The answer was “yes!”
The question that started the conversation was “Have we really not driven down to the WGN radio studios since the pandemic began?”
As preoccupied as we were with figuring out what was going on when everything first went south, navigating the new reality, figuring out our own “at risk” positions in that new reality, staying safe when we got a sense of what the lay of the land was, determining how, when and where to get vaccinated, getting vaccinated and … well, many of you know the drill.
Point is, while there have been times during the pandemic that we’ve been heard on the mighty 720, those appearances were transmitted from the safety of our home “bubble” and we didn’t realize how long it had been since we’d last actually set foot inside the friendly confines of our long time Chicago radio home.
But, finally, at the behest of Johnnie’s cousin, Lake Scott, a budding sportscaster, here we were to spend a little time with long time friend, WGN sports guru, Andy Masur, who was nice enough to set aside some of his time to share some thoughts on how to navigate the path Lake wants to embark on.
We had just parked and were waiting for the elevator to take us from the parking garage up to the building WGN radio now calls home when the elevator door opened and, proving that timing is everything, out stepped Bob Sirott. It had been much too long since the three of us had been in the same place at the same time so, of course, along with sharing a few stories and some possible future plans, photo documentation of this historic moment had to be obtained.
We took this event as a good omen and, once we completed our ascent to the WGN radio studios, it proved to be just that.
Andy was just finishing up one of his reports so, while he did, we enjoyed re-familiarizing ourselves with the WGN newsroom and introducing Lake to its inhabitants who, like us, couldn’t believe it had been that long since we’d shared in-person greetings.
It was really great to see Andy and, after he wrapped up his report, we headed to studio B where, for the next hour, he went above and beyond generously answering Lake’s questions and providing advice, consent and a successful career’s worth of knowledge to a Florida boy who proudly proclaims his loyalty to the White Sox as he plans his tentative footsteps to baseball parks, football stadiums and, hopefully, broadcast studios.
At the hour’s end, Andy had to make his way back to another studio for a scheduled report, so we gave a still smiling Lake the grand tour of the WGN radio broadcast facilities. While we were making the rounds and saying hello to many long time friends, we were told that, Nexstar President of Networks, Sean Compton heard we were “in the house” and wanted to say hi. He did and, among other things, we enjoyed sharing tales of overnight radio in Chicago and other major markets along with a few Les Paul stories.
Although too much time had transpired between the last time we physically inhabited the WGN radio complex and this visit, the smiling faces and easy conversations made it feel like the last time was just yesterday.
Time well spent with good friends is like that!
Speaking of good friends, before we wrap up this missive, please allow us to again thank Andy Masur. Since we’ve known him, Andy has always been one of the good guys and during our return visit to these “friendly confines,” not surprisingly, he kept going out of his way to try and make us believe he didn’t go out of his way. He kept saying “It was nothing.” when we thanked him for making time available to help a budding young sports broadcaster. Trust us Andy, it was a very big something and Lake underscored that point many times during our drive home.
So, thanks again, Andy. You done good! Next time we see you the pizza is on us.
By the way, as you were reading this blog post, if you noticed that we are not wearing masks in these photos it’s because we were comfortable with the Covid-19 protocols at WGN and it’s surrounding environs. We always have masks with us and, if we feel it’s necessary, we still wear them quite frequently.
Sadly, while like many of you, we’re slowly taking baby steps in the direction of what now passes for “normal” but, we’re well aware that, this still ain’t over and may not be for some time.
Steve & Johnnie