Lin Brehmer

Last updated

Lin Brehmer
Lin Brehmer.jpg
Brehmer in 2012
Born(1954-08-19)August 19, 1954 [1] [2]
Queens, New York City, U.S. [3]
DiedJanuary 22, 2023(2023-01-22) (aged 68)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Alma mater Colgate University
Years active1977–2022
SpouseSara Farr
Station(s) WXRT, Chicago
CountryUnited States

Lin Brehmer (August 19, 1954 – January 22, 2023) was an American disc jockey and radio personality at WXRT in Chicago. Brehmer hosted mornings on WXRT from 1991 to 2020, and middays from early 2020 [4] until taking a leave of absence to undergo chemotherapy in 2022. [5]


Early life and education

Brehmer graduated from Colgate University in 1976, where he got his start in radio while filling in at the university's student-run WRCU-FM radio station during a summer semester. [6]

Early career

Brehmer began working professionally in radio in January 1977. [7] His first disc jockey job was in Albany, New York at WQBK-FM, where he earned the nickname, "The Reverend of Rock and Roll." After seven years at WQBK, Brehmer left the position and moved to Chicago to work for WXRT as music director beginning in October 1984. [8]


During his first six years at WXRT, Brehmer was named "Music Director of the Year" by FMQB three times. [9] In 1989, Hard Report's readers voted Brehmer as "Music Director of the Decade." [8] In October 1990, Brehmer left WXRT and moved to Minnesota for a job as program director of KTCZ-FM. After completing a one-year contract at KTCZ-FM, Brehmer returned to Chicago's WXRT to serve as the morning D.J., replacing Terri Hemmert. [10]

For 30 years, Brehmer (an avid Chicago Cubs fan [11] ) hosted an annual remote broadcast for Cubs home opening day. [12]

External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Remarks by U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) on the impact of WXRT and Lin Brehmer, January 24, 2012 [13]

In 2009, WXRT sent a mass email using Brehmer's name to subscribers, encouraging political action to lobby Congress regarding music royalties. In response to the mass email, Brehmer stated that he did not write, nor endorse the email. Brehmer wrote, "It's just something they do. Send out e-mails and sign my name to them without my knowledge. I will always be on the side of the musicians." [14]

During the majority of Brehmer's time on the morning drive time slot at WXRT, he was partnered with news anchor Mary L. Dixon, until decisions by WXRT's new ownership in late 2019 prompted Brehmer to move to mid-days, and Dixon to leave WXRT for the Chicago NPR station WBEZ. [15] [16]

Brehmer described himself on air as "your best friend in the whole world", and frequently told listeners "it's great to be alive" [17] [18] [19]

Lin's Bin

In 2002, Brehmer began writing and broadcasting essays entitled Lin's Bin. The essays were developed from responding to listeners' letters and continued as responses to email. Each year, Brehmer wrote just under a hundred essays, and he stated that in total he had written approximately 1800 pages of Lin's Bin. The essays were written and pre-recorded with producer Peter Crozier. [10]

Personal life and death

Brehmer was married to Sara Farr, whom he met while at Colgate University. [6]

Brehmer announced on the air on July 12, 2022, that he had prostate cancer and was taking a leave of absence from WXRT to undergo chemotherapy. [20] [21] He returned to the air for several weeks in November and December 2022. Brehmer died on January 22, 2023, and his death was announced to WXRT listeners that morning by his long-time colleague Terri Hemmert. He was 68. [22] [23] [24] [25] [26]

On the day of his death, the Chicago Cubs noted his death with the message "Lin Brehmer, 1954–2023" on the Wrigley Field marquee sign. [27] Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel tweeted "Lin Brehmer was the voice of Chicago. His voice was unique and a perfect way to start the day. An ambassador for the city's music scene and a dear friend, I announced the Uptown music district concept on his show. I'll miss hearing his voice on XRT. May his memory be a blessing." [28] The next day, the Chicago Tribune editorialized "He was mourned at the Metro, by Wilco, at the Art Institute of Chicago and by the Candelite tavern on Western Avenue. He was at ease with all of them." [29]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">WBEZ</span> Public radio station in Chicago

WBEZ – branded WBEZ 91.5 – is a non-commercial educational radio station licensed to serve Chicago, Illinois, and primarily serving the Chicago metropolitan area. Financed by corporate underwriting, government funding and listener contributions, the station is affiliated with both National Public Radio and Public Radio Exchange; it also broadcasts content from American Public Media. The station and its parent organization were previously known as Chicago Public Radio; since 2010, the parent company has been known as Chicago Public Media. Some of the organization's output—including nationally syndicated productions This American Life and Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!—is branded as either from WBEZ or Chicago Public Media.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">KTCZ-FM</span> Radio station in Minneapolis, Minnesota

KTCZ-FM is a commercial FM radio station licensed to Minneapolis and serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul radio market and Western Wisconsin. KTCZ airs a hybrid modern adult contemporary radio format. The station is owned and operated by iHeartMedia and has studios and offices on Utica Avenue South in St. Louis Park.

Charlie Meyerson is a radio and Internet journalist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">WXRT</span> Adult album alternative radio station in Chicago

WXRT, also known as XRT and 93-XRT is an adult album alternative (AAA) radio station in Chicago, Illinois. For many years, their slogan has been "Chicago's Finest Rock". "Chicago's Home For Music Lovers" has been used as its slogan since fall 2017.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">WKQX</span> Alternative rock radio station in Chicago

WKQX is a commercial radio station licensed to Chicago, Illinois, featuring an alternative rock format known as "Q101". Owned by Cumulus Media, the station serves the Chicago metropolitan area. WKQX's studios are located in the NBC Tower, while the station transmitter is located atop the John Hancock Center. In addition to a standard analog transmission, WKQX broadcasts over two HD Radio channels, and is available online.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">WYLL</span> Christian talk radio station in Chicago

WYLL is a commercial radio station in Chicago, Illinois. It is owned by Salem Media Group and airs a Christian talk and teaching radio format. The studios and offices are located in Elk Grove Village. Its daytime transmitter and two-tower array are located off Ballard Road near Interstate 294 in Des Plaines. The nighttime transmitter and six-tower array are off Deer Drive near Interstate 355 in Lockport. WYLL is powered with 50,000 watts, the maximum for commercial AM stations in the U.S. But it must use a directional antenna at all times to protect clear-channel station KSL in Salt Lake City, the dominant Class A station and several Class B stations on 1160 AM.

WGDJ is a commercial radio station licensed to Rensselaer, New York and serving the Capital District. It airs a talk radio format and is owned and operated by Capital Broadcasting, Inc. The transmitter is off River Road in Rensselaer. Programming is also heard in Albany and Rensselaer on 80-watt FM translator W254DA at 98.7 MHz.

Saturday Morning Flashback is a program airing from 9 AM until 12 noon Saturday mornings on Chicago radio station WXRT. It has aired continually in this time slot since 1985. The show, once a four hour program hosted by former WXRT DJ Wendy Rice was reduced to three hours after her departure. The show is now hosted by Frank E. Lee, Johnny Mars, and Annalisa Parziale on a rotating basis. Parziale joined the rotation in August 2022, replacing host Richard Milne several months after his resignation from the station. Parziale’s first show covered 1973, airing August 6, 2022.

Matt Spiegel is a sports talk show host and singer based in Chicago. He served as a host on The Score SportsRadio 670 off and on since 2009. As of 2022, he is the current drive time host with Danny Parkins and hosts the Sunday morning seasonal baseball show "Hit & Run". Matt has never considered editing his own Wiki page. He has also serves as a fill-in broadcaster on the Chicago Cubs Radio Network.

Bruce Wolf is a veteran Chicago broadcaster and sports anchor who has been on both TV and radio for more than 20 years. He formerly hosted a politics-themed talk show weekday mornings on WLS (AM) radio in Chicago. He also fills in as a sportscaster on WMAQ-TV in Chicago and works part-time as a divorce attorney.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">WRCU-FM</span> Radio station in Hamilton, New York

WRCU-FM is Colgate University's student-run radio station. It is located in Hamilton, New York, and broadcasts a wide variety of music to the central New York region.

Terri Hemmert is an American radio personality, musicologist, and instructor at Columbia College Chicago. She is a long-term presence at WXRT-FM in Chicago, Illinois where she became the first female drive time host for a rock music station in the Chicago radio market. She is known as an expert on The Beatles and hosts the weekly Breakfast with the Beatles program and has been featured speaker at many Beatles conventions worldwide.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Evanston S.P.A.C.E.</span>

Evanston S.P.A.C.E. is a small concert hall and venue for music performance and live recording, and a podcast production facility, as well as serves similarly for the visual arts and literary events located at 1245 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, Illinois, adjacent to Chicago, in close proximity to the CTA Purple Line mass transit elevated train station Dempster, just south of Dempster Avenue. It opened in spring 2008, along with Union Pizzeria, an affiliated restaurant in the same building.

<i>The Siegel–Schwall Reunion Concert</i> 1988 live album by Siegel–Schwall Band

The Siegel–Schwall Reunion Concert is an album by the Siegel–Schwall Band. It was recorded live in 1987, and released by Alligator Records in 1988.

Chicago Public Media (CPM) is a not-for-profit media company that operates as the primary National Public Radio member organization for Chicago. It owns three non-commercial educational FM broadcast stations and one FM translator, and produces the programs Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! for NPR stations and This American Life which is self-distributed but uses PRX for distribution to other radio stations.

WBEK is a public radio station licensed to Kankakee, Illinois, and owned by Chicago Public Media.

Global Village is a world music radio show distributed to public and community radio stations across the United States. The program has been on the air locally since 2007 on KMUW-FM, Wichita Public Radio, and distributed across the U.S. since 2010. The program airs daily and has aired on over 130 stations across the U.S. In April, 2013, Global Village also began airing on the 62-station Radio New Zealand National public radio service. It was the Reader's Choice World Music Award winner for Best World Music Radio Show for 2012, and Number Four in the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) Zeitfunk Awards for Most Licensed Series. Global Village is hosted by radio host/producer and freelance writer Chris Heim. It is a production of KMUW, Wichita Public Radio and is distributed through the Public Radio Exchange.

The Breakfast Club is an American syndicated radio show based in New York City. It is hosted by DJ Envy and Charlamagne tha God. The Breakfast Club's flagship station is WWPR-FM Power 105.1 and it currently airs in over 90 radio markets around the U.S., including Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Miami.

Sondra Gair, was an American veteran broadcast journalist best known for her public-affairs talk show on Chicago Radio.

Jennifer White is an American journalist and radio personality. She is the host of the radio program 1A.


  1. Chris Cwiak [@ChrisCwiak] (August 19, 2022). "It's @LinBrehmer's birthday, so take a listen to @93XRT near the top of every hour as we play songs you've picked out for him all day long as he continues his medical sabbatical. We love ya, ya knucklehead 💚💎" (Tweet). Retrieved January 24, 2023 via Twitter.
  2. "Chicago radio's Lin Brehmer, a longtime WXRT DJ, has died at 68". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  3. "WXRT host Lin Brehmer dies at 68". Chicago Sun-Times. January 22, 2023. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  4. Feder, Robert (December 18, 2019). "WXRT morning star Lin Brehmer moving to middays". Daily Herald. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  5. "Legendary Chicago Radio Host Lin Brehmer to Take Leave of Absence in Cancer Fight". NBC5 Chicago. July 12, 2022. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  6. 1 2 Rattini, Kristin Baird (January 31, 2020). "It's Still Rock 'n' Roll to Him".
  7. Feder, Robert, "WXRT's Brehmer looks back on 20 years of good mornings", TimeOut Chicago, January 19, 2012
  8. 1 2 Larz, "WXRT-FM Salutes Lin Brehmer's 20 Years On The Air", Chicagoland Radio and Media, January 18, 2012
  9. Zulkey, Claire (February 3, 2012). "The Lin Brehmer Interview". WBEZ Chicago. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  10. 1 2 Feder, Robert, "Hemmert rocked in 'XRT shakeup", December 19, 1991
  11. Comitor, Lauren (July 14, 2016). "Lin Brehmer Q&A: Famous DJ ready to party like it's 1984 (again)". The Athletic. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  12. Larz, "WXRT-FM To Host Its 20th Annual Opening Day Live Broadcast", Chicagoland Radio and Media, April 3, 2012
  13. Quigley, Mike (January 24, 2012). "Quigley Speaks in Recognition of Lin Brehmer and WXRT Anniversary". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  14. Rosenthal, Phil, "WXRT-FM's Lin Brehmer distances himself from 'Lin Brehmer' royalty e-mail", Chicago Tribune, June 10, 2009
  15. Channick, Robert (December 19, 2019). "Mary Dixon out, Lin Brehmer to shift to midday as rock station WXRT-FM shakes up morning drive". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  16. Channick, Robert (January 2, 2020). "Ousted at WXRT, Mary Dixon lands as morning anchor at public radio station WBEZ". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  17. "An Ode To Chicago's Best Friend In The Whole World Lin Brehmer". Korked Bats: That Funny Sports Blog. July 15, 2022. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  18. "Is it still great to be alive?". 93XRT. April 20, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2023 via Facebook. When the noted social critic Frank Zappa stood on a stage to announce that it is great to be alive, it might have seemed sarcastic. "It's so f$%&*g great to be alive is what the theme of our show is tonight, boys and girls. And I want to tell you, if there is anybody here who doesn't believe that it is f$%&*g great to be alive, I wish they would go now because this show will bring them down so much." Life is so much clearer with a guitar in your arms. But the truly cynical observer will remind us that it is always more poetic to reject life when you're not fighting for your own. If it's only pretty good to be alive, we should wonder at the young and the old who struggle to breathe. Some of us are tempted to give up. Instinct is strong but not unshakeable. In the absence of certitude, we make choices. I've made mine. Is it still great to be alive? Actually, no. It's f$%&*g great to be alive.
  19. Odigwe, Mugo (January 23, 2023). "Chicago remembers late radio icon Lin Brehmer, "your best friend in the whole world"". CBS 2 Chicago. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  20. "WXRT icon Lin Brehmer going on leave of absence for prostate cancer treatment". CBS 2 Chicago. July 12, 2022. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  21. "Brehmer's announcement" . Retrieved July 19, 2022 via Twitter.
  22. Hemmert, Terri (January 22, 2023). "Lin Brehmer, Our Best Friend in the Whole World, 1954–2023". WXRT. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  23. Kogan, Rick (January 22, 2023). "Chicago Radio's Lin Brehmer, a Longtime WXRT DJ, Has Died at 68". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on January 22, 2023. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  24. Struett, David (January 22, 2023). "WXRT Host Lin Brehmer Dies at 68". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on January 22, 2023. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  25. Shapiro, Alex (January 22, 2023). "WXRT to Pay Tribute to Lin Brehmer With Celebration of Life Broadcast Monday". NBC5 Chicago. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  26. Asimow, Noah (January 23, 2023). "Lin Brehmer Mourned by Chicago's Music Community: 'There Was No Difference Between the Person and the Persona'". Block Club Chicago. Archived from the original on January 23, 2023. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  27. "Lin Brehmer death: Legendary WXRT Chicago radio personality dies after battle with cancer". ABC7 Chicago. January 22, 2023. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  28. Skinner, Tom (January 23, 2023). "Lin Brehmer, influential Chicago DJ, dies aged 68". NME. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  29. "Editorial: Lin Brehmer, a Chicago poet, was a shockingly nice jock". Chicago Tribune. January 23, 2023. Retrieved January 24, 2023.