Nikki made another offer in the late winter, but the timing was bad. WNEP was going through a fairly massive newsroom software and video system upgrade. I was in training sessions on my usual days off. I had to pass-- again.
The third time was the charm. I had some free time in the days leading up to Christmas. Nikki said I could have Tuesday or Thursday. I selected Thursday, forgetting it was Christmas Eve. As you know, I'm not a Christmas person and I feared I would be a wet blanket on the WILK Morning News.
The appointed day arrived, and I showed up at the WILK studio a half hour early to get a feel for the operation and talk with Nikki, who I had never met. There was surprisingly little "show prep" as we say in the business. Nikki and her producer, John, handed me a stack of potential topics. As it turned out, we didn't use any of it. Nikki had some things planned, and a few things that weren't on paper. I just went with the flow.
The first half hour flew by, and I began to relax a little. It was mostly easy conversation, sprinkled in between news, commercials, phone calls, and texts from listeners. The rest of the broadcast also passed quickly. The next thing I knew, it was 9 AM and time to leave.
I had several concerns going in. One of the biggest was if there would be any chemistry with Nikki, a total stranger before 5:30 AM on Christmas Eve. There is good news to report there. Nikki was very easy to work with. I was also worried about political and controversial topics coming up. I'm still in the news business, not the opinion business. Nikki wisely deflected any of that stuff, and I didn't even have to ask. That's professionalism on her part, and I thank her for that.
Some might remember that I spent 12 years in radio. I love what I'm doing now and radio will also have a special place in my heart. In fact, I spend more time listening to radio than I do watching television. It was nice to exercise that radio skill.
It was also a strange experience because, in my day, WILK was the despised enemy and my chief competition. Even though those days are long gone, it was still a tad uncomfortable setting up in the opposing camp.
Feedback has been positive. Thanks for listening. Thanks to the people at WILK and WNEP who made it happen.