NABJ Chicago mourns the passing of former V103 personality Wali F. Muhammad, who died on July 16 after suffering a brain injury when he fell at his home in May. Wali, fondly known as “the Communicator,” fell into a coma after the accident and never recovered, according to his family.
Wali was a long-time member and supporter of NABJ, and our hearts and prayers go out to his family. Services were held Monday, July 20. Family and close friends gathered at Salaam Restaurant the following day to share memories.
NABJ Chicago Board Member Richard Steele of WBEZ reminisced about Wali, who was a long-time friend and radio colleague:
“Family, religion and radio were priorities for Wali, in that order. When I was hired to do the morning show at V103 in late ’80s, the station was looking for an overnight personality. I recommended Wali. My boss told me, ‘I want to hire him; but do you think he will use a different name?’
“I talked to Wali about it and he thought about it for a week, whether to just use Wali as his radio name. Finally he decided, ‘Nah, I can’t do it. I must be true to my faith.’ Wali wanted to use his whole name. He didn’t get the job. But he didn’t want to shortstop on that. This was V103 when it first came on the air, in late 1980s.
“At another job, I hired Wali without asking the boss. The boss chewed me out, for he felt that his Jewish advertisers would not be happy. Wali was there for a few years. Wali was a very professional guy. He was a superb communicator, always a gentleman. He was a good friend, a great guy.”