“We all shine on…” – Meet Terri 21 of 52 Phenomenal Women

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

Meet Terri, who became Chicago’s first female morning drive on air personality in 1981. For more than 40 years, Terri Hemmert has been playing “Chicago’s Finest Rock” as a disc jockey on WXRT. I recently had the incredible opportunity to interview this broadcasting pioneer who was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2010.

Amy: What made you want to be a DJ?

Terri: I saw a picture of Ringo Starr being interviewed by Jim Stagg, a DJ. I was in high school, this is 1965. I thought, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to become a disc jockey so I can meet The Beatles.” Because I didn’t want to chase them down the street and try to pull their hair and stuff like that. I want to hang out with them. They were really cool. I didn’t tell anybody because I knew they’d laugh at me. It’d be like a girl from a small town, Ohio in 1965… It’d be like saying I want to be on the Cubs, girls can’t do that. So anyway, I kept it kind of secret. And then while I was looking for college, I wanted to have a college radio station and found Elmhurst College. My parents were surprisingly supportive. They were really wonderful. Dad just said, have a plan B in case it doesn’t work out because they knew the odds were against m