A Big Birthday for Chicago Tonight!


30 years ago tonight, on April 24, 1984, Chicago Tonight went on the air for the very first time.

The host was someone who later became my friend and mentor, the late John Callaway.  The first guest was none other than Mayor Harold Washington.

Those of you who were around will remember that this was the time of “Council Wars” and the “Vrdolyak 29” when Chicago’s internal political strife made the city “Beirut-on-the-lake.”  Chicago was hungry for context and analysis of what was unfolding in the city council.  That’s how the idea for Chicago Tonight germinated.

Since then Chicago Tonight has aired 7,800 shows.

We have many people to thank for this record, a diverse group of people whose support has been crucial.  But it’s you, the viewer, to whom we are most grateful.  If you didn’t watch, care about and support this program, too, we would have no reason for being.  And for that, all of us at Chicago Tonight extend to you our heartfelt thanks!

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  • Congrats to Chicago Tonight and everyone who makes and has made this program possible. As a viewer, I can say that the reason I am loyal and watch is because of the quality of the show and the diversity of issues covered. The show goes far beyond the typical Q&A and, in a very professional manner, gets to the heart of issues important to all of Chicagoland. Here’s to many more years of Chicago Tonight!

  • mostaqf

    Congrats to Chicago Tonight and to you- Phil Ponce- for all you have done to keep viewers engaged!

  • Congrats to the talented team at Chicago Tonight on 30 great years of keeping us informed & entertained!! Special shout out to Mary Field , Phil Ponce, Jay Shefsky, Carol Marin & Yasmin Rammohan!!

  • Greg – Schaumburg, IL

    Phil…to all of you on that show, well done. It is amazing to have a show – (and a full hour!…and sometimes you need it!) – to debrief the day or profile the times. You do it superbly. However, if there is a ‘texture’ to the show which simply puts it in a class by itself it would be the “sandwich” of the politics for which you are known that are spiced by the personal interviews from the arts and general interest categories. On an average of at least 1x per month, I alert my out-of-town friends to something you have done and to which I encourage them to watch…to understand us…or themselves.

  • Joseph Zoller

    Keep up the good work.We owe you a lot. Thanks. Joe

  • pete

    After the question posed to Chuy Garcia from Phil Ponce about his troubled son I will no longer be watching Chicago Tonight. That question was not respecting the canidates forum, even if he was being compared to gangs in the city, your FAMILY IS PERSONNAL!! Ponce showed no regard for Chuy’s son and family, Ignorant question Ponce!!!

  • pete

    Disagree,Mr. Ponce should not ever moderate a debate, he had no reason to hit below the belt when he questioned Mr.Garcia’s son’s past.