WZND announced nine Illinois State University alumni will be inducted into the prestigious Illinois State University Broadcast Hall of Fame. The induction will be at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 9 at the Uptown Normal Marriot Hotel and Conference Center in Normal, Illinois. These individuals are being inducted for their exemplary work in the field of broadcast.
Hall of Fame Class of 2022:
Mark Grote ’95
A true icon in Chicago sports radio, Mark Grote will forever be known as one of the voices narrating both the 2016 Chicago Cubs and 2005 Chicago White Sox World Series championship runs, and he has the rings to prove it. Grote’s career goes well beyond the diamond, having spent time covering the Bears, Blackhawks, and NCAA basketball tournaments. Grote is no stranger to Central Illinoisans, either, having spent time at WMBD in Peoria, WVAX in Lincoln, and WMAY in Springfield.
Katie Neal ’12
A Central Illinois native, Katie Neal wasted no time achieving career success after her time at Illinois State. Shortly after graduation, she packed her bags for New York City, where she would go on to host middays at New York’s Country 94.7. A Gracie Award winner from the Alliance for Women in Media, Neal is now the host of nationally syndicated “Katie and Company,” heard on country stations coast to coast. Katie is originally from Peoria.
Keith Porter ’86 ’91
With a career beginning at several local stations, Keith Porter got his big break as the co-host and producer of Common Ground, a weekly world affairs program syndicated to more than 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 have gone on to share morning airwaves for more than 30 years. Since arriving in the Quad Cities in 1990, Dwyer and Michaels have achieved both critical and ratings success, ranked as the top morning show in at least one demographic during every ratings period and surpassing a 30 share multiple times. Now syndicated in additional markets, Dwyer and Michaels continue to entertain listeners across the Midwest.
John Siuntres ’88
A pioneer in the world of online content delivery with the Word Balloon Podcast, John Siuntres’s work has been seen and heard by millions of people during a career that spans five different decades. Whether it be from boxing coverage, your favorite Chicago radio commercial, a news report on WBBM, or his podcast, this Emmy-nominated legend’s many voices are known to listeners around the world.
Meredith Wilken ’01
After getting her start in radio at B-104 in Bloomington and later WNDV in South Bend, Indiana; Meredith Wilken has spent two decades as a listener favorite in Salt Lake City. As Assistant Program Director for KODJ, Wilken has been waking up listeners with her husband AJ since 2012. Living a true broadcaster’s ethos, Wilken serves on a committee for Make-A-Wish Utah and has also participated in the annual SLC Making Strides Against Breast 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 achieved top ratings in every market he’s been on the air. 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 several 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 across multiple platforms, Zack Nechvatal is the hands-on creative point for major Chicago station brands, live concerts, Lollapalooza backstage content, events, and arena shows like the B96 Jingle Bash. Professionally, Nechvatal is most proud of his involvement with the St. Jude Radiothon, raising over $750,000 annually. As the Regional Director of Creative & Marketing Operations at Audacy, Nechvatal works with his team to inspire excellence and encourage others to follow their passion.
The Illinois State University Broadcast Hall of Fame began in April 2016. Alumni of the Illinois State University television and radio programs are chosen for extraordinary performance and leadership in their careers as well as service to their communities. Special consideration is also given to individuals with exemplary service to the 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 individuals.
Those with questions can contact Deb Lesser (309) 438-7409.