Retired WLS-TV Music Director Frank McNulty, who worked on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show,' turns 100

Frank McNulty wrote 1st Gold record, 'Bye Bye Baby Goodbye,' alongside wife, Colleen

Tre Ward Image
Sunday, September 3, 2023
Retired WLS-TV music dir. who worked on Oprah Winfrey's show turns 100
Retired WLS-TV Music Director Frank McNulty, who worked on The Oprah Winfrey Show, turned 100 years old this week.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Frank McNulty was 19 years old when he first stepped foot into the WLS Studios.

In fact, on Saturday evening, ABC7's Tre Ward was standing in the very room where McNulty contributed music for a morning show hosted by Oprah Winfrey.

McNulty turned 100 years old on Thursday. His career spans television and music, impacting many across the world. But, he spent this milestone birthday in a quaint backyard in Deerfield, surrounded by the people who love him most.

For him, it is memories.

"That was the beginning of television," McNulty recalled. "It hasn't changed much. It used to be all kinds of flashing pictures every once and awhile."

But, for Chicago local television, it is history seen within McNulty's century of living.

"One-hundred years of music," McNulty said.

Before the birth of television, there was a bright-eyed McNulty, eager to prove himself. In 1944, he started working at a local television station that eventually became ABC-TV. He was a band remote manager, scheduling prominent musical acts, including his own music.

"I ended up writing about seven different musicals," McNulty said.

Then, in the early 1980s, he became the music director for "The Oprah Winfrey Show" when production was at WLS-TV in downtown Chicago.

"And, then, she went and got her own network, her own show," McNulty said.

He later retired in 1999 at age 76. It is a career that would be nothing without his love of music. In 1959, he wrote his first Gold record, "Bye Bye Baby Goodbye," alongside his wife, Colleen.

"And, within two weeks it became number one in all the charts," McNulty said.

It is a song he still knows to this day.

With a life paved in the television industry, there's still one title he's yet to hold: a TV news reporter. That's at least, until now.

"For Tre Ward, I'm Frank McNulty. Love you!" McNulty said into the microphone.