Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's a Brand New Day

WOW!!! What a night. I'm pretty happy with the coverage WDCB was able to provide for our listeners. I've always tried to cover the story that isn't getting covered by broadcasters in the region and that was my goal again last night. Even though the biggest story on the planet was happening just a few zip codes away, we focused on what was happening here in Dupage County. What happened here may not have been as ground breaking as the election of the nation's first African American President...but it was pretty unusual none-the-less. A couple years ago I did a little research and discovered that NO Democrat had ever served on the Dupage County Board until a 2000 when a single Democrat won a seat. Four years later...Dupage County Republicans reclaimed that seat. Last night, Dupage County Democrats struck back and won three of the 12 County Board seats that were on the ballot. Regardless of your political persuasion having both parties represented in local government has got to be good for the system. Now it will be interesting to see how these new County Board members are able to interact with the still firm
GOP majority.

I was hoping to have reports last night from the Grant Park Obama rally. WDCB host Bes Nievera had a ticket and we planned to talk throughout the night...but it was apparently very difficult to get a cell signal at the event. Still Bes was among the thousands who were there when. I asked him to describe the experience and here's what he had to say:

CNN and the predictions. In the opening minutes after polls closed in Kentucky and Indiana, the votes seemed to make people instantly anxious. At the Palm restaurant in the Swissotel, badged Obama supporters and VIP guests (who were staged at the Hyatt Regency) voiced their happiness as CNN projected Vermont as an Obama-winning state, but remained mum as the see-saw votes for Indiana began to unfold. Dinner, to say the least, was consumed with a bit of voter indigestion. As we returned to our room at the Hyatt to freshen up and get ready, Obama staffers and volunteers were already on the phones, giddy after receiving early breaking news of projections that would start the swing of Electoral College votes towards Obama.

Blackberry, Blackberry, Blackberry. With each 5-10 foot dance up Michigan Avenue every 10-30 minutes, everyone was glued to their hand held communicators, reading every little bit into the race. “Pennsylvania!”, shouted one man behind us. “They’ve carried Pennsylvania!” My cousin in Cleveland texted me to say that the monitors at the Arizona Biltmore’s monitors had been turned off, and piped music was playing in the auditorium. As the line continued its slow march to the park, one Blackberry showed the NY Times’ Technicolor map of the US as it shifted colors, eyes fixated on battleground states. More cheering as miniature screens flickered with pronouncements of states from coast to coast placing their votes towards Obama. More joyous hugging.

Hugging. Lots of hugging. One woman, who after shouting odes to Ohio’s Obama moment, couldn’t contain her joy – she hugged my wife repeatedly and took shots of every living soul around our line. The hugging was rampant throughout the filed during the course of the evening. Smiles and flashing cameras…enough smiles to wraparound our planet dozens of times. Oh, and did I mention more hugs?

Do you have a ticket? People, young and old, were still trying to get closer to a man and his family now seemingly destined for their footprint of history. Many still wondering if the line we were standing in was the ticket line, and shocked at the length of it (we started at the intersection of 8th and Michigan, across from the Hilton & Towers)…and growing.

What, no frisking? Almost an hour had passed since our slow walk, and we finally made it to the Congress Boulevard Entryway, expecting to open our jackets, breakout the metal and phones. No such issues. In fact, we briskly entered with only an ID, the tickets, and a smile….along with the teeming thousands that had already made the way over to Hutchinson Field. No metal detectors, or bizarre pat downs. All good, and well managed.

Wolf Biltzer has spoken… At about 10:00, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer began the hour with the announcement that would send the crowd into hyper drive. With the words “CNN has projected that Barack Obama will be the next Pres…”, the screams, jumps for joy, applause, tears and open mouths of approval. A happy moment for everyone.

Check, Check, 1, 2 ,3 Some 30-40 minutes after Blitzer’s proclamation, and after the crowd applauded (or booed at) John McCain’s conciliatory speech and his call for the nation into unity, a voice began the count to Obama’s appearance. “This is the last sound check before (we hear from) the next President of the Unites States…Check, Check…One, Two, Three….this is the last sound check…” Now, things were really beginning to pick up. Three songs (including ‘Sweet Home Chicago’), and a video montage…Hey, there’s Oprah! The invocation, and Pledge of Alliegience. A rousing, soulful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner…Reverend (Jesse)Jackson’s tear-swelled face said it all.

Hello Chicago! They arrive and it’s wonderful. The puppy gift for the girls gets the happiest applause, but it’s the speech that causes the sweetest silence among the crowd. We’re listening, and attentively. I turn my head as Obama briefly speaks of his late grandmother and thanks his family to watch a woman shed happy tears. His message is continuous and contagious: we have much more to do. He knows that there will be bumps along the way and he knows what he’s getting himself into, and the crowd is ready to work with him for change. It is an awesome moment. Biden emerges at the end, and the applause is non-stop.

Ye Gods, Man! A Sea of Humanity! The streets are charged – Michigan Avenue from Balbo to Randolph is clogged with people. The center dividers along the Avenue have become video and photo shoot points, with throngs of people flashing away. Screams of happiness, and waves of applause decorate the midnight air. Chicago’s Mounted police patrols are smiling, State Troopers are laughing, and Secret Service are…well dressed.

One last note...I tried to find an extra copy of the Chicago Tribune and/or Chicago Sun-Times
today and they're just not available. For all the talk of the death of traditional's another example of people coming back to the old stand-bys when big stories happen.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's like Christmas in November

This is one of my favorite days of the year. If you've listened to WDCB for any length of time, you probably know I love the political process. All of the analysis and projections are moot now, it's up to you to go vote, make your voice heard, be part of the process. My dad used to tell me, "if you don't vote, you don't get to complain or take credit." So allow me to again encourage you to go to your polling place and cast a ballot; sure there may be a line but it's not like you had to walk across a desert and dodge bullets to take part in the process. If you encounter problems at your polling place, please let us know, the WDCB News line is 630-942-3700.

We've got a lot planned for tonight. The Associated Press will cover what's going on around the country at the top of each hour. Illinois Public Radio will cover what's going on across Illinois, those reports will begin at 7:30 and will continue through probably 11:30. After the reports from IPR, WDCB News will keep you abreast of what's happening in Dupage County. We're planning to keep track of the races for Dupage County Board, Forest Preserve Commission as well as the race between Peter Roskam and Jill Morganthaller in the 6th Congressional District and Jim Oberweis and Bill Foster in the 14th Congressional District. We'll also keep tabs on the various local referenda that voters are deciding with today's election. I also expect to have reports from the Obama rally in Grant park. It should be a very exciting night.

Again, please feel free to call us if you have problems on this election day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Can you believe it...

As I write this there are fewer than seven days remaining in this incredibly long campaign season. I can only hope that voters will get a bit of a break before the next Presidential campaign season gets underway, but I'm not too optimistic. I would like to encourage everyone to vote, who ever you support get out there and exercise your right to be part of the decision. If you're reading this before Thursday of this week, remember you can vote early at various locations in whatever county you call home. I Early Voted for the first time ever this year and I suspect I will again; it means I won't have to make time during a work day and I get to make my voice heard. So however you choose to vote...whoever you choose to vote for and where ever you VOTE.

Here's what's going on in the newsroom today. Our morning anchor Bob Lorenz is on vacation through the end of this week, Gary Zidek will be there to get you started on both Thursday and Friday and I'll take you home. Tonight on Final Edition we have a couple of really interesting stories for you, especially in these final days of the campaign season. Gary talked with the resident scholar of the McCormick Freedom Museum about political polling and how the science
of polling has improved over the years. The discussion also touched on the critical swing states during this Presidential election. Meantime, you've probably gotten a mailer or two or seen advertising in opposition to the Illinois Constitutional Convention referendum. I talked with one of the people that hopes voters will support the ballot question. State Representative Jack Franks says the opponents of the referendum are lying to voters. It's Wednesday, so Final Edition will also have our weekly wellness segment. Be sure to join us tonight at six.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Here's what's coming up

Tonight on Final Edition, we'll update a couple stories we've followed in one case for several years and in the other for several months. The Naperville Riverwalk Commission is nearing completion on the first phase of re-habbing the oldest portion of the walkway. If everything goes according to plan, the Riverwalk's dandelion fountain should be working again by the end of this week. Just down the road from the Riverwalk, Edward Hospital continues to work on a project of its own. For more than five years, Edward has tried to get regulatory approval for a hospital in Plainfield. The Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board controls what projects move forward and it has repeatedly rejected Edward's requests. Edward administrators aren't giving up though, we'll bring you a discussion on the latest incarnation of the hospital's plan to serve the quickly growing community.
We're also working on some interesting stories for Tuesday. Morning anchor/reporter Bob Lorenz is wrapping up a story on Dupage County's effort to help you protect yourself from identity thieves. Also, I talked recently with the county's economic development director for a closer look at the local economic picture. I'll also have a two minute review on Tuesday of the
unusually formatted film, Vantage Point. As always, if you've got comments or story ideas for us in the WDCB News room, please don't hesitate to call or write.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A day full of surprises

We've got quite a bit going on today in the WDCB Newsroom. Tonight on Final Edition, host Gary Zidek will bring you a story on the value of a college education and you'll also hear a local attorney who specializes in product liability lawsuits. This summer has prompted an increase in a particular type of liability lawsuit and you might be surprised what products are driving the increase. It's Thursday and that means the University of Illinois Extension's Richard Henscel will be on hand for our weekly segment "Greenside Up," and tonight Richard is joined by former Greenside host Sue Grupp. Looking a little further forward, you know to tomorrow, I think we've got some really interesting stories for our listeners. Undoubtedly you've heard about the nation's foreclosure crisis, but you might be surprised to learn 70 percent of people facing foreclosure NEVER contact their lender. The Illinois Treasurer's office has been hosting a series of public meetings this week to educate people about how to respond to the crisis. But the meetings aren't targeting people facing foreclosure, instead they're trying to reach out to the friends...families and churches of foreclosure victims. It's an interesting approach to address a problem that is affecting every part of Illinois. We'll also have a story on an airshow of sorts this weekend at the Dupage Airport. Wings of Freedom will bring a fleet of World War II era aircraft to the West Chicago facility. WDCB's Gary Zidek says among the planes on display will be a B-17, a B-25 and a P-51 Mustang. It's getting harder and harder to get an up close look at these aviation classics, we'll tell when and why they're on display in our newscasts throughout the day on Friday. Finally, the Dupage County Fair is underway, and you might be surprised to find out what organization is making its first ever appearance at the fair this week. So that's what we've got going about you? If you can't pick up WDCB's signal on your radio...make sure to check us out on-line at Thanks for listening and as always let me know if you've got a good story idea for us.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Let me know what you think...

I'm going to give this another try and hopefully I'll do a better job this time around. My plan is to spend some time each day talking about the stories we're working on here at WDCB. I'm also hoping that if people are out there reading this that they will suggest things that are going on in their life, family, community, etc. that could be good news stories. So here are a couple things that are on my list of possibilities.
---The Naperville Police Department is reminding residents to be "Streetwise" during the
summer months, not exactly something I associate with the suburban community, so we'll
---It's been a week since several stingrays died at Brookfield Zoo, I'm gonna do a follow up to
see if there's a better idea of what happened and why
---I'm working on my "two minute review" of "Lions for Lambs"

I guess that's the Cliff's Notes version of what's on my "To Do List" (for now). Let me know what you think.