Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Dick Kay
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Dick Kay

Thursday, May 13, 2021

* Maureen O’Donnell at the Sun-Times

Dick Kay, a no-nonsense, incisive inquisitor who had one of the longest political reporting careers in Chicago, died early Thursday at 84, according to his son Steven Snodgrass.

Mr. Kay had a stentorian voice that sliced through the noise at crime scenes and news conferences like a bass baritone in an opera. It seemed to command answers from politicians and public relations people who might have preferred to slink away from a mic.

Mr. Kay, who lived in St. Charles and had taken ill earlier this week, worked 38 years for WMAQ-Channel 5, covering countless political conventions, indictments, court trials, aldermen, mayors, governors, senators and presidents. He was hired there as a writer in 1968. Within months, he was covering one of the most tumultuous political stories of the century.

“They sent me out on the street, a green kid. The Democratic Convention, in the middle of it! I was stunned,” he once said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.

He began appearing on air two years later, rising to the post of political editor. He also hosted the show “City Desk” and wrote commentaries for the station. […]

He grew up in New Dellrose, Tennessee, a self-described “country boy” who was born in a log cabin. He was just 3 when his sharecropper-father died. His mother worked as a seamstress or cook all her life, he said in the Sun-Times interview. At 14, he dropped out of school so he could make money digging ditches, picking cotton and washing dishes.

Dick Kay was a giant of Chicago TV news back in the days when all the city’s stations strove for excellence.
He was a gruff, hard-hitting and unsparing reporter and won a coveted Peabody Award in 1984

With extraordinary zeal and completeness, WMAQ-TV reporter Dick Kay and his associates set out to investigate reports of financial waste and corruption in the Illinois State Legislature. The result was Political Parasites, a series of reports on “dead-wood” committees and meaningless commissions that were costing the taxpayers of Illinois millions of dollars. Through effective interviews backed by documented evidence, WMAQ-TV was able to provide extensive proof of duplication, waste, and nepotism in these committees. The result was the swift passage of legislation eliminating the Political Parasites, along with substantial savings of public funds. For an exceptionally well-done investigative report, a Peabody Award to WMAQ-TV for Political Parasites.

* He could also be a sweet and kind man. I introduced myself to him many years ago by telling him I’d been watching his work since I was a little kid. That was the beginning of a friendship that lasted years. It was one of the highlights of my life knowing that he respected my work. He even commented on the blog.

I disagreed with his post-retirement decision to work temporarily for the Blagojevich administration, but he was excited to promote the governor’s health care proposals. And he really let his freak flag fly on his WCPT show.

But, as a reporter and an inquisitor, I’d be hard-pressed to name anybody better than Dick.

* Related…

* ‘That ain’t bad for a country boy from the wrong log cabin’ – Remembering Dick Kay

* Longtime Chicago political reporter Dick Kay dies at 84

- Posted by Rich Miller        

16 Comments
  1. - Linus - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 3:10 pm:

    Watching him on TV, I used to think Dick Kay came off as a pompous such-and-such. Then I had occasion to meet him a few times, and he could not have been more gracious and helpful. I changed my tune, and felt ashamed for my premature judgment.

    May Dick rest in peace.


  2. - Proud Sucker - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 3:14 pm:

    Rest in Peace Dougie.


  3. - levivotedforjudy - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 3:19 pm:

    I remember how Gov. press spokespeople would try to avoid calling on him in press conferences. A good sign that you are doing a good job. I can still see the scowl George Ryan would give him. RIP Mr. Kay.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 3:19 pm:

    I remember that red Cadillac he had with the vanity plate, he made his presence felt, he was a giant in the industry and you knew he wasn’t pulling punches.

    Godspeed.

    My sincere condolences to his many friends and family.


  5. - n-t-c - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 3:31 pm:

    ===Watching him on TV, I used to think Dick Kay came off as a pompous such-and-such=== by Linus at 3:30 PM

    I felt the same of Kay’s work on WMAQ-TV, where I thought the conclusions he drew were not supported by the facts he actually reported. But I grew to admire him from his radio show on WCPT, where his intelligence and decency was clearly displayed.


  6. - Someone you Should Know - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 3:31 pm:

    Teresa Barrett is waiting for him at Check in, so they can plan their next radio show in the sky :)


  7. - Practical Politics - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 3:51 pm:

    I don’t know when he moved further west, but I saw him shopping at the former Sears store in Golf Mill. The last time that I saw him was at a book signing event for his former WMAQ Channel 5 colleague, Jim Ruddle.


  8. - Steve Brown - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 3:54 pm:

    Dougie had the best bluster of that era of TV newsies and certain skill that could allow him to play good cop/bad cop as a one man show in a single interview.
    Prayers for strength and comfort for his family in these sad times


  9. - walker - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 3:54 pm:

    Oh no.

    He never stopped fighting for truth and humanity.


  10. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 3:57 pm:

    He was a very good and fair journalist

    Bigger then life


  11. - Boone's is Back - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 4:05 pm:

    Sad news. He was a legend.


  12. - thisjustinagain - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 4:49 pm:

    Thank You, Mr. Kay, for your insights and commentary over these many years. I grew up in the 1970’s, and know that it was journalists like you that did real journalism. Rest in peace.


  13. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 4:50 pm:

    I remember his TV days. Didn’t know he was a progressive until around 10 years ago, and that he was a union steward until today. Met him once, he was cool. Rest in power.


  14. - JS Mill - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 4:52 pm:

    I am so sad to see him go, he was from that era in Chicago when being a journalist came with high standards and was about the story not the reporter. rest in peace.


  15. - SAP - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 5:24 pm:

    One of the last Old-Timey Giants.


  16. - Union Thug Gramma - Thursday, May 13, 21 @ 7:45 pm:

    You forgot all of his strong union affiliations, both as a steward and an officer. I listened to him on Saturday on WCPT, don’t know about freak flag, but frank and honest support of his causes. He still did the hard work of making sure he knew all details that he could find when developing a story/interview. He also loved to remind his listeners that he offered time to ALL politicians, just some, both D and R chose to not come on his program. Just afraid of frank and factual questions instead of glossy softball questions.
    He will be missed.


TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* FEC punts DPI issue to next meeting
* Rodney Davis spokesperson says decision on bid for governor "dependent on redistricting"
* Sen. Rachelle Crowe among three recommended for US Attorney by Durbin and Duckworth
* Remember: Fossil Fuel Companies Prefer The Status Quo, Don’t Want An Energy Bill To Pass
* Open thread
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Congressional Black Caucus PAC weighs in for DPI Chair Robin Kelly with FEC
* Fitch moves Illinois from negative to positive outlook
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............


Loading


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller