Remembering J.W. Pirtle

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – A longtime community leader and former radio station owner passed away Saturday morning.

J.W. Pirtle owned WBCP, the only black-owned radio station east of the Mississippi.

He also served on the Champaign City Council as deputy mayor.

People who knew him say he was a strong advocate for the community he served.

We spoke with council member Tom Bruno, who served with Pirtle.

He said the news of Pirtle’s death is a shock, but he’ll always remember his leadership legacy, and his impact on the city.

“Oh he was a warm and charming guy. He would always be welcoming, and greeting everybody else, and always on friendly terms. So it was a real pleasure serving with J.W. Pirtle,” said Bruno.

Bruno also said it was Pirtle who helped create a business district on North 4th Street.

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