Bio: Keith Johnson

Keith Johnson
February 27, 2018 - 1:04 pm

Keith Johnson co-anchors the Afternoon Drive on Newsradio 780 WBBM along with Kris Kridel from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. each weekday.

He is a bayou native who worked at stations in Louisiana and D.C. before landing in Chicago at WBBM Newsradio in 1994.

Keith’s first radio news gig started in 1983 at 50-thousand watt, traditional country music powerhouse, KWKH Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. KWKH was home to the Louisiana Hayride, a regional radio show that, during its heyday, helped launch the career of a young Elvis Presley. The setup, Keith said, was interesting - a four person, full-time news staff that served listeners at KWKH AM and its FM sibling, KROK (AOR).

In year five (1988) at the 'radio-ranch' as it was known, Keith started sending out tapes across the country, eager to move up in the radio market.

There were a lot of rejection letters (and hair loss), he said, before WHUR FM Radio, a Howard University station and CBS-affiliate in Washington, D.C. decided to gave Keith a chance.

He was there for about four years when another opportunity came knocking in 1992 - an anchor/reporter position at WTOP Newsradio (now WTOP-FM), in D.C. Keith spent two years there.


Some memorable stories Keith helped covered in D.C. were the drug trial of Mayor Marion Barry and a serial killer called, the 'Shotgun Stalker': a guy driving around, shooting people at random in 1993  - nine people were shot, three of them died. James Swann was declared not guilty by reason of insanity and confined to a mental institution.

In 1994, Keith was fortunate to land a job at WBBM Newsradio where he started as a reporter before taking on an additional role as anchor. He has covered many memorable stories such as, LaSalle Bank fire in the Loop, a police standoff at a Chicago auto body shop, and going to Washington to cover the Million Man March.

He said the radio climb was not seamless, “there were a lot of bumps in between.”

Keith has been lucky enough to win a 2004 Murrow Award for spot news, 2003 Lisagor Award for deadline reporting, 2001 Lisagor Award for reporting, and was a finalist in 2000 and 1999 for the AIR (Achievement in Radio) Award for best newscast.

He also said he has made friends for life.

Keith is married with grade-schooler who needs his own gaming console. Keith loves biking and other outdoor activities, especially fishing. He also enjoy composing my own music using his computer and is learning how to play bass guitar.

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