Twenty-eight-year-old reporter Tom Weber wakes at 3:30 a.m. Monday through Friday to spew excellence over the public radio airwaves via the local National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, KWMU (90.7 FM). The New Lenox, Illinois, native debuted in St. Louis five years ago and is proving himself an up-and-coming Bob Edwards/Steve Inskeep by regularly freelancing pieces for NPR's Morning Edition
and Weekend Edition
. Weber says his favorite story ever featured an interview with primatologist Jane Campion, a.k.a. "The Chimpanzee Lady." The young broadcaster's other claim to fame: He once ate a four-pound hamburger at a truck stop outside Chicago and consequently has his picture decking the "eatery's" wall, an achievement that led him to run three marathons. Weber is now training for a fourth. "I've got to keep my radio figure," he says. Gotta love a journalist who doesn't take himself too seriously. Among Weber's other idiosyncrasies: He eschews television news, surfing the Internet, and coffee. Yes, that's the lad's natural high you hear at 6 a.m.