Don McNeill was born in Galena, Illinois on December 23, 1907.
He graduated from Milwaukees Marquette University in 1928
and joined local station WISN. In 1933, he drove to Chicago to audition
for a struggling morning program called The Pepper Pot. McNeill
took over the show on June 23rd and renamed it The Breakfast
Within a decade, The Breakfast Club had become radios
first, and most, successful morning program. By 1941, McNeill and
his cast were receiving over 100,000 letters a year.
The show was divided into four 15-minute segments for the "four
calls to breakfast," and featured music, comedy, inspirational
verse and McNeills sunny, easygoing personality. Supporting
players included actress Fran Allison as the gossipy Aunt Fanny
and Sam Cowling, who offered "Fact and Fiction from Sams
For 15 years, the show was broadcast live from Chicagos Merchandise
Mart over WLS/Chicago and the Blue Network (later ABC). For its
last 20 years, the show was broadcast on ABC from various Chicago
hotels, including the Allerton. The Breakfast Club ended
its remarkable 35-year network run on December 27, 1968.
Don McNeill died on May 7, 1996.
The Breakfast Club was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame
of the images on this page is strictly prohibited.