Back after this: WXRT's Terri Hemmert taking time off after surgery

Terri Hemmert

Terri Hemmert

Chicago radio treasure Terri Hemmert is expected to be out of commission at least until August while she recuperates from back surgery.

Friday will be Hemmert’s last day on the air at WXRT FM 93.1 before she undergoes arthroscopic surgery July 5 to treat a back problem she has had since childhood.

Hemmert, 68, said she hopes to return to her midday show on the CBS Radio adult album alternative station after four weeks off. In any case, she’s determined to be fully healed in time to emcee her 39th annual Chicago Beatlefest convention, which opens August 12.

“I hate to be off because I like to keep working,” said the Radio Hall of Famer and 42-year veteran of WXRT. “But I’m looking forward to this because I haven’t been able to walk well in a couple of years. I’ve been in a lot of pain.”

It’s the second medical leave this year for Hemmert, who underwent cancer surgery in January and was out for five weeks. Her back ailment is not related to the cancer surgery, which was successful, she said. Hemmert also was sidelined for six weeks in 2014 for knee replacement surgery.

While she’s away, retired WXRT host Frank E. Lee will fill in on Hemmert’s midday show from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Hemmert will still be heard on her signature weekend show, “Breakfast with the Beatles,” which airs from 8 to 10 a.m. Sundays. She said she has taped six installments of the show in advance of her leave.