Hot Air

Firehouse Follies

So, Bertolt Sobolik is out as general manager of WFHB.

Sad, that. Bertolt was just what the station needed after its GM search nightmare in the wake of the Chad Carrothers exodus. Bertolt was serious, knowledgeable, steady, and hard-working. The station has hungered for those qualities in a boss ever since Carrothers quit.

And now it’s Bertolt’s turn to quit.

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It’s no surprise: Bertolt threatened to resign weeks ago after certain members of the WFHB board chastised him in an unofficial letter for imagined derelictions of duty and attitude problems. Bertolt oversaw the station’s first successful fundraiser in years and had already reinvigorated the volunteer base. Some bad attitude.

Anyway, board members Kelly Wherley and Angela Backstrom are following Sobolik out the door, leaving the board with only six members at this moment. President Louis Malone had exited not long ago.

It wouldn’t be easy for even the strongest of non-profits to lose such a raft of assets.

How long will it be before Ivy Tech takes over the station?

You Take The Good With The Bad

Forty-seven years ago today:

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I was 13 years old, spending my days as a junior counselor at Riis Park day camp and my evenings staring up at the moon, wishing I could see Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin bouncing around on its dusty surface.

If nothing else, President John F. Kennedy inspired us to dream. He’d promised in a speech to a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961, that this holy land would put a man on the moon and bring him back safely to Earth by the end of the decade. A huge motivator for him to make such a grandiose pledge was the Soviet Union’s “lead” in the space race. Much of that had to do with a fiction he himself had peddled in his race against Richard Nixon for the presidency in 1960 — that is, the “missile gap” that put us at a disadvantage to the Soviets in sheer numbers of inter-continental ballistic missiles capable of delivering thermonuclear weapons across the oceans.

The truth of the matter was we were far ahead of the Soviets in total numbers of ICBMs, nuclear warheads, and the advanced technology that gave us reasonable assurance our missiles would hit their targets. So, JFK lied to gain an advantage on Nixon (a lesson Nixon never forgot.)

Even the Soviets’ so-called lead in the space race (the USSR had beaten the US in putting a satellite in orbit as well as the first man in space) was built on a foundation of sand. The Soviets’ Sputnik was nothing more than a hollow, polished metal ball that accomplished nothing save allowing Russian leaders to crow and the flight of Yuri Gagarin into space was only the rare exception in a series of tragic attempted manned launches that resulted only in a number of cosmonauts being burned to embers. At least this nation waited to make sure we weren’t sending men to certain doom in our haste to beat the Russkies.

Still, the driving force behind the advances NASA made in those early days was the military’s need for dependable, safe, lightweight missiles to deliver big bangs over Warsaw Pact cities. The rockets that would launch the Mercury and Gemini spacecraft into orbit originally were designed to carry H-bombs.

Without our capability of pushing the planet into a nuclear winter, there might be no moon landing, at least none as early as July 20th, 1969.

We are an odd and fascinating species.

July 20th Birthdays

Alexander the Great — Aristotle’s most famous student.

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Gregor Mendel — A man obsessed with peas.

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Thomas Berger — Author of my choice as The Great American Novel: Little Big Man.

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Cormac McCarthy — Author of the Border Trilogy (All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing, and Cities of the Plain) and many other beloved novels.

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Diana Rigg — Mrs. Emma Peel.


On this date in 1993, Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster was found dead in a Washington DC park. Although his death was ruled a suicide, it served as the starter’s gun for the now-decades-long race by the wingnut Right to brand Hillary Clinton a serial killer.

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One thought on “Hot Air

  1. Cindy Beaulé says:

    Have you read the following? Good morning to all WFHB participating members,

    You should have just received a statement from Jerry Stern, our current board president. I want to follow up and state that I am honored to be offered the position of Interim General Manager. The decision for me was not difficult, as many of you know, I’ve been involved in a management role in the station for some time. The job, however, as you also probably already know, will be difficult. The organization is facing many challenges, some new, some old, but I believe wholeheartedly that we are have a vast pool of talented, smart, diverse, creative and hardworking individuals, and if we come together, we can maintain our mission, and that is of promoting, celebrating, and increasing local cultural diversity. We help put Bloomington on the map. We are lucky to have what we have. I am requesting a call to action that we all band together to fight the forces of apathy. I hope that you will all keep these unifying ideas in mind as we move toward our Fall Fund Drive, which is QUICKLY approaching on Sept 2 through the 11th. An announcement will be sent soon about training sessions.

    My office hours will be Mon – Fri from 9am to 7pm. I would like to meet with each member and discuss what we can do to strengthen the organization, I am all ears. I’d like to also discuss what we can do as an organization to cultivate your own strengths and talents, and how we can put them to the best use for the benefit of WFHB. Please contact me if you’d like to set up a time to speak or if you have any comments or suggestions.

    All the best,

    Jar Turner, Interim General Manager WFHB 91.3 / 98.1 / 100.7 / 106.3 FM 108 W. 4th Street Bloomington, IN 47404 (812) 323-1200

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