Monday, April 7, 2014

Windy City Live a new Chicago treasure

This was originally posted on The Chicago Moms.

We were at the Sheilah A. Doyle Foundation benefit when I saw a silent auction item I knew my mother would love — a V.I.P. pass for me and two guests to attend a Windy City Live taping. I bid and held my breath. I really wanted to win this item so I could take Mom to the show.  When I won, I was very excited.
As soon as I started telling people that we were attending the show everyone – and I mean everyone – had a story about how nice the show’s stars were in real life. Ryan was at this benefit and talked to everyone with a smile on his face. Val was at lunch and stopped to talk to people who waved to her as she left the restaurant. The stories went on and on.

From the moment we arrived at the ABC studios on State Street, the experience was lovely. You’d think that the staff would be routine with their interactions at this point. The show has been on the air for three years now. Every person we spoke with — from the woman checking IDs at the front desk to the security guard screening us to the people in the studio doing a whole bunch of jobs I can’t name — was genuinely nice and professional. There were a lot of smiles and laughs.

The show taping was more fun than I expected. If you’ve ever been to a show taping you know there’s a lot of running around. I’ve attended several tapings in LA and Chicago. None was as relaxed at the Windy City Live taping. Everyone walked around doing their jobs, but no one was scowling or barking or snapping as I had heard at other tapings.

Our group had a funny moment when WIT Chef Evan Percoco was doing his kitchen segment. As the servers passed out sample desserts, my Aunt Bert said, “Oh, no thank you. My sugar was really high today.” And, she said it while the camera was on us. I leaned over and said, “Just take it.” She said, “Oh, I can’t waste it.” She shook her head and smiled at the server.  I just smiled and took my sample. It was wonderful. I thought about how much our daughters would like the desserts.

After the show we took a picture with Val and Ryan and Ji. It was an extra perk for winning the silent auction item. They asked about the Sheilah A. Doyle Foundation and the benefit. They chatted with Mom and Aunt Bert. I just hung back and let them chat. Within moments, both ladies were in official “mom” mode. They asked Ryan why he moved from sports. Mom and Ji discussed being cold, which continued a conversation from when Ji was in the audience taking a photo. Val asked about the benefit. It was lovely to see how much fun Mom and Aunt Bert were having.

As we left the studio Rafer Weigel came in to tape some promos. I don’t quite know how it happened, but when I turned around, Mom and Aunt Bert were chatting with Rafer and Ryan. Rafer laughed that Mom and Aunt Bert were both named “Bert” since they were cousins. He and Ryan just charmed both of them.
I’ve been in public relations and marketing for a long time. What was refreshing about Windy City Live was that the entire experience from check-in to the post-show audience group picture was fun. You know this is their job, but they genuinely seem to enjoy it.

We attended Windy City Live because I won the silent auction item. The good news is that Windy City Live tapings tickets are free to anyone. If you’re looking for a unique experience filled with fun moments and endless stories, be sure to check out the available tickets. I’m sure you’ll have as much fun as we did with a staff that’s as genuine and charming as what you see on TV.

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