By Joanne Kosey
Local boy makes good, very good! Riverside-raised Larry Wert is that "boy." From the boy who attended St. Mary's Grade School, Fenwick High School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he went from early aspirations of being an Olympic swimmer to president of Tribune Broadcasting.
His career began after earning a degree in journalism from UW/Madison, when he landed his first job with Leo Burnett. TV intrigued him and he went to KABC-TV in Los Angeles.
Soon after, he was tapped by his Chicago friend, Jimmy DeCastro, to help start up a new FM radio station, The Loop. Wert could heard on air from time to time with live experiences (bungee jumping) and telephone banter with friends and family. The Loop was known for its personalities ranging from Steve Dahl to Howard Stern to Danny Bonaduce exchanging barbs for fun with Wert
With nearly 40 years in broadcasting, Wert has been at the helm of numerous forms of media and his current position of president of broadcast media for Tribune Media finds him responsible for the day-to-day activities of 42 related owned or operated TV stations.
He currently serves on the NAB TV Board of Directors and the CBS Board of Governors. He is involved as chairman of the Museum of Broadcast Communications and on the board of directors of numerous local charities, including Children's Brittle Bone Foundation, Catholic Charities, Chicago Chamber of Commerce and the 100 Club.
In 2017, he was named Broadcaster of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association. This year he will receive the Communications Award from the Justinian Society of Lawyers at their installation and awards dinner to be held on Sept. 12 at the Palmer House Hilton.
The Justinians comprise lawyers of Italian descent, and proceeds from the event will benefit the organization's endowment fund.
Larry Wert is still that local boy as he and his wife, Julie, have raised four children, Katy, Kristen, Sara and Charlie in Riverside, where they are close to his mother, Joan Damore Wert, and his sister, Terri Tabor. His brother, Scott, lives in the Chicago area. True to his roots, he still enjoys swimming and add in some golf with friends at the Riverside Golf Club.