Dean Richards (reporter)

Dean Richards (born March 31, 1954) is an American film critic and entertainment reporter for WGN-TV and a longtime radio host for WGN (AM) in Chicago.

Dean Richards
Richards in 2012
Born (1954-03-31) March 31, 1954
Alma materColumbia College Chicago
OccupationFilm Critic/Entertainment Reporter at WGN-TV
Radio Host at WGN (AM)
Years active1975-present

Early life and education

Now living on Chicago's northwest side, Richards is a native of Chicago's South Shore and West Beverly neighborhoods, Richards graduated from Columbia College Chicago.[1][2]

Professional career

Richards began his career in radio in 1975, holding a variety of jobs in Chicago at stations like WLTD (now WCGO), WMRO and WAUR, Aurora; WFYR (now WKSC-FM), WCFL (now WMVP), WIND (AM) and WCLR.[3] In 1984, he also did voiceover work for WPWR-TV Channel 60. From 1985 until 1990, he doubled as operations manager and morning host at the Satellite Music Network, which was based in Chicago's southwest suburbs.[3]

In 1990, Richards joined WNUA in Chicago as a weekend and substitute radio host.[3] In May 1991, Richards remained at WNUA, but took a job as a staff announcer at WGN-TV.[4]

In July 1991, Richards was promoted to become WNUA's morning host after its previous morning host, Yvonne Daniels, died.[3] In the summer of 1994, Richards' contract was not renewed at WNUA.[5] Almost immediately after leaving WNUA, Richards became a fill-in radio host at WGN (AM) in Chicago. In December 1994, the station gave him a Sunday afternoon program of his own.[6]

In the spring of 1995, Richards was promoted to become WGN's production director, primarily overseeing production of radio commercials.[7][8] By October 1995, Richards was given a Saturday afternoon shift at WGN as well.[9]

In 1998, Richards successfully persuaded Chicago officials to rename a portion of Addison Street in Chicago near the WGN-TV studios after Bob Bell, who had played Bozo the Clown on WGN-TV from 1960 until 1984.[10]

In January 1999, Richards debuted as a Sunday morning radio host on WGN.[11] In January 2000, Richards began delivering weekly theater reviews on noon newscasts WGN-TV in Chicago.[12] At the time, Richards was also a part of the regular rotation of hosts of Illinois Lottery drawings, which take place at the WGN-TV studios.

In 2001, Richards switched to delivering his weekly theater reviews on WGN-TV's morning newscasts.[13] In 2004, Richards began covering show business for WGN-TV, including conducting hundreds of celebrity interviews.[14] In January 2010, Richards' production duties were cut at WGN-AM radio.[15]

Mel Gibson incident

On January 29, 2010, WGN-TV aired an interview that Richards conducted with actor Mel Gibson via a remote feed about his new movie, Edge of Darkness, and then queried Gibson about how the public perceives him, given his noted drunken outburst and anti-Semitic rant while being arrested in 2006. The line of questioning annoyed Gibson, who told Richards, "That's almost four years ago, dude. I mean, I've moved on. I guess you haven't." After the interview, Gibson—unaware that the camera was still rolling and that he was still on air—took a sip of coffee and used the term "asshole," presumably directed at Richards. Gibson and his publicist both later claimed that the remark was directed at Gibson's publicist; a remark later proven false by insiders who were in the studio with Gibson at the time.[16]


Since joining WGN-AM, Richards has won over 30 local and national awards for programming and production.[1]


In September 2007, Richards faced a cancer scare when he had his thyroid gland removed.[17] Richards has been a long-time supporter of Gilda's Club, a support organization for cancer survivors founded by Gene Wilder, the husband of comedian Gilda Radner. Since the early 2000s he has given over one week of his radio show a year to support the organization and to share with and tell the stories of Gilda's Club members.


  2. Richards, Dean (2007-03-09). "'One of the best of the year' - Dean's review of '300.'". WGN Morning News Blog. Archived from the original on 2010-12-22. External link in |publisher= (help)
  3. Feder, Robert (July 23, 1991). "Richards inherits Daniels' radio job". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 39.
  4. Feder, Robert (May 9, 1991). "TV's 'vast wasteland' still turns off Minow". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 53.
  5. Feder, Robert (August 2, 1994). "Richards inherits Daniels' radio job". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 33.
  6. Feder, Robert (August 2, 1994). "B-96, Channel 26: TV Dance Partners". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 31.
  7. Feder, Robert (April 13, 1995). "Jackie Bange's Star Rises Again at WGN". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 31.
  8. Feder, Robert (September 9, 1998). "City may again hear Murphy in the morning". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 47.
  9. Feder, Robert (October 3, 1995). "Shock Jock Stern Returns Via WJJD". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 39.
  10. Feder, Robert (March 25, 1998). "'Bob Bell Way' fits Bozo's shoes just fine". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 57.
  11. Feder, Robert (January 1, 1999). "'Bob Bell Way' fits Bozo's shoes just fine". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 39.
  12. Feder, Robert (January 20, 2000). "Channel 50 promotes fight against AIDS". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 39.
  13. Feder, Robert (April 5, 2002). "Ch. 2 bosses agree: MacLennan's the one". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 51.
  14. Feder, Robert (March 16, 2007). "WGN bosses confirm afternoon switcheroo". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 53.
  15. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-26. Retrieved 2010-02-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. "Topic Galleries". Chicago Tribune.
  17. Feder, Robert (October 25, 2007). "Now it's personal - Richards brings his own experience to cancer awareness special on WGN". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 53.
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