Radio blackness. Waves
waft over the plains. There
are explosions in the
kitchens of otherwise
sane bakers of Dutch apple
pie. Hate took over the
soufflé. Self-doubt drove
the sweet potato pie to not
be what it used to be.
On the radio at night it
used to be the clank of a
frying pan, the swoosh
of a mixing bowl. Now, it’s
yells and dictums. Revolution
comes not from muskets
and bayonets but from
the descendants of Marconi’s best
work. I pray that was once good
and pure and beautiful does
not get used by angry men at pulpits
to work us all into a frenzy
that kills. I miss Dutch apple
pie and the soufflés and the soothing
carrying on of a radio on your
It’s 2:01am. I have been awake for a good hour now. Sleep would be nice, but so would talking to the three or four of you.
There is a weird energy in America. Since the five of us gather not only for now but for 50 years from now… I’m wondering if there’s anything that we could pass on to our descendants.
Not really. Our leaders are getting ready to vote today on whether to close down the federal government or not. This wouldn’t be something new. We do this every few years. But for me it got a little more real last night when Alexis got home from getting her nails done.
It turns out that she sat next to a woman who works for TSA. She is worried about her next paycheck.
“All of my bills like my mortgage and NIPSCO get taken out of my bank electronically. It won’t take long for everything to start bouncing.”
The government closing down is the least of our worries. There is a weird energy amongst us. I’m guessing that it’s just a phase and that sooner or later we’ll return to our same old boring selves. But maybe not. I woke in the middle of the night to a dream in which we are in our final days.
It’s a dream that keeps coming back to me. We’re all going about our business. We cart our kids to hitting lessons and we shop at your local Strack & Van Til grocery store. Some of you get your teeth whitened by Dr. Andy Kouleterides because you want to be like the pretty people.
But underneath us there is the heartbeat of a clock.
It ticks us one second closer to oblivion.
“Please be gone, clock. I am tired and I don’t want
to listen to your ongoing tick tock, tick tock.”
There are no answers to the reasons for the clock.
I’m going to fly away to the telephone wire above
the swimming pool. I’m going there just to think
about this – “What if we are in our final days?
What would I do then?” It’s not the greatest of
questions to ask yourself in the middle of the
night when you’re healthy and strong. I don’t
want to be bothered by impending sorrow. I just
want to listen to the radio and eat peanut
butter and jelly sandwiches until I die.
It really is difficult to watch what we are doing these days. It’s chaos mixed with chocolate chip cookies and hate. I wish I could give you a better description than that – especially you broadcasting students who will be assigned this blog in 50 years – but every night there is discord and chaos. It’s led by our president, but we’re all involved. It’s entertaining. I’m just as guilty as the next guy for taking solace in the laughs and disarray.
But I get the feeling that it’s not real. Or it’s all too real. I worry about the outcome.
I also get up in the middle of night worrying about radio. In a few hours I will walk out onto Indianapolis Boulevard and yell “big truck.” It is always a beautiful experience. As I have told the three or four of you many times before, 146 years ago my forefathers and their foredaughters and foresons and forewives walked down the path where I broadcast from weekday mornings. They were charred from the Chicago fire. They were looking for a place to call home. They found it a couple blocks from where I talk and dance every morning.
This situation begets huge responsibility. Sometimes I feel as if I should say something meaningful on the radio instead of just messing around. But then I remember that I am a slacker and what’s important to a slacker isn’t attitude so much as just being present. In radio, you have to get at least a B in attendance or you ain’t worth a plug nickel.
One of the things that I am learning these days about radio is how to forecast. This is a direct result of taking graduate level Accounting last semester from Mr. Ken Pogach. He talked a lot about budgeting and then reconciling your budget with what you actually earned in revenues and built up in costs. It’s a simple concept that I didn’t know anything about. Now I want to be a budgeter and a forecaster. I figure that this is the best chance we have to help ensure a future for local radio.
As far as revenue forecasts for WJOB for 2018, I want to increase revenues by 10%.
As far as cost forecasts for WJOB for 2018. I want to hold costs steady.
This would create something we haven’t really known in the past. Profit.
And what about forecasts for how many Facebook Live video views we get?
In 2017, we got 2.5 million views. That’s about 208,000 views a month.
For 2018, I want to average 300,000 views per month, or 3.6 million views.
That’s about as far as I go with projections. I thank Mr. Ken Pogach for this moment of clarity. Now, what about marketing?
Last semester it was graduate Accounting. This semester, it’s graduate Marketing. I’m gonna learn how to be a marketer.
I know that this sounds overly simplistic. “Really, JED, you’re gonna take graduate Accounting and all of the sudden you know the numbers side of running a business? And then you’re going to take graduate Marketing and all of the sudden you’re gonna know how to sell advertising on your media?”
Yep. That’s how simple it is. Life can be simple, if you let it be. My basic understanding of how to feed your family is to follow your instincts to what you should be doing, and then just do it. As long as you’re enjoying the work and making enough for your family to go to the dentist, then that’s all there is. If you happen to make a bunch of dough doing it, then so be it. It’s really out of your control. All that you can control is if you go for a jog at night or not.
I did. And maybe that’s why I’m up in the middle of the night typing to you. I went for a run in the fog and came upon a lone basketball hoop. There is something beautiful and eerie on a foggy and unseasonable warm night when you run into a lone basketball hoop. You want to get a ball and shoot some baskets. But that would ruin the beauty. Fog and metal and a net and a tree behind it. A streetlight spreads a haziness. There’s a poem about a ball that I read once. Let me google the crap out of it until I find it.
Here it is. Adrienne Rich wrote a poem called
A Ball is for Throwing
See it, the beautiful ball
Poised in the toyshop window,
Rounder than sun or moon…
It is everything that we desire.
Adrienne Rich understood balls. This is not a play on words, for not only was Adrienne a great poet, she was also an avowed lesbian. You can understand balls without it being sexual.
I wish that I had something more lucid for the three or four of you. I’m listening to Pandora on my smartphone while I ramble. You deserve better. So I’ll just tell it to you straight. I’m just writing to you because I have nothing better to do. I’m just waiting to say some words on the radio. I have given my life to radio because it is good and pure and beautiful. I wish that I could broaden my horizons to think about other things, but I can’t. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I think about radio. So that’s what you get.