Phil Masterton

NIRIS Director and WNIJ Correspondent

Philip Masterton (“Phil”, nobody calls me Philip) was born just outside Dublin, Ireland and emigrated with his family as a lad. Growing up in Chicago’s northern suburbs he eventually graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with a degree in Mass Media Communications/Radio & TV.

After graduating and two tours of duty as a producer for NBC O&O WMAQ T.V. & Q101-WKQX, Phil started his 20+ year theatrical career. Some of his gigs included a few Broadway National Tours, among them CATS and Hal Prince’s Show Boat which he was also invited to open in London’s West End. Currently Phil lives in the Rockford area with his Rockford-Born-And-Bread-And-Proud-Of-It wife Vicky. He’s also the proud father of a recent college grad and the best daughter in the world, Kelsey.

“I’m honored to work with the wonderful volunteers at NIRIS. I will assist them in any way possible, including engineering, editing and co-hosting, to assure their programs are professional and the best product for our listeners. I will also host various shifts on, and act as the Rockford Area Correspondent for WNIJ. I’m proud to be part of such an accomplished team.”

Phil Masterton/WNIJ

Prostate cancer usually is not a laughing matter, but Ed Asner’s one-man show, “A Man and his Prostate,” manages to bring a lot of levity and information to a very important subject.

He presented that show three times in the Chicago area this month, including one at the Woodstock Opera House, one in the Windy City itself, and one at The Garlands of Barrington, to which an old pal of his has retired.

Born in Kansas City, Mo., Asner loves returning to the Midwest. He says he “loves Chicago,” where he cut his acting teeth. He considers the area “his roots.”

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Kevin Stites is ranked among the “Who’s Who” of Broadway conductors but, despite the impressive body of work he's put together, he'll proudly tell you he’s from Pecatonica, Ill.

Years ago I had the good fortune of working with Kevin on a number of shows in the Chicago area. He was resident musical director at the Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, where I performed in a number of shows in the 1980s.

I went off to tread the boards in Broadway National Tours and London’s West End while Kevin made a name for himself with the biggest stars, composers and producers in the world.

Kristin Chenoweth has dabbled in almost every form of musical entertainment, from gospel and county as a youngster to musical theatre in college and opera performance in graduate school.

She also has proved her acting chops onstage and in movies and television, picking up a number of awards along the way.

Now Chenoweth is criss-crossing the country on a tour she’s lovingly dubbed “the tour that does not end.” She admits she’s actually quite happy visiting the various locales – one of which is Wednesday evening in Rockford.

Phil Masterton/WNIJ

Amid temperatures in the mid-80s, a “blizzard” broke out in Rockford last Friday with a “flurry” of activity.

Rockford’s Discovery Center Museum held an event called “Frozen Family Friday,” based on “Frozen” – the 2013 animated musical. People dressed up as characters from the movie, like Elsa and Anna.  

Some activities included painting with ice, a science demonstration, and getting pictures with the “Snow Sister Princesses.”

Ann Marie Walker, Marketing Manager for the Discovery Center, said the event had a big turnout for its second year.

Phil Masterton / WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner joined a number of local lawmakers in Loves Park to address the budget situation.


The officials didn’t hold back. Rauner was already quoted as saying the spring session of the General Assembly ended in “stunning failure.”

Over the last few days, Rauner has been criss-crossing the state to draw attention to his disappointment.

He made a stop Thursday morning at the Winnebago/Boone County Regional Office of Education.