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Disc jockey Dick Biondi takes toy drive on road
By Kathryn Grondin | Daily Herald Staff

Dick Biondi, left, broadcasts from the Yorktown Shopping Center with his guest, Lombard firefighter/medic Mike Heimbecker, during the Dick Biondi Toy Drive in Lombard.

 

Marcelle Bright | 2007

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Published: 11/26/2008 4:25 PM

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Where to find the toy drive

Dick Biondi's annual toy drive will appear at four area malls:

• 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 28, at Stratford Square Mall, Gary Avenue and Army Trail Road, Bloomingdale

• 6 p.m. to midnight Dec. 5 at Westfield Hawthorn Mall, 122 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills

• 6 p.m. to midnight Dec. 12 at Westfield Fox Valley, Route 59 and New York Street, Aurora

• 6 p.m. to midnight Dec. 19, Chicago Ridge Mall, 444 Chicago Ridge Mall, Chicago Ridge

After many years of skipping sleep for the benefit of needy kids, Chicago radio legend Dick Biondi is opting for shorter broadcast stints from multiple locations for his annual toy drive.

"People were telling me it was too far, so I thought we could take it on the road. The toy drive comes to you," Biondi said. "We get to see more people. We'll still be able to help a lot of kids."

Instead of broadcasting for 36 hours overnight from one location, most recently at Yorktown Center in Lombard for several years, Biondi will broadcast for six- to 12-hour evening stints from four suburban malls.

"I like the idea of the overnight, but it put pressure on a lot of people," Biondi said. "I'm looking forward to that ... getting sleep."

Biondi will open with a 12-hour broadcast and collection from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday at Stratford Square Mall in Bloomingdale.

The show and toy drive will shift to the 6 p.m.-to-midnight slot as it moves to Westfield Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills Dec. 5, then Dec. 12 at Westfield Fox Valley Mall in Aurora and Dec. 19 in Chicago Ridge.

From his post inside the malls, Biondi will hit the airwaves on WLS 94.7-FM and online at 947trueoldies.com.

As always, fans are asked to bring cash donations or new, unwrapped toys to the malls during the broadcasts to benefit the Uhlich Children's Advantage Network, which supports abused, troubled or neglected children.

Special guests are expected to stop by each of the broadcasts. On opening night, Biondi will auction limited edition John Lennon song prints.

For fans who cannot visit during the broadcasts, Biondi returns to each mall from noon to 3 p.m. the next day to collect additional donations.

Instead of hosting Biondi's event, Yorktown Center will collect food for the Northern Illinois Food Bank and toys and baby supplies for two local nonprofits. Shoppers can drop off donations at the sleigh in center court at the Lombard mall, Butterfield Road and Highland Avenue.

A special event will culminate the collection from noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 13 with gift card and candy giveaways and a remote radio broadcast by WTMX 101.9-FM.

"We decided to develop a new program," said Lindsey Burke, said Yorktown's marketing director. "Our theme this year is 'Home for the Holidays.' We wanted to keep the proceeds close to our home area."