Jim Wyman Photo

Longtime WSPY News Reporter Jim Wyman receives an Illinois Broadcasters Association "Silver Dome Award". (WSPY File Photo)

He had that mischievous smile, his eyes sparkling when he arrived in the WSPY newsroom or entering a local governmental meeting.

Wyman passed away on Sunday, January 9, 2022 at the age of 73. 

His voice was deep and loud. Some said “he didn’t even need a microphone to tell a story.” Wyman joined WSPY in 1976, working for four years as sports director. Balancing a successful career as a teacher, he would again work part-time for the station in news and as an announcer from 1986 until his death.

With Wyman, he would dig and dig for story information, even if it meant asking the hard and sometimes uncomfortable questions to get to the real truth. That made some of his interviewees squirm.

Behind the scenes at the water cooler, Jim Wyman could analyze a public meeting, read the elected officials and know their trends, analyze it all, and predict with great accuracy what would happen in the future. At the end of the day, while he earned the reputation as “The Bulldog” for his ability to push to the limit, he kept a good relationship with those same public officials and vowed to treat them fairly and tell the “good stories” along with those that shined with a dimmer light.

Kendall County Board Vice Chairwoman and Animal Control Committee Chairwoman Amy Cesich was one of those officials that Wyman often spoke with.

While Wyman started and ended his career with broadcasting, he was a teacher for 26 years at William Fremd High School in Palatine, responsible for English, journalism, debate, speech, and more. Jim told the story of one administrator who didn’t like a news story planned by the student newspaper. Wyman, the faculty advisor, stood by his students and held stubbornly firm, schooling the officials on First Amendment Rights calling for Freedom of the Press, even at a young age. That story led to sustainable change in the district.

In an interview at his alma mater Western Illinois University (class of 1971) last year Wyman talked about his career with Associate Dean Dr. William "Buzz" Hoon.

Wyman had been selected Newscaster of the Year in medium market radio by the Illinois Broadcasters Association, including Best Hard News Story three straight years, and Best Radio News Reporter for a medium market in 2018.

Before WSPY, Jim Wyman was a country DJ at the powerful WGIL-FM that later became the 50,000-watt giant WAAG in Galesburg. He served on-air for five years, starting in 1971. His interviews included Conway Twitty, Mickey Gilley, Waylon Jennings and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Wyman always had a love for music. As a teenager and in his years at WIU, he played electric organ in Crystal Lake area rock bands Aristotle and The Animal Crackers, The Rooks, The Jades, and The Remains.

He kept roots in the Galesburg, Sandwich, and Crystal Lake areas for most of his life, even playing a part in former news director Tyler Bachman finding his way from that same Galesburg radio family back to the Fox Valley.

In his later years, Jim often spoke of what made him most happy in life: his two granddaughters. He always reserved afternoons during the week to read aloud or assist elementary students and in the WSPY newsroom, he had his granddaughters' pictures and art drawings near his desk.

It’s not a very happy time in the newsroom at WSPY. However, we will always remember the legacy of Jim Wyman, not just as a news reporter, but as a friend, family man, and rockstar who changed our lives for the better.

We leave this final sign off for Jim.

You can hear WSPY Reporter Mark Harrington and former WSPY News Director Tyler Bachman tell this special story, here: 

View Wyman's full interview with Western Illinois University about his career, here: 

View Wyman's online obituary, here: