Photo of Studs Terkel

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69 Shoes to fill

In 1961 I entered the University of Chicago a decade after the founding of radio station WFMT where the cofounder Rita Jacobs (later Willens) was famous for beseeching listeners on air “Is anybody out there listening? We’re broke.” The station was built on the premise that it did not have to play pop music to survive. In 1979 it was the first US radio station to broadcast 24x7 stereo programming by satellite throughout the country, never abandoning its classical music format.

That image impresses me before every article I write because I know the penniless feeling. This blog measures a few hits every day, but the silence of reader responses is deafening. In my case bypassing the “pop culture” money is refusing to engage in advertising or affiliate marketing, the bread and butter of many blogs. My mission is to stimulate penetrating thinking in a noncommercial atmosphere.

Within the sunlight of classical music programming, the star of WFMT for 45 years was Studs Terkel, a most prominent oral historian and University of Chicago law school graduate. I spent more time listening to him than I have to Chicago’s Big Three (Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Barak Obama). Indeed, embodying the epitome of humanity, Studs imparted to mankind a depth of understanding that was uniquely his to give.

After WFMT, Studs moved over to WBEZ to continue radiating his philosophy. In my view, the spark stuck at the latter place and was picked up by Jerome McDonnell. While I do remember Jerome as successor to Sondra Gair in hosting the internationally focused program Midday, his greater impact on me was Worldview, WBEZ’s global affairs program which he hosted for 25 years. In my mind it remains the flagship and crowning achievement of the station, especially for its Global Activism series. Worldview is also appropriately preserved in an archive.

This blog has studied the relationship of self to cosmos and people to each other. Readers contemplate how together we fit into the seamless web of all creation. We carry out our roles within it. Mundane cares evaporate when compared to the purpose of living. Here we take time regularly to contribute to the growth and welfare of others by aggregating our contributions. May I have the special honor of promoting the good that you are doing?

You are not bragging if you say something encouraging below. I am asking you to share some of yourself here because we as a team are encouraged when one of us assembles a positive insight. Your questions and suggestions are the foundation of our climb upward. Please be encouraged by something here and pass it on! I long to reveal the trait in you that you add to the work of these giants.

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