It's 4:41am on a Friday morning and I just posted two podcasts.
The first is "My Radio Life," which is the story of my radio life. The second is "This is Dead Air." It's a Grateful Dead podcast. At the beginning of this podcast, Lane Paradis, who does "Dead Air" with me, and I figure out that we're podheads now that we've joined the growing ranks of people who think that what we have to say is important enough to do a podcast.
And I'm a "podhead" in more ways than one these days. On Monday, March 13, we're gonna start what I'm calling "Live Assist" radio. That's when I or Tony Panek go on the air and tell the weather and traffic and what's coming up later on the radio and any big local news stories that are happening - then we play a podcast. Or, more accurately, a portion of a podcast. I was thinking of calling it "JEDcast radio," but we're not sure at this point. Allz I know is that on Monday we're gonna start playing podcasts on the radio.
We had to wait until the 13th to start doing this for a couple of reasons. First, that's when our contract with Clark Howard runs out. Clark does a great show, which if you think about it in many ways resembles a podcast, and we're grateful to him for being on WJOB for these years.
But it's time for a change. As the three or four of you who read my blog know, there are a lot of talented people who do podcasts... or are thinking about doing a podcast. I'm in the process of aggregating their podcasts on JEDcastradio.com and prepping them for play on WJOB.
To true radio people, it's heresy to step over to the dark side and play podcasts on the radio. It's just not done on a widespread basis. Podcasting is often thought of as the enemy of terrestrial radio. I don't think so.
I believe that the best audio being produced in the Calumet Region should be on WJOB. And that we should take the step to aggregate the local podcasting community onto a website, hence JEDcastradio.com. (What's a "JEDcast?" It's a podcast you play on the radio.)
There are a lot of logistical challenges with doing this. First, we had to clear two hours in the afternoon to do this every day. And we had to find the hosts to "live assist" the podcasts. Tony Panek's gonna help with this one. I say now that I'll host it two or three days a week, but the three or four of you know that after a while I'll start golfing or sleeping in the afternoons again. Tony will wind up doing it at least four days a week.
We'll see how that goes. Other logistical challenges are swearing. Many podcasters swear. And that's not allowed on terrestrial radio. So we gotta deal with that. Also, most podcasts are too long to play in full during the 2-4pm time-slot, so we gotta find a way to play pertinent portions of podcasts. That's not easy. You either gotta cut the podcast into digestible portions, or you gotta go on the internet to the exact time you want to start into the podcast and hit play. That takes homework on where to start, just as cutting up the podcast into bites would do.
I don't want to bore you with all of this but this might be a historic moment in WJOB radio. We're already embracing the internet and all that it has to offer. Our numbers in Facebook Live video are going through the roof. But up until this point, much of our internet-based media has been just that - internet-based. We haven't really crossed the internet with terrestrial radio in such a deep way.
That's all changing on Monday. Remember, allz I want on the radio is the best audio being produced in the Calumet Region. I met with a couple of guys on Wednesday night at Byway Brewery, one of our sponsors, who do just that. Ben and just Dave to a podcast called "Hey My Man." Listen to it and tell me that they're not producing some of the best "radio" in the Region. And it's in the form of a podcast. Ben and just Dave will be a part of 2-4pm on WJOB.
That's enough for this morning. I have to wash my hairy back and drive down to the radio station to do a morning show. Hope it's good. But even if it's not, no worries. All radio is good, just some is better than others.
It's Monday night before bed and I just found out that John Goss died.
Who's John Goss?
He's a long-time referee in Lake County. A ton of times I would be announcing a big high school basketball game from the media desk right behind the scorer's table, and John Goss and Mike Waisnora would be reffing the game. We'd actually talk to each other and motion to each other throughout the game. And every once in a while I would rip on them wholeheartedly on the air for making a bad call.
Then we'd all meet up afterward for a beer. John Goss will be missed. He gave a good section of his life to officiating high school football and basketball games in northwest Indiana and, during tournaments, downstate. He'll go down as one of the best local officials ever.
This brings us to the next topic - Sectionals. Yes it's that time of year. My wife asked me yesterday - "You haven't done games all year and now you're gonna do Sectionals?"
That's right, honey. I announce the East Chicago Sectional every year. It's tradition. Usually, I announce Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. It's six games. Tomorrow, though, I won't be announcing the Highland vs. Morton game from East Chicago. There's a shindig in Chicago that I must attend.
It's a coming out party for our own Shamari Walker. It's called the "Technori Showcase" at the Chase Auditorium, 10 South Dearborn. Tickets are $20 but as Shamari's guest, Alexis and I don't have to pay.
Here's how I met Shamari. Purdue Northwest student Jimmy Mullaney and I were Facebook Living a football game at Gavit in October, and it started raining. There Mullaney and I were standing on metal bleachers trying to keep our tripod and iPhone from blowing away. I announced it solo, to make things easier.
The rain was coming down so steadily, and the wind blowing with such force, that almost everyone left the stands. Of course Mullaney and I couldn't leave because it was our first time ever Facebook Living a game in video - and we were also on the radio. So halfway through the third quarter, I looked around and there was only me, Mullaney, and this kid under a poncho a few feet away.
After the game, I walked over to him - "Kid, what the heck are you standing out in the rain like this for? I thought we were the only crazy ones."
"I'm in charge of filming the Gavit football team."
"What's your name?"
"Shamari, what do you want to do as a career?"
"I want to own my own software company. And I've already started. I've got a company and a product and I may even have a patent soon."
"What grade are you in?"
"I'm a sophomore," Shamari said.
So I told him to go see Doug Friend, the Gavit athletic director and a friend of mine, and make arrangements to come see me. A couple weeks later Shamari started interning with us, and when he turned 16, we started paying him. Tomorrow night he'll present his product in front of 500 people in an auditorium in Chicago.
"Mr. Dedelow. I go on at 7pm but you and Alexis should be there at six," Shamari told me today.
"It's called 'NETWORKING,'" he said. "You can NETWORK with people and maybe some will buy advertising. So you should be there at six and not seven. For NETWORKING."
It really is cool that there's this immense amount of young talent around me these days. I could go down the line... but today I worked with two very talented seniors at Purdue Northwest who are developing a marketing department for WJOB. As the three or four of you know, I've pretty much gone with PMS for the last decade or so.
Yes, PMS. It's the "Passive Marketing System." It's when you don't have a marketing staff buy you make such a compelling product and you sell it dirt cheap so that businesses come to you to buy it. Of course you don't make nearly the money you could make by hiring sales people and hiking up your prices, but then again the Passive Marketing System is a lot less hassle.
Anyways, as an update, Caren DeCeris and Tony Borgetti are these seniors who just finished a full powerpoint of what we offer to sell. Here's the crux of the story, which is laid in nine slides of a powerpoint.
Intro - You're lucky as hell that you stumbled on WJOB because we have
AM, FM, Facebook Live video, Podcasting
and we're too stupid to realize that we can sell each of these separately and make a ton of money.
Slide 2 - Check out our new studios at the Purdue Commercialization Center. This is proof that we are growing and that we have cool friends.
Slide 3 - AM. We are an old radio station with a ton of tradition and loyalty. Don't f--- with radio, mofo. Radio is cool.
Slide 4 - FM. We're so hot we just bought an FM radio station. 104.7 FM.
Slide 5 - Facebook Live video. We quote Forbes magazine, which says "You better have a Facebook Live strategy or you'll be left behind." We post a graphic that shows that WJOB video has had 169,000 views in the last 28 days. No kidding.
Slide 6 - Podcasting. This is the future. And we're leading podcasting around here.
Blah blah blah blah blah. There's more. But the real point here is that Caren and Tony learned a whole bunch of digital marketing stuff from Purdue and they're applying it to WJOB, which because of me hasn't had a marketing strategy for the past 13 years. Go figure. That should be enough for tonight. Tomorrow:
5:30am - radio show
6am - Verlie joins me
6:30 - interview with ref Larry Samano to take about John Goss
7:00 - interview Hammond coach Larry Moore Jr. about big Griffith-Hammond game
10am - doctor appointment. My brother's a doctor in Ohio, and he's pressing me hard to see a local doc to get a proctoscopy or something like that. The silver stallion coming my way. I can't wait.
2pm - tape my podcast with Lane Paradis - "This is Dead Air." Two Grateful Dead burnouts play Dead shows and talk about them. You can't make this stuff up.
4pm - business meeting. Shh.
6pm - It's called "NETWORKING"
7pm - Shamari talks to 500 people. He's 16 years old.
9pm - Alexis and I drive back to northwest Indiana. I listen to a replay of the Griffith-Hammond sectional game on my phone. Alexis pages through Facebook. Since we're both hungry, we stop at White Castles. We order a five pack. She eats one. I eat the other four. Everybody wins. Time to go to bed... John Goss dead? I can't believe it.
It's 9:54 on Wednesday evening and a real radio host would watch the Chicago 10 o'clock news. But I'm not gonna do that. I already did my homework for tomorrow's show. I went to a local grocery store.
That's where I ran into a woman who has been working the register there for a lot of years. We know each other, in a way, because lots of time late in the evening I have to get a half gallon glass bottle of Oberweis milk, or I'll die. It's that bad, this addiction to Oberweis milk. Not to milk in general, just to the ice cold creaminess of Oberweis milk. It helps that it comes in a glass bottle.
"So how's it going?" I ask her. She must be about my age. She looks tired. We could have gone to high school together and been friends in US History.
She doesn't answer. She smirks and harumpphs and pushes my bottle of Oberweis across the scanner.
"Peachy, huh?" I ask.
"I gotta find another line of work. You wouldn't believe the abuse that I see."
"Of your tax dollars. I hope he drains the swamp."
"And what would that mean?"
"Get rid of all of the crooks in Washington. All of 'em."
This checkout gal that I've spoken to over the years runs my Oatnut bread across the scanner and my 18 eggs which are on sale for $1.49, and a bag of oranges. You gotta have citrus in the middle of winter. I don't know why. It's just tradition.
"I can't imagine what they see in the medical field. The abuse of the system."
There's a black couple behind me in line. I'm not sure if the checkout woman, who is white, makes a nod of her head to refer to this black couple, or if I'm just imagining it. Lots of times in my life another white person makes a racist or semi-racist reference to me. I look like I could be a racist white guy. I've got this goatee and a bunch of lines of my face like I either rode a motorcycle or worked construction, or both. And I speak like a Region guy with "deez and doze" for "these and those." If you were going to make a stereotype of what your average racist white guy could look like, it might be me.
So once in a while other white people feel comfortable in feeling me out to see if I am what I look like I could be - a racist white guy. Maybe I'm making more of the gesture of this woman's head than is really there. Maybe this isn't one of the times that a white person is giving me the option to share racist comaraderie. The woman's neck simply had a twitch.
If it's not racism, then what is it that would make this woman this tired and this angry?. That's the part that much of the so-called Democratic elite doesn't want to try to figure out. I just watched "Bill Maher" tonight with Alexis. Per usual, I laughed at Bill's jokes and how he makes conservative Republicans look like clowns. And sometimes they are. Like right now. It's a big clown car following Trump. Eventually the clowns will jump off. But not yet.
I get that part. But there's another part that Bill Maher and the two black guys he had with aren't addressing - there are a ton of white people out there who are just like the woman in the checkout line. They are tired and they are angry.
To me, this tiredness and this anger is as real as disgust toward Trump. Nobody wins right now. We're all to blame. And, I fear, we'll all pay someday for what we have allowed ourselves to become.
It's 2:50 in the morning on a Wednesday. I'm back from Phoenix, Arizona, where Alexis and I watched nephew Craig Dedelow play a ton of baseball for Indiana University. The Hoosiers went 2-2 on the trip, losing to powerhouse Oregon State twice. The two losses were very painful to watch. Both were close games with great pitching on both sides. But IU managed only one run in 18 innings, and that was a solo home run by Craig. A lotta hours watching IU go three up, three down. Oregon State may win it all this year. They're that good.
It's time to ride the bike down to the radio studio and do a radio show. With radio, like any long-term creative activity, you gotta get away from it for a while, if for no other reason that it seems fresh when you return. A constant danger is burnout. I have guarded against it by shortening the time in the morning that I'm on the air. I used to go 5:30am to 10am. That was a grind. Then I shortened it 5:3-9:00. Now it's 5:30 to 8:00 am and that's just about right. Actually, it's a little short to get a real rhythm going. I have to show up ready to hit it hard. In the old days, when I had four-plus hours to talk, I could ease into the show. Not now. It's different.
I want to talk away from Donald Trump and all that is happening at the national level. But it's tough. I know that there's the three or four of you who read my blog, and you guys understand what I'm about to describe. But it may be a little more difficult for those who discover this blog in a few years or a few decades when, you know, they're researching this thing that used to be called "local radio." But it's difficult to describe to future researchers of long-gone "local radio" how completely Donald Trump has captured the attention of people in America.
Every night, there are dozens of television news shows dedicated solely to detailing and analyzing every move of Donald Trump. Sometimes it's something he's tweeted overnight. Sometimes it's a clumsy move in appointing someone to his cabinet. Yesterday, it was a proclamation to beef up our immigration forces to possibly lead to mass deportations of people living in this country illegally.
You hear talk of Trump all day long on the radio, and on podcasts, and at the counter where I stop for breakfast. You hear it in airports, where Alexis and I spent a good deal of time yesterday. I heard a guy say something about Trump in the bathroom to another guy. They were standing at the trough washing their hands. They didn't even know each other but there's this understanding that Trump and the thoughts of what he's doing and saying are at the forefront of what a lot of us are thinking about these days.
I don't have any real comment on the sanity of our president or whether what he's doing is good or bad for this country. But I do know that the constant deluge of information about what he's doing and how it's hurting certain groups and how he's alienating our allies does not set well with at least one person. My wife, Alexis, watches the nightly news shows a lot. She takes in every twist and turn and it seeps into her core. She's worried about the country. And as a husband who's pretty close to his mate, I can see it in the lines of worry on her cheeks and forehead.
"Why don't we take a couple days' break from all the news," I said on the airplane yesterday.
"Okay. But only 'til Thursday."
And then we were walking through Ohare to baggage claim and the TV was on and it told about possible massive deportations of people, mostly Mexican people (and as the three or four of you know, my wife's Mexican).
"There goes getting away from the news for a couple of days," Alexis said, pointing to the latest by Donald Trump.
I have to admit that there's a part of me that likes the constant pound of Trump info and analysis. It's something to come back to. It gets me away from worrying about the minutiae of running a couple of radio stations. There's a certain amount of relaxation that comes with lighting a fire and curling up with my wife of 25 years and watching the Trump show. It's a routine for empty nesters that has its beauty.
I also have to admit that on the radio I fall prey to the topic. A lot of times recently I find myself blabbing about the latest thing Trump has done and what it means. I go on for a while, not taking a side for or against, but analyzing the move and sometimes poking fun at either Trump or his critics. I find it fascinating and so do callers and next thing you know we have a hullabaloo of a show going on and it has nothing to do with what's happening on the streets of of Lake County, Indiana. It has all to do with Trump.
Trump has hijacked local radio.
He's even captured me. I'm the guy who concentrates on things happening in these parts, northwest Indiana and a little about Chicago and the Illinois suburbs. That's what I've talked about since I first did a show in 2004 - local stuff. Now I can't help myself but gravitate to Trump. And so do my callers. I'll be talking about a new business coming to 45th Street in Highland, and a caller will call in:
"You see. Trump's plan is working. The stock market's up. Businesses are expanding. It has all to do with Donald Trump."
And then maybe I'll be talking about the changing ethnic makeup of of Hammond. Maybe some new numbers came out and it shows that the city will soon be 50 percent Hispanic.
"I doubt that will happen with our current president. If he has his way, we'll all be sent back across the border."
You can't get away from it. And that's the part I'd like the future researchers of long-dead local radio to know - that Donald Trump has hijacked local radio. We can't get away from him. He's everywhere.
This is my blog - "My Radio Life."
Also check out my Facebook Live videos, podcasts, and pictures. Visit wjob1230.com for cool things we do in local radio.