Legend of local radio Roger Coleman dies at 89

A giant of local radio passed away Thursday in Roger Coleman, a man known for his booming voice, editorials, and promotion of John Thiel basketball.

He was a staple at WGIL in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s and later in life would go on to buy or start several of the most well known small-town stations in West Central Illinois.

Coleman died at the age of 89.

He came to WGIL after serving in the U.S. Army and would remain in the Army Reserve until 1962, earning the rank of Captain.

Coleman was hired as a WGIL announcer in 1955, newly married, and with a newborn son.

Over the next two decades, he would advance to sales manager, to general manager, and eventually WGIL Company President.

Under his leadership, WGIL boosted its signal strength and created WAAG later known as FM95, which was Galesburg’s first FM station.

He was a friend to John Thiel, GHS’ boys’ basketball coach whose tenure on the bench closely mirrored Coleman’s at WGIL.

Thiel became a part-time employee of WGIL with the station holding exclusive rights to interview Thiel.

Coleman also arranged for Thiel to do a post-game show at the Harbor Lights Supper Club which is said to have lasted as long as Thiel wished.

Coleman was inducted into the GHS Atheltic Hall of Fame in 2014 for being a “Friend” to Galesburg athletics.

Jim Wyman who worked for Coleman during tenure as WGIL General Manager inducted his friend, saying “Roger loved two things in life: sports and radio.”

No public service or visitation is planned.

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