An icon of the regional radio industry has died. Hayward Talley, who founded WSMI Radio in Litchfield, passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 91. Originally from Piasa, Talley started WSMI AM in 1950. The FM version of WSMI would follow in 1960.
Talley was named the Illinois Broadcasters Association Vincent T. Wasilewski "Broadcaster of the Year" in 2002 and while the award was given to Hayward, the award could have been given to the team of Hayward and Emma Talley, his wife and business partner. He is survived by his wife, Emma, two sons and four grandchildren.
"Illinois has lost one of its finest citizens today," remarked Dennis Lyle, president & CEO of the Illinois Broadcasters Associations "and the broadcast world has lost one of the finest local broadcasters ever." There was no finer example of a true local broadcaster than Hayward," continued Lyle. "He never forgot, nor let anyone else forget, the responsibility broadcasters have in being the protective stewards of their community's airwaves."