For eight years, Mary Sandberg has been the Girl Friday to my husband.  She has absorbed managerial angst, deflected Steve’s moods, and kept his professional life chugging along.  She was instrumental in the launch of the podcast, and has been a model inhabitant of the basement studio where the Dahlcast was created, nurtured and continues to morph.  When Steve was too heartbroken to pack up at CBS, she moved his stuff out, and tied up loose ends.  It has been a long ride, replete with speed bumps and craters.

Today was her last day.

All of the Lost Boys (and Stephanie) in the Basement are understandably discombobulated to lose their Wendy.  She has nurtured them, shielded them,and rallied them. They are family.  Now they will soldier on.  She has done a wonderful job.  Things will be different, but Mary knows that the Dahlcasters are ready to go forward. She has seen to it.

Change is hard, and Steve does not embrace it.  But he is determined to succeed at  podcasting, and the business model he was working with was flawed.  Ideally, a start-up resembles an embryo- compact, efficient.  Layers are added as needed.  Rewards are deferred. The Dahlcast was launched with a large cast of characters and a leap of faith. Kevin Matthews’ emancipation from the Cumulus abyss provided an opportunity to add value and broaden the base of listeners.  But the budget needed to be re-balanced.  Steve’s left and right brains were in a battle royale, but he knew what needed to be done.  In fact, so did Mary, who wants Steve’s dream to succeed.

Mary’s life has shifted seismically in the last year.  She has had some personal heartbreaks, and has decided to start over in many ways.  She is newly single, and ready to embrace renewal and change.  Her passion for sports, Chicago, and media is undaunted.  Any broadcast outlet would be fortunate to get her amnesiac dedication and energy.  She misses traditional media.

It is better for her to be a citizen of a broader world than the basement. I would lay odds that she will be in the ESPN studios on State street in 2012.  SO …the Score should be on notice….she is a force to be reckoned with in the sports world.  They might want to get dibbies.  She is far more beautiful than Dan McNeil, Harry Teinowitz and all the sports louts…a good distraction when the sports news is dismal.

A boat that stays anchored will never sink, but it will not know the joy of finding new adventures, or seeing new vistas.  So Mary’s anchor has been pulled up, and she is chugging out of the safe harbor.  Her spirit and positive energy will take her to beautiful places.  Because Mary is like a daughter to me, I am flummoxed by all this, despite my gut certainty that this is the right path for her and for Steve.  I watched her drive away today and I knew she was despondent.  On the outside, she was strong and brave.  She will set a course, and drop anchor in a good place.  I know she will send us postcards.  But I also know we will stay connected, because there are family ties.

It is not “good bye” – it is “chat later.”


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