Local D.J. breaks Guinness World Book record
KNOX — Tom Berg, a local radio personality at WKVI in Knox, is one of the newest recipients of a Guinness World Book record for the longest radio broadcast.
Berg began his journey toward the Guinness Monday, July 11 at 5 a.m. and the clock wound down 187 hours later at 12 a.m. Tuesday, July 17 making Berg the winner of the longest broadcast category.
What made this local D.J. embark on such a quest? It’s simple, he went looking for a record to challenge and ultimately beat.
“I wanted to see if there were any broadcasting related categories in the Guinness Book; and I found one that I had an outside shot of achieving,” Berg said.
Broadcasting was the obvious choice for Berg, who has been employed by WKVI for the past two years.
“I love starting someone’s day with news info, and a little entertainment,” he said.
Doing something in life that says, “Hey, I was here,” is one reason for vying for a Guinness record-holding title.
“I'm not going to cure cancer, or win a Pulitzer; this is the next best thing,” Berg said.
Berg contacted Guinness to see exactly what he had to achieve in order to break the current record.
“I had to host a show, complete with guests, music and talk. But instead of it being a normal five-hour show, it was an eight-day/187 hour show. The former record was held by a Belgian DJ at 184 hours,” he said.
When Berg set out on this journey, he thought it was going to be a piece of cake. He discovered, however, it would be a wee bit more difficult.
“Well I THOUGHT it would be easy, seeing it's what I do for a living; but it was a little more difficult than I thought. I experienced hallucinations that I can only attribute to sleep deprivation,” he said.
The contest allowed Berg a miniscule amount of down time that he chose to store up.
“For every hour I was on the air, I got five minutes that I could save or use. If I banked them, they accumulated nicely. I could use them for sleep or hygiene. For example: If I went 12 hours without a break, that was one hour,” Berg said.
Locally, Berg garnered a lot of support in accomplishing his Guinness World Book record.
“I received exceptional support. Lenny Dessauer (WKVI station manager) helped to organize the volunteers and the food needed to get through the week,” Berg said.
Residents outside of the station community also rallied behind Berg and encouraged him along his journey toward victory.
“I received very supportive email from the community that helped me to pull through,” he said.
Berg also received his favorite pizza from Mikey’s Pizza Pit Stop in downtown Knox and a visit from the students at Backstage Studio of Dance in North Judson.
Berg’s quest for the Guinness also showed him some insights into himself on a personal level.
“This experience turned out to be a very personal one in the sense that I've found out about the limits, both mentally and physically of what I can handle. It was a little scary at times,” he said.
Other than being extremely sleepy, Berg had one word for how he feels about having pulled this off.
“Satisfied!” he said.