For most mortals, or at least those less caffeinated, an eight-hour work day is more than enough. Something about the last hour of the days seems to make clock-watchers of us all.
For one ambitious radio DJ in Knox, Ind., eight hours must not have been enough.
Tom Berg of WKVI is attempting to break the Guinness World Record for longest continuous radio broadcast by a single host.
This isn’t a double shift. It’s not a triple.
It’s not even 10 times your normal work day.
In order for all seven letters of his name to appear in the Guinness Book of World Records, Berg must remain on the air for more than 184 hours.
That’s 7 2/3 days.
“This is my chance to make my mark,” said Berg, 79 hours into the ordeal and wearing a tie-dye “Day 4” shirt made for him as a gesture of support from a local business.
Berg started broadcasting at 5:00 a.m. on Monday, July 9 and plans to continue doing so until midnight on Monday, July 16, breaking the record by three hours.
“The toughest part,” Berg said, “has been the sleep deprivation.” Guinness rules allow one five-minute break per hour. Breaks can alternatively be stockpiled, amounting to one hour of break time per 12 hours of air time.
“I’ve gone home a couple of times to shower. Believe me, the employees here are very grateful for that.”
There must be two witnesses on hand at all times, a task charged to volunteers who work six-hour shifts to document Berg’s efforts for Guinness World Record Officials.
On Thursday, nearly two full work weeks into the attempt, Berg was having a bit of a rough time. Despite having worked in radio for years, he admitted a brief moment of confusion when he initially sat down to the controls.
“That scared me a little,” he said with a slightly raspy voice, strained from excessive use.
Despite suffering his first real signs of difficulty, Berg won’t be giving up any time soon. He said the community has rallied behind him and will help keep him going.
“It’s all downhill from here,” he said. “I can’t give up now.”
Since the beginning of the attempt, more and more listeners have pledge money to various charities based on how many hours Berg completes. Others drop by the WKVI studios to bring food, caffeinated drinks, trinkets to help keep him awake, and simply offer support and encouragement.
“I guess I wasn’t expecting to get that kind of feedback,” he said. “That kind of got to me—that you are affecting people in that way. It's like they're living vicariously through you. It's like, 'We're supporting you, Tom. You go!' And that's kind of neat. I like that."
If you’d like to follow Berg’s quest you can follow along here.