Dean of Rockford Radio News, Fred Speer, to retire

Dean of Rockford Radio News, Fred Speer, to retire

By Jeff Havens, Staff Writer

Local legend and radio newsman Fred Speer announced that he will retire on Dec. 31. Speer has been a reporter for WROK radio since 1958.

His family and Rockford Police Chief Deputy Dominic Iasparro have organized an open house in Speer’s honor from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18, on the second floor of the Public Safety Building at 400 W. State Street. Speer has requested that well-wishers not bring gifts.

When asked why the Public Safety Building was chosen as the site for the open house, Speer explained that it was his “third home.” He also said that the PBS is centrally located and easily accessible for well-wishers.

Speer is a 1955 graduate of West High School. In the late 1950s, he attended Columbia College in Chicago, where he was an intern at NBC radio. After a brief period in Michigan, Speer came to WROK radio in 1958, where he has been ever since.

At WROK in 1958, Speer convinced owners to purchase a vehicle to enable live remote broadcasts of breaking news. Look for further details of Speer’s life in a future issue.

Speer is married to JoAnne Speer. His two sons, Patrick Speer and Tim Speer, and daughter, Kelly Hunter, helped organize the open house. Speer’s wife, JoAnne, has four children from a previous marriage: Roy Mattocks, Laura Roberts, Tim Mattocks and John Mattocks. Speer has 14 grandchildren.

Many best wishes to the Dean of Rockford Radio News and his family from all the staff at The Rock River Times.

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