LEONARD WILL RETIRES AFTER NEARLY TWO DECADES AT WKSU
NEWSMAN WORKED AT WERE, LAUNCHED WCPN DURING 44-YEAR CAREER
Tuesday December 19, 2006
For immediate release
Contact: Robert J. Burford, WKSU
For almost 20 years, Leonard Will has offered a wake-up call to Northeast Ohio as local host of WKSU's broadcast of "Morning Edition" from National Public Radio (NPR). Following his 45 min. commute to arrive at the WKSU broadcast center in Kent at 4 a.m. each Monday through Friday, Will adds regional stories and headlines to NPR's award-winning program, providing Northeast Ohio with up-to-the-minute engaging news. Will's instantly recognizable deep baritone helped earn WKSU the title Best News Operation in Ohio from the Ohio SPJ in 2006.
On Friday, Jan. 12, Will steps down from his hosting duties at WKSU after 18 years of service to the station. Will came on board at WKSU in 1988, where he also acted as news director for 3 ½ years. He has worked as a radio journalist in Ohio and around the world since 1963, earning a place in the Ohio AP Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Press Club of Cleveland's Press Club Journalism Hall of Fame. Current "Your Way Home" host Renita Jablonski trades dusk for dawn as she assumes the "Morning Edition" hosting chair on Jan. 15.
Will began his journalism career following a 1962 honorable discharge from the U. S. Army Security Agency, where he served in Germany as a Russian voice transcriber. His first radio job was as a newscaster at WLEC in Sandusky, Ohio in 1963. Will returned to Germany in 1966 as a freelance correspondent, covering a number of major stories for the Mutual Broadcasting System and ABC News that included the kidnapping and murders of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. At the end of 1972, Will and his family returned to Ohio where he worked as a reporter/newscaster for WERE "People Power Talkradio" in Cleveland. He left the following year for Iowa to help build and format one of the nation's first fully-automated music stations.
Will returned to WERE as the station switched formats from talk to all news in 1975. Initially, he was the editor/producer of the daily five-hour morning drive news block but soon was assigned greater responsibility – rising to news director, program director, and finally operations manager. In 1983, he was approached by members of the Board of Trustees of Cleveland Public Radio and offered the job of general manager for a yet-to-be-established public radio station in Cleveland. Will accepted and was charged with building a new radio operation that became WCPN – from construction and equipping of the broadcast facility to determining the station's format and hiring the staff.
Two years after the station was up and running, Will left WCPN to return to the on-air side of broadcasting with the 1986 launch of "Ohio Portfolio," a weekly business program that he produced and hosted on WKSU through 1991. Along with airing on WKSU, "Ohio Portfolio" was also distributed to other public radio stations in Ohio. He joined the WKSU news staff in 1988. Will lives with his wife, Wilma, in Pepper Pike.
WKSU broadcasts NPR & Classical Music at 89.7 FM, and is a service of Kent State University. WKSU programming is also heard on WKRW 89.3 FM in Wooster, WKRJ 91.5 FM in Dover/New Philadelphia, WKSV 89.1 FM in Thompson, WNRK 90.7 in Norwalk, W298BA 107.5 FM in Boardman, and W239AZ 95.7 FM in Ashland. The WKSU web site is www.wksu.org.
PR06.28 ### 12/19/06
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