Talk Radio for me was this big accident, but it was eight years ago today that I was blessed with what I still consider to be the very best job in the business. Van Harden and Joel McCrea of WHO Radio asked me if I'd like to come work for them. It took me roughly half a second to say yes!
There are so few radio stations left in our business that do it right... and by 'doing it right', I mean having live and local shows from morning through night. Apart from the exceptional Rush Limbaugh, that is what we do.
Then it was Van and Bonnie, Jan Mickelson, the Big Show and ME! Now we have Jeff Angelo on in the mornings, but this commitment to 'doing it right' remains.
After a few years we started a second show - mornings from 9-11 on WMT out of Cedar Rapids! I did those two shows a day for a number of years and got to work with my very good friend Doug Wagner and for Program Director Randy Lee. Now we simulcast my show in the afternoons because after years of that 'both ends of the clock' thing, I was most definitely not very well!
I still get to work with Van and I am so honored that I get to call him my friend. These days he's no longer the boss - that is now Mike Dorwart.
It's interesting that this is the same week that I went to Las Vegas to the National Association of Broadcasters' annual show where WHO had been nominated for a Crystal Award. Trust me, this is a HUGE deal! WMT has also been nominated in the past and won one of these as well!
Just 50 radio stations in the entire country across ALL genres are nominated. Ten win. WHO didn't this year, but when you consider how many stations there are in the country, it truly is an incredible honor just to be nominated.
Why is it interesting that this coincided with my eighth anniversary? Because when I came on the air here I knew I had a very powerful microphone and I vowed to use it for good. The Crystal Awards recognize radio stations' work in the community.
I have kept my word! My show has been instrumental in making the Puppy Jake Foundation widely known across the State of Iowa and even beyond our borders. YOU (not me) have raised hundreds of thousands of Dollars for that organization and I am now on the Board. We have also raised hundreds of thousands of other dollars for Leukemia and Lymphoma, kids cancer (Pinky Swear) and the Iowa Dance Marathon which raises money for the Stead Family Children's Hospital. After the station was instrumental in saving the USS Iowa from becoming target practice, I was on board when she was recommissioned as a museum ship.
After a two-year campaign, we managed to return her original bell to her! I have also broadcast my show from her deck every 4th of July and then we did it again for the Rose Bowl Pep Rally! I will be back there a few times this year (starting next week). I have been honored with a place on the Board of Trustees charged with preserving this incredible piece of American History.
We have raised awareness for Iowa Special Olympics and many other causes.
Most importantly to me, Veterans in crisis know they can come to me OFF THE AIR, and I will move mountains to try and help them. My show has managed four times now (and sadly I know there will be more) to make sure that veterans who had died and were going to be laid to rest completely on their own, had the send off and honor they deserved. Literally hundreds of you have turned out to these funerals - the last time on a bitterly cold morning.
I could go on and on to be honest, but none of this would have happened without that phone call from Van Harden some eight and a bit years ago. The phone call was under a week before my first on-air shift.
It is the honor of my working life to be on the radio in Iowa and on these incredible radio stations. I get to work with incredible people too, but it is the audience of my show that makes me the most proud.
Thank you for being there and thank you for standing up every time I ask.
God bless you all.