Legendary radio Program Director, General Manager, and industry leader, John Gehron, has been named IBA’s (Illinois Broadcasters Association) 2022 “W. Russell Withers Jr. Chicago Broadcast Pioneer.”
Gehron began his broadcast career in Philadelphia as Program Director of CBS’s WCAU-FM (now WOGL) in 1970, the first major market radio station to try the “oldies” format. The format’s success led to Gehron’s 1972 transfer to WCBS-FM in New York in 1972 and then on to Chicago in 1974 where he would begin his historic run as Program Director and (later) General Manager of “the Big 89,” WLS-AM.
With his legacy at WLS in stone, Gehron would go on create a national standard for the “smooth jazz” format while at Chicago’s WNUA-FM, followed with senior officer and COO titles at American Radio and Infinity Broadcasting, including the role of Senior Vice President of Programming for all of Infinity/CBS. An opportunity to be Regional Vice President and Market Manager for Clear Channel Chicago’s seven stations and in 2006 he became General Manager of the newly formed Harpo Radio, hired by Oprah Winfrey to build an XM satellite channel named “Oprah and Friends.”
In 2009 Gheron put his years of experience to work when forming his consulting company Broadcast Wisdom and in 2010 became COO and later Chairman (a title he holds yet today) for AccuRadio, one of the leading internet radio companies. A past Chairman of IBA’s board of directors, Gehron is currently Chairman of IBA’s Foundation Board of Trustees.
“I’ve been fortunate to have spent over 40 years in Chicago radio,” remarked Gehron upon learning of the award. “I’m honored that the IBA board has chosen me for the IBA/W. Russell Withers, Jr Chicago Broadcasting Pioneer Award.”
“John is a legend to anyone and everyone who appreciates the medium of radio,” suggests Dennis Lyle, president & CEO of IBA. “His understanding of radio, and perhaps more importantly, radio’s audiences, allowed him to master the art of programming and provide a roadmap for generations of future programmers. A true “Broadcast Pioneer” indeed!”
Gehron will accept his award and be honored opening night of IBA’s annual conference, October 24-25 in Normal, IL