Chicago broadcaster Bob Ramsey passed away suddenly at age 65

Bob Ramsey
Bob Ramsey

Retired Chicago broadcaster and Southern Illinois University alum Bob Ramsey passed away suddenly at age 65 on Tuesday at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California at age 65.

According to friends, Ramsey succumbed to complications while awaiting a liver transplant, Robert Feder reported

After graduating from Southern Illinois University in 1979, Ramsey started his career as a sports anchor in Terra Haute, Indiana, and spent 17 years working for Tribune Broadcasting stations. He first came to Chicago in 1998 as program director of WGN and later was promoted to vice president and station manager. At SIU Ramsey was active in the Radio-Television Department.  He served as Student News Director and Student Sports Director for WSIU-TV and Radio. 

Ramsey worked with Chicago based Tribune Broadcasting for 17 years, the last eight as Vice President and General Manager for Tribune’s Sacramento and San Diego stations.  He also served as station manager at flagship WGN-TV in Chicago.

In a statement Thursday, WGN officials said: “Bob Ramsey was an amazing director of programming and then station manager. A lifelong Sox fan, he was truly one of Chicago’s Very Own. We were shocked and saddened to hear the news of his passing.”

After leaving WGN in 2002, Ramsey worked at KSWB in San Diego and KTXL in Sacramento before settling into his last professional position as Executive Vice President at Weigel Broadcasting and general manager of WCIU-Channel 26 in 2011. 

Two years later he was promoted to executive vice president of local media, overseeing broadcast operations in Chicago, Milwaukee and South Bend.

In 2015 Ramsey stepped down from the company and out of the business. He credited working with Weigel Broadcasting chairman Norman Shapiro and vice chairman Neal Sabin as a career highlight.

“The fun thing about my job is I work with a bunch of teams and have my hands in a lot of different projects,” Ramsey said. “Neal comes up with the ideas, Norm comes up with the plan, and we execute it. It’s been an awful lot of fun.”

Bob Ramsey spent some of his retirement living in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico before relocating to California prior to his death and was a philanthropist who supported many charity organizations. 

Dean Richards, entertainment reporter for WGN said, “He was a really smart, top television professional but such a nice guy, great sense of humor, and he was, you know, as a South sider, he and his family all were big WGN fans and there wasn’t a day when I would come into the TV station and I haven’t been on the radio the day before and he wouldn’t tell me what everybody on WGN was talking about doing. He was a huge huge fan so rest in peace to our friend Bob Ramsey and condolences to his family.” 

WGN-9’s Bob Vorwald shared his thoughts about Ramsey’s passing on Twitter

Blogger Tdog media also shared condolences

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest film, TV, advertising, entertainment and production news! Sign up for our free elert here.

Nominate Someone You know For 4th Annual REEL WOMEN