If it has a motor and a seat, Bill Wildt has probably taken it for a spin, bringing CAN TV viewers along for the ride.
For 27 years, Wildt has been the host of Motorsports Unlimited, producing over 1,390 episodes about everything from snowmobile and motorcycle races to boat and sports aviation competitions.
That’s more episodes than any other show on CAN TV. Wildt says while the numbers are fine, he is proudest of the fact that every show includes both location and studio work.
“We have introduced people to motorsports they didn’t know existed and, more importantly, introduced the general public to motorsports and its value, even if it isn’t their cup of tea,” said Wildt. “We show people how to do it, where to do it and how to enjoy it.”
Wildt’s love of motorsports of all kinds inspired him to begin Motorsports Unlimited in 1987. Unable to find any of his favorite sports on TV and noticing their decline in popularity, Wildt started his own show to inspire a new generation of motorsports fans.
“I received a letter from a man saying, ‘I’m in a wheelchair, what kind of motorsport do you have for me,’” said Wildt. “We produced several shows on electric model slot car racing and he became a representative of the USA in the world championships in France.”
And this past Thanksgiving, for the 19th straight year, Wildt was at the “Rock” in Jackson Park. He and other race car fans gathered to celebrate the place that marks the start and finish of the first automobile race in America back in 1895.
“Our little gathering tips a hat to those who had the wisdom and vision to see the importance of the automobile in America’s future at a time when the word automobile didn’t exist,” said Wildt.
Wildt’s experience at the “Rock” this year can be seen in a two-part special. Catch the first installment on Monday, December 15th at 7:30 p.m. on Chicago cable channel CAN TV19. The second installment can be seen Monday, December 22nd at 7:30 p.m., also on CAN TV19.
Other series on CAN TV that began in the 1980s include:
Hard Cover by the Community Television Network
Labor Beat by Larry Duncan
Let Us Talk About Jesus by Jake Williams
Team Chicago Challenge by Dan Schmitt
Word of Faith by April Fitzgerald
Producers with close to 1,000 or more episodes include:
Daniel Ashford, Word of Truth
Annie Austin, Living Word
Dan Schmitt, Team Chicago Challenge
Lee Warren, Power Latent in Man
Eddie Williams, Betterway Hour
Isaiah Williams, 1st Greater Bethlehem