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WGN-AM picks up a 2009 Marconi

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While some listeners would argue that change has not been good for Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720), now the station's General Manager Tom Langmyer can just point to the 2009 Marconi Radio Award for best news/talk radio station to help silence his critics. Langmyer picked up WGN's award at a ceremony Thursday in Philadelphia. The Marconi Awards are handed out annually to honor excellence at radio stations and among on-air radio personalities.

WGN's 2009 Marconi Award comes after a period earlier this year when the station made a number of changes in its on-air talent lineup to help give the station an edgier profile. The changes, which upset a number of the station's longtime listeners, included the abrupt departure of mid-morning personalities Judy Markey and Kathy O'Malley.

The 2009 Marconi win is by no means WGN's first. In fact, the latest win marks the 10th time since the Marconi Awards were first presented in 1989 that WGN has been a recipient of one. The last win came as recently as 2007, when WGN was named major market station of the year.

For the thousands of fans who undoubtedly miss them, we're sure it's been much too long since Kathy O'Malley and Judy Markey were unceremoniously dumped from their mid-morning show on Tribune Co.-owned news/talk WGN-AM (720). But here's a chance for their loyal supporters to reunite with the beloved radio hosts. On Wednesday, Aug. 19, Ann Sather Restaurant at 909 W. Belmont Ave., will host "A Visit with Kathy & Judy." It's a benefit for the Broadway Youth Center of the Howard Brown Health Center, and a chance for well wishers and loyal listeners to meet and greet the former WGN radio team.

The get-together at Ann Sather is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will include light refreshments and a buffet of a variety of Ann Sather specialities. The cost is $20 per person, and advance reservations are required. The number to call is 773-348-2378. The Broadway Youth Center, located at 3179 N. Broadway, offers social and support groups, housing and job placement assistance and performance classes, among other things, to all youth 24 and under.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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