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Dave Brooks
WCIC Peoria

Volunteers, Interns & Capes




While doing some light yard work outside our studios one summer afternoon, I had a bit of a wrestling match within. It was reminiscent of Tevye, from Fiddler on the Roof. My self-talk went something like this…

“I’m willing to work outside. I’ll do any task around here… after all, we’re about serving.”

“But on the other hand…”

“What am I NOT doing, in order to be out here? As station manager, is this the most valuable way for me to contribute toward our mission?”

I finished dealing with weeds and made a decision.

A week later, Andrew took over what I had been doing outside. He’s an all-star volunteer, and he’s excited to help the team any way he can. Andrew thinks he’s keeping our landscaping areas looking sharp. But what he’s really doing is helping me keep my focus sharp—on the tasks our team needs the manager to be on—so the station can be at our best.

This reminded me of some good advice I picked up somewhere along the line which really helps in setting priorities. Spend as much time as possible in the upper half of your job description. Doing this can lead to organizational growth, greater personal fulfillment, and keep excellence sustainable.

So what does the upper part of the job description look like?

There are some things each of us do, which you or I NEED to do… because we bring unique skill, experience, and passion to those responsibilities. If you or I don’t do these higher level tasks, some amount of organizational impact will be forfeited. It may be painting a picture of an envisioned future for the department. Finessing show-prep for a compelling break. Production that stirs the heart and inspires. We each have a sense for what represents the personal highest and best we can bring to our work. When we spend time in those areas, we feel energized. We innovate within our role.  We dream. The team is lifted. Our community is served with creative excellence. Lives are changed.

Tasks in the lower portion of our job description are still important. And everyone on our team pitches in when it’s time to load the van or host an event. But there are many opportunities to enlist help. This is where the people with the capes swoop in.


                                      WCIC Superheroes


Volunteers and interns are super-heroes to us, because they lift the team far beyond where we could otherwise go. They are disguised as everyday listeners, passionate about mission. They make it possible for individuals on the team to spend more time in the “upper half.” Even one can have a dramatic effect.

When our promotions intern Hollie walks through the door in the morning, Abby feels immediate extra support, and can focus on her upper level stuff. Now she’s able to help Jessie, so Jessie has more time to spend working in the upper half of her job description. It continues. Hollie’s willingness to serve sends a ripple effect of increased capacity right through the org chart. Intern contributions are so valuable it sometimes presents a dilemma when it’s time for the internship to end. Three of our current full-time employees began with us as interns and never took their capes off.

So next time you’re in Illinois, look up. If the sky overhead looks anything like a sunset—even in the middle of the day—you might just be seeing a cloud of orange capes. It’s probably a normal day around here. Our super-heroes are just taking the impact of WCIC to places beyond where we could imagine without them.  



Dave is Station Manager for WCIC, a New Life Media station serving Central Illinois from studios in Peoria. You can reach him at



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