40 Years Later, Returning To The Medium I Love Best

Jul 4, 2014


Bill Nigut debuts his new weekly radio program "Two Way Street with Bill Nigut" at 4 PM, Saturday, July 5 on 88.5, GPB Atlanta)

More than 40 years ago, I started my first job in broadcasting: hosting a one-hour daily radio show on WLTD-AM in Chicago, my hometown.

My show was nothing if not eclectic. Some days I hosted musical guests who performed in the studio; on occasion, friends from the Second City comedy company stopped by to do improvisation on the radio; I read short stories, talked about life in my life in Chicago, took phone calls from listeners who wanted to share their own experiences.

But primarily my program back then was a talk show. And the extended, one-on-one conversations I had with artists, actors, musicians, authors, opinion leaders and others always made me happiest. I have always loved hearing people talk about their lives, their work, their passions and my show gave me a great opportunity to hear fascinating people tell their stories.

Following my time at WLTD Radio, my work took me into television, where I spent more than 30 years as a broadcast journalist, primarily covering politics. TV gave me some great adventures, led me to meet fascinating people, and took me to countries around the world.

But to be candid, I have missed radio over all those years. It’s a medium that allows imagination to flourish, that creates an intimacy between host and listener. Freed of the need to find pictures to tell every story, radio allows listener and host to work together to create our own pictures, to get to know guests through the power of their ideas, and to focus on the beauty and importance of words.

Together, we’ll explore the work being done by artists and entertainers of all fields in Georgia; we’ll listen to actors perform and discuss their work, hear some of the musicians who call Georgia home. We’ll check in on occasion with the culinary artists who are making Atlanta one of the country’s great dining destinations. And we’ll talk with authors who showcase our rich cultural heritage or write about our history.

But I’ve always been a curious guy. And so I want to explore with you many other facets of life in Georgia:
Did you know, for instance, that the owner of the New York Stock Exchange makes Atlanta his home? You’ll hear his story in the weeks ahead…

With World Cup fever gripping the globe, I want to know what the Coca-Cola Company’s global marketing director in charge of Coke’s involvement with soccer can tell us about the power of the game all over the world.

On a more sober note, did you know there are zip codes in metro Atlanta where the rate of HIV infection is higher than in some African nations? And that those countries are apparently doing a better job treating the problem than we are here? We’ll talk soon to the experts who are trying to get this health crisis under control.

Oh by the way, the name of that show I hosted back in my young days in Atlanta? It was called Two-Way Street…because that’s what conversation has to be to be meaningful and compelling – a two way street. In the years since that first Two Way Street was on the air, the need for us to listen and try to understand one another has grown more important than ever. And so, I couldn’t imagine a better name than that for this new show on GPB Atlanta.

I am thrilled to be back in radio and hope you’ll join me to meet extraordinary people, hear important ideas and explore the rich arts and cultural work being done in Atlanta and Georgia. It should be fun; it should be illuminating, and if I do it right, it should make us all just a little more aware of what a remarkable place we live in.