This is Cnote Fodizzle, born and raised here in the Capitol city, been in radio for fifteen years, also on our sister station, Sportsradio 1450.I am 45  and married, a holder of three college degrees, an Associates in General Education from Lincoln Land Community College and two B.A's in Political Studies and Communication from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Here's my philosphy about radio, radio to me is my life its who I am as a person. Thanks for listening to 997 KISS-FM.  Check out The Morning Grind with yours truly along with  Bondsy and Sarah Savannah weekday mornings 6 to 10 and I am your 2011 Best Local Character as voted by readers in the Illinois times.                                                                                                                                                         

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There are just certain things that take you by surprise... the Challenger explosion in 1986 or the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Both hit all of us like a " ton of bricks". The passing of longtime Channel 20 Anchor Don Hickman was one of those things Central Illinoisians just did not expect to happen this weekend. I was at home talking about the old days with my wife and sis-in-law and how I watched Don on the 20 News. Then I received a text saying that Don Hickman has died... when I saw the text at first glance, I could not believe what I was looking at. I was hoping I was dreaming all of this but it was all real. Around 1995 or thereabouts, Hickman had open-heart surgery and was off the air for a time. We in the viewing audience were getting concerned on why Don wasn't on the air. I had a dream during this time that Hickman had died then. I woke up from this dream that seemed so real to me at the time but once I came to my senses, I knew it was only a dream and thankfully so. In 2001, after being in the Channel 20 anchor chair since 1972, Hickman retired as anchor, that was a sad day too... a day we all knew would come but not prepared for.

In 2003, Hickman decided to run for Mayor and that's how I got to know Don when I was News Director at Student and Community station WQNA 88.3 FM. I interviewed Hickman and the other mayoral candidates from that campaign on my old Springfield Live midday show where I asked not just your usual campaign questions but I asked about the early years and how he came to Springfield in 1972, and as they say the rest is history. I enjoyed that conversation so much that after the election, which was won by Tim Davlin, that I asked Don about appearing on my evening show, WQNA Springfield Tonight at least twice a year to do a segment called " The Hickman Factor" where I asked his opinions on various local, state, national and sometimes international issues. I told my listeners to " Gather 'round your radios" as I interduced the Hickman Factor to listeners. Don always got a chuckle out of that one. I always enjoyed our conversations and wished I had more time on-air to discuss things. As I watched him on television, that inspired me to go into broadcasting and my dream of being a newsman. For five years, I lived that dream of being a newsman on WQNA and having Hickman on my show from time to time was some of the greatest moments of my 15-year broadcasting career.

We will all miss him here in Springfield and Central Illinois for all the contributions he made, not just as a newsman but as a leader in the community. Springfield & Central Illinois is a better place because of Don Hickman. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hickman family. He will be missed by all in Central Illinois.

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11/20/2011 7:29PM
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