We’ve been doing our morning radio show for almost 18 years, give and take a year here and there when we made a few transitions, through no fault of our own. It started as “Breakfast with Royce and Roger” and changed when Royce Elliott passed away, sadly, in 2013. Over the years we’ve had some remarkable exclusives from interviews with sports announcers like Pat Hughes of the Cubs, Jack Buck of the Cardinals, and Ralph Lawler of the Los Angeles Clippers, plus the famous comedian Jonathan Winters, who joined us multiple times before he died in April, 2013. The list is extensive in sports, entertainment, medicine, and politics.
We’re proud of the exclusive service provided every election year on “Breakfast with Roger and Friends” on WAZU-FM 90.7. Candidates for public office are invited to tell our radio audience who they are, why they’re running for office, what are the issues, and why people should vote for them. No other radio station or morning show makes time available free of charge. We did it again for this year’s March 17 primary election.
Speaking of elections, it’s not often that a voter will publicly admit switching parties in a primary. Republican Bill O’Brien did just that. The former Peoria County Board member said he pulled a Democrat ballot so he could vote for Jodie Hoos for State’s Attorney, Gabe McLeod for County Clerk, Bobby Spears for Circuit Clerk, and Jamie Harwood for Coroner. O’Brien explained he felt strongly about supporting them, besides, there were no real contests on the Republican ticket.
Every now and then we’ll scoop the local print and electronic news media. We did it again March 6 when we reported that Bradley University had selected a replacement for retiring president Gary Roberts. We said the candidate was from another university and would be introduced Wednesday, March 11. It was March 12 when Bradley revealed that Stephen Standifird, dean of the School of Business at Butler University, had been hired. It was disappointing the school used a video recording of Dr, Standifird accepting his appointment.
Congratulations to the veteran sports announcer Dave Murphy for another great year of play-by-play of high school basketball games on FM 90.7. Along with sidekick Clay Cantrell, Murphy did a game every week, sometimes two a week, and was looking to do the big sectional game between Notre Dame and Peoria Manual when IHSA officials terminated all games and events due to the coronavirus threat. But, they’ll be back when the events return.
It was sad to learn that Rush Limbaugh is suffering from Stage 4, lung cancer. The most popular show in the history of radio, is frequently punctuated with a string of substitutes, most unable to carry his water. The worst is Canadian Mark Steyn. Author of five books, Steyn is awful on radio. When Rush is gone for cancer treatments, I would not be surprised his audience numbers drop by 20-30%, if not more.
Norm Kelly and the battle
Norm Kelly is a friend. I don’t have his permission, but I want to tell you he’s in the battle of his life. Actually, a battle for his life. Without going into details, let me just say, he’s in hospice.
I’ve known Norm since our days at Woodruff High School. He was raised in El Vista. My roots are in the city’s northside. Neither one of us did anything worth mentioning in high school. He served in the Air Force for seven years. I did two with the Army. We both did time overseas, but in different areas of the world. We both worked in healthcare; he at St. Francis, I was at Methodist.
At about age 50, Norm’s life exploded in literary excitement as he started writing. He was damn good at it. Still is. He’s written 14 books about the history of Peoria from 1845 to 1951. A graduate of Bradley University, Norm counts penning over 700 short stories from mystery to adventure to biographies of notable and not-so-notable Peorians. In much demand, he has written articles for a number of magazines. Despite his great success as a writer, as a lecturer, Norm is a humble man who lives in a humble home in a humble neighborhood. He’s received numerous honors and awards for his community contributions, especially for veterans. He cares about others. That probably comes because of his early life as one of 11 children. His family lived in poverty conditions. He’s written about it. His story about how, as a young boy, he and his family celebrated Christmas with little to next to nothing, brought tears to my eyes. He asked me to read his story on our morning show several years ago. As I read the final words, I glanced at Norm and saw the tears in his eyes as he recalled the memories.
His mother and father would be so proud of what he has accomplished. I know his loving wife, Gloria, and his two children, Lynne and Keith, are so proud of him.
For several years, Norm has been a Monday morning regular on “Breakfast with Roger and Friends,” from 8-9 a.m., strolling down memory lane about Peoria, its history, people and events. In the meantime, Norm Kelly is in our prayers.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into light.”