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Daily Journal
     May 29, 2020      #44-150 KDJ
 
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Ed Munday

Longtime WKAN newsman Munday dies 

By Lee Provost
lprovost@daily-journal.com


KANKAKEE — Most people would not have recognized his face. His calm, almost quiet manner also defied the profession he long served.

But his voice was perhaps the most recognizable of any one person in the Kankakee County region for nearly 30 years. Ed Munday, the 27-year news director for WKAN-AM radio in Kankakee until his 2003 retirement, has died.

Munday passed away on Monday in Florida, where he had lived since 2005, due to congestive heart failure. He was 77.

Whether it was reporting news from the Kankakee City Council, crime, traffic accidents or snow-related school closings, Munday was the voice that delivered the news to Kankakee Valley listeners.

A native of Parkersburg, W.Va., Munday was one of the Kankakee region’s go-to people for news as his long career spanned the years before people ever heard of things such as the Internet or Facebook.

“Ed set the standard for local news in Kankakee County on broadcasts,” said Tim Milner, the former director of WVLI-FM radio, the chief competitor of WKAN. “He was like our Walter Cronkite [famed CBS Evening News anchorman]. He was fair. He was reliable. He was trusted. He set the standard for local radio.”

After his 2003 retirement, Munday served two years as the interim director of the former Bradley-Bourbonnais Chamber of Commerce, a position vacated by Lisa Dugan upon her appointment to the Illinois House of Representatives.

Gary Wright, the former WKAN vice president and general manager, said beating Munday on a local story was not easy for anyone due to his wide assortment of news sources.

And, Wright said, Munday’s calm, deep voice were perfectly suited for radio.

“He had a voice I always envied,” Wright said.

Munday and the late Jan Parcell formed a news-gathering duo for the radio station which existed for many years.

“Ed was so good to work with. He did his job, he was on time and he was always where he was supposed to be. He and Jan were both good news men.”

Wright said replacing Munday — who left the station at age 61 — was one of those tasks he never wanted to embark upon. He said some people are just irreplaceable.

“You always find someone, but you know it will never be the same,” Wright said.

Former longtime Daily Journal news editor Mike Frey not only worked alongside Munday at news conferences and community meetings, but also at the Little League diamond at Beckman Park in Kankakee where both had long tenures as coaches.

He said Munday enjoyed working with the youth long after his own children had passed through the ranks of being Little Leaguers.

“He was always so well respected by his peers and officials. He had his fingers on so much of this community,” he said.

And like Milner, Frey noted he often got his first briefing on the day’s news as he traveled to work and was tuned into 1320 WKAN.

“Ed was so often the first voice of the news. He was as well respected as anyone in this community. He was the voice of this area for a good long while,” he said.

Munday’s wife, Peggy Sue Munday, said the diagnosis of congestive heart failure seemingly came from out of the blue. She noted he was simply not feeling well and knew he needed to get to the hospital. When they were told of lack of heart function, he was aware his time was short.

She noted that after relocating to Florida, her husband spent time without working. He found that experience to not be of his liking so he landed a job as the voice on a tour bus in The Villages, an age-restricted community in central Florida. He worked 13 years, three days a week on the tour bus.

But she said Munday’s WKAN tenure was where he was best suited and happy.

“He so loved that job. Someone once made the comment that everybody in Kankakee County loved Ed. I can tell you that there were lots of politicians who didn’t. He didn’t want the story they were telling the public. He wanted to the true story. He hated people who didn’t tell the truth.”

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Lee Provost
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