relations Director Ashlie Fleming or Public Relations Assistant Director Peyton Taylor at (309) 438-5485,
or pr@wznd.com.

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