WLS host Don Wade comes out of surgery ‘really well’
Roma and Don Wade
As WLS-AM (890) morning star Don Wade was recovering at home from brain surgery, he and his wife, Roma, could take an added measure of comfort from an unexpected source — the Arbitron ratings.
In figures released Monday for the period from August 16 to September 12, the Cumulus Media news/talk station ranked No. 1 in morning drive (from 6 to 10am weekdays). The first-place finish and 7.0 percent share among listeners age 12 and older was the best performance by Don Wade & Roma in more than four years, according to WLS executives. Not bad for the longest running morning team in Chicago radio.
Don Wade, 71, underwent surgery Thursday to remove a growth from his brain. “The surgery went as expected and Don came out of it really well,” said the Wades’ agent, Eliot Ephraim. “We’re awaiting the results of tests and that will determine what’s next.”
By Saturday — just two days after the operation — he was released from the hospital, prompting Roma Wade to text Ephraim with the message: “It’s great to have him home!” To minimize the risk of infection, the Wades were directed by doctors not to allow visitors for several weeks. “So they’re just going to kind of sequester at home,” Ephraim said.
Since news of the surgery was made public last week, WLS has been inundated with get-well messages for the 30-year Chicago radio veteran. More than 3,000 emails and “hundreds of cards” have been logged, with additional messages arriving daily. (The station has an email account at: email@example.com.) Calling the outpouring “beyond loving,” WLS operations director Drew Hayes said: “What they show is that Don has touched them not just as a radio guy but as a person, as a human being. It’s amazing.”
Every one of the messages will be shared with the Wades. “It’s been a whirlwind for Roma thus far, so she hasn’t had time to read them yet,” Ephraim said. “But she told me she fully intends to go through every last message.”
Continuing to fill in for the Wades from 5 to 9am weekdays are Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft, while Jake Hartford and Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass are subbing for Wolf and Proft from 9 to 11am.