Mike Elliott

elliottHis career spanned more than 50 years beginning at WACE radio in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1954, where he was a sports announcer for Springfield College games. Early career stops as an announcer took him to Stockton, CA, Boston, Atlantic City, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. He began his Wisconsin broadcasting career in Milwaukee in 1973 when he signed on as host of WTMJ radio’s mid-afternoon music show. He served WTMJ a total of 13 years during three different tours of duty working as an announcer, sports personality on radio and television and as radio program director. In 1983 he was the play-by-play voice of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros, before returning to Milwaukee as program director at WISN radio. In 1996 he became Operations Director and a sports anchor for Sports America and then from 1997 to 2000 he had music shows on WZTR-FM in Milwaukee. He made his final move in 2000 to WBKV/WBWI, West Bend, as Operations Director and morning show host on WBWI. After his retirement at the end of 2005 he continued to work part-time at the West Bend stations.

Mike Elliott passed away on April 20, 2020.

39 Comments

  1. Walt Kaufmann

    His terrific voice is off the charts. He doesn’t take a back seat to anybody. There’s few anywhere like Mike Elliott. What pipes and great delivery!

  2. Bob Duckman

    Mike Elliott was my PD at WASH in Washington. A great PD and fun to be around. Would love to touch base with him.

  3. Diana Douglas

    Mike Elliott means so much to me in my radio career. I was his morning show partner from 1997 until 2000 at WZTR in Milwaukee. What an amazing 3 years. A master class I got to take with a man who is a friend, mentor, substitute dad and golf partner. Well deserved honor Mike! Love you, man!

    • Bill Hamrick

      Fantastic programmer, great voice, and terrific guy. My sincere condolences to my friend Elliott and the entire family.

  4. Jim "The Big Kahuna" Kaluzny

    If not for Mike Elliott, I would probably never lived out my dream of getting on WTMJ-Radio. Mike gave me the chance that nobody else would have. Mike was more than a boss, he was a ‘friend’ and a second father figure to me. His great voice and wisdom throughout his broadcast career will be deeply missed. Godspeed Mike. Jim “The Big Kahuna” Kaluzny

  5. Sadly, I learned of Mike’s passing today. (4/20/2020) We were close associates during his 3 stints at WTMJ. Ironically and fortunately for each of us, we reconnected via a phone call just last week. It was great to talk over some history but sad to hear of his declining condition. That powerful voice, weakened by age, is now silent. RIP old friend. Thanks to son Blake Elliot for enabling the connection and sad follow-up today.

  6. Tom Carr

    This is extremely sad news. I vividly remember Mike interviewing me for WTMJ. Was doing my best not to let nerves show. Even bought a new suit for the occasion. The excitement level escalated when I was asked how I felt about small airplanes. I informed Mike that I was a pilot. Mike’s humor and booming laugh and were always a workday highlight. He had a wonderful way of correcting problems or errors without making you feel small. One of the true diverse broadcast legends and wonderful people has left us.

  7. Bob Bonenfant

    I was morning man and PD at WBKV in West Bend when Mike joined us. Having been there since 1986 I was apprehensive at first. But Mike was a great mentor, had a ton of knowledge and most importantly turned into a confidant and friend. God Bless you Mike Elliott.

  8. Clark Jepson

    Mike hired me at Willie Davis’s WLUM years after I left WZUU. Great man, honest, would do anything for you. They installed a new tower which ended up having a strobe. Every one knows they operate at a higher power during the day than nights. First night on they had left it on daytime power….it was like Elm Grove was being photographed with a blinding white strobe…and yes it was Like who had to make nice with all of Elm Grove.. Wow. Great man & ironic he passed within the same week as Mr. Davis..both will be missed.

  9. Fred Brennan

    Like Diana Douglas, I partnered with him in afternoons for the best and most enjoyable part of my on-air radio career. While I may have been the Program Director, I really leaned on him as a mentor, partner, and ((like Diana) a de facto father figure. I never laughed so hard or had as much fun on the air.

  10. Though, I never worked at WTMJ with Mike, he was a great mentor for me in my comparinly pale Milwaukee radio career. We often conected minds while covering a vast array of sporting events. He also loved the Marquette Warriors! I happened to share that with Mike.

    One of my favorite memories was an afternoon stint he was doing a WTMJ,….when I accompanied my friend and colleague, traffic reporter, Pamela Murr, in the airplane, as we hovered above the Summerfest Grounds on July 3rd, the night of the huge fireworks.

    Mike welcomed me warmly to his show that day. Pamela did all the work, while I was shotgun.

    Rest those big pipes now, Mike, we won’t forget you.

    Joanie Bohmann

  11. Bryan B. Belmer

    I am blessed to have worked with many of the true legends of radio broadcasting in Wisconsin, and Mike Elliot is among the best. Equally adept at fanning my create flame and knowing how to (constructively) cool my jets when necessary, I will always cherish my fond memories of working for and with Mike.

  12. CP Chris Peppas

    Mike brought a weekly sports show to Major Goolsby’s for a short time, christening the booth we had built during a renovation!

    Great broadcaster, Good guy…RIP, Mike

  13. Mentor, colleague, and all around great guy! Rest those pipes Mike. You will be truly missed.

  14. Al Quartemont

    What can you say about someone who was instrumental in where you are now? Hired me for my first radio job, took me under his wing, encouraged me in some tough times, celebrated whatever success I did have. Eventually gave a green kid his own show. Still not sure why he did that other than I probably nagged him constantly to let me try. Will always be thankful for the time I had to learn under Mike Elliot. RIP, sir.

  15. PAUL SWERDLICK

    To me he was uncle Mike, my Moms sister’s husband.
    He will be missed and always in our hearts.

  16. Jack Lee

    I broughti Mike to WTMJ and Wisconsin broadcasting in 1973 as a music show just. He eventually
    replaced me as Program Manager when I left to be a GM and whatever. Great game, Mike.

    • Joel "JK the DJ" / "Rock & Roll Rabbi" Kiedrowski

      I too worked with Mike at WZTR radio from 1997-99. I remember Mike as part of the afternoon/mid days with PD Fred Brennan, and later as half of the morning show with Diana Douglas. His insight and warm personality wasn’t just felt over the air…it was his actual, real life personality. The strongest memory I have of Mike is him telling me about his stint as a session drummer, getting paid $500 to drum on the 1957 hit “Happy Happy Birthday Baby” by the Tune Weavers. Even though I hadn’t seen or spoken to Mike since our Oldies 95.7 WZTR days, I’ve often thought about him. Mike, you are already missed. Godspeed.

  17. Lynn Barbeau

    Mike and I worked together at WTMJ and he taught me a lot about the sports aspect of radio on the station. I am blessed to have worked with him. He will be missed. My condolences to his family. Rest in peace Mike.

  18. Angela Brooks

    I am very sorry to hear the news. I have known Mike for many years and even did his morning show and station liners at 92.5 WBWI.
    Prayers and heartfelt thoughts to his family and all who loved him.

  19. Tallyn Kubicki

    Thank you!

  20. Kelly Elliott

    Thank you all for your wonderful comments about my dad. He was my number one fan following me around in every sport I was in. It is so great to hear all the lives he touched and all the people he mentored throughout his career! My family is very grateful to read all the amazing things my dad did as your comments are bringing back all the fun memories!

    • Alma Venditti (Brustin)

      Kelly, My name is Alma (Brustin) Venditti. I was best friends with your Mother so many years ago in Malden,MA. I was thinking of them today for some reason and just put your Dad’s name into Facebook and saw this site telling of his passing. I knew your Dad as well from those years, so long ago when he and your Mom started dating. I was bridesmaid at their wedding. I am very saddened to hear of his passing, and I have lost contact with your Mom. Please extend my sincerest condolences to your family. If you like, you can find me on facebook “Alma Brustin Venditti” or you can email me at vincenzov@aol.com. With much sadness…

  21. Holly Ignatowski

    I am so sad to hear of the passing of Mike. He was my PD at WTMJ and so much more-a mentor and father figure to my young, clueless self. If you worked for Mike he had your back. I will never forget his laugh or his big, beautiful heart. Rest in glorious peace, Mike.

  22. Lee Barry

    I am sorry to hear that another of the radio greats has moved on.
    He will be missed.

    • Robin Elliott-Beck

      The story’s of those my dad mentored, beloved in, gave them a chance to make their career dreams come to life have been amazing to read.

      Thank you to all who have shared who Mike Elliott was in their life and what he meant to them.

      He was a husband, dad, grandfather . He was so much to so many in the lifetime of his.

      g-d speed dad ❤️ Rest Easy ✌🏼.

  23. Bruce Sullivan

    I will always remember listening to Mike Elliott on WTMJ and then having the opportunity to work with him at WZTR 1996-1997. He was a great personality on and off the microphone. A true professional and will be truly missed.

  24. Fay Spano

    So very sorry to hear of Mike’s passing. I worked with Mike at both WISN and WTMJ radio and knew him as someone who brought “fun” to the office — as well as great perspective. All my best to is family and friends.

  25. Walt Murphy

    Mike and I worked together in Atlantic City from 1963 to 1970. Mike was my brother and we laughed our asses of for all that time. A true professional who taught me things that I would use in y 20-year radio caerre.

  26. Sad to hear of Mike’s passing. Mike was my first program director at WOND/WMGM Atlantic City, NJ. He was a great on air talent and helpful to someone starting in the business. On a funny note, Mike and my dad became golfing buddies. My dad came home after playing with Mike and had a swollen cheek. Mike shanked a ball off the tee and nailed my dad in the mouth. The blow almost knocked out my dad’s tooth! RIP, Mike.

  27. Walt Murphy

    Meant to add that getting people like Jay and me a start in radio, Mike also gave ‘the golden girl,’ Jessica Savitch, her start in broadcasting. Her first day on the air, she followed me.

    • Tom Luljak

      I did the local news updates for a couple of years during Mike’s afternoon air shift at WTMJ. He was a class act. He was always supportive, thoughtful and kind. Great qualities in broadcast pro. And he had the best on air laugh!

  28. Jon E Saxon

    Mike and Candy I’ve known for over 30 years…peace be with you…

  29. Blake Elliott

    Thank you for all of the amazing comments and story sharing. It is truly heartwarming to read and hear about how much my father meant to them both professionally and personally. He was larger than life at times, but we knew him as our dad, a husband, a grandfather, a mentor and a friend. While we will miss him dearly, we will remember the good times and the great memories that we shared throughout the years. In true Mikey fashion, when I saw him on Sunday and asked how he was doing, he responded with – “I think I’m rounding 3rd and headed for home”.
    I know one thing for sure – if there is baseball in heaven, he will be in the starting line-up this week and playing third base. We will celebrate our dad’s life when the world gets back to a sense of normalcy. Until then – thank you for everyone’s love and support and keep the stories coming!

  30. Walt Murphy

    One more comment on Mike. I noticed that many of the tributes to Mike during his induction ceremony, everyone mentioned Mike’s equating everyday activities to sports. While working in Atlantic City, 1963-1970,, Mike put togerther a WOND Radio basketball team. We were all in our 30’s and all fairly athletic. We had uniforms and we would play Jaycees, PTAs, public safety departments, and we would DRAW! We’d raise money for various non-profits and we’d play as many as 30 games a year, all led by our leader, Mike Elliott, a pretty good athlete, at that.

  31. Mike was instrumental in helping me produce the first long version of the Green Bay Packer Pre and Post game show. The shows were about 15 min long at the time Mike, working as PD at WTMJ gave my team the permission and ability to do a two hour Pre-game show on the Green Bay Packer WTMJ Radio Network with Hall of Famer Ray Scott and former GB QB, Lynn Dickey along with our WPKR Sports Director Wayne Mausser. If it weren’t for Mike, who knows, the Packer Radio Network pre and post games shows would not be what they are today. My former station WPKR, Oshkosh,-Appleton, produced those shows for two years before WTMJ established the elongated pre and post game show versions. Then Mike came with me to Dyersville, IA to be the chief operations director for SportsAmerica, a national sports talk radio network featuring Mike as moderator and such greats as Irv Cross, Charlie Jones, Ray Scott, Kevin Harlan and Michelle Tofoya. Mike, to me, was the finest operations director ever in the radio business…and he was even a much better person. I will never forget our many lunches and dinners together in Iowa…I learned so much from Mike Elliott. I will never forget Mike, a true leader and incredible broadcast Hall of Famer. The best!

  32. Mike Murphy

    So sad to hear of Mike’s passing… had the pleasure of working with him when he ran WISN. What a great time with a great guy. He was always fair and open minded to new ideas which made our job so easy. We had the best time with the WISN softball team!.. thanks Mike for being part of my life and career.

  33. I love reading all of these comments. Many of your names are ones I recognize from stories that Mike told me in our years working together at the end of his career. I had the pleasure of being his last ‘project’ while he was at WBWI. He was truly like a father to me. When I started working for him as a 20-year-old kid, running a board for NASCAR races, I was driving a truck during the day in order to “afford my radio habit.” While I was sitting behind the board, I would write station liners, update commercial scripts and put them on his desk before I left for the night. He took a chance on me and hired me as the station copywriter & afternoon host. I was lucky enough to spend six years with him as my PD and mentor before I took over for him upon his retirement. He was there for me through my first marriage, when my parents got divorced, when I had my first child, when I got divorced, and so many other milestones. He and I ran wall-to-wall coverage during and in the days following the attacks of 9/11. He and I rode in the back of a pickup truck through a car wash for a publicity stunt. There are too many stories and I would love to tell every one of them. Mike fought for me. He taught me. He pushed me to be more than just “vanilla” or “melba toast.” I owe every bit of my success to Mike and his life lessons. I am so unbelievably saddened and heartbroken that he is gone, but I am also so happy and grateful to have had the opportunity to spend the time with him that I did while he was here. It was truly a gift. It was an amazing gift. We are all better for having known him.

    To Candy, Blake, Robin, Kelly, and Scott, thank you for allowing him to be a part of my life. He will never, ever be forgotten.

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