One Degree of Separation

Wow! Joan Gillman and I have just broken the “1,000 radio shows” record for “In Business with Jody and Joan” for 1670 AM Talk Radio!

A thousand … it boggles my mind to realize we’ve sat down in front of those microphones and put on our headsets and waved our “ready” wave to a producer more than 1,000 times, and spent 1,000-plus hours interviewing business people, government heads, and nonprofit leaders for the Greater Madison listening area. In fact, we reach out to the world, given our podcast library and international listeners (yes, we hear from them via e-mail).

It’s obvious, given that the name of the show prominently mentions In Business, why I do it. Joan does it professionally as an outreach of the UW’s Office of Corporate Relations. Charles Hoslet, her boss, just approved another year’s allocation of Joan’s time in the program because (he recently told me) he feels the arrangement has proven to be a great investment for both the business community and the University of Wisconsin due to the caliber of guests and the range of discussions that we pull together weeknights at 6 p.m. I’m happy he feels as I do!

However, the real and not-so-secret reason that both Joan and I do the show is because it is fun, meeting the guests and learning more about their organizations, lives and professions, and hobbies. Which brings me to the most wonderful perk of all — we are narrowing our area business “degrees of separation” from the adage of “six” to about “one.”

In other words, I think you could put Joan and I in a room together, give us the name of an area business executive, and if we don’t know them ourselves, one of us most likely could still reach that person now through one contact in our expanded database. We wouldn’t have to string together a chain of six intermediary people to get to them.

Another perk: We’re also learning about subtle or personal connections between guests.

For example, what do Tom Carto (head of the Overture Center for the Arts) and Morris Davis (economist and UW Professor at the Real Estate School) have in common? Recently Joan and I and Kevin (my hubby) went to Riley’s Bar to hear their band. “Hot Money,” featuring Carto (keyboards) and Morris (guitar) and brothers Bruce Neviaser (guitar) and Jerry Neviaser (drums) and singer Brooke Jackson, absolutely rocked the house that night. Rocked it solid!

As Hot Money’s website promised, the group performed “an expose of legendary female singers in rock, blues, and pop, including Janis Joplin, Susan Tedeschi, Heart, Ladyhawke, Janelle Monae, and more.” Way more. I saw a lady lifted out of a wheelchair to dance, supported by her partner around the floor. Truly everybody was up and moving.

I’ve never heard a better female vocalist than Jackson, and we thoroughly enjoyed this executive “garage band.” The musicians may have professional day jobs, but they are trained, talented, natural performers, and a jewel in Madison’s music scene. It’s exciting to go to an outing expecting to be entertained, and coming back home both entertained and exhilarated (it was that good). Carto adds a delightful new subtext on keyboards and Davis is masterful on his artisan guitars, adding a duet electronic backdrop for Jackson.

I was, in fact, so impressed that I’ve invited the band to make an appearance at an upcoming IB Introductions event. Follow our Tweets and Facebook page to be sure to make sure you have an opportunity to join us for that evening’s (free) get together at a local venue!

But back to our own entertainment, the radio program. I’d like to thank our guests for their candid remarks and willingness to make announcements on our show first and exclusively. We were first to announce a formal recession, thanks to Morris Davis; first to unveil T. Wall’s offer of $4 million back to the city if he’d been given the library project; first to explain the credit crunch, thanks to area bank presidents with the personal stamina to answer hard questions; first to predict the retail slump (thanks to guest Jerry O’Brien), and we’ve only just begun. Here’s to the next 1,000 to be added to your contact list. Stay tuned!

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