Lin Brehmer, Longtime WXRT Host and Chicago’s ‘Best Friend in the Whole World,’ Dies at 68

Lin Brehmer is pictured in a 2012 file photo. (WTTW News)Lin Brehmer is pictured in a 2012 file photo. (WTTW News)

Lin Brehmer, a stalwart of Chicago rock radio known for his poetic reflections on life and pop culture, has died. He was 68. 

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Brehmer died Sunday morning with his wife and son by his side, according to a statement from Terri Hemmert, his longtime colleague at WXRT-FM 93.1. 

“It is with a heavy heart that we must inform you that we all lost our best friend. Lin Brehmer fought cancer as long as he could,” Hemmert wrote.  

Brehmer announced in July 2022 that he was taking a leave of absence to receive chemotherapy for prostate cancer, which he had been diagnosed with several years earlier.

He returned for a brief stint on the airwaves in November and December of last year.

Brehmer spent decades at WXRT, with most of that time as the station’s morning drive host. He began his career at the station in 1984 as music director. After a short stint in Minneapolis, he returned to Chicago as an on-air presence. 

In a 2012 profile on “Chicago Tonight,” marking 20 years as the station’s morning drive host, Brehmer reflected on his approach as a DJ.

“I grew up at a time when radio was so much about the music and so little about the personality that the music is what drew me in,” he said. 

But it was also Brehmer’s personality that created a legion of loyal listeners. 

His Lin’s Bin segment offered Brehmer a chance to reflect on questions that covered everything from pop culture to philosophical questions, all in his trademark poetic prose. 

In August 2021, one listener posed the question: What is your happy place?

“Where is your happy place? For you and me, we know there is a restless kingdom we can enter into anytime and all we have to do is listen, because there are songs we claim as our own,” Brehmer said. “Each song is like a chamber that walls off the world. A single song that means something to us can build a palace inside a car. Where is my happy place? Wherever the music is.”

WXRT will air a celebration of Brehmer’s life and career beginning at 10 a.m. Monday. 

Video: Watch Brehmer’s 2012 appearance on Chicago Tonight,” where he reflecs on his career in radio. 

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