WNIR Iconic Host Howie Chizek Dead After Heart Attack

UPDATE 6/16/12 11:25 PM: WNIR president Bob Klaus tells WEWS “NewsChannel 5”:

“We have lost a great friend very saddened by it as are thousands of people in Northeast Ohio who spent hours and hours and years and years listening to Howie.”


MediaCom Akron market talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron” midday host Howie Chizek has died, according to station weekend host Bob Earley tonight on the air.

Earley says Chizek apparently died of a heart attack on an airplane headed for Florida, on one of the regular trips he hosts to Disney World for a group of children.

Howie Chizek has occupied the midday shift on 100.1 before it was WNIR, since at least 1974 – when your Primary Editorial Voice ™ started listening in our pre-teenage years when it was “WKNT, AM and FM, Kent, Ohio”…still playing adult contemporary music outside the hours occupied by the talk show hosted by Chizek, who came from WBBW/1240 in Youngstown.

The station would, by 1981 or so, fully adopt the talk format.

Just Friday, a day before his death, we heard Howie once again tell his audience that his program was the longest running talk radio show at the same station in America…running some four decades.

We had no idea on Friday that the streak would end with his death the following day.

Those who haven’t heard a second of Howie Chizek doing talk radio may remember him as the long-time public address announcer for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, back when the team played at the old Richfield Coliseum.

UPDATE 6/17/12 8:44 AM: Bob Earley, with the help of afternoon drive host Bob Golic, took calls until past 1:30 AM, the phone lines packed all night long.

The WNIR family of listeners and callers basically held an on air wake for…and this is difficult to type…the late Howie Chizek…


30 Responses to WNIR Iconic Host Howie Chizek Dead After Heart Attack

  1. Derrick King says:

    Unfortunately, the news is true and is reported in the Ravenna Record-Courier. Howe will indeed be missed.

  2. John says:

    So sad to hear. It’s like I lost a family member.
    Howie will never be replaced….

  3. AJT says:

    Chizek was one of the dudes that ran my summer camp, Annisfield, in 1970. He also helped run my school camp three years later. On the last night, I happened to lose my underwear. At the lost & found announcements, he had to get on the mic and ask whose underwear it was. I declined the opportunity to claim it.

    One other thing … Can we please put a permanent kibosh on the ridiculously overused word “iconic?” Every single media outlet. It’s gotten out of hand. Mt. Rushmore is iconic. James Dean is iconic. Howie Chizek? Just a guy.

  4. Timothy E. Walsh, P.E. says:

    It is like losing your best brother, friend, and confidant. I am sure his legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of all of us. Thank You to WNIR/Bob Earley for honoring him by continuing to broadcast and extend Bob’s show to allow listeners and callers to call in. I have been fortunate to be able to travel this fine country and Howie was truly the World’s Finest Talk Show Host, Thanks For The Memories, you will be truly missed old Friend.

    • Lou Basile says:

      As a retired teacher, I always viewed Howie as a teachers’ teacher. Always willing to listen and let us express our thoughts and feelings. Enjoy your next life. I envy your new listeners!
      Lou…Wadsworth, Ohio

  5. AJT says:

    One other thing: I liked it better in 1970, when obsessive-compulsive idiots couldn’t post on their computers. Case in point: Three seconds after the announcement of Chizek’s death, literally six different clowns (according to the edit history) updated Chizek’s Wikipedia page and changed everything to past tense. And from the looks of the edit history, several of the clowns were having deletion battles to see who should have their words posted.

  6. Steve from Bath Ohio says:

    I often called into his show. I often travel and have been in almost every state. His show was different than any other show I’ve ever heard anywhere else.

    He sure knew how to stir up controversy even on mundane topics and was excellent at his life’s calling.

    I will miss him.

  7. Becky in Independence, Ohio says:

    I have been a listener for over 10 years. I will miss him very much. We have suffered a great loss of such a wonderful man. RIP Howie, we loved you!

  8. Joe-From-Hartville says:

    Hopefully, he made his peace

  9. Gail from Barberton says:

    Howard was the greatest!!! Respected him to the max. Listened for many years. Maybe he will meet up with Grandma and the Veg. That thought brings a smile.

  10. Mark in Atlanta, GA says:

    The first time I heard Howie was in 1979 when I started at Kent State. I never listened to talk shows until then and was hooked ever since. When WNIR started streaming in 2009, I purchased a smart phone so I could listen to WNIR.

    I recall once in the late 1980’s before I left the area, Howie gave some advice to caller when traveling. And, that was to listen to a talk show while driving. It would make the trip go faster. He was right! For the past year, I was working on a project in Jacksonville and every Friday morning I would leave at 10:00am to head back to Atlanta. Naturally I was listening to Howie on the way home. Before I knew it, I was home and Bob Golic was about to come on!

    There are many first time caller bells ringing in Heaven today!

    Thanks Howie!

  11. Randy Loeser says:

    I was fortunate to go on the trip to Florida, the same trip that Howie was sponsorsing when he passed yesterday. It was his mothers dying wish that he be a mentor to young people, and whether it was his compassion as a South Euclid umpire, his unique coaching techniques at St. Ann’s, or leading the food drive during the holidays for his helping hands radio-a-thon, Howie was one of a kind.

    Howie was not only the voice of the CAVS, but also Benedictine High School. There are countless kids at Benny, as well as St. Ignatius who were on the receiving end of his generosity. He was a fixture at high school and CYO games. He was part Peter Pan, part Walt Disney. But he was always Howie.

    It is fitting we learn of his passing on Father’s Day. 25 years ago, Howie asked my dad to chaperone on the trip to Disney. I know it was one of the great moments of his life and one that we share and talk about all the time. Howie gave so much to so many, and asked for nothing in return.

    As Howie sat with my mom at Christmas, he told her this would be our last Christmas together. He mentioned the Mayan calendar and the end of the world. We all laughed, said goodbye and waited a couple weeks to hear his review of Christmas dinner at “neighbor Linda’s house.” Whether you were his friend or his listener, Howie was just good. Maybe we do use words like ICON and LEGEND with less regard to who it applies, but to do what Howie did, consistently, on radio and in life, for as long as he did with that much success, ICONIC is not enough of a word to describe him.

    There is a word that the Jewish folks use for someone like Howie Chizek. He was a “mench”.

  12. Blanche says:

    I can remember many years ago-getting ready for school and my parents were listening to Howie.I made a comment in younger years,stating that I wouldn’t listen to that station-wasn’t cool,
    real funny. I listen to Howie everday on my lunch hour and WNIR on my way home from work.My Mom listens to WNIR daily.Howie will be sadly missed…..I didn’t realize how much Howie had touched so many lives….What a GREAT GUY!!!

  13. Stephen s. says:

    Stephen from bath

    I listened to howie for twenty yrs. I was very upset to hear that he was gone. He was one of a kind. When you listen to someone three hrs a day they have a lot of influence on your life. Howie thanks for the twenty yrs of influence.

  14. R.Hnsn says:

    Dear Howie, I never had the nerve to call in to give my opinion or hear that first time caller cowbell but I could count on you to brighten or irritate my day. I will miss you my friend. XO

  15. bob sassaman says:

    i worked with howie for 21 years and he was the most generous and caring man i had ever met.
    we had just talked the week before about my joining him in florida.. i would have liked to have been with him to say goodbye, he will be truly missed in a lot of ways. we will scour the archives and find some of his programs to rebroadcast,, but his memory will live on a long time.

  16. Chris Roddy says:

    Every time I got in the car, the first thing I always did was.turn on Howie’s show. He made me laugh, what a quick wit he was. His interaction with callers always made me smile. If he was still talking when I got home, I would stop in my driveway, waiting to hear the rest.of.his story, before I pulled into my garage. He was the best.

  17. pamela lovash says:

    i just heard about an hour ago about howies passing i am in shock i have listened to him faithfully for years now and i was always upset when i heard he was goin on vacation or off due to sickness because my day wouldnt be as bright i know one thing wnir wont be the same without him or the world its a real shame!! love ya howie! you will be missed

  18. nancy p. says:

    I’m going to miss him greatly. He was my daily companion, and his passing will leave a big hole in my day. My condolences go out to Mr. Stow and Couch Burner who are surely grieving.

  19. LeBron Steinman says:

    RIP,Mr. Chizek.
    With Howie’s passing, it’s inescapable that WNIR is done in its current form.
    He WAS that radio station and everyone else was along for the ride.
    It seems that their only sensible plan for survival would be to go mostly syndicated or completely change formats.

  20. Maggie says:

    I cried….

  21. Tom DeFrange says:

    I grew up with Howie. I grew old with Howie. Perhaps He and Joe Finan can pick up where they left off.

  22. Patricia parsons says:

    I will truly miss howie he was always there for the last 20 hrs I have listened when they list his family in his obituary how will they list us all he truly made you feel like family we will always remember you my friend

  23. Laura Wensel says:

    I still cannot believe that I can no longer tune in to WNIR and not hear that wonderful familiar voice of Howie; I feel like I have lost my best friend. Words cannot describe the shock that has come with the news of Howie’s death, I simply still cannot believe he is really gone. Memories are all we have now, but the loss of his presence on the radio in our lives simply is incomprehensible. The world has lost another great, wonderful man who can never be replaced. I know he will rest in peace, he definitely more than earned his niche in Heaven. God blessed us all with the gift of Howie, he will be missed so very much by so many!

  24. Ron E. Duncan says:

    Howie was number one and my role model as I learned so much from him over the last thirty years,.ten years on my rural mail route in Burton Ohio. God Bless Howie!

  25. c watt says:


  26. Barb Braccio says:

    Howie was ONE IN A MILLION! Listened to him every day, at home,at work and in the car-I counted on him to keep me informed and aware of what was going on in “our neighborhoods” and he did it with humor, gentleness,and at times “displeasure” putting in his quips and wise cracks when needed-all with his wonderful wit,style and grace that no one could ever duplicate. I called him at times when I knew he was playing devils’ advocate to argue a point because he would be” driving me crazy”! It is such a shock to have him gone this way-very difficult to understand the true far reaching impact his loss will have to so many people, business’s and organizations in this community. A very sad day in Northeast Ohio.
    Howie-I know-you are where you were intended to be right from the beginning–God Bless You.

  27. Roger says:

    Howie you will be missed and I will never get the cookie you owed me on a bet

  28. Shirley Koth says:

    Howie had a quick wit and a love for everyone. He will be missed. I listened to him every day.

  29. cathy harkins says:

    Howie there will never be another “you”-I have been listening for over 30 years and I will miss you my friend….

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