Today is my last day at WJOB and I am saying goodbye to the place I've always known.
For me, this is the Region as well as WJOB. Really they go hand in hand. I've worked here for the past three years, and it's the only job in my profession that I've ever had. I started as an intern in the summer of 2016, and became a full time member of the station last August.
When I first started I produced the morning show and it was an actual "wake up call." I was used to waking up at 10 AM every morning, but now I was getting up before 5:30 AM. Jim made sure I always had my hands full and most of the time it felt like it was all a blur. Early on I learned to be ready for anything. Whether it was fixing technical problems, or having Jim's tea ready at the next break. I learned a lot that summer, but most importantly I learned to face my fears.
The first time I went on the air I was so nervous. I wanted to go into broadcasting and I was afraid to talk to someone I had known for years on a local radio station. How was I going to make it anywhere with that kind of fear in the back of my mind?
Jim could sense my fear, and he helped me develop my on-air presence that summer. I went back to IU with some confidence, and started working for the student-ran radio station at IU. I became more confident and came back the next summer ready to help out anyway possible.
I had the same role my second summer at WJOB. Whenever Jim gave me criticism, I listened. I loved getting feedback from anyone that would give it to me. I believe that's the best way to grow. You don't hold you're head, you focus on how you can get better.
I became more familiar with everyone associated at the station, and it started to feel less and less like a job. I enjoyed going to the station, and the early mornings weren't as taxing. I could joke around with Ryan and Jimmy Mulaney and still get things done. I became more involved with what was going on around the Region. I started to realize how unique Northwest Indiana really is compared to the rest of the state.
After my second summer, I went back to IU for my senior year and tried to take on as much as I could. I was seeing improvement every month and it all started at WJOB. When I graduated in the summer of 2018 I started looking for jobs, but I knew I wanted to go back to WJOB.
Ryan hired me as the assistant sports director, and I began doing high school soccer games with him. Now when I started that fall I wasn't very good. I was mediocre at best. But, again, I began to see improvement each week. I loved being involved and watching all of these talented athletes play the sport they loved.
When basketball season came around I felt more at home. I knew basketball because I played it. I also took over as the host of the "Sports Report." Hosting that show was a learning experience as well. But I'm thankful Jim trusted me and gave me a lot of control over the show. Talking on the air for an hour took a lot more preparation than I thought.
Throughout this last year I had a lot of fun while doing my job, and I'm lucky that I am able to say that. Even though there were some long days and weekends I wouldn't want to change any of it. I don't know what I would be doing today without the opportunity I was given.
This summer my girlfriend was offered a job at Carmel high school as a math teacher, an offer she couldn't pass up. So I knew I would be moving in with her at the end of the summer. I was going to have to leave WJOB, and try to make it down in Indy. This was the right step to take because I can't stay in the Region forever.
At some point everyone needs to step out of their comfort zone. WJOB has been the only place I have ever known. But, my time at WJOB has given me the experience and the confidence I need to be successful wherever I go. I can't be more thankful for that. This past year has been so much fun and I met a lot of great people.
Saying goodbye is hard, but I'll always have ties to where I came from. I won't forget that. Hopefully when I stop in from time to time it will feel like I haven't left. Most importantly, when I do come to visit there's going to be a college student learning all the things I did so they can gain the confidence they need to do whatever they want with their career.
That's what it's all about and Jim knows this. He gives these kids real life and hands-on experiences in the field. It's stuff you can't learn at school. You might also learn a new language if you listen to Jim enough. I call it "JED-erish."
So when I look back years from now, no matter what I'm doing with my life I will enjoy the times I had at WJOB. Hopefully this is just the start, and while I don't know where I'm going for the most part I think it's okay. As I've gotten older, I'm starting to realize a lot of people don't know exactly where they're going. But it's okay. I mean Jim doesn't know where he's going with the morning show most of the time and it turns out just fine.
I'm nervous but I'm excited. I want to thank everyone that has been with me along the way. WJOB isn't just the voice and face of the Region, to me it's the heart of the Region. I'm just happy I have been able to be apart of it, and call it my home.
Thanks to everyone that has ever told me they listened or watched anything I did on the air. It means a lot more than you will ever know.