‘Morning Shift’ host Tony Sarabia leaving WBEZ

Tony Sarabia

Tony Sarabia, host of “The Morning Shift” on WBEZ 91.5-FM, is stepping down at the end of the year after 28 years at the Chicago Public Media news/talk station.

Sarabia told listeners Tuesday he plans to move to rural Iowa to pursue opportunities outside of radio. His last day at WBEZ will be December 21.

“The Morning Shift,” a locally produced news and talk show, follows NPR’s “Morning Edition” from 9 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Morning Shift

“WBEZ has been more than a place to work. It’s been a place to learn and grow, and to use those skills to serve our listeners,” Sarabia said in a statement. “It’s not easy to leave after a wonderful 28 years - half of my life. But, I am looking forward to this next chapter of my life in rural Iowa.”

Sarabia, a graduate of Columbia College, joined WBEZ as an intern for the former “Mara Tapp Show” in 1990. He later moved up to producer, program host and news anchor. He has hosted “The Morning Shift” since its inception in 2012.

Steve Edwards, vice president and chief content officer of WBEZ, said a search for Sarabia’s successor would begin the coming months. Jennifer White will continue as Friday host of “The Morning Shift” as well as host of the “Making” podcast series.

“We are thrilled for Tony, though it’s bittersweet for us as his colleagues and for Chicago at large,” Edwards said in a statement. “For nearly three decades, WBEZ listeners have come to know Tony’s voice, his warmth and his unique ability to skillfully lead conversations that connect with people from all backgrounds and walks of life. We will miss Tony deeply and we’re grateful for all he’s contributed to WBEZ, to public radio, and to our community.”

In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, WBEZ ranked 11th in mornings with a 3.2 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 305,400.