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.”

Photo provided

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.

Phil Masterton / WNIJ

It has been years in the making, and Wednesday, June 1, 2016, it became official. The UW Health Sports Factory is open in downtown Rockford.

The massive recreational facility on the Rock River is expected to serve the needs of sports-minded residents as well as attract amateur sports tourism. The Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau held its annual luncheon at the Sports Factory, the building's inaugural event. About 700 people gathered in the $24-million facility for the official dedication.

Phil Masterton/WNIJ

Neighborhood activists hit the ground running -- rather, hit the “grass mowing” -- Monday morning in Rockford for a show of neighborhood pride.

Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey, 13th Ward Democratic Alderwoman Linda McNeely, Pastor Marvin Hightower and others assembled at an overgrown lot in Rockford’s Zion West Neighborhood Monday morning.

Yesterday, we brought you a story about Rockford’s Club Blue, which, after five short years, will surpass the $1 million mark in grants and donations to Rockford-area organizations. Now, we’re going to hear from recipients of Club Blue grants and what it meant for them to receive that money. Jane Armitage, Vice President of Development for Remedies Renewing Lives, tells us about the grant they received.

Washington Irving wrote “There is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.”

Rockford Public Library

Update: The Rockford-Register Star reports library leaders approved the purchase at last night's meeting.

If the Rockford Public Library agrees at tonight’s meeting to acquire the building next door, it could benefit the pending brownfield remediation of the site. 

It could also help the development of a brand new main library.

Phil Masterton / WNIJ

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger says cooperation and common sense in the General Assembly are the only solutions to the budget impasse. She stopped in Rockford Friday as part of her state-wide tour to talk about the state's financial troubles.