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.