One of the toughest things a man can do is admit doubt. It follows you around like a bad odor. It can get heavy, hurt your back. You can blame doubt for all of your problems. Doubt is embarrassing.
It can make you angry, forlorn, forgetful and horny.
your life throughout.
Churchgoing folk are certain
what’s behind the curtain
Is yours alone.
Perhaps I should explain. In our last installment, I told the three or four of you about the difference between passive and active trading in the pits of the Chicago Board of Trade.
You trade your ass off (active) to get to a point where you can be patient about a good trade (passive). In the middle of it all, you have confidence (active) to follow your natural intuition about the markets (neither). It’s 11 words.
Cut Losers Now
Let Winners Ride
Guts to follow your gut.
I have transplanted this trading philosophy into radio. I have basically been radioing my ass off (active) for the last 15 years. Now I want to wait out the evolution of the radio stations (passive) so that I can concentrate (active) on doing something that I sense I should be doing (neither).
Cut radio free
Let TV ride
Have confidence to blog.
First, I gotta tell the three or four of you a story. It happens about 2009 in the midst of the recession. The stock market has essentially crashed due to the mortgage crisis. Unemployment is skyrocketing. Wages are depressed and so is most of the country.
We too face possible ruin at WJOB. There just aren’t that many people who want to buy air during a recession. Revenues plummet. I lay everyone off – I mean everyone. A few part-timers come by a couple hours a week. My buddies and relatives like my brother and sister help out when they can – for free.
I stay on at the helm of a ship that has an uncertain outcome. It could certainly sink. There’s rough seas, constant storm.
Every day, I get up and do the morning show – by myself. And I don’t mean like now, when I talk by myself for most of the morning, but with producers and all sorts of people coming by.
There’s so many people around that I leave every morning right after the show. The last thing you want to do after doing a three-hour one man show is hang out and talk. You want to sit at a counter with a plate of eggs and a Sports section.
“Sports on TV”
That’s what’s for me.
Hot sauce and butter, please
potatoes and Swiss cheese.
Waitress, don’t talk.
This kind of thing – tons of people around – wasn’t a challenge in 2009. I would ride my bike to the old studios behind Smith Chevrolet (kid took the second car to school). A couple times it was so cold that I couldn’t open the front door. It was frozen solid. I took to hiding a propane torch in the bushes with a pack of matches in a plastic bag.
Eventually, I would turn off the overnight programming and start talking. It was in the old studio next to the transmitter. You can’t hear any hum, however, in that old man Colby surrounded the studio in cinder block. That’s mostly because we’re close to some major railroad tracks.
You can stand in the parking lot and feel the Earth move. And then you can walk into the studio and feel nothing. Perfect stillness. Concrete will do that for you.
Nothing beats a
good powder high.
Skirting the mountaintops,
Floating without worry.
Til you come down.
I would fire up the microphones and start talking. I would play Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Arlo Guthrie and The Four Tops. I would sing, dance, make funny voices, do imitations. I would read Bukowski and talk about upcoming indictments.
I would, in a word, do a morning radio show. I could take phone calls, but I would have to answer them directly on to the air. No screening, no seven-second delay, nobody to answer the front door. Nobody but me talking into a microphone,
Now don’t get me wrong. These were not good times. In a period of five years, I had gone from BTCT (big time commodities trader) to small-time radio operator about to lose my shirt. I did the only thing I could do. I ran the station by myself.
Debbie, whom I had laid off, and Stew, whom I had also laid off, stopped by once in a while to help. I still had guests in studio. But they’d have to wait for a commercial break for me to unlock the front door. I worried about money all the time.
“I don’t care who you are,” Mike Mellon, a banker, told me during the depths of the recession.
“You’re living paycheck to paycheck.”
May there be good,
You know there should.
Beheadings with malice
Rape hidden by chalice.
Somehow, through all of this, I discovered the true beauty of radio. Ever since, I can’t get enough of it. Radio rescued me again.
The first time, I was leaving the Board of Trade. I didn’t know what I was gonna do next, but I knew that I had to be done. I was a trading addict. Still am. One day there will be a syndrome known as “trading addiction.” I’m sure of it.
For now, it’s not something you talk about. Gobs of men I knew were also trading addicts – or simply addicted to the trading life. Many didn’t make it out. They’re dead. They didn’t have radio to rescue them. Many killed themselves.
During the recession of 2009, radio saved me again. It was as if as long as I stayed true to radio, radio would stay true to me. As long as I spoke openly and honestly on WJOB every morning, everything was gonna be all right.
And it was. The economy picked up. So did WJOB. The rest is history.
Take a deep breath.
Don’t think about death.
Can really change your mood.
Life is always.
Sometime during the summer of 2009, I realized, again, how much I really love radio. Or, more specifically, how much I love waking up and talking on the radio. Now, it’s an even more heightened experience in that I stand outside on the Boulevard every morning.
It really is beautiful. And I do it on the same road that my ancestors walked down 147 years ago. It gives me strength. I feel part of something.
So what now?
I get the feeling that, for a third time, radio will again be the answer. But I am stronger now. I don’t need radio to rescue me. It’s my turn to give something to it.
WJOB is a spirit that is good and pure and beautiful. I am in charge of it, for now. It’s my responsibility to figure out how to keep it around for people who aren’t even born yet.
In or above.
Bird on a power line.
Watching. Planning. It’s fine.
Long time ago.
Do you realize that in a couple of months we’ll have been doing this radio thing for 15 years? It has flown by. When I think about what we’ve accomplished, I’m confused.
We certainly haven’t made a ton of money. As a matter of fact, I’ve coined a new term – radioverty. It has to do with driving an older car and skimping on vacations just so you can engage in something good and pure and beautiful.
4:03am. Wednesday, January 9, 2019.
I can’t believe it’s this late in life. One day it’s 1980 and you’re graduating high school. Next thing you know it’s 2019 and you’re up in the middle of the night writing a blog to three or four people who obviously have nothing better to do.
The intensity with which
Democrats and Republicans
go at each other
You can feel it.
They’re like a divorced
couple at their kid’s