By Maria E. Bernardi
Oh, The WIDB years……a time when we were conquering the world, evolving from
kids to adults. For some of us, it was 30 years ago. Or more! Much has happened since then. But in my wise “old age” I have come to appreciate the IDB experience as more than just a bunch of obsessed kids having fun. (Which we were and we did!)
I now appreciate that WIDB, more than most any other experience in my early adulthood, formed the person I am today. Sure, we had our parents to show us the proper path. (We never listened to them anyway) And we had ethics classes, civics, and professors who illuminated the future with the do’s and don’ts of life. But, I have come to understand the REAL learning at SIU came from my fellow WIDB comrades as we navigated our uncharted paths together. We were a rag-tag group of enthusiastic morons who came together for a common cause. And, like it or not, we learned FROM EACH OTHER. About radio. About business. About life.
During our treasured WIDB years, we were all passing from kids to (mostly) adults. Much of what we learned via our experiences at WIDB formed the people we are today. I do the reunions to pay respect to a time and people that molded my business persona for the rest of my life. At WIDB, I learned four important lessons:
Just because people are different from you doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them.
There was a guy called the Rock and Roll Troll. Looked like Cousin It.. Never saw anything like it. About 4 feet tall and long black hair down to everywhere. Weird!!
Yet I learned much from him. (we all did!) He taught me lessons on loyalty, on laughter, and on how to just keep keeping on.
Then there was Slaga. Didn’t have a first name. He was always in the corner, quietly staring out from the hallucinations in his head. (“Don’t talk to Slaga, he’s creating!”) Strange creature, our PD. But put him onstage, and he would whip the room into a frenzy. The best Jagger Swagger I’ve seen to this day. And I learned from Slaga its ok to break the rules sometimes.
And lets not forget Amy Elvart, the Dancer. She was always in her Danskin tights when she came to WIDB. Show-off! But I found her to be an extraordinary worker with great ideas and follow through. Amy developed into one of the finest radio sales and promotion people in Chicago!
And what can we say about John J. Martin. Mr. “If you want to be somebody, look like you already are somebody”. This man wore a 3 piece suit everywhere. EVERYWHERE.
In C’dale!! Did I mention is was the SAME suit? He wanted to be a radio executive
when he grew up and…you know the end of the story. Ask to see his summary vita.
Be passionate about your work, but stop to smell the roses, too.…
and the mushrooms, etc. We ALWAYS got the job DONE at WIDB,
but we sure figured out how to have fun while doing it…….
You must embrace the changes in Technology
There was Al Linton lugging around those 4 ton boxes of computer cards… nobody understood the system….why can’t we just do the damn logs by hand ???…
No matter what, don’t ever go to a sales meeting high.
The one time my friend Sales Manager Patty Reilly wanted to be
uber-serious I got narc’ed on and yelled at publicly.
And so I return to WIDB and Giant City every 5 years to pay respect
(such as it is) to a time that molded me and old friend who helped shape me.
The good and bad me. The productive and sneaky me. The optimistic and the realistic me. And if YOU think about it, I bet you received a life lesson or two from your WIDB cohorts.
Hope to see you next year…
And maybe we can also learn something from each other in the Summer of 2015.