WFMT-FM Chicago reports that long-time Program Director Norman Pellegrini died July 2nd. Pellegrini, who retired from the Classical station in 1996, was 79.
“No one in WFMT’s 58 year history had more influence on WFMT’s sound, style and programming than Norm Pellegrini, and he shaped that sound every day for the nearly 45 years he worked as our program director,” said General Manager Steve Robinson. “Over the decades, many have admired and praised the station’s programming for its diversity, richness, breadth and integrity. All of those elements, and so much more, are Norm’s legacy, and we honor him today and every day by our devotion to maintaining the standards he set so high. He will be missed,” Robinson said.
Pellegrini hosted WFMT’s nationally syndicated Lyric Opera broadcasts in partnership with Lois Baum, and then Lisa Flynn, beginning in 1971 with a performance of Rossini’s Semiramide. He also hosted broadcasts by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, beginning in 1976 and continuing into the 1990s. Listeners will also remember Pellegrini as host of WFMT’s Midnight Special for many years.
A memorial service at Mayfair Lutheran Church in Chicago is set for July 18th, which would have been Pellegrini’s 80th birthday.