Ralph Nozaki, better known as “Rick O’Dell,” is a 1976 graduate of Lyons Township High School. He has made waves as a radio personality in the Chicago area since 1981. Following graduation from high school, Nozaki attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for five years, earning a Bachelor and Master degrees in Speech Communication. Nozaki’s first professional radio opportunities were in Urbana and Champaign, where he worked on and off air at various stations. In 1981 he moved back to the Chicago area and spent several months playing Broadway music on WKDC-AM in Elmhurst. He then spent three years at WAUR-FM and news/talk WMRO-AM in Aurora. In 1984 he started at WCLR-FM, where shortly after the first “Smooth Jazz” radio program, “Sunday Lite Brunch,” was launched with Rick O’Dell as its host. In 1989 he moved over to “ Smooth Jazz” WNUA-FM and has hosted the midday show and the station’s “Sunday Brunch” since. Nozaki was nominated for “Smooth Jazz Air Personality of the Year” in 2002 and 2005 by Radio and Records, a national industry publication. He is the president of SaxTrax, Inc., a company that specializes in out-of-print jazz recordings and CDs issued by radio station WNUA. A percentage of all profits made from the company go to the Anti-Cruelty Society. He has also served the community by volunteering his time for a variety of charity associations, serving on the Governing Board of the Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago and assisting other organizations, such as the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Les Turner ALS Foundation, and the Japanese American Service Committee.
Graduated in 1976 Inducted in 2006
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