Jake Query is Turn Announcer at Indycar Radio and WNDE co-host at iHeartMedia Inc.
4:57 – What is your definition of attitude? Belief in yourself. Being a cocky kid at north central high school. Dr. Eugene White.
8:26 – What was the attitude lesson from mom and dad? A message of integrity. Making sure that everyone is included and gravitating towards the underdogs. Nobody is invisible. Ravenswood. Shelby Steel.
14:47 – University of Kansas. Personal reversal. Super Dave Osborne. Feeling like a complete failure. Doing well in Bloomington. Ed Sorensen. Interning in New York. WBAY and FoxSportsNet in LA needed somebody in St. Louis.
27:24 – Attitude Booster #5 Be Nice and find a mentor and copy him or her. Ed Sorensen left under cover of night and never came back.
34:17 – IMS stuff. Long Beach Street Race. Newton Iowa. Hélio Castroneves Bell Isle.
42:35 – Dr. Don Carlos had one of the best attitudes. John Wooden. Barak Obama. David Letterman was favorite interview.
48:56 – What was the worst interview that you were the least prepared for? George Costanza and the jerk store. Randy Johnson, Diamondbacks pitcher
51:39 – Massive heart attack at Blind Owl Brewery.
58:47 – Knowledge Through the Decades. Attitude lesson from a newborn. The youngest of 3. Memory of an elephant. Observing the examples that were set for me and using that as a template.
1:00:10 – Attitude lesson from the age of 10. Getting out-coached. Knowing when to flex the attitude inside you.
1:02:38 – Attitude lesson from the age of 20. Being ok with being vulnerable.
1:03:40 – Attitude lesson from the age of 30.
1:04:46 – Attitude lesson from the age of 40. Skydiving. Stop worrying about if things were going to come together. Skydiving with Red Bull sky divers into the Indy 500 oval.
1:07:52 – A message of hope. A belief in one’s self. Interview homeless people and share their story. Hot Box Pizza. Wheeler Mission. 30 lunches in 30 days. 20 triumphs in 20 days.
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Bridging The GAP From Near Death To New Life
We are here with the one and only Jake Query. Jake, can you tell us what we’re going to learn?
Apparently, we’re going to learn about how when I was younger, my attitude wasn’t great, and when I got older, my attitude got slightly better. As a result of that, so too did my life.
If you guys want to learn about how to increase your attitude from that of an adolescent to that of an adult, from a person that has spoken to and interviewed some of the greatest, most influential people in America, I’m telling you this is an episode you won’t want to miss.
We are here with a local TV celebrity, and radio celebrity, one of the announcers of IMS Radio Network, and several different shows. He’s somebody that I’ve known all my life, I think he’s known me longer, but I’ve always wanted to interview this guy because I’m a big fan of his. We are here with the one and only Jake Query. Jake, welcome to the show.
I appreciate it. First off, the two things. 1) I’m not a celebrity. I’ve always made that very clear. There’s no way that that’s applicable, but I appreciate your use of the word. 2) I’m wanting to know when you’re going to serve me some divorce papers here. I’m looking at your photo and I feel like I’m driving on I-65 and you’re a Crown Point divorce attorney. That’s what that looks like.
I was in law school for a period of about three weeks. They said that the suggested mandatory reading was over several hundred pages a night. That did not work well for me.
When the syllabus is this thick, you’re like, “I’m out.”
I went into Political Science and I said, “This is subjective and anything I say cannot be proven.” They said, “Yeah.” I said, “I found my major,” but I never got out of there. We have that in common. As everybody should know, Jake’s and my mother were dear friends. They taught nursery school together. I want to dedicate this show to those two wonderful women. I hope your mom gets to read this, the wonderful Karen Query. Karen, I hope you get to read this.
Gracie Bill, your mother. We moved to Indianapolis when I was entering kindergarten. My parents are both from Indianapolis. In the summer of 1978, we moved to Indianapolis and my mother had been a preschool teacher in Shelbyville, where we lived. She was looking for a job. I remember Glenn so well as a little kid because it was a new world to me, going around with my mom to all these different places where she was being interviewed to be a preschool teacher. I was entering kindergarten, so I was too old for these little preschool kids, these little rug rats.
I was tagging along and looking at all these preschools and, lo and behold, she landed at Children’s Corner, which is in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. It was at that time. It’s moved since then. Your mother was the one that gave my mom the shot. My mom still is very involved with them some 40-plus years later. Your mom was a huge part of my mom’s life and my mom indirectly as well. I remembered your mom well. When you were playing football, too, I was fairly convinced you were Jack Lambert because all I heard about was how good you were.
That was me talking most of the time about how good I was. I’m not sure if it was anybody else, but if I had an opportunity to self-promote, I would, just as I do now. Jake, we are here to talk to our GAPers. That’s what our show is about. You’ve been through a whole bunch of different stuff in your life. People come to our show to get from where they are, to where they want to be and to become who they want to be from where they are or from who they are.
You might have some valuable life lessons that we can share. I know that you’re going to have some great stories because I follow you and I’ve listened to you. I know you do some incredible things in the community. You’ve done some cool side projects that I’ve seen. I want to talk about those. GAPers, if you are ready to read about Jake and his story in our conversation, you’re going to thoroughly enjoy this.
Here’s another reason I want to interview. You do not have a warped sense of whatever, but I know you’re going to give me answers that not a lot of people give me. Talk to me quick. When you think of attitude, what does attitude mean to you, and who are the first people that affected your attitude, your attitude coaches, if you will?
First off, I’ve never thought about it so spontaneously. Attitude is the level of belief you have in yourself and the level of display that you put out there of it. If you have a strong belief in yourself, but you overcompensate for how much you believe in yourself by throwing it out there for everybody, they’re going to say, “That guy’s got an attitude.” If you don’t have much belief in yourself at all, so, therefore, you overcompensate by trying to belittle everybody else in order to raise yourself up, a bad attitude.
Attitude is something that can be positive, but it’s a matter of how much you allow it to come out of you. Personally, I had two people, aside from my own parents. That goes without saying because I’ve had great parents and great experiences, but when I was a senior in high school, I had a bad attitude. I was as arrogant as could be. Everybody is when they’re senior. I was a cocky kid and I was doing a lot of radio and TV work at North Central High School. I didn’t want to have to do the little things that everybody was having to do in our class.
One day, I balked at an assignment and said, “I’m not doing it. I don’t have to do it. I’m the guy that talks into the microphone. I don’t have to do the editing and those kinds of things.” I was sent down to the principal’s office and the principal at that time at North Central High School was Dr. Eugene White, who later went on to become Superintendent of Washington Township and IPS, and then the President of Martin University.
I get sent down to the principal’s office and Dr. White sees me and he says, “What are you doing here?” I said, “They want me to do this, and they want me to do that.” I’m angry. I’m a typical high school kid. He calls me into his office and clears his schedule for 30 minutes and shuts the door. He says, “Jake, let me tell you something about your attitude. I know you feel like people are out to get you right, and you feel like you’re being asked to do things you’re not supposed to do, and you feel like you’re above all of it.” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “The way you handle people and the situations and the way that you determine where you’re going is a direct reflection of who you are on the inside.”The way you handle people and situations and the way you determine where you’re going are direct reflections of who you are on the inside. Click To Tweet
He said, “When I was your age, and I was a senior in high school, I grew up impoverished in Phoenix City, Alabama with a speech impediment as a Black man. If I allowed what everyone thought of me to dictate my attitude, would I be right here, right now, as your principal in high school? The younger you are when you learn to filter out what you are portraying to other people versus sucking it up and doing what’s asked of you, the better off you’re going to be.” Long-winded and circuitous, that is the person that most directly affected the way I handle in the future my attitude regarding this.
That’s good. Oftentimes people say, “Of course, Glenn, it’s my parents.” I do like to go there because parents are unsung. Some of our greatest lessons, some of the greatest, most poignant stories can come from our first two attitude coaches that we don’t get to pick, mind you. I’m curious, when you think of your mother and your father, what were the two attitude lessons they both taught you?
Number one, I can tell you right now, I was watching the news with my dad. I was nine years old. We’re watching the news one night. There was a story on the news about a Brinks truck that was on an overpass, and the doors flew open and money was flying out. Monies are falling from the heavens for people. I think it was in California somewhere. I said to my dad, “Dad, what would you do if all of a sudden, $100 bills were falling out of the sky? Think about how much money you’d get.”
My dad said, “I wouldn’t get any.” I said, “What are you talking about?” My dad said, “I wouldn’t take any of it.” I said, “You’re crazy. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Why would you not take any of the money?” My dad said, “Because, Jake, it doesn’t belong to me and my integrity is worth more than that.” I’ve never forgotten that.
GAPers, we all know, at times in our lives, maybe we have taken when we shouldn’t. That affects your attitude not only for the time you do it but for the rest of your life. That shows up in the form of regret and lack of growth. Unbelievable attitude lesson for Mr. Query. How about Mom? What did she give you?
The thing about my mom that I didn’t realize at the time, when I was in school and growing up and whatever else, I was a pretty arrogant guy. I was never a bully by any stretch, but I would rib people and jab at people as well as anybody. I never did it for people that I thought were overly vulnerable. To this day, Glenn, I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve had a microphone for the better part of my adult career. I have always felt that that microphone came with a responsibility to use it for people that don’t have one of their own.
I don’t know exactly how or where, but my mom made it very clear to me from a very young age that when we would do things or when I would have birthday parties or whatever it might be, she made sure that everybody was included. She made sure that I went out of my way to make sure that every kid was included and that the underdogs were the ones that I always gravitated towards. In that regard, my mom made it very clear to me that no one was invisible. I’ve always tried to carry that.
Not to go too deep into the family tree, but we get some of our best answers. I don’t know if you were close with your grandparents, everybody has four grandparents. If there were 1 or 2 lessons, depending on the grandparents, what did your grandparents do? I love to know this and it’s so amazing, the answers we get. Where were they from? What did they do? What did they teach?
My grandparents, like a lot of people, as a child, I was exposed more to my mother’s parents because they lived in Indianapolis. My dad’s parents had moved to Florida before I was born. They were older. My paternal grandfather passed away in 1982. I was born in ‘72. My grandmother passed away later than that, but I didn’t see her as much. I know that my grandfather was a hardworking guy. He had ten kids. My dad’s 1 of 10 kids. Lots of aunts and uncles.
He probably made you arrogant that picked on you as you were growing up.
Let me tell you something, Glenn. You can’t swing a dead cat in Ravenswood and not hit a Query. My dad was from Ravenswood and my grandfather built a house in Ravenswood that all ten kids lived in, although they were spread out. Right there, knowing that and knowing what my dad overcame showed me the lesson of hard work and sticking by your beliefs. The watershed moment for my dad came when he met my mother because my maternal grandfather was a buyer at Allison. His rep was a young guy by the name of John Brown that was selling my grandfather’s steel.
When my parents started dating, my grandfather, my mother’s father, said, “John, I got this young guy dating my daughter and they’re getting serious and he’s a nice guy, but do you think there are any openings in the steel business?” That opened the door for my dad and he worked 41 years as a steel salesman for O’Neal Steel out of Birmingham, which was originally Shelby Steel out of Shelby. He was great at it. He paid for 3 college educations, including mine and my 2 sisters, and 2 graduate schools with my 2 sisters’ case. I shut it down before he had to pay for the final semester there, Glenn.
My dad didn’t go to college. He’s self-educated and a brilliant guy. He and his dad showed me the value of hard work and base hits. Everybody wants to go out and hit the home run. Base hits and my dad was Tony Gwyn. My grandfather was Pete Rose or Rod Carew, whoever’s a great base hitter.
Another unbelievable commonality. Do you know what my father did for a living? He sold steel for steel parts out of Tipton, Indiana.
I’m telling you, it’s crazy. In the ‘70s, the number of kids that I grew up with whose dads were in the steel business. It was all over. My buddy Jay Ferguson’s dad, Ferguson Steel, and Matt Churchman’s dad, Churchman Steel. Marshall’s dad worked for Bethlehem Steel. Andrew Shreve’s dad, A&N Steel. They were all steel. The business was huge. I’ll never forget, we were on vacation in the early ‘80s when US Steel closed. I was a little kid and I saw the look on my dad’s face and he’s like, “This is a game changer.”
We move on a little bit in life to the cocky high school kid. You go to the University of Kansas as a freshman. All of a sudden, you go, “I don’t think I like it here,” or things don’t work out. We have one of those moments that are what I call GAP moments where you go, “I’m going to have a personal reversal or an educational reversal.” Tell us a little bit about that and what was your attitude at that time? How did you get comfortable with saying, “I need to make a change?” How did you make the change?
The change was made for me. When I was a kid, you would’ve been probably an adolescent. Do you remember the HBO sketch comedies of Super Dave Osborne?
My freshman year of college pretty much went off like any stunt of Super Dave Osborne. It did not go well. I was an average student in high school. I did not apply myself, but I knew from the time I was in the sixth grade that I wanted to be a sportscaster. I had all my eyes and all my visions on that. I worked hard at that aspect of it, but that doesn’t mean I worked hard in other areas. When it came time to start figuring out where I was going to go to college, I was very lucky, Glenn, that I grew up in an environment where it wasn’t a question of, “Are you going to go to college?” It was a question of, “Where are you going to go to college?”
I went to be B. Dalton Bookseller and I bought one of those huge books of all the college reviews. This is a true story. I took a ruler and I slid it in there to the least competitive section. Three-quarters of the book was out the window. The major state universities that had admission requirements were gone. That narrowed it down to me to Kansas, Indiana State, Alabama, and Ball State. I was waitlisted at Ball State. Those are the three that I applied for. I was a huge IU fan.
I made the critical mistake at a young age of thinking that athletic fanaticism for a school means that it was the best school for you. I thought, “If I can’t go to IU, then what’s a school that’s like IU? Good in basketball, a major state university, an hour and a half from a metropolitan area? Kansas and Alabama were the two that had the least competitive, 92% acceptance rate. I got to make that.”I made the critical mistake at a young age of thinking that athletic fanaticism for a school meant that it was the best school for you. Click To Tweet
I walked down into my parents’ living room one day. Both my sisters were out of the house and away at college. It was me and my parents. I said, “I decided where I’m going. I’m going to go to Kansas.” My mom since has told me, “Jake, when your father and I dropped you off in Lawrence, we hadn’t even gotten to Kansas City yet on the drive back when we both looked at each other and said, ‘This is not going to work.’” I was too far from home. It was a different era. You were dropped off and it was, “We’ll see you Thanksgiving.” I was so close to all my buddies and all the people that I went to high school with. It was a big fish in a small pond. I didn’t do well with it. I was too immature.
You were an orphan in Kansas.
Yes. I pledged right away and my pledge class was 32 guys, and I was 1 of 4 that was not from the state of Kansas. It was very incestuous. At any rate, I was homesick. For the first time in my life, I was depressed. I was up against it, and I didn’t do anything. I didn’t go to class. I went to class on exam days. After the first year, my parents at the semester break, my dad said, “This is what you said you want to do. You got to ride it out for at least a year.”
I went back for the second semester and rode it out. I had to come home. I was depressed because I was a complete failure for the first time in my life. All my buddies were coming back and they were talking about how wonderful their year was and their fraternity’s great. They got this new girlfriend and things are awesome. I’m thinking, “I picked up three credit hours.” It’s a total disaster. I had to get my stuff in order.
I came home and worked at a coffee store, went, and saw a counselor once a week. I eventually got myself into IEPY. I got my grades up to the point where I could transfer to Bloomington. The next year, what should have been the first semester of my junior year of college, realistically, was the second semester of my freshman year in Bloomington.
I did well in Bloomington. I enjoyed it. I made great friends and had an experience. Glenn, from the time that I arrived, I felt to myself like I was ready to go. For what I wanted to do for a living, I didn’t feel like there were classes that were necessarily going to better my preparedness. I don’t mean that arrogantly. More so is about the fact that I do a job that doesn’t require a lot of skill. That was a challenge for me.
A lot of talent, nonetheless.
I don’t know about that either.
You went to IU. You said, “I want to be a sportscaster.” You knew it. There are people that read this that go, “I know what I want to do, but I’m not doing it because I need to go to a Kansas first for all the BS that comes with it.” When did you get in front of your first microphone? Was it in college where you said, “This is it. This is what I’m doing. I’m good?”
When I was in the sixth grade, there was a sportscaster in Indy named Ed Sorensen.
You sound like Ed. Don’t you think so? Have you heard that before?
I’ve never heard that before. When I was in the sixth grade, I called Ed on the phone. He had not been in Indy long, but I watched him every night. I thought he was great. I called him and he answered the sports (317) 269-1434 was the phone number. I’ve told this story a lot. I said, “Is this Ed Sorensen?” “Yeah.” I said, “My name is Jake Query and I want to be a sportscaster.” He said, “Buddy, everybody wants to be a sportscaster.” He hung up on me.
I called right back and said, “Did you just hang up on me? I’m your customer. I watch you every night and you were rude to me, so why would I ever watch you again?” He said, “What is your name again?” I told him and he said, “Jake, why don’t you have your dad bring you down here sometime?” The next day, my dad took me down to Channel 6. I walked in and said, “I’m Jake Query, the guy that you hung up on yesterday.”
Ed’s the best. I was shadowing. I was going down there and hanging out all the way through high school. At North Central, we had WJEL, which was part of J Everett Light. We had a radio and television class. By the time I had graduated from North Central, I had done 75 basketball games on the radio and probably 35 or 40 football games. Adam Alexander, who now does NASCAR on FS1, and I were classmates and we were the first high school broadcasters to do the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star Game on the radio because we applied for it. I remember they said, “We’ve never let high school kids do this before.” I said, “How many have asked?”
Ed was the greatest live talent I’ve ever seen. He was unbelievable. At any rate, I had done all that. When I went to IU, I did not major in Broadcasting. I was an English major because I figured if anything else, I needed to have a command of the language. I need to know how to write and speak it. I also didn’t know what would happen if it didn’t work out for me. What can I do as a fallback? I can teach or write if I’m an English major.
I was an English major. I took no broadcasting classes. During my junior year at IU, during spring break, I took a stack of resumes. This was back when you had to do that. I went to New York City. I had a friend who had a cousin living in New York City. I’d never been to New York, but I did my spring break in New York City. I got up every day for four straight days and went to every television and radio station in the city of New York saying, “My name is Jake Query. I’m from Indiana, and I want to do an internship this summer here.”
Eventually, they felt sorry for me. Viacom, which was MTV Networks, Nickelodeon, and VH1, had MTV Sports. I remember the receptionist at Viacom said, “Those applications were all done in December.” I said, “I didn’t know that.” She said, “Hang on a second.” I remember the woman’s name. Jeanette Primus was the intern coordinator who came out and said, “You’re here for what?” I said, “I came on spring break to try to get an internship. I’ve gone to WCBS, Sports Illustrated, and WNBC.”
She said, “Are you willing to live in New York?” I said, “I want to live in New York City as an intern over the summer.” She said, “I’m not going to lie to you. We were full on this three months ago. We had 1,000 applications and we take 22 interns, but the receptionist said you were nice. If you can move here, you can intern here.” I lived in an NYU building for the summer. It was the summer of the Reggie versus Knicks’ Spike Lee choke. It was the best.
Were you in Madison Square Garden when that happened?
I was not at the game. I was in the bar that’s attached to Madison Square Garden. I turned 21 six months before I moved there. It was the first summer of me being able to be out and go to bars and things like that. I met a buddy. The first day that I was there, I met two guys. One went to James Madison. One went to Williams College. We spent the summer together living in this building. They were interning on Wall Street.
We went to go watch the game. I wore my Pacer shirt. I’m telling you right now. That now all of a sudden shaped me and gave me this inner confidence that I never had that I knew I could do it at that point. I came back. I was still hanging around Channel 6. About two years after I was done at IU, one day, Ed walked into the office and said, “Why are you still sitting here?” I said, “What do you mean?”
He said, “All you’ve talked about since you were in sixth grade is how you want to be a sportscaster. Now here you are. You’re 26 years old. You’re still hanging around. Why are you still here?” I said, “I’m waiting for the opportunity.” He said, “You’re not waiting on anything, Jake. You’re afraid. You’re afraid of somebody telling you you’re not good enough. You’re afraid of being rejected. You’re afraid of finding out you can’t do this for a living.”
I said, “You’re probably right.” He said, “Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go right now. You’ve done this 1 million times,” because I would always rehearse his sportscasts. He said, “We’re going to go in and I’m going to tape you doing my sportscast and we’re going to send it to every television station in the United States.” He had a list of affiliates. I went in and did a sportscast. I sent 200 of them out. Five months later, I got a phone call.
I had two messages on the same day, oddly enough. I had gone to 62nd in Keystone and filled out an application at o Charlie’s because I figured I was going to have to become a waiter. I was working at Channel 6 doing what I could behind the scenes. I wasn’t making ends meet. I came home one day and my entry machine was blinking. I hit it. One was from WBAY, a television station in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The other one was from Fox Sports Net in Los Angeles, California. They needed a reporter in St. Louis. Ten days later, I lived in St. Louis.
You did it. You may or may not be familiar, but our first season was all about Attitude Boosters and I have ten things that if you do each and every day will boost your attitude. Attitude Booster #1, Be Nice. Attitude Booster #5, Have a Mentor and Copy Them, which you did with Ed Sorensen. GAPers, as you read this, here’s a prime example. What I saw is proximity is everything. Cut the distance. Get in front of the people that can say yes and then make that happen. You’re in St. Louis. You were a sports reporter then in St. Louis. How long was your run on different TV being a sportscaster and all that before that ended, or before you decided that wasn’t for you?
I was there for two years and then at the end of two years, my contract was coming up and I knew that Channel 6 had an opening. I moved back to Indianapolis and Ed was still there. Ed was on his way out. I knew that Ed was on his way out. Dave, who’s like a brother to me, knew that Ed was on his way out. Channel 6 management did not know that Ed was on his way out. Ed said, “If you’re here and you’re hanging around when, all of a sudden, they realize I’m not coming back, they’re going to have to hire you. They’re going to have to make Dave the sports director.” That was by design.
One night, Ed called Dave and me in 2000. Ed said, “I need you guys to come to the station at 2:00 AM.” It was not unusual to call you at 3:00 in the morning. He was nocturnal and so am I. I said, “Ed, they’re redoing the wiring in the building. There are no lights on Channel 6. If you remember, the power’s going to be out tonight.” He said, “I know. That’s why I need you guys to meet me there.” Dave, Ed, and I meet up in the building, and Ed had a miner’s helmet with a light on it.
He said, “Here’s the deal. I’ve been here for sixteen years and all I’ve wanted is to know that when I leave here that it’s going to go over to my guys. They think I’m going on vacation for three weeks to go to Portland to take care of my parents. In reality, my contract’s up in three weeks and I’m never coming back. By the time they figure out that I’m not coming back, Dave, you’re going to be having anchored for three weeks. Jake, you’re going to be reporting for three weeks. It’s going to transition like that.”
We put on these miners’ helmets, went in, and cleaned out his desk. We’re going through stuff and we’re helping him carry out boxes. We got out to his car and Ed said something to Dave. I presume it was the same thing he said to me. He turned around to me and he said, “There are two things you need to know. One is that I love you and totally believe in what you can do. The other is that I simply ask that you never try to find me or talk to me again.”
We hugged and he got in his car and drove away. That’s the last time I’ve ever spoken with him. Dave and I were like, “Where do you think Ed went? We know he didn’t go back to Portland.” We always wondered. One night, I’m watching the Pacers game, my phone blows up and I look down. It’s Dave calling me. Dave’s like, “Did you see it?” “What?” He goes, “Ed’s at the Pacer game. They’re playing the Mavericks in Dallas and they showed Ed in the stands.” Chris Denari had seen him, had recognized him. He had the camera guy zoom in. He is like, “A former Channel 6 sportscaster, Ed Sorensen, taking in the game tonight.”
It was like a buzz on social media. Ed Sorensen was spotted. He hadn’t been seen in twenty years. He ended up in Waco, Texas. He got married and his wife was a doctor that did her residency in Waco at Baylor Medical. He moved to Waco and then he got the itch and he ended up as the sports director at the Waco television station. He was the same old Ed.
He emailed me. He had to open a social media account. We had a line of communication. He sent me a T-shirt from Waco and a Baylor shirt and asked what I was doing now. We caught up. I said, “I’d like to have you on my radio show.” He never replied. It was the last time I ever heard from him. We didn’t speak on the phone, but we did email back and forth.
I loved him to death. I learned things from him both good and bad. There were things that Ed would tell you that I learned by observing him in terms of the way he handled some things that I learned that that’s how you shouldn’t do it because I saw what it meant to other people and his coworkers and things like that. Long-winded, that was the deal.
You were a sports reporter at Channel 6 for how many years?
Five or six. I was laid off from six, and I was very lucky because I got laid off. That was crushing to me because that was my life. Channel 6 meant the world to me because I’d been there since I was a kid. I’d poured my heart and soul into it, and I know Dave had the same reverence for it. Dave and I took a huge pride in what we did. We worked hard. We were two guys in a market where most sports departments were 6 to 8 people. We were competing with him, and we were putting out products and we took pride in what we did. Dave and I worked well together. I think the world of Dave and his talent. We became, thick and thin, best of friends like brothers.
I was let go from there and it was devastating to me. I was angry. A couple of times, I thought that it was all a dream then I woke up. I’m still not working there. I was very fortunate in the fact that 1 week or 2 afterwards, Vince Welch called me. Vince Welch had been working at WIBC and was doing ABC stuff for Indy car racing. Vince called me and said, “Jake, I’m leaving WIBC because I’m doing the racing stuff and TV stuff full-time. You’d be a perfect candidate.” He recommended me. WIBC reached out to me, and fortunately, I ended up at WIBC.
Now I’m working in radio, not television. I enjoyed it from the get-go. I didn’t like getting up in the morning, but I enjoyed it. I figured, Glenn, from the time I was this big, my number one goal, aside from being on television was I wanted to call the Indianapolis 500 on the radio. I thought, “I’m working for Emmis, which is WIBC, which is the flagship for the IMS radio network. This’ll be easy-peasy. I’ll walk in and tell them, “I’m here. When do I start?” It didn’t work that way. I was able to parlay the job at WIBC into working for the IMS Radio Network and starting doing the 500. That came to fruition for me.My number one goal, aside from being on television, was to call the Indianapolis 500 on the radio. Click To Tweet
IMS is what you’re doing now full-time?
Yeah. We’re never technically speaking full-time. We’re contracted employees. I have been with the network since ‘07.
That’s a long time. I’ve been listening to you call the race for years. Is it turn three?
GAPers, all I’m telling you, my favorite thing to do is listen to your team call the Indy 500 for many years. For those Indianapolis people that read, and thankfully we got people all over the place, but a huge Indy car fan, huge fan of what you guys do. Has it been all four same guys in the same four turns?
No. Pretty close. As it stands now in 2021, Nick Yeoman, who started two years after I turned one.
Was he a Penn guy? I’m wondering, like Wally Yeoman and the Yeoman family.
He’s from Lafayette, a bigger family. He went to Ball State. Nick had a similar journey to mine where he reached out to Mike King, who was the anchor on IndyCar radio when he was in college. Nick was hired two years after I was, and he was young. He was only 24 when he started. He was in the pits for a number of years and then moved to the turns. Nick is in turn one. Jerry Baker was in turn one when I first started.
I was an intern too at that time. I would take the toss from Jerry, which is a huge thrill for me. Mark James was in turn three. Eventually, Mark James moved to the anchor position. I was moved from turn 2 to turn 3. Jerry retired. Nick Yeoman took over turn one. Michael Young took over in turn two. During all of that change, Chris Denari was always in turn 4.
One of the real thrills for me, Glenn, to be honest with you, over the course of my career doing the 500, in radio terms, we call it taking the toss from. The person that you speak after. Sid Collins, the original anchor, passed away in May ‘77. I was only four and a half. Lou Palmer, who eventually did it for two years also is deceased before I was working. I have taken the toss from Paul Page at different intervals. Bob Jenkins, Mark James, who is currently the anchor, Mike King, who is the anchor that brought me in, and Jerry Baker, who’s a legend.
I will not accept anything other than the understanding of this. I’m well aware of the fact that I’m in no way, shape, or form in the stratosphere of those individuals from a broadcast standpoint. To, in any way, be linked to them in that toss is extremely gratifying and humbling to me. Not because of the broadcasters they are, but particularly, and I want to make this clear. Bob Jenkins, who you may or may not know, was the anchor for the IMS Radio Network and then moved into television and did NASCAR and IndyCar stuff.
Bob Jenkins is the finest human being I’ve ever met. Bob Jenkins has the greatest disparity between his level of accomplishment and his level of grasp of where he ranks on the good side. To be able to see the way that he conducted and carried himself and the appreciation he had for the event that we were calling and the respect he had for people that had respect for him meant everything. To be able to see that lays the footprint of, you say to yourself, “If I can conduct myself at 50% the way this guy did, I’m going to be fine.”
Bob Jenkins is involved in his own journey, which he’s been public about, with brain cancer. Bob Jenkins has earned the right to go through that journey at whichever pace he would like. Any day that Bob is able to be around us and be at the racetrack is a better thing. Not only for those of us who are fortunate enough to be with him but for his overall presence for the event itself makes everyone in that place better.
A lot of meat on that bone to pick at. Obviously, the Indy 500 is special. You are now focused on this thing I want to call the IRL, which it’s not. That’s going back a few days. There are only how many races in the season now? Is it eleven?
That’s better than I thought.
That’s not to say nineteen venues because we do doubleheaders at a lot of them. We go Doubleheader in Detroit and a doubleheader in Indy. There are different places where we do two on the same track.
In terms of track and atmosphere, Indy’s Indy, what would be some of your favorites?
Long Beach. It’s not even close. First off, it’s Southern California. Typically, it’s in April. You’re chosen for the perfect weather. I totally understand and respect the fact that most people, especially outside the 500, are novices. The easiest way to say it, there are three kinds of tracks. There’s a road course, which is a permanent fixture. There’s a street course, which is a temporary course that uses the streets of a city. There are ovals. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the most traditional and history-laden oval in the world. In the United States, the most historic and longest-running street course race is Long Beach.
It’s the Indy 500 of Street course races. It’s the Indy 500 of the West Coast. If you go into Long Beach, they say like, “Race weekend.” It’s a huge deal to them now. Everybody is walking around eating a turkey and drinking Tecate. It’s great. It’s a huge festive atmosphere. For the road courses, even though we don’t go there currently, it comes back and forth on the schedule, probably Watkins Glen because it used to be a Formula One points race. It’s a very historic track. Road America in Wisconsin is also pretty special.
What would be the most modest track that you go to where you’re going, “Got to saddle up?” You’re like, “We’re staying at a dollar inn. There are no hotels.” I’m not using the term I want to use, but modest.
We don’t go to Iowa Speedway anymore, but Newton, Iowa. It was weird to me one time in Newton, Iowa when I was checking in at the Super 8, and I looked next to me and Hélio Castroneves was checking in and I thought, “How often is Castroneves staying at a Super 8 and getting ready to race?” Does he have a Super 8 points card that he gets out? He’s like, “I get one more stay and I get a free one.”
Newton, Iowa was up there, although I like the track. Belle Isle is beautiful, which is off of Detroit. The island itself is beautiful. I have no idea what it’s like the rest of the year, but we have to stay in downtown Detroit. I know that Roger Penske signs my checks and he is doing what he can to revitalize Detroit. I can appreciate all of that. There are not a lot of dining options in downtown Detroit after 9:00 PM.
I’ve been in downtown Detroit many a night speaking and doing things like that. You have interviewed some unbelievable people in your life and different venues. I’d love to know, when it comes to attitude, who are the people you got done interviewing that you went, “What an attitude,” or that shook you, or made you rethink? Who are those people?
Dr. John Carlos who was the track and field 1968 Olympian that raised his fist in the air. Wonderful. He was so generous, kind, introspective, and educational. John Wooden’s one of the few people that I’ve ever spoken with where when I walked away, I thought to myself, “I’m a better person than I was twenty minutes ago.”John Wooden is one of the few people that I’ve ever spoken with where when I walked away, I thought to myself, 'I'm a better person than I was twenty minutes ago.' Click To Tweet
Was it a TV or radio?
It’s television. Here’s a little tidbit. When you work in what we do, you don’t get autographs. It’s like rule number one. It’s the most understood thing. There have only been three people that have asked for their autographs. John Wooden was one. I didn’t say, “Can I have your autograph?” I said, “Mr. Wooden, if I were to send you a photo, would you be kind enough to sign it for me?”
That’s a nice way to do that. Thanks for the tip, Jake.
He said, “I’ll have to give you my address.” No, I’m kidding. Anyway, so he says, “Sure.” He gives me his address and I thought, “This is his home address.” He gave me his home address. I got a photo of John Wooden, but it’s a fairly famous photo of him, but I got a photo. I purchased a photo of him as a player at Purdue. He’s in his defensive pose at Purdue. I sent it to him and he sent it back and he signed it, “To Jake Query, with warm wishes, John Wooden.” I thought this was so cool. “Purdue class of ‘32.”
He didn’t put UCLA. He put Purdue, which is pretty cool. John Wooden was one. Dr. John Carlos is one. Quite truthfully, I hate going there because I know that in the world we live in, things get divisive. If you’re simply talking about people that had an energy about them a vibe that was somewhat infectious, Barack Obama’s very on the list.
When did you interview Barack Obama?
I hosted the morning show on WIBC during the ‘08 campaign. He came on. As a matter of fact, I’ll tell you this.
I don’t care what your politics is. That dude is infectious.
This is a true story.
You had to be a little nervous.
It was all on the phone because it was radio. I will give Barack Obama’s campaign credit. He went after Indiana hard and he carried Indiana. That’s unusual. He turned Indiana blue in ‘08. At any rate, I was the morning show host along with Terri Stacy at WIBC. We were to interview Barack Obama during the primaries. We did a morning show, so it was on tape. At 1:15 in the afternoon or whatever it was, he’s going to call in and you guys need to be here. I’d get there and he calls in. Terri was not around. That might have even been that he called in early. I’ll give Terri the benefit of that.
Terri interviewed me once. She was awesome.
She’s very cool but she wasn’t there. I said, “What are we going to do? He’s calling right now. Do you want to dub her in later?” The magic of editing. They said, “No. You got to do it with both of you.” We answered the phone and I’m like, “How do I say to this guy, ‘Can we call you back?’” Obama’s on the other end, and I say, “Senator, I’m terribly sorry to say this, but unfortunately, our computer has frozen and so we can’t record right now.”
You lied to him?
Correct. Why not? I said, “I got to protect my coworker here.”
Of course. You’re loyal.
Terri’s out smoking on the loading deck. Not good. I say, “We can do 1 or 2 things. We can either call you back in like fifteen minutes or if there’s another time, you can call us.” I’m very apologetic. He says, “You and I could talk about basketball until your computer’s working.” I said, “Okay.” Without pause, he said, “I want to know if the Pacers are going to trade Jermaine O’Neal.”
Did you record this too?
I’m sure we have it. We talked basketball for probably ten minutes.
Pacers and the Atlanta Hawks. I remember there was something going on with the Hawks at the time. Some drama.
The Hawks, always our nemesis.
We talked about it and then Terri finally came in and I said, “Our computer’s running.” He said, “That’s what I’m talking about. Let’s go.” We probably did 4 or 5 interviews with him. He came on every two weeks and he was doing every interview. He was blanketing Indiana. It was not exclusive to us. He was doing interviews everywhere. He had an energy about him. Politics aside, when I saw him on TV, he was so good. I feel like I know that dude. I don’t but he was up there.
Those are good top three. Is there anybody else you want to mention real quick?
My favorite interview I’ve ever done was with David Letterman. That’s because I’m a huge fan of David Letterman.
Radio, TV, or which one was it?
For David Letterman, I’ve done it several times because he is an IndyCar owner. It was radio and I did it when they closed Broad Ripple High School. I interviewed him about that. I went and sat down with him like this for probably twenty minutes or so. He could not have been cooler. We did it at the Sonoma Raceway the day before the vote was to happen but we knew that it was going to happen. It aired on the day of the vote itself.
That’s Jake Query on the other side being who he wants to become. What about the Jake Query on the person that he was? What was the worst interview that you were the most unprepared for? You’re good and talented, but I’m sure there was there 1 or 2 where you’re like, “I don’t think I did a very good job there.”
There are times when someone would say something like a smart-ass reply like George Costanza with Jerk Store. You’re like, “This is what I should have said.” The Jerk Store called me running out of you. I got to set this meeting back up. I got to do it. That’s happened. It happened to me with Randy Johnson when I was in St. Louis and Randy Johnson was with the Diamondbacks, and he was an ass. He didn’t want to do it.
In hindsight, I look back at it and I think, “I should have handled that differently.” It was more so that there have been times when I was on television and I was anchoring, I was trying too hard. I was trying to do hard to be edgy. I don’t know that I’m successful. That’s for someone else to determine. I succeeded in being able to do a lot of what I wanted to do. Truth be told, Glenn, I don’t know that I ever succeeded or was able to accomplish any of those things and any of those goals until finally, I quit being anybody other than me.
I’m not saying that I am a formula for success. By being me, I was okay being me when I failed. If I failed, that means that I was a round peg and that was a square hole. Now I got to find where there’s a round hole. That, to me, was much more comfortable than the times when I had found what was deemed a success but I knew that I was an imposter. That sucked. I’ve been there. I’ve been in situations where people thought I was doing a good job and I thought to myself, “I’m not doing a good job. The guy that I’m playing is.”
The message that Jake gives us, GAPers, is authenticity is the way to bridge the gap. To be the person you already are is the way to be the best person that you can be. That’s very smart. I want to touch on real quick because I want to respect your time. I know you got to get rolling. You went through a pivotal time with having a massive heart attack.
For those people that are out there reading and we’re building a great audience, I’m so proud and thank everybody for continuing to read, post, share, subscribe, or do whatever we’re supposed to be doing. What was bridging that gap? What’s the message to those people that aren’t getting checked that maybe they should? What was your attitude before you had the heart attack? What was your attitude going through the heart attack and now what’s the attitude afterwards?
I’m fairly confident in saying this, and I’m not saying it to pat myself on the back, but rather as a lesson, my attitude through all of it’s the reason why I’m sitting here. Believe me when I tell you, you never forget the date when it happens to you. On October 22nd, I was at Blind Owl Brewery at 62nd and Benford. It’s a great place.
It was a nice day. It was one of the last nice days of the year. It was like, “We got to go out to dinner and sit outside.” I remember I was wearing shorts. That tells you it was nice out. It’s Indian summer. We went and I sat down. I was with my girlfriend, Shannon, and my buddy Mac Engel was in town who lives in Dallas, and another couple. I remember we had told Mac, “Be here at 6:00.” I was scrolling on my phone because I was like, “He’s not here yet. Did I tell him 6:00?” It must have been like 6:05. Anyway, Matt came in and right when he walked in, my left arm went numb.
I don’t mean gradually. It was like an invisible tourniquet went on my arm and so I knew right away. I didn’t wait for a lull in the conversation. I didn’t wait for it to be appropriate. This is as Mac is doing the greetings and interruptions. I said, “My arm went numb and I’m bothered by this.” I sat back and took a deep breath, and Mac said, “Do you want to get some fresh air?” We were sitting outside anyway, and I said, “I do.” I took two steps and my legs were like Jell-O. I looked at Mac and said, “We got to go.”
Mac drove me to Community North, to the heart and vascular hospital. I walked into the hospital and said, “I’m having a heart attack.” They put me in a wheelchair and they wheeled me up to the window and the lady slid it open and said, “Now I’m going to need your license, and then if you have your insurance card and your date of birth.”
I said to her, “How about instead of my date of birth, if I tell you my eff-ing date of death? I’m having a heart attack.” I heard the guy with the cart, say, “Crap.” I must have gone gray. I was profusely sweating. They took me back. Now, the reason I say all of that is that was the last time throughout the process that I displayed an attitude.
I’ve known since my dad was 49 and had his first stent put in that this was a reality for me. As I was feeling it, I knew what it was and I said, “I’m having a heart attack.” Glenn, I made this cognizant decision. This is what life has thrown at me. I got two options here. One is I can freak out, which probably is not a good option or the other is I can say I have no control over what’s thrown at me, but I have all control over how I handle it.
I went in and I said to them, “Here I am. Let’s go.” The doctor came in and said, “Here’s the deal. You’ve got a 100% blockage of your widow maker. Two of the panels of your heart have started stopping. We need to get your heart open back up. When we do, you’re going to feel a lot better. The cath lab has been paged and they’re on their way in. When they get here, we’re going to take you in. That’s what I’m going to do.” I said to him, “When you say paged, from where are we talking?”
It was fairly critical. He said, “They have twenty minutes. The clock’s already started. We’re at 16, so this is going to be done within the next 16 minutes.” I looked right at him, Dr. Benjamin Ottman, and I said, “Tell me. Shoot me straight, doc. Am I going to die?” He said, “I’ll tell you. You’re in the best place that you can be if that process begins.” I said, “That didn’t answer my question at all,” which answers my question. He and I chatted a little bit and I called Shannon and said, “You should get up here.”
I thought to myself, “My place is a pigsty and I’m embarrassed my parents are going to have to go through all my crap. Dave is supposed to be like The Wolf in Pulp Fiction. He’s my cleanup guy. Dave is at the Indy car race in Florida, so my place is going to be a pigsty and my parents are going to be going through it,” but whatever. I knew this was in the cards for me. I got to respect that everybody’s doing the best job they can do. I remember he came in and said, “The cath lab is open.” I said, “This is going to go 1 of 2 ways. I’m either going to come out of this or I’m not.” I looked at them and I said, “Let’s go.” That’s what we did.
That’s Attitude Booster #6, ladies and gentlemen, Control Your Emotions. It sounds like you could have freaked out, but you, for some reason, had that inherent strength to say, “I’m going to control my emotions and make it happen.”
I want to make it clear here, Glenn. I’m not in any way, shape, or form stating that I had some strength. It came down to this. I’m very thankful that I was able to do this, but I was able at that moment to look back at where my life is and what I’ve been able to accomplish from Kansas, what we’ve done here, to where I am. I knew that if that was it for me, I couldn’t be ashamed of it because I was pretty happy and proud of being true to myself.
I realized, if this is it, my only regret is that I didn’t live longer. I left no stone unturned and I’ve left no relationship open-ended, and I left nothing unresolved because I’ve been honest and true, not all my life. In the last handful of years, that’s how I’ve lived my life. It gave me peace of knowing that there was nothing that I had left to do. That gave me peace that I would hope for everybody when they’re in that room because I didn’t know if I was going to get out of that room. That peace is what got me out of that room.
What we’re going to do is how I close every interview. It’s called Knowledge Through the Decades. I’ve done this with 70 different people that we’ve interviewed. What I ask people is, “What is the attitude lesson from each decade in your life, or when you turn that age?” This is meant to be fun. It’s meant to be like, “Come on, whatever is off the top of your head.”
The toughest one that comes up for people is we always start with birth. I’m sure you don’t probably remember your birth, but what do you think about the attitude lesson? Attitude, as we explained and I explain in my book, is the way you dedicate yourself to the way you think. That’s the definition of it. I always like to go back and start at birth. When you think about childbirth or new life or you being born, what do you think the attitude lesson is from childbirth?
I was the youngest of three. I had two older sisters. As a result of that, my memory is that of like an elephant because I had a lot of milestones that I can remember. I remember observing the examples that were being set in terms of school and athletics by my sisters and using that as a template for how I should go about doing things.
A lot of times, we get creation, new, whatever. I like that. We’re going to probably blend that into you being ten. I want you to remember. What school did you go to?
You’re at Allisonville School. You’re ten years old.
I don’t remember my creation if that’s what you’re asking. I’ve never asked the specifics of that, nor do I necessarily want to know it. I find it odd when people do.
We hear people like, “I asked my parents when I was conceived,” and I’m like, “Yeah.” I’m still holding out hope that my parents come to me and they’re like we’re adopted and we’re good friends. People in our family who filmed the birth of their children with their best friends in the room, which is a little overshare. I want you to go back to when you were ten. Think about yourself as a ten-year-old. What was the attitude lesson for you when you were ten that you may have learned from a coach, parent, friend, yourself, or teacher?
I do remember this. When I was ten, I struck out in Little League and came back and threw my helmet down. I started to whimper and my coach said, “What’s the matter? Are you getting outplayed?” I looked right at him and said, “No. I’m getting outcoached.” I remember afterwards, it was like a couple of practices later, he said, “I got to be honest with you about two things. You never should have said that. It was the wrong thing to say. You got to respect authority, but that was such a quick wit. That was strong.” I learned at that age that sometimes an attitude in you is inevitable or maybe inherent, but you got to know when to flex it.
You’ve always had a quick wit. Maybe the attitude is, “I got a quick wit.”
It doesn’t mean I always have to show it.
That Is correct or that it’s appreciated. You’d be amazed at how many people I’ve interviewed, when we go to ten, talk about baseball stories. Usually, the coach is yanking on them are getting pissed or whatever.
That’s the purpose of sports.
It’s to help us go. Now you’re twenty years old. You’re probably leaving Kansas and going to Indiana. You went through some personal growth. What was your attitude lesson at twenty?
My attitude lesson at twenty was that not only is it okay to be vulnerable, but it’s important to know when you are. Prior to that, I had never allowed myself to be vulnerable. I thought it was a weakness. I had to learn at the same time, not only that being vulnerable was not a sign of weakness. The only weak part about vulnerability is when you don’t recognize it or you run from it. That’s what I learned.The only weak part about vulnerability is when you don't recognize it or run from it. Click To Tweet
Let’s face it. There are people reading right now whose only thing holding them back is their vulnerability. The only thing that is keeping you from being your authentic self, which is what you shared, is the fact that you’re not vulnerable enough to let yourself be yourself and accept the criticism. We’re learning from twenty-year-old Jake Query. Let’s go to 30. Do you remember where you were at 30 when you had your birthday party or whatever, and maybe in that 30th year, what was your attitude lesson from being 30?
At 30, I was coming back. I was working again at Channel 6. Things were starting to come together for me. I think I was learning that, in fact, I did have the luck to be where the road was opening up a little bit, but I knew at that point that I had to still keep it in the correct lane. I had managed to avoid a couple of exit ramps and stay on the interstate, but now I could start to see the destination. I knew that I had to make sure that I had learned from 10 and 20.
There are people like that right now that are going, “It’s in front of me. I’m close to my success. I’m close to my destiny. The opportunities are showing themselves, and I don’t need to eff it up.” Now you turn 40. I’m sure you’re going, “I’m 40?” Where were you? Did you have a birthday party? What was the attitude lesson of you being 40?
When I turned 40, the two things I remember about it, I was doing the radio show that I did for nine years, which I enjoyed. That was the last career stop for me because I haven’t other than doing the IndyCar radio stuff that I have not picked back up since then. I went skydiving for my 40th birthday. It was cool. The thing that I could most easily say about 40 is at that time, life, in fact, had come together for me because I quit worrying about whether or not it was going to come together for me.
That’s called surrender. The ability to surrender certainly brings you all kinds of gifts. Let’s talk about jumping out of a perfectly good plane.
I’ve done it twice now.
After your heart attack?
I did it for my 40th birthday. Have you ever done it?
I’ve never done it, but I saw Jenna Bush do it on the Today show.
They’re going to replay it every day for the next week, I’m sure. I did it for my 40th birthday in Greensburg. It was cool. I was good until I got there and they said, “We’re running a little behind, you’re in group seven,” or whatever. I was fine until I made the mistake right before it was my turn. I looked up and I watched the group before me, and I see this little plane in these dots coming out, and I’m like, “That’s what I’m about to do.”
That was rough. I did it, got through it, and I said to myself, “I don’t need to do that again.” About 1 year or maybe 2 years later, the Speedway called me and said, “We’re promoting the Red Bull Air Race. The Red Bull skydiving team is going to be promoting it. Would you have an interest in skydiving with them in tandem into the oval?”
I said, “How many people have skydived into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?” They said, “No one’s ever done it. You’re going to be 1 of 6 that have ever done it, and then we probably won’t do it again.” I said, “I pretty much have to do it.” I remember the day before I was thinking of myself, “Please rain,” so they cancel it. I had no excuse.
I walked into the Eagle Creek Airport in shorts and a T-shirt. I walked in. There were these two guys and all this Red Bull get up. I said, “I think you guys are looking for me.” They said, “Are you Jake?” I said, “Yeah.” They said, “Let’s go.” At 11:10, I walked into the Eagle Creek Airport. At 11:30, they were dropping me off back at the Eagle Creek Airport after I had skydived into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, gotten in a car, and been driven back. It was pretty cool.
You have had some monumental marks and interviews. You’ve been fortunate to have some great relationships in your life. Jake Query, thank you so much for being a part of the show. You’ve been dropping bombs. You’ve helped some people. There are a lot of folks that can read this episode and relate to where Jake has been through his life. Being in the media has its own special set of problems and mind messes.
It was neat to talk to a personality that has been into that. We always like to give our guests one last shot to give a message of hope for the people that are out there, that are maybe aren’t doing so well right now, that are reading this show because they want to get from where they are to where they want to go. There are plenty of successful people that read this, but what’s your message of hope? What’s your Jake Query mantra? I don’t know if you have a mantra, but what would you like to tell our GAPers in closing to carry on with the rest of their year in life?
I appreciate it. It’s very surreal and it’s a little bit incredulous to think that anybody would want or ask for my advice. I think a lot, Glenn, about the fact that because I had a heart attack and that makes you reevaluate a little bit. I realized that I’ve been lucky. I’ve been surrounded by great people, friends, family, and bosses.
All of that did not come without challenge, but through the challenges and through the difficult times and through the depression, which I’ve had on a couple of occasions, I nevertheless lost sight of where I wanted to be. I never lost belief deep down that I could get there. I also became more appreciative and more aware and more magnetized to those that I could see had a belief in me.
It was those people that allowed the final push to get me there. I had to keep that belief in myself for them to see it first in me so that we could work as a team to get there. It does work out. I always tell people, “When you’re down and depressed and you’re thinking about it, it makes it that much more rewarding when you get there.”
I don’t know if there’s any way to find these, but Jake has done some cool stuff philanthropy-wise. Attitude Booster #10, Be a Part of Something Bigger Than Yourself. You did interviews with homeless people. Can you tell us about 1, 2, or 3 some of the cool stuff you did and where could people go? Is it on YouTube? Where could they go to find the lessons that you had done?
I do it on Twitter. My Twitter account is @JakeQuery. I did the Wheeler Mission. When I got laid off from my radio job, everybody was asking me what I was going to do next, and I didn’t have any idea. I still don’t know. I had seen a story on the news about a homeless guy who had been killed downtown. I asked another homeless guy.
I called Steve Kerr, my friend at Wheeler Mission, and said, “I think that people think the homeless are like this invisible group. If, in fact, there are people that are curious what my next move, I don’t know what it’s going to be, but if I have the opportunity to have eyeballs right now, then why don’t I put those eyeballs on the group that’s invisible? Why don’t I come down and every day for a month have lunch with a different homeless person and share their story?” Nobody wakes up and says, “I think I’m going to be homeless.”
Do they wake up and go, “I think I’m going to have lunch with a homeless person?” that’s pretty amazing.
I looked at it as I enjoyed it. HotBox Pizza was great about helping. I got up every day and I went down to HotBox and picked up two pizzas. I went to different people that Wheeler Mission set me up with and sat down and slid a pizza over to him and said, “I’m Jake. What’s going on? Where are you from? Tell me your story.” People were very open with me. They were very honest. I called it 30 Lunches in 30 Days. If you go to Twitter and you search 30 Lunches in 30 Days, you’ll get it. You’ll see each of the different profiles that came out.
I have to ask, what was the 1 attitude lesson that came out of those 30? I know there was a lot. I know there was one in everyone, but what was one that hit home the most?
The thing that I most noticed was the number of people that had childhood trauma. They are now in a shelter because childhood trauma led them to substance abuse or other such things. They finally got to the point where they realized that it was time for them to control the narrative. That’s why they’re there. This other thing here, what I’m doing is the other group of people that I think are invisible are people with mental disability and people that have cerebral palsy, autism, or ADHD. These are things that they didn’t choose.
Going back to talking about their attitude from the get-go, they were forced. They were given a hand that created an attitude perhaps for them. I got together with a group called the Erskine Green Training Institute, which works with people with disabilities, empowering them, and giving them the training necessary to get out into the world and to make their own blaze their own path. Right now, I’m in the middle of them. I’m 11 into it, and I’m doing 20. I’m calling this one 20 Triumphs in 20 Days. I’m featuring those twenty people in their own personal triumphs.
We do a lot of work with the disabled or the mentally challenged. The thing about CP kids, the thing about Downs Kids, the thing about kids that suffer, or people like this, their attitudes are better than normal people. I went to a prom with disabled children and nobody cared what their dress looked like. Nobody was backstabbing. They were all happy. I’m going, “These kids got the greatest freaking attitudes.
We should be learning from them. Erskine Green Training Institute is based in Muncie and they have an 11 and a 13-week program. It’s a post-high school training institute. For many of the students, it’s the first time they’re away from home, away from mom and dad. It’s their college experience and they learn. They have programs where they set them up and train them to work in the hospitality industry, the restaurant industry, or the hospitals and housekeeping and things like that. It allows them to get jobs throughout the Muncie, Lafayette, and Indianapolis areas.
That is the one and only Jake Query. I know that Jake has more in him. I know that he is going to do something. I think it’s going to be an Emmy award-winning something that’s going to be fantastic. He’s not seeking it, but I don’t care how famous you get and how great you are, just don’t move out of turn three for me. You promise.
I can tell you right now, they’ll have to pull me out of there kicking and screaming. It’s the greatest job in the world. The biggest honor that I have is to be able to call that race.
Jake, it is an honor to be with you. From integrity to inclusion from your father and your mother, the number one thing, it was an awesome interview. Thanks for coming to the show. We will check you guys all out later.