It’s 10:38pm on the Thursday before a Monday Christmas. I lived, as always, a day of radio. That usually means it’s a pretty good day.
As a matter of fact, it was a really good day of radio. I got my grade back on the Accounting final, and I passed. You don’t know what a relief that is. It’s not that I did poorly on the tests – I got a 96 and an 89 – it’s that I didn’t know the procedures associated with going to class after being away for 33 years. I didn’t even really know how to look up where my grade would be.
I stood out on Indianapolis Boulevard this morning and talked for a good half hour like I always do. I pledged to listeners that by the time I come back next year I will have installed a better camera and some lights out on the Boulevard. There’s a lot of activity going on out there from 5:30 to 6am. People beep, they scream from their cars, they flash their lights, and some stop to talk to me.
An old Hammond Tech graduate pulled up about 5:40 this morning.
“Are you Dedelow?”
“I am,” I said as I sauntered up to the window of his SUV.
“This is really crazy. I’m listening to you on the radio, and here you are talking to me through my window.”
The man – I forgot his name – smiled broadly. I could tell that he not only thought it was cool to meet me, but he also thought it was cool that technology in the 21st century could let us pull all of this off. As he was driving away, I told him thanks for listening but sorry that he had to go to Hammond Tech.
As the three or four of you know, I have this addiction to making fun of Hammond Tech High School. This is really unfortunate for Tech Tigers in that not only did their school close down 25 years ago, but they also have to wake every morning to a smart aleck kid from Munster ripping on them. I’m sorry but I can’t help myself. My mom went to Hammond High and my dad went to Morton. I grew up making fun of Hammond Tech and it won’t go away.
There must be form
to fly like an eagle.
There must be content
to fill your heart with
ideas of what you
should be doing.
Trains keep passing by.
I’m at a crossing. There
are more cars covered
in graffiti. The artists
must perform in warm
weather. It is way
too cold around here
to hang on the side of
a metal box spraying
paint from a can.
It’s the little things that matter.
It seeps under your
coat into your heart.
Next thing you know,
you’re thinking about
red-haired women and
old cars… anything to
take away the sting
of hard nipples and
It is the cold that
hampers true graffiti
artists on the way to
pick up a pound of
perch from Bob’s Shrimp
on Calumet Avenue in
For some reason, the show had a decent flow this morning also. We started on the topic of the fights at Griffith High school during sporting events. This brought some novel ideas from callers like Bob –
“Just don’t let Griffith and Hammond High play each other for the next four years. That’ll teach ‘em.”
The story moves forward in that five people have been charged with crimes from the fight at a freshman basketball game on Monday. Maybe that will send a message. The thing that I brought up was Mike Nau.
This isn’t the first go-around with fights at or around high school basketball games. If you live in a place that is not Indiana and you stumble across this blog, then let me just say this – there is no way you will ever understand the importance of high school basketball in this state. We love our basketball and love leads to people doing stupid stuff.
In the 1950s, there was a big fight outside of the Hammond sectional. So the next year, Mike Nau and some other Hammond businessmen got together and started up a dinner for all of the teams. They sit around and eat and see each other and the coaches talk. Somehow that prohibited future fighting. Perhaps its time for a similar action when it comes to rivals Griffith and Hammond High. Either that, or we’re all making a mountain out of a couple fight molehills and it will blow over soon enough.
Gloria called in on the show this morning. She is black, really old, and about as smart of a caller that I have. She used to do radio. I remember her when I worked at WJOB in the 1980s. She was then and is now a bit cantankerous when it comes to telling her opinions. It made for good radio then and it does now.
Gloria and another guy who called later, Earl, have been with me since I started doing the morning show in September, 2007. They have been regular, faithful callers. And they bring substance to what we’re talking about. The challenge is both of them are getting pretty old and they go through bouts of bad health. When that happens, they don’t call. They listen, but they don’t call.
And it is callers that are my gold. I know this. For some reason, in my quest to do radio that is good and pure and beautiful, I reverted to radio from the 1960s and 70s. That was when you could go up and down the dial and it would be caller after caller. We had it here on WJOB. John Anastopolis was the best at it. There were others. They, too, knew that callers were gold.
The kind of radio that I do – I don’t promote a political agenda and I let people talk – isn’t really en vogue right now. Try something for me. Turn your radio on and odds are that you’ll land on a conservative talk show host spewing shreds of hate or a liberal cooer telling you how cool it is to be educated and caring. We are a divided country. Start with that in trying to understand why what I do is not popular.
For some reason, however, it works in the Calumet Region of Indiana and Illinois. I babble for a while, take some calls, have a few guests, then I go down the street to eat some eggs and read the Sports section. Life is good.
We did have a pretty big announcement play out this morning on WJOB. Purdue Northwest got their biggest donation ever. It’s a 12-million dollar bequeathing of the Taltree Arboretum in Valparaiso over to the university. PNW will basically run the arboretum and will have the use of the land to build future buildings or do whatever.
Remember, if you will, we are on the campus of Purdue Northwest. It’s a pretty cool public-private deal that allows both sides to get some value. Today, five leaders from the university came and sat around the broadcast table and told the story of how the donation came about and what they’ll do with Taltree.
The host of this segment, Richard Rupp, is a former professor at PNW who is now the chief of staff from Chancellor Tom Keon. Rupp kept ribbing me about my Accounting grade, and he did it on the air.
“Hey JED,” he called out, “grades come out this afternoon. Are you nervous?”
Hell yes I was nervous. I hadn’t taken a midterm or final for 33 years. A lot depends on a red wheelbarrow, and a lot depends on if I passed my Accounting or not. I did. And that’s all that matters.
That wasn’t the only good news today. Several things that have been building up came through today. I can’t tell you about any of them until they actually happen, but it looks like a couple of them will. Radio is good and pure and beautiful. Sometimes it’s hard to lose sight of this when you’re driving down to the transmitter in the middle of the night. Or you’re breaking down a network switch to see where the internet problem is. Or you’re troubleshooting a video mixer that won’t accept your new cameras. Or you gotta deal with an irate politician who’s upset over something said on the air.
A note on this to any politician who wants to call me and threaten me with a lawyer. You may win the battle. You probably will. But note that I much appreciate those who will call me as a human being and try to have a discussion first. If you call me with a law threat, I’ll take it as such and we will go from there. Radio is good and pure and beautiful, and if you want to mess with that, watch out.
That should do it for tonight. I’m enrolled next semester in:
I really don’t know if I’ll wind up taking all three courses. It’s kind of a lot if you’re living a life of local radio, but we’ll see. I’m starting to really like going to class and learning about business. That may not sound like something all that appealing to a couple of the three or four of you, but note that I am disorganized and idealistic. That’s a lethal combination when you’re trying to resurrect a business in a dying industry in one of the poorer and more violent areas of America. Something has to give and what that is is that I have to go back to school to learn how to be a better businessman. It’s happening. Will it work? That’s up to the three or four of you to ponder. But give it a few years. Then we’ll decide. Good night.