25 years of Chicago: Amplified
1983 1993 1994 2001 2003 2004 2005 2015
Exiled Leader Speaks

The Dalai Lama

Explore the moment.
From 1986 until her death in 1994, Sondra Gair hosted WBEZ's international news program. The Dalai Lama came to Chicago in 1993 for an interfaith meeting of spiritual leaders. While here, he talked with Gair about the politics of exile, and the Chinese suppression of Tibetan Buddhism.
My only strength is sincere motivation. Where there is challenge, there's opportunity to serve.
1m 12s
Looking Back: Worldview Host Jerome McDonnell

I was Sondra Gair's producer at the time of her interview with The the Dalai Lama. Midday started out as a partnership with the Chicago Tribune, where the Tribune would have all sorts of reporters on with Sondra. And the Tribune would give them a small stipend for appearing on the show, so they all wanted to do it. She was having the theater critic, the fine arts contributor talk about plays. It wasn't strictly an international program when she started. But then the strengths of the international elements were winning out and she made it an international program at a time when we were doing a lot of other talk shows and everyone wanted to interview the guy from the Art Institute. So we went strictly international with Midday.

Sondra would bring a lot of energy to her interviews. That was true of the Dalai Lama interview and many others. The Dalai Lama came for the Parliament of the World's Religions and we met him at their offices, which were in the same building as we were.

Sondra's programs with the Soviet Union were really exciting because nobody talked to the Soviet Union but we were hooking up and talking with the people at Radio Kiev once a month and having all sorts of conversations...about agriculture, we had Saul Bellow talking to the Ukrainians about distributing his books, a lot of wild and different topics. It was quite exciting. And she was always really pumped.