Bob the Producer Berry joined WEBN-FM to produce comedy bits in 1988. Before that, he was production director at WKRC-AM for nearly 10 years, where he did on-air bits with his boyhood idol, afternoon DJ Rich King, as King’s omnipresent producer, Fred Geschnottennon. Strange but true: The 1967 LaSalle HS grad was encouraged by teachers there to study chemistry at UC!
Goofy Bob did all kinds of things for WEBN-FM, including having Dawn Patrol cohort Eddie Fingers broadcast a play-by-play of Bob’s vasectomy. Bob, the good West Side Catholic boy, interviewed little old ladies on Good Friday climbing the Immaculata Church steps in Mount Adams and asked them: “Mind if I pray through?”
In preparation for his visit to our Ohio Center for Broadcasting Cincinnati campus, we sent Bob a few questions. Interview below.
OCB: When or how did you decide radio was the career for you?
Bob: I was at U.C. as a chemistry major (kept me out of Vietnam) and I wanted to
do something a lil different. I'd always been told I was funny (by my friends, in school) so I thought a career in radio would be a good choice.
OCB: When exactly did you become "Bob the Producer"?
I became Bob the Producer" when I started at ebn 12/26/88. I was hired to b a 'behind-the-scenes' producer--to write bits for Robin & Eddie, to book guests. Eddie dubbed me Bob the Producer-there was a 'greg the producer' before me who wasn't there long.
OCB: What is your most favorite memory of your time with the Morning Show?
Hard to pick one. I guess when Carly Simon was in the studio, I was bein silly & she invited me to join her at Bogart's. I did & I was actually on stage with her singin "You're so Vain".
OCB: What is the one piece of advice you would give to any student as they work their way through "the program".
Don't want to dampen anyone's enthusiasm, but stay with it. Breakin into radio's not easy
(cuz of voice-trackin). It's changed a lot. Be well versed in digital & nothing is beneath you to get in the door.
By Tanesha Manuel
November Days Graduate
Illinois Center for Broadcasting
I recently edited a trailer for a feature film starring Harry Lennix (Five Heartbeats, Ray, The Matrix) entitled “Mr. Sophistication,” written & directed by Danny Green (Coach Carter, Star Trek, Flight of Phoenix). The way this project came to my attention was through a referral made by Bill Natale, Executive Director for the Illinois Center for Broadcasting, Chicago Campus. Bill and Harry are friends, so when Mr. Lennix asked if ICB Chicago could recommend a grad to edit the trailer, I was selected. The rest is history.
I must say that I was prepared for this opportunity. A number of weeks prior to the request by Hollywood, our class had a group project entitled “Community Spotlight.” I had to present an entertainment segment that featured a movie review. The movie trailers I chose were too long for the segment. I recut the trailers of several summer blockbusters from 3 minutes into 30 seconds.
During the time I spent on my class project, I learned how to capture the essence of a story and engage viewers within seconds. Fast forward a few weeks later, after my graduation and I’m offered an incredible opportunity, to do a trailer for a renowned actor and a widely acclaimed director. I was determined to make the most of this chance of fate and professional career opportunity.
As to the trailer, Harry Lennix did not give me any guidelines or instruction whatsoever other than the directive, “I need a two minute trailer.” Upon completion of my assignment, Harry and Danny had nothing short of praise and admiration for how I encapsulated the story of the movie with the use of a few clips. They were very pleased and I’m grateful to have been a part of it.
Interested in learning more about careers you can pursue with training from the Illinois Center for Broadcasting?
Above: DGA (Directors Guild of America) director, Bill Natale, takes a ride on the famous SKYLINE located within the Mehrangarh Fort in Rajastan, India, while on a break from directing the documentary, “Water Pressures.”
By Bill Natale
Executive Director - Chicago Campus
In March of 2010, I was contracted by artisticcircle.org, Executive Director and EMMY-award-winning PBS/NPR producer, Dr. Ann Feldman, to direct a documentary entitled “Water Pressures.” Principal photography was shot on location in India - in the Thar desert region of Ragasthan and the metropolitan areas of Jodhpur and New Dehli. In the U.S. we shot material at the campus of Northwestern University, downtown Chicago and in the halls of Congress in Washington D.C. “Water Pressures,” is the story of the critical shortage of water in the world and how that shortage will affect everyone worldwide unless we recognize and form global partnerships.
In the fall of 2010, with a documentary not totally finalized, I was approached by Mileen Patel, the organizer of the very first Chicago South Asian Film Festival (CSAFF) to ask if Dr. Feldman and I would consider premiering the film at the event. We agreed and were surprised to win a festival award for our work. Since then “Water Pressures” has been the recipient of both the 2011 Accolade Competition and the 2011 Indie Fest Award for “video for social change.” As a result of these awards, I was asked to be the moderator for the 2011 CSAFF entry, “STILL STANDING.”
“STILL STANDING” is a remarkable piece of documentary film-making by a young filmmaker by the name of Pankaj Johar. It tells the story of Rajinder Johar, the filmmaker’s father, who was severely impaired by two gun-shot wounds. Rajinder, a medical doctor, suffered a spinal injury that resulted in his paralysis from the neck down. Rajinder has never been able to stand since then, bedridden for the rest of his life. The dramatic turn of events in Dr. Johar’s life caused him to go into a deep depression for about five years with requests made by the doctor to his son, Pankaj, as well as his care-takers. He pleaded with them to help him commit suicide. However, a letter from Mother Teresa brought a rebirth to this man’s psyche and a new look on life.
From his bed, acting like a general, Rajinder leads a small army of volunteers who have touched the lives of countless disabled people. “STILL STANDING” does a remarkable job of telling Rajinder’s story honestly with all of his faults and attributes; the impact his disability had on his family and a look at how programs designed by Rajinder that have brought remarkable changes to the lives of the disabled in his city. As a result of his organization and the good works they do, Rajinder Johar has garnered national acclaim in India and a stature that gives his life tremendous meaning and satisfaction.
Here is the link for the trailer if you’d like to take a peek at the essence of this film: http://www.csaff.org/film-schedule.htm.
A moderator helps lead a discussion and a Q&A between the filmmaker and the audience. It was great to see a number of ICB Chicago students attend the screening I moderated. They had insightful questions and got to meet the young director (all of 27) who flew from India to be at the festival. As I noted during the discussion after the screening, “If you’re in the media business, you are a story teller, be it news, documentaries or even sports coverage….you’re telling a story that has a beginning, a middle and an end. That is why this is a great business!”
In my own case I can answer the following question:
How many people get paid handsomely to travel around the world with their expenses paid in pursuit of telling a story from a far-away exotic land like India?
with the certainty that dreams do come true for those that work hard and learn the craft of being a broadcast professional.
Attending film festivals is worth the time to make connections, learn about the business and see some outstanding examples of story-telling. I encourage you all to do that.