Bulldogs come back: Wendy Snyder visits Clarion


Hailey Paisker

Wendy Snyder from WGN Radio visits with the Clarion newspaper staff on Friday, September 22.

Sam Reich, Staff Reporter

Wendy Snyder is an award-winning Chicago radio host with over 30 years of experience. Snyder was recently recognized with the RBHS Alumni Achievement Award. She graduated from Riverside Brookfield High School in 1981, and went on to Triton College to earn an Associate of Arts Degree in Mass Communications with a Minor in Journalism. Snyder’s awards include the 2015 Silver Dome Award for Best Feature Story (Illinois Broadcasters Association), the 2014 Silver Dome Award for Best Midday Show (Illinois Broadcasters Association), and the 2002 Air Award Winner for Best Midday Show (March of Dimes).

On Friday, September 22, Snyder met with both Clarion newspaper classes in a wide-ranging interview. She talked about how coming back to RB was exciting and about why she was thrilled to be back in the building after so many years away.

“I was excited to get back here. I loved my time at RB, so it was pretty cool coming back,” Snyder said.

During her time as a Bulldog, Snyder served as class president and as an office aid. Freshman and sophomore year, Snyder was in varsity basketball until she blew out her knee and could not continue playing. Finding her way around RBHS proved to be a challenge after 36 years.

“It has changed dramatically. It’s like a country club or a shopping mall. When I went here the main entrance was on Ridgewood. I tried to find my oold locker, but that was in the old typing hall. I don’t even know where that is. I can’t really find my way around,” Snyder said.

Before officially starting her career in radio, Snyder knew it was what she wanted to do.

“In junior high, my friends would have a party, and they’d have their records. I would pretend I was the DJ, and I would do all the music for the night. I loved it!” said Snyder.

After graduating RB, she went on to Triton Community College. At Triton, she hosted weekly radio shows on their station, WRRG Radio 88.9 FM. Her first show at Triton was for Everybody wants to be a DJ week. Snyder thinks back to her time on the show.

Everybody wants to be a DJ week allowed you to go in for a 2 hour show. My friend and I went and probably didn’t sound very good, but we enjoyed it! That’s when I knew I had to be on the radio. I loved to talk, I loved music, so let’s get paid for it!” said Snyder.

Snyder has not been in any other fields besides radio after graduating. Snyder’s first job was at a station engineering and doing board for a polka show, a Croatian talk show, and Christian music.

“It wasn’t really that fun of a job, but it gave me experience and I knew what I wanted to do. I had all these stepping stones and then I started at the Loop,” Snyder said.

At the Loop, Snyder first went in for a weekend interview, and then an on-air audition introducing songs. After six years, Howard Stern came and Snyder began doing news updates and inserts until eventually she began to co-host with her current partner, Bill Leff. Eventually, after 10 years together at the Loop, Snyder and Leff parted ways.

“After the Loop, I worked at Q101 and then I couldn’t find a job for a while. I had been working with my partner, Bill Leff, and we had previously gone our separate ways, and we couldn’t find a job together. So I took jobs that I didn’t love,” Snyder said.

After a while of working small jobs at different stations, Snyder’s old bosses from the Loop were at WGN and offered her an opportunity to do a show with her old partner, Leff. Snyder agreed and has now been at WGN for six years. Her current show airs from 10am to noon on WGN 720 am, and then goes to an online stream, called the Bill and Wendy Bonus Hour.