It was 12 years ago today – September 24, 2007 – that I told everyone to get out of the studio.
It wasn’t an easy time. We had just closed The Calumet Press newspaper, a business venture that cost me gobs of money. I took over the reigns of the morning show because I couldn’t afford to pay anyone. Necessity breeds innovation.
It wasn’t as if I had never hosted a morning show. In the mid-1980s, I worked at WJOB as a news reporter and sports announcer. Once in a while I would fill in as 23-year-old morning host. I liked it as much then as I do now. I look forward every day to turning on the microphone and, now, the cameras. The morning show propels me forward.
The challenge is that radio is dying, at least terrestrial radio. The spirit of WJOB is good and pure and beautiful. It has been around since 1924. It is the spirit that makes this media company, not the transmitter and tower. We have migrated the spirit to the internet in a big way. It has taken an immense amount of work and money… but the spirit lives on. And so do I as a morning host.
…. This morning, a girl named Elizabeth Gonzalez came on the show. She has this concept called “kindness” that I haven’t thought about in a while. Neither have you, probably. Elizabeth is a senior at Crown Point High School, where she’s active in an organization called CURE – Courtesy, Understand and Respect for Everyone. There’s a CURE chapter at CPHS. Elizabeth and her cohorts want to export CURE to high schools around the Region.
Elizabeth was a bit of a surprise. As the three or four of you know, Verlie co-hosts with me on Tuesdays. She didn’t tell me that Elizabeth was coming in or anything about her. This is a process followed by producer Ryan Walsh also. It’s just better that I don’t know what’s coming next.
“My service comes through kindness,” she said. “Kindness can change the world.”
This is not a normal message for a morning show. We are a rough tumble area and always have been. Elizabeth’s parents, Claudia Maldonado and Richie Gonzalez, come from East Chicago, which is as rough and tumble as it gets. Elizabeth grew up there before moving to Crown Point.
Goal - To cultivate a culture of kindness. Changing lives one random act of kindness at a time.
That’s what it says on her website – thecureprokindness.org.
The CURE began in 2014… It was founded by Elizabeth Gonzalez as a 4th grader. She was able to transform The CURE from a small community club to one with a vast outreach.
I came to work prepared to talk about a shooting that allegedly involves a Gary councilman. I wound up talking about kindness. You never know what’s gonna happen in live broadcasting. Thanks to all three or four of you who read my blog for coming with me on this journey. Here’s to 12 more.