If there was one word to describe WLTL’s trip to Chicago, it would be whimsical. Every year, WLTL takes its management team to Chicago to tour the best radio stations in the city. This was a long awaited trip, as we had all been looking forward to it since the start of school. When Nov. 9th rolled around, we were ready for our trip.
Our day started off with our staff members meeting at WLTL’s classroom at 7:40a.m. We all huddled in the middle of the classroom to discuss our game plan for the day. The more we waited, the more excited we all became. I remember our walk to the train station from LT vividly. We all safely crossed Brainard to catch the 8:10a.m. train right on time. While on the train, we reviewed the itinerary; Walk to Hubbard from Union Station, Tour Hubbard Radio Stations: 101.9 The Mix and 97.1 The Drive, get lunch at the PedWay, walk to WGN, tour WGN’s Radio Station, walk back to Union Station. Today was destined to be great.
Immediately after exiting Union Station, we strolled over to Hubbert’s building where we were seated in a conference room to talk to 101.9 The Mix’s Vice President of Brand and Content Jimmy Steel. He described to us his journey working at radio stations during and after college. We all reminisced on how lucky we are to have WLTL as a radio station as he described the prior radio stations he worked at. A majority of them were very run down, small, and had limited resources. He stated how he developed a unique perspective and began hiring people who might not typically get that opportunity. Most of the time he hires random people on the streets that he believes would have great radio voices. After his spiel, 101.9 The Mix’s music department joined us to give insight on their music connections. Their decisions to promote certain artists were very precise, taking so many factors into consideration. The amount of work they put in is impressive to say the least which motivated us to push ourselves harder at WLTL on a daily basis.
Next, we all collectively toured their studios where top morning shows were airing at the time. Many of us recall when the morning show Co-Host Chris Petlak “roasted” our Co-Sports Director Eric Roemer, dissing his fit during a talk break on-air. It was a pretty hilarious moment and really showed off the amount of talent these radio people have. After our tour of The Mix’s studio we switched to 97.1 The Drive’s radio station. We were in quite a rush so the tour didn’t last too long, but the one highlight of the tour happened near the end. Our Social Media Manager Lila Finnegan got challenged by Sherman and Tingle (The Drive’s two morning show Co-Hosts) to test her on her managerial skills. She quickly improved a crazy situation that we all got a kick out of. We were astounded by both of the radio stations we toured at Hubbard.
After a short walk to the PedWay, we had to decide which one of the little restaurants to eat at. Basically everyone was in a BBQ mood so Blackwood BBQ was where we went. You really cannot go wrong with Chicago American food, it was delicious to say the least. Moments past getting refueled on some good shredded pork sandwiches we had the energy to make it to WGN Radio.
The last big stop of the day was none other than WGN Radio. After taking a long elevator to one of the top floors, we were met with one of the most amazing views of the city I had ever seen. I found myself overlooking the Chicago river and the many bridges. It was truly a sight to be seen. WGN’s TV actually has a camera that broadcasts the same view we were looking at sometimes during their news section which is cool. Many of us from WLTL grew up watching WGN so it was almost a nostalgic experience. Following the view, WGN eventually sat us down in a conference room to discuss many of their future projects. Their staff went into great depth about the ways they are trying to expand their bandwidth to broaden their current listeners outside of Chicago. WGN kindly set up a talk with their very own Commercial Production Manager Ernie Scatton. He seemed like a genuine person who was really passionate about what he does. He gave us many tips on the editing software he uses: Adobe Audition. We all left WGN studio with smiles on our faces as the experience would be ingrained as a core memory from high school and WLTL. This trip was incredibly unique and brought us all closer together.