On Saturday May 21, 2016, the City of Chicago finally prepared to say “see ya later” to radio icon Doug Banks. Fans of the man known as “Dan Ryan Head”. Doug Banks was truly a man about business and he really loved Chicago. The memorial was held at the Harold Washington Cultural Center and as we arrived,we could see many of the residents of Chicago waiting patiently outside for the memorial to begin.
Many of Chicago’s elite from the radio industry was in attendance like Bonnie DeShong and Sybil Wilkes whom Doug named Babes and Company. Industry professionals Herb Kent, Irene Mojica and Zelda Robinson, Troi Tyler, Art Sims, former WGCI Sound Machine driver Timmy Kool, ABC’s Janet Davies who co-hosted 190 North with Doug, all came out to pay their respects to their beloved radio and television brother. This phenomenal memorial was hosted by WVAZ’s Joe Soto and Ramonski Luv who shared stories of their interactions with Doug Banks and reminded us that Doug may be gone in the physical but he still lives in the spiritual and that . DeDe McGuire =, Rudy Rush and Dee Dee Renee made their way to the Windy City and shared their heartfelt memories of the radio legend.
Calvin Douglas Banks was not just a radio personality, he personified the excellence of what icons are made of. In his many years of experience in radio, his humble spirit, charm and wit combined with a genuine loving demeanor made him the epitome of personalities. His work ethic ultimately shaped the standard by which aspiring radio professionals were measured. His death on April 11, 2016, shock the radio industry to its core and brought the nation to tears and as the City of Chicago wept, relived and reminisced on the many memories of Doug, he was still making history. Derrick Brown, Program Director for WVAZ and WGCI shared resolutions from Robert Steel, Cook County Board Commissioner and a touching letter from the President of the United States, Barack Obama. He also brought forth a message from the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel who graciously proclaimed May 21st to be Doug Banks Day in Chicago. Former WGCI, WVAZ and WGRB General Manager Marv Dyson took to the stage to share words of encouragement with the audience and announced that Doug Banks has been nominated and posthumously inducted into the Illinois Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame where he presented this prestigious award to Doug’s wife Wendy Banks, who thanked everyone for their love and support during her time of grief and she stated Doug had been all over the world but he really LOVED Chicago.
Chicago Activist and Alderman Dorothy Tillman spoke words of encouragement that resonated with the audience and brought about thunderous cheers. She stated
“Doug Banks was on an assignment from God and in that assignment he had extreme power. Power is not a word that uses “I” and if people utilized the “we” in power, there’s no telling the change that could be made in this world”. ~ Alderman Dorothy Tillman
Lastly Ramonski Luv and Joe Soto reminded the attendees that occasionally in urban radio, songs of a spiritual nature were played in the midst of secular music which in years past had not been done before however there was one particular song that was well received when it was introduced to the listeners some 16 years ago. The day was blessed with a performance by Darius Brooks who penned a song of love and inspiration titled “Your Will”. This song was played on WGCI and WVAZ and was possibly one of the most requested songs at the time. Before Pastor Brooks took us on a spiritual journey, he addressed the audience about what’s happening in Chicago and he wasted to encourage everyone particularly those who were in leadership positions. He made a plea for them to “aspire to inspire and inspire before they expire”. Very profound words to remember.
Doug Banks’ reputation as a professional is impeccable but it’s his friendship, passion for people and his purpose given to him by God that will keep his memory alive in all of us who were blessed to know him. EarHustle411 and the writing staff thanks iHeartMedia Chicago for allowing us to capture footage of this amazing tribute to a man who so richly deserved it. We will continue to keep Doug’s radio family, friends and all who loved him uplifted in prayer.
REST IN POWER CALVIN DOUGLAS “DOUG” BANKS