JD Barber hosted Madison's top-rated morning show of the 1980s on Z104. When I learned of his death this morning, I instantly thought of Monday November 28, 1983. I had moved back to my hometown after 10 years, ready to host mornings as the new "Magic 98" would take over from WISM-FM that week. It was bitterly cold in Madison. All my belongings were in boxes in a cheap apartment. As I drove to Lums for some breakfast I scanned the radio dial. "Peter B" was on WIBA. Jim Mader was playing Sinatra on WERU. But JD and his crew (Ralph Cohen, Judy Newman) were clearly the most popular in town. I recall thinking"this will be formidable competition"...and I was right. While Magic 98 was successful from day one, JD would continue to host the #1 rated morning show for years to come.
My daughter graduates from college this weekend. Our friends say that it seems like Kate just left high school. To me it seems she was just born. Wonder why this milestone reminds me of that? I remember like it was yesterday. July 31, 1984 was humid in Madison. My wife had a rough final week of pregnancy. Dr. Price decided a C-section was needed. I was told I could watch, provided I get into some hospital scrubs. Nurse Kris Clary gave Kate her first bath, wrapped her in a blanket and handed her to me. It was after midnight as I carried Kate up and down the hospital halls. She had beautiful blue eyes and was very alert. When my wife awoke after the surgery she asked what happened. I said "Kate O'Neill is here." (A few years earlier we were visiting Duluth, saw a store named "Katy O'Neill's" and instantly decided on a name if we ever had a daughter). Everyone fell asleep around 4AM. I headed home...then discovered I was still wearing the hospital scrubs. I still have them.