Chicago radio journalist Felicia Middlebrooks was born May 29, 1957, in Gary, Indiana, to a teacher and a steelworker. Middlebrooks graduated from Gary's West Side High School in 1975; over the next seven years, she worked as a steelworker to finance her B.A. degree in mass communications at Purdue University, which she earned with honors. While pursuing her degree, Middlebrooks gained radio experience at four separate Northwestern Indiana stations.
Middlebrooks was hired as a full-time employee at WBBM news radio in 1983; for the next eighteen years, she worked as co-anchor of WBBM's Morning Drive, part of a lineup that toppled WGN's thirty-year streak as Chicago's top-rated morning station. The first woman and first African American to co-anchor Morning Drive, Middlebrooks was involved in numerous creative ventures; she served as the CEO of her own company, Saltshaker Productions. As a regular panelist on the Total Living Network's Chicago Newsmakers, Middlebrooks addressed spiritual issues; her written work appeared in a prestigious literary anthology, Souls of My Sisters. Middlebrooks contributed her time and talents serving as a trustee for the Children's Home and Aid Society, and was a member of the board of directors of WINGS, an organization founded to assist victims of domestic violence. Middlebrooks received the Associated Press Best Reporter Award for her insightful series of reports on domestic violence; the African American Leadership Council and the Urban League are among the many other organizations that honored her achievements.
When Middlebrooks left the air following a contract dispute in 2002, the Reverend Jesse Jackson and her fans intervened, and her needs were swiftly met. A longtime mentor to aspiring journalists, Middlebrooks continued working with young people in a teaching position at Purdue University's Calumet campus. In her spare time, Middlebrooks also wrote and published a novel.