Obituary: Jim Unrath, WFMT classical music host and producer, 78

Posted on: June 1, 2015

“To generations of listeners, Jim Unrath was a familiar voice on classical music WFMT-FM 98.7,” writes Robert Feder in Sunday’s (5/31) Chicago Tribune. “Unrath, whose career spanned 40 years at Chicago’s fine arts station, died May 24 in Stockton, Calif., at 78. He had been recovering from surgery to remove his spleen when he suffered heart failure, according to Lois Baum, a longtime friend and colleague at WFMT. In a 2011 interview with author Sydney Lewis, [Studs] Terkel’s former assistant, Unrath described working with Terkel as ‘magical.’ ‘I didn’t know the magic as we were doing it; we just did it. I thought every genius is like Studs.… We just did it, and it worked very well,’ Unrath said…. In addition to his work as an announcer and producer, Unrath served as operations manager, music director and morning host over the years. When WFMT expanded to 24-hour broadcasting in the late 1960s, he was the first host of the overnight show. Unrath is survived by a sister, Marilyn Kerlikher.”

Posted June 1, 2015