On a cold, snowy morning, I venture out into the winter to Lin’s 20th Anniversary celebration. Stepping into South Tavern, I see the stage being built for the live broadcast in honor of Lin which was to occur later on. After helping the XRT staff and interns, the tavern is decorated with 93.1 XRT signs and framed posters, featuring the key phrase “It’s Great to Be Alive” and the outline of Lin’s head (the same outline as in the Lin’s Bins image).
When the man himself comes in, he is caught completely off-guard upon seeing his brothers, who live out of state, standing in front of him. As more family, friends and staff arrive, they are handed gift bags I helped pack the day before at the office. Empty no more, the mood of the tavern becomes happy and relaxed. The scene is set for a great celebration as people settle into their seats, the stage ready for action. I, then, receive a tap on my shoulder and am told I will be going on stage to hold the applause sign throughout the broadcast.
Onstage, holding onto the applause sign, wearing a blue t-shirt that matches the posters, I think of what I should be anticipating. My thoughts are interrupted as Mary Dixon joins me onstage and encourages Lin to come up and sit in the chair brought just for him. As I watch what I always listen to, the broadcast delves into segment after segment that highlight the best and most memorable moments in Lin’s career, including interviews with Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and Bono and discussions of his love for the Cubs and food. Between sections, Mary, Terri Hemmert and Marty Lennartz take turns hosting the broadcast. If you’re wondering, they are all just as great as you would imagine them to be, if not better. My jobs were to support them through enthusiastically waving the applause sign as best as I could to encourage the best crowd reaction and staying out of the way onstage as the DJs traded off with each other and the band Waco.
I had already had an enormous respect for Mr. Brehmer and the XRT station. Because of this event, I was able to hear all the great radio moments that were made by Lin, see the joy it brought to people as they clapped, and reminisce these great times with him and the rest of the XRT staff. Seeing all of this and how much of a family they really are caused my respect for each staff member and the station as a whole to greatly increase. It truly was something to celebrate. The only difference between this celebration and others is that a broadcast was able to capture it all. A perfect addition.
All in all, it was a fun filled day where hard work was celebrated, opportunities were brought forth, and a bright future glistened. Even if it takes some time for people to realize my actual name, I’ll happily accept “Applause Girl” for awhile.