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Radio Engineer JC Carollo Passes Away at 72

Long-time engineer spent 43 years with WGN Radio

Radio lost a well-known and much-beloved radio engineer when Jim Carollo passed away at the age of 72 on April 18 at his home in Huntley, Ill., after a long battle with lung cancer.

JC, as he was known to colleagues and friends, was the former director of engineering at WGN(AM) in Chicago. He was inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame in 2016 and noted for his commitment to radio as a board operator, remote engineer, studio maintenance engineer and finally chief engineer.

Carollo worked for 43 years as a broadcast engineer for WGN Radio.

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According to an article on the WGN Radio website, JC was integral in the design and construction of WGN Radio’s Tribune Tower facility, including the facility’s Showcase Studio. When the station moved to downtown Chicago in the mid-1980s, JC helped guide the station into the digital age. He came out of semi-retirement in the early 2010s to help the station move again when it transitioned its operations from the first to the seventh floor of Tribune Tower.

“JC was a ‘vintage’ AM radio leader, but from the time I first worked with him in 1998, it was clear he innovated at every turn,” wrote WGN Radio Station Manager and Vice President of Content Todd Manley in an email to WGN staff. “He never stopped chasing the next great piece of gear.”

Born Aug. 27, 1945, to Joseph and Rose (Faso) Carollo, JC was a Chicago native who grew up on the west side of the city. He and his wife Karen M. Lango were married in September 1963 and made their home in Chicago and later Schaumburg, Ill., where they raised their family. JC attended DeVry and then Loyola University where he graduated with a degree in broadcast engineering.

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Following a move to Huntley, Ill., in 2004, Jim was involved in establishing Huntley Radio, a community-oriented nonprofit broadcaster.

According to the Chicago Suburban Daily Herald, JC is survived by his wife Karen; his children Ken (Donna) Carollo of Oviedo, Fla.; Ralph (Christine) Carollo of Schaumburg; and Michael (Carrie) Carollo of Lake In The Hills, Ill.; his grandchildren Marissa, Melanie, Skylar, Jackson and Lana; sister Lucille (Wayne) Giffin of Diamond Bar, Calif.; brother-in-law Robert Kunkel of Naperville, Ill.; and his sister and brother-in-law Carol and Ray Sansone of Elmhurst, Ill. JC was preceded in death by his parents and sister AnnMarie.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Huntley Community Radio Online condolences can be directed to

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