Congratulations! Now get back to work...
You might've heard something about me being inducted into the Milwaukee Press Club Media Hall Of Fame. I've only brought it up if someone asked, or if it was broached on the air by others as was the case Friday morning when my co-horts conspired to surprise me with all manner of guests willing to discuss the event.
My induction is a tandem event, paired with that of my longtime WKTI partner Bob Reitman. The MPC deemed what we did together for 24 years worthy of honor. Now that I'm on the Press Club's board of governors, I think it's time I make a resolution asking for a review/tightening of Hall of Fame criteria.
To see the list of past honorees, not to mention the folks who were brought in along with Bob and I Friday night makes me wonder about my worthiness. That' s not false modesty. The men and women who precede us are pioneers, broadcast/print legends, capital "J" journalists and ground breakers. Reitman and Mueller? They did wake-up calls. They played songs by Wham! and Rick Astley. Wasn't there something with some dolls at County Stadium, too?
I thank the Press Club for a memorable, one-of-a-kind night. I thank my radio families along the way, from my high school station in Sheboygan (WSHS) to Stevens Point (WWSP, WSPT) and MIlwaukee (WQFM, WKTI, and WTMJ). No one is an island, and this particular honoree isn't a testament to individual accomplishment. Quite the opposite. I'm blessed to have been surrounded by so many incredibly talented, hard-working people over my 42 years behind various microphones. They've been an inspiration and resource.
The enormity of the night came clear before I walked into the ballroom, as I was handed chalk to sign my name on one of the legendary Press Club autograph slates--an MPC tradition dating back to 1898. To think of the greats who'd done the same over the years reminded me just how small of a speck I am in their universe, what a huge honor this truly is.
Many of us compartmentalize our lives--there's our home life, our friends, our business associates and those from our past. Seldom do these worlds intersect and when they do, it's both unsettling and magical. So it was Friday night as a diverse and eclectic group settled in for the evening. The butterflies in my stomach became condors as my moment drew near, and I wasn't sure if my acceptance speech would hit the right note. It was from the heart, though, and I've found that you usually can't go wrong when that's your source material.
It ended too soon, though, and a night of big laughs/hearty handshakes/long hugs was over. Something that I looked forward to with a why-me sense of foreboding became something I didn't want to see end.
It did, though, and now the reality settles in.
I pointed out at the start of my talk that most of the inductees are either retired...or dead. I asked the crowd if there was something they weren't telling me.
The point is this: yes, being part of the Milwaukee Press Club Media Hall Of Fame is an immense honor and something this radio dabbler is deeply appreciative of. I look back fondly at the time I had with Reitman and all of the folks at WKTI. Magical times. Fun. Hall Of Fame worthy? Well, if the MPC thinks so, who am I to say no?
The reality: being a big deal Friday night is nice, but when 1:30 Monday morning rolls around, I'm just another grunt, repeating a ritual morning media folks all over the country are doing--getting up way too early to do a job we love. Me? I'm doubly blessed, having had the chance I did at KTI as well as the opportunity I savor at WTMJ. I get to work with still another group of talented, eager, inquiring men and women destined for great accomplishments of their own.
Thanks to all who came out Friday night, to all who sent messages/made phone calls/wrote e-mails of congratulations. I'm still blushing. Honest.
It's Saturday afternoon as I write this, and it's getting to be nap time. I was up late last night with my sister, solving any of the world's problems over too many glasses of bourbon.
And way too soon, it's going to be 1:30 Monday morning. I'll wake up a reluctant and humble Hall of Famer, but it'll be time to get back to work.