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Media : December 2022 • Baby Onions – It’s Chuck Swirsky

| December 1, 2022


Chuck Swirsky

Chuck Swirsky is in the midst of his 25th season as an NBA play-by-play man, and his 15th year doing radio play-by-play for the Bulls. Next month he’ll do his 2000th game.

“If everything goes according to plan,” he says, “it will happen on January 13, a Friday night, against Oklahoma City.”

That’s a lot of basketball, but if you think that has led Chuck to get sick of it, you would be wrong. In fact, a few years ago, Swirsky started a new tradition after Bulls wins.

“During Covid we were doing road games live from the United Center. One night the Bulls won a game, and I did a little dance, and our engineer Rich Wyatt was taping it. He asked if he could put it up on the internet, and I said sure. Next thing we knew, we got 25,000 hits. So, we thought, why not? Let’s keep doing it. And it really caught on. I saw (Golden State Warriors player) Stephen Curry, who I have known since he was a kid, in the hallway before a game last year, and we chatted, and at the end of the chat I said, ‘have a good game.’ I took about ten or fifteen steps, and he called out to me, “Oh Chuck, Chuck. You’re not dancing tonight.”

Does Chuck take dance move requests? Yes, he does.

“Make a suggestion to me on Twitter @ctsbulls if you have a dance move, you’d like me to try.”

Chuck doesn’t consider himself a dancer, even if that’s how he is now known. On the other hand, he also never really considered himself a writer, but with a new book out called Always a Pleasure (, that’s another claim he can no longer make.

“I honestly have no idea how it’s going to go,” he said. “I’m new to all of this.”

Fans of Chicago radio will love the chapters about his broadcasting career before the NBA. Chuck has worked with some of the all-time radio greats.

“When I was at the Loop in the early 80s,” he says, “the ratings were huge. It was a thrill to work with people like Steve & Garry, Sky Daniels, Mitch Michaels, Patti Haze. The best. We had some bumps in the road because I was doing sports, and I don’t think they knew quite what to do with me, but it all worked out.”

It led to his next radio gig on WGN Radio.

“When I look back at those years, I am so blessed that (WGN GM) Dan Fabian gave me the chance to walk in the door. I worked with superstar after superstar. Wally Phillips, #1 in Chicago year after year after year. Nobody was remotely as big as Wally. Roy Leonard was an incredible interviewer and would bring in all these famous guests. They knew that Roy wasn’t going to turn it into 60 minutes. Bob Collins was just a guy who brought his life into the program and people loved that. They wanted to hear someone who was real. Milt Rosenberg was an intellectual giant. And we haven’t even talked about the sports personalities. It was an on-air smorgasbord of greatness.”

Swirsky became particularly close to WGN morning man Bob Collins. He will never forget how he heard the news about Collins’ untimely passing.

“I was broadcasting a Toronto Raptors game versus the Hawks,” he recalls. “I usually turn my phone to vibrate, and I heard it go off early in the opening quarter. It was blowing up. I pointed to the phone and asked my engineer to answer the calls. I was afraid something had happened to my family because there were so many calls. During the time out I asked what was going on, and he said, ‘I’ve got some bad news. A friend of yours named Bob Collins died in a plane crash.’ And then he said, ‘Chuck we’re on the air.’ I had so many emotions ripping through my mind, my heart, my soul, but I had to immediately get focused on the game. It was one of the hardest broadcasts I’ve ever done.Bob and I were close. It was heart wrenching. I still get emotional talking about that day.”

But Swirsky has had to overcome adversity his whole life. He was just a boy when his father, a naval officer, passed away. His mother worked three jobs to take care of him.

“And I never heard her complain once,” he says.

Her example led Chuck to adopt a strategy of life he calls the Four Ps.

“I believe in positivity because life is not a straight line. If youstay positive and surround yourself with positive people, you are bound to be happier. For me, my purpose is to inspire others. I want to make a difference in people’s lives. And passion is so important. It can’t be fake. If you have it for real, you will be able to do anything. And that leads to perseverance. Think Walter Payton climbing up that hill. If you have positivity, purpose, passion and perseverance, you can live your dreams and accomplish your goals. I guarantee it.”

Chuck’s book Always a Pleasure is available at You can hear Chuck doing play-by-play for Bulls games (with former Bull Bill Wennington) all season long on WSCR-AM 670, the Score.

– Rick Kaempfer

(Full disclosure: Rick Kaempfer is the co-publisher of Eckhartz Press.)

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