Wednesday, June 16, 2010
By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor
Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite weekly local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...
Every Wednesday, exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.
This weeks guest one of the most popular Chicago media personalities over the past several years her aggressive journalistic style has earned her multiple ChicagoMidwest Emmys in her career, plus -- shes never been afraid to let her political opinions be known she can be heard weekdays with co-host Big John Howell Monday-Friday from 5-9 a.m. on AM 560 WIND here are 5 Questions withAMY JACOBSON!
BIO: Amy Jacobson is a veteran Chicago broadcasternews journalist who, since this past March, is the popular morning co-host on AM 560 WIND. Previously, she was a general assignment reporter for 11 years at NBC 5 in Chicago (1996-2007). Her career was marred in controversy in the summer of 2007 as she was part of a scandal involving a rival Chicago TV station's news cameras capturing footage of Jacobson with her children at the home of the husband of a missing woman. The story received national attention with Jacobson making numerous TVradio appearances, including four appearances on NBCs Today Show. Following her tenure at NBC 5, Jacobson worked as a traffic and news reporter at WLS AM 890 from 2008-10. Her long career saw Jacobson working her way up in the TV industry with reporting positions in Detroit; El Paso; Tucson; Alexandria, Minn.; and Cedar Rapids. A native of Mt. Prospect, Jacobson graduated from John Hersey High School in 1987 and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Iowa with a bachelors degree in broadcasting and film in 1991.
1) CSNChicago.com: Amy, youre a proud Republican in a city predominantly filled with citizens who would categorize themselves as Democrats. What challenges does that present to you and your AM 560 WIND morning show co-host Big John Howell on a daily basis as you continue your goal of gaining listenership for your show?
Jacobson: Our audience consists of conservatives and liberals, and while I consider myself a Republican, more than ever, most issues aren't as cut and dried as right versus left, Democrat versus Republican. John and I often find ourselves on different sides of issues, which means that we butt heads every day, but it's never predictable. But we know the audience is growing because we welcome all opinions and viewpoints. I hear it in the phone calls we get each every day from listeners who refuse to be put in a partisan box.
2) CSNChicago.com: The recent news of the Highland Park High School girls basketball teams trip to Arizona being canceled for political reasons has spurred much controversy to say the least. Its been such a big story that former Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin reached out to you to help her raise moneyawareness and simply find a way to get these girls to Arizona. Whats the latest on this situation and how did you feel when Palin contacted you personally for help?
Jacobson: AM 560 WIND sponsored "An Evening with Sarah Palin" at the Rosemont Theatre. Big John and I introduced Gov. Palin and moderated a question-and-answer session with her. While in the green room, she asked me about the situation in Highland Park, which was just coming to public light. I told her that, as a former basketball player and someone who once lived in Arizona, I was outraged and that I thought it was a disgrace how female athletes were being used as political pawns. We began talking about our mutual love of basketball, the friendships that we both forged, and how we learned the important lessons of life on the basketball court.
We bonded instantly. Then, as she was leaving, she looked at me and said, "Amy, let's make this happen. I want to work together with you and raise awareness and raise funds for those girls to travel to Arizona." The next day we exchanged e-mails and set up a Facebook page. We also had a savvy businessman from Tucson all set to pay for the ENTIRE trip. Then, as the school board members met to render a decision, I was warned by a parent that it wasn't "safe" for me to go to the meeting and that many parents didn't like me or Gov. Palin. I immediately e-mailed Gov. Palin and she told me not to back down and go to the meeting. I did.
However, much to our dismay, the Board would not budge. They already planned a trip to Florida. But if the school board changes their mind, we still have that business man in Tucson waiting to help. You betcha!
3) CSNChicago.com: Being a Chicago-area native and a longtime sports fan, what single moment during this Stanley Cup championship Blackhawks season will you remember for the rest of your life?
Jacobson: The most memorable moment for me was when Duncan Keith got seven teeth knocked out by a puck and returned later in the game! It symbolized the "never say die" spirit of the Hawks that helped bring the Cup back to Chicago for the first time in nearly half a century.
4) CSNChicago.com: Youve overcome plenty of professional and personal challenges in recent years, most of which were unfortunately made public. How are you doing today and, in regards to what occurred during that dark period, did it strengthen you or do you still go through some tough moments dealing with all of it to this day?
Jacobson: I have stated my thoughts in the past about what was done to me and the impact that it had on my career and my family. I grew up in a blue collar town, Mt. Prospect, and I felt I could always relate to anyone whether they lived in a mansion or in a cardboard box like some did while I was a reporter near Ciudad Juarez. I had passion, which is something you can NOT teach an intern. What was done cost me everything that I had spent my entire my life building. At the end of the day, I was fortunate to have the love and support of my family and friends. Without that and my faith in God, I wouldn't have survived.
These days, I prefer to focus my energy on moving forward with my life, my career, and on raising my two young sons. And the outpouring of public support that I continue to receive to this day helps make that task somewhat easier. At least once a week, someone will come up and say to me, "Amy, you got screwed."
The lowest moments came when I was without a home, husband and my unemployment support ended. Then even worse news came. My 5-year-old son had to have his kidney removed at Children's Memorial Hospital. I got on my knees and had a long talk with God. I was never cocky or took a day for granted while being a reporter. But that day was poignant because I gave my heart, which was full of anger, over to God. When the operation was a success and tears of joy ran down my face, an inner voice said, "Amy, it's going to be okay. You will survive." Your family's health is everything!
5) CSNChicago.com: On to a more fun topic... your annual presence at Chicagos News-a-Palooza, featuring many of our citys top media personalities singing and performing live on stage to help raise money for a great cause (Cystic Fibrosis Foundation), always seems to be a big hit. In fact, youre stellar performance of Stevie Nicks mega-hit Stand Back was beyond impressive... and even has over 10,000 hits on YouTube (click here to see Amys performance). Where did you learn how to sing so well and what songs are you working on for this years event?
Jacobson: I learned to sing in music class at Indian Grove Elementary School. Mrs. Vanderwheel was my music teacher and she had a passion and an ability to teach like no other. Fortunately, she moved with us to River Trails Junior High where I joined the choir.
At John Hersey High School, I was blessed with another wonderful instructor, Richard Turasky. He was in charge of choir and show choir. He taught us all to stand up straight, project and sing through your eyes. It helped as I became a reporter to always be confident. You can't be shy and be an assertive reporter. You can't be quiet and do talk radio! I also was in two rock bands during my college years. I'm glad no one has video of that.
As for News-a-Palooza, I enjoyed my two years participating in the event. Working with Roe Conn and Richard Marx to raise money and awareness for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation meant the world to me. Marion Brooks, Ginger Zee, Natalie Martinez and I teamed up last year and we got our groove on. If anything else, it was at least entertaining or maybe just campy. Almost ONE MILLION people viewed the "Single Ladies Video," which you can still see if you go to roeconn.com.
I do not know if an event is scheduled for this year but if asked to do so, I would help out in anyway possible.
BONUS QUESTION... CSNChicago.com: Anything you want to promote Amy? Please share it with us...
Jacobson: This Saturday, I will be on "247" on NBC 5. I helped out for a "Sex and the City" segment with reporter Kati Kehoe (yes, another campy segment). But we had a fun time at the photo shoot and watching the movie. Kati Kehoe is hysterically brilliant. It will air at midnight Saturday night.
As for charities, I would love for people to donate to "Bear Necessities." It is a pediatric cancer foundation run out of Children's Memorial Hospital. They are dedicated to eliminating pediatric cancer and to providing hope and support to those who are touched by it. They can be reached through their website.
I am also a board member on Allie and Friends. Chicago native and Indianapolis Colts player Ryan Diem is in charge of the event which benefits children and their families effected by Neuroblastoma. For more information on that, please visit their website.
Official Amy Jacobson website
WIND AM 560 Big John & Amy home page
Amy Jacobson on Facebook
Amy Jacobson on Twitter