Radio Host, Former Ald. Cliff Kelley Steps Down from WVON Afternoon Gig


When WVON on-air personality Cliff Kelley announced in February that he’d soon step away from his afternoon hosting duties on the urban talk radio station, he called it a “rewiring” – not retirement.

“I’m continue to do some things,” Kelley said. “I’m looking over a number of things now that I might do.”

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Kelley’s last day hosting the afternoon spot on WVON 1690AM is Friday. “America’s Heroes Group,” his weekend WVON show geared towards military veterans, will continue.

Prior to his media career, Kelley served as alderman of Chicago’s 20th Ward for 16 years. His aldermanic career ended in 1987, when he pleaded guilty to accepting $36,000 from two companies awarded lucrative city contracts.

When reflecting on his time in City Council, Kelley brings up his introduction of Chicago’s first gay rights ordinance in 1973. 

Although the proposal ultimately failed, the measure aimed at banning sexual orientation-based discrimination helped pave the way for an eventual ordinance passed in 1988. 

“As long as everybody is consenting adults, what you do is your business, that’s how I see it,” Kelley said.

As for next week’s mayoral runoff election, Kelley thinks a Lori Lightfoot win may be more effective in including diverse voices in government. 

“If President [Toni] Preckwinkle loses, I’m not sure that it’s a loss because she will still be president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, which is a great position, and we’ll have another African-American woman who will be the mayor of the city of Chicago,” Kelley said.

Kelley said if Preckwinkle wins the mayoral election and leaves her county president post, another Cook County commissioner who’s not a person of color may assume that role.

“Not that that’s bad, but if we’re talking about the situation of having African-American women in prestigious positions – to have two of them in those positions would really be a lot for people to be proud of, I think,” Kelley said.

Follow Evan Garcia on Twitter: @EvanRGarcia


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