Stew Cohen - Alumni | CMCMA | SIU

Southern Illinois University

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Stew Cohen

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B.S., Radio and Television, 1976

News Director WZSR-FM and WFXF-FM

I am originally from Morton Grove, Illinois 

In 2014, I celebrated 40 years in radio, mostly as news director of suburban radio stations. I can't tell you how many thousands of newscasts I've written and anchored since 1974 when I went on-air for the very first time at WIDB Radio on the campus of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.  By the time I graduated from SIU in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science in Radio-TV, I had gained experience at WIDB, WSIU Radio, WCIL-AM and the Daily Egyptian as a student writer.  I had majored in the radio portion of Radio-TV and minored in journalism.  After the graduation ceremonies, on the long ride home to Morton Grove, Illinois, I wondered whether I would find a professional radio position. 

I assessed my educational experience at SIU as I wrote my resume and filled it with valuable classes and experience at several radio stations. The radio news writing, radio and TV production, and radio broadcast laws were among the very helpful classes that gave me a chance to compete for broadcast positions around the country.  I found out about WYEN, a north suburban radio station by luck but earned the position of news anchor by showing the owner I could read news fairly well. This gave me the start I'd hoped would come. Some 40 years later, I wrote my first book, The WYEN Experience on my experiences in college radio and how I performed in news broadcasting at WYEN.  I also wrote about other well-known broadcasters working at the same Des Plaines station. Over the years, I've received dozens of wire service awards for documentaries, features, news, and continuing series.  Working in radio on-air has drawn the attention of schools in the northwest Chicago suburbs where I talk about radio and read books to children.  This type of pay it forward has been especially gratifying.  I thank SIU and its Radio-TV Department in Communications for exposing me to the basics of broadcasting that has served well all these years.