Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"I'm Spiritual, Dammit!"

From the moment I first heard Spike O'Dell on WGN Radio in Chicago I fell in love with his voice and style. Within a few months of being a loyal listener I knew I wanted to work in talk radio. From the time I was fourteen years old, I focused solely on that dream. My interest shifted from politics to sports. I would always do my homework quickly so I could listen to various local and national sports talk shows as well as broadcasts of college and pro games of all sports. I felt that in order to understand where I was going in my career I needed to learn who was successful and who were the men and women who paved the way for me in radio, television, and newspapers. If one day I would be upset at an athlete or coach for not knowing or respecting his/her franchise's history or that of the sport I better know and respect that of the media industry. I continued studying about media in college attending games, befriending media members, and constantly asking questions. After graduating college, I struggled to find an entry level job anywhere in the country, but I kept listen and studying.

I heard a woman on the radio named Jenniffer Weigel. I thought to myself isn't this Tim Weigel's daughter? Is she the same Jenniffer Weigel who is an award winning TV anchor and reporter? I listened. I liked her, but soon she was gone from that radio station. After some time, I heard her on another station. I was hooked once more. Having not held a job in radio for a few years at this point, I was sad because I could not reach out to Jenniffer to introduce myself, explain how I was a big fan, and interview her for my radio show. Soon, she was off the air again.

I went on to write a few theater pieces one of which was my autobiographical play, "In The Dark" in which I starred along side Madelon Guinazzo and Ivan Ortega at Prop THTR in Chicago. Midway through the show, Madelon and Ivan would ask me some questions about losing my sight and adapting to my circumstances which would lead into opening the floor up to audience members to ask questions. One woman asked a question about my relationship with my father and I answered. After the performance a friend asked "Did you know that the woman who asked about your father was Jenniffer Weigel?" Thee Jenniffer Weigel? She was here? She was watching me? After all the years of wanting to meet her and introduce myself. It turned out that Jenniffer and I had two mutual friends if not more one of whom, Therese Rowley, ultimately brought us together and I was finally able to tell Jenniffer how much I love and respect her work. She had published a very successful book, Stay Tuned: Conversations With Dad From The Other Side which she then turned into a one woman show "I'm Spiritual, Dammit!" which has been a smashing success in Chicago. Now she is releasing her follow up book, "I'm Spiritual, Dammit!" which has been receiving rave reviews. She is an award winning journalist, a fine actress, and quite a story teller. She will be telling stories and autographing her latest book on Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at the Wilmette Theatre at 7:30p.m.

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