Radio One Communications Founder Len Ellis Is Alumnus Of The Year



Broadcaster to Speak at College’s Graduation Ceremonies in May

CHICAGO (April 2, 2013) – On May 18 and 19, Columbia College Chicago will honor Leonard Ellis (BA ’52) among its alumni of the year during the college’s commencement ceremonies. Three outstanding alumni, whose work and dedication to their craft is a tribute to the Columbia College spirit and ideal, will be lauded during the graduation ceremonies as part of its annual tradition.

“Uncle Len” Ellis is the founder of Radio One Communications, which holds four stations in Northwest Indiana, playing oldies (1500 WAKE-AM, classic rock (103.9 WXRD-FM),  modern adult contemporary (107.1 WZVNFM) and country (105.5 WLJE-FM ). Ellis is the longest-running country broadcaster in the Chicago media market and WLJE-FM is the highest-rated and longest-running country station in Chicago. The other three stations also boast high ratings and a long string of awards from the Indiana Broadcasters Association.  November 2012 marked Ellis’s 48th year on-air with WAKE-AM, and he has spent more than 65 years in the radio industry overall.

Ellis was one of the 15 people in 1957 that co-founded the Country Music Association (CMA) to promote the genre’s growth and served on its first board of directors. Ellis also holds card number one as a charter member of the CMA. He was named “Mr. Dee Jay USA” in 1963 by the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Association’s Small Market Disc Jockey of the Year in 1978, and he was elected to the Country Broadcasters Association DJ Hall of Fame in 1983.

Columbia College Chicago is an urban institution that offers innovative degree programs in the visual, performing, media and communication arts to nearly 11,000 students in 120 undergraduate and graduate programs. An arts and media college committed to a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, Columbia is dedicated to opportunity and excellence in higher education. For further information, visit



Media Contacts:

Steve Kauffman, 312.369.7383,

Erin Purdy, 312.369.8695,