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viewpoint

Radio gal

| Friday, April 11, 2014

Up until May 18 of last year, I had never used my phone to make actual calls more than once an hour. Anxious to please fresh out of high school, I was well aware that I was pushing myself completely out of my comfort zone after those first five calls to city officials asking for their availability.
“Hello. Yes, may I please speak with Representative Mitchell? Do you happen to know at what number I may reach him? This is Emilie Kefalas from Talk 101 FM with Busboom and Wolfe.” No matter how many times I had to say this one line, I never grew tired of proclaiming it. For the first time, I had a title other than “student.”
“Yes. Ok. Could you please? I would greatly appreciate that. Thank you very much. You too. Ba-bye.” This formula for contact was, as I would discover several phone calls and emails later, the typical exchange of dialogue amongst colleagues swimming in the same communal pool of business interaction. A community such as Decatur, Ill., requires everyone to cross paths at least once in order for any productivity to ensue.
This internship, however, owed my thanks to communal connections. I would learn to place this reality on a mental pedestal of recognition and observe its significance every time I felt the urge to call in ill (which meant wanting to sleep in).
Nothing punctures my memory more vividly about that moment I realized how much responsibility lay in my possession than that midday coffee with my mother at Wildflour Bakery. Two old-fashioned chairs with red cushions reflected the sun’s stare while I frantically scrolled through my phone’s Google search to find email addresses, phone numbers, secretary’s numbers and secretary’s assistant’s numbers, all in pursuit of booking six different guests for the week’s remaining shows.
The lack of salary did not dampen my momentum. I had a job to do. Letting Scott Busboom down was equivalent to disturbing the deep end of the communal pool. If he thought my skills to be inefficient and lacking in any urgency, word would quickly ripple to the water’s edge.
Now that I recall that day and setting, though, I am reminded of a greater gamble, a jeopardy with stakes slightly elevated above the height of the billboard telling Decatur to “Wake Up With Busboom and Wolfe!”
The listeners. Why I cared about Busboom and Wolfe’s ratings as much as Busboom and Wolfe did not exactly puzzle me as much as it motivated me to rise to an unexplored level of greatness  in my own mind. Proving myself was my personal mile marker, one that would be reached every time I booked the next big name, the impossible “get’s.” Getting the impossible was worth it. For loyal listeners, it provided relevancy and intrigue. For me, it unofficially officially baptized me as a go-getter. And a radio gal.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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