Braving the Chicago airwaves
Talking, laughing, and rubbing shoulders with celebrities and politicians sounds like a fun way to make a living. For PETE McMURRAY ’89 and JANE MONZURES ’93, it’s their weekday routine as morning show hosts on Chicago’s WIQI-FM. The duo moved in late August to the station from WLUP-FM, where they had done the morning show together for three years.
“How many people can say they belly laugh daily at work?” Pete asked. “We talk to a few celebrities, take a few calls, laugh, and go home. We talk about what everyone is talking about. That’s a great gig.”
Jane backs him up. “I love to laugh and act silly. What’s work?”
Pete caught the radio bug while at Bradley. He interned or worked at stations in Peoria and Rockford before hitting Chicago. After Bradley, Jane worked radio jobs in Phoenix, Atlanta, and Chicago. “Bradley taught me to work hard and be smart,” said Jane, who also did television work in Arizona and now does a show on healthy living for WGN-TV in Chicago. “I’ve found that the work ethic that was instilled in me during my Bradley education is still there today, and my education helped me to see the whole picture, not just my job.”
Their show on WLUP featured Pete’s cousin, Secretary of Transportation RAY LaHOOD ’71 HON ’11, and Dr. Ron Koperski, associate professor of public relations, along with President Clinton and NBA star Shaquille O’Neal. LaHood also was among their first guests at the new station.
“Jane and I both had Dr. Koperski as a teacher, and he taught us something Jane says over and over — contacts, contacts, contacts,” Pete said, adding that Dr. Ed Lamoureux “was a huge influence on my life.”
“My favorite professor, and someone I always try to make proud of me, is Dr. Koperski,” Jane said. “He was a tremendous teacher and, today, a great friend.”
Although they did not attend Bradley at the same time, the two met through one of Pete’s Bradley friends, LISA FIELDING ’89, who works at WBBM. Her sister, KIM FIELDING ’93, was Jane’s roommate. “The size of the University allows you to be more active and create more bonds with like-minded people. Today, I am still very close to a lot of my friends from Bradley, and that is so special,” Jane said.
“Besides a fantastic education, Bradley gives you a wonderful sense of belonging and community,” said Pete, who co-hosts an entertainment show for NBC5 in Chicago, as well as doing fill-in sports commentary for Comcast SportsNet and Fox Chicago television. “Everyone who graduates from Bradley says the same thing, ‘what a wonderful experience.’”
A native Peorian, Pete and his wife Sara have a son and live in Chicago. He is one of 12 children and grew up attending Bradley basketball games. His father, three brothers, a sister, and a sister-in-law all attended Bradley. A nephew is a freshman this fall.
Jane, originally from Orland Park, lives in Chicago. She taught at high school cheerleading camps at Bradley and decided to attend because of the Academic Exploration Program. While at Bradley, she was president of Gamma Phi Beta and a public relations organization for students. Jane now uses her textiles minor for her own clothing line and produces an annual charity fashion show.
“I would never trade my years at Bradley. It was the perfect place to go to college,” she said.
– Bob Grimson ’81
Art has always been important to JANET PADILLA MAMON ’00. A self-taught artist, she uses her passion for art to inspire others. Janet also is a life coach and works with at-risk students using art as a therapeutic tool.
She recently painted four fiberglass horses for the Roundup II fundraiser by the Barrington Area United Way. The designs of the horses, which can be viewed online, have a personal connection to her life. Besides having owned a few horses, her daughter is an equestrian, and her husband is involved in equine therapy.
Janet never wavered from her goal of achieving a Bradley degree. Originally scheduled to graduate in 1980, a series of life events, including an auto accident, forced her to leave school a few hours short of a bachelor’s. After working at a corporate job for 10 years, she was determined to finish her business program. She commuted from Chicago to Peoria, pregnant and with young children at home, to finish the last six hours of her degree.
She and her husband Jay have four children and live in Inverness.
– Bob Grimson ’81
Service to his country and his community is important to JOE SHARPE ’08 MSA ’08.
His efforts, starting when he served as a Marine in Iraq and continuing back home when he started Amvets Charities of Peoria, won him the honor of being named in May as one of the Ten Outstanding Young People of 2012 by the Illinois Jaycees.
“Giving back is part of being a good citizen,” Joe said. “Once you are able to see how you can make a small difference to better someone else’s life, whether it be handing out soccer balls and candy to needy Iraqi children or handing out a Christmas basket to a local family of a service member overseas, it becomes very easy to find time to stay involved.”
A graduate of Bradley’s 3:2 program in accounting, he worked as an auditor for an accounting firm before being approached by his father BILL SHARPE ’61 to start Sharp Payroll as part of their family business.
“My time in the Marines gave me the discipline and focus to succeed academically at Bradley,” said Joe, who was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries he sustained in Iraq. “Bradley gave me the tools I needed to begin my career, but the outstanding faculty taught me more than just coursework. They imparted their valuable practical experiences which cannot be taught from a book.”
Joe, who has two children and lives in Peoria, is serving his fourth term as commander of the Peoria Amvets Post 64, currently the largest post in Illinois. He was the youngest commander in the Peoria post’s history.
“I hope this award will help inspire young people to step up and to know that they, too, can make a difference,” Joe said. “In fact, we are counting on them to make a difference.”
– Bob Grimson ’81