Take a look at the historical footage above left. If WJOB-JED.tv live streaming video of sporting events goes on to become some huge success in the future, we'll all be able to look back at the first rather amateurish try at it. First of all, I stream the video sideways. It's just something peculiar to Facebook Live. If you turn your camera sideways to stream, it's not like a normal recording. The stream doesn't turn along with your phone. Just accept it and move on.
And that's what we're doing. Just accept it and move on. I know that it's not the most scientific of methods, but to innovate on anything, I mess with it for a while and then introduce it to others at the station. It was that way with bringing the FM station on the air... it's been that way with streaming audio and doing podcasts and flashbacks and it's that way now with streaming live video to Facebook. I mess around with it to find out if it works for us at all... and then I'll introduce it to the station or not.
It's part of the lone wolf DNA. I come from a lineage of farmers and construction workers and some generally surly individuals who from what I can tell preferred often to work alone rather than with people. I don't apologize for that. It's just how it is. I picture my Dutch great-grandfather on his farm outside of New Sharon, Iowa, going back and forth on his fields. I can't tell if he's on some sort of animal dragging a wooden plow... or if he has one of the original John Deere tractors. Either way, he's alone and kind of at peace and that's how I feel sometimes when I'm working with gadgets of radio.
I once again apologize to the three or four of you who read my blog. Ever since this Facebook Live came along in May, I've been using that to tell the story of My American, Radio Life instead of writing it out in words to you. You can check out my progression in telling this story by going to Facebook.com/JimDedelow or Facebook.com/wjob.1230. Like everything else in life, I can't figure out how to best organize my live videos ... or my audio, writing, poems, photos, my taxes, my bedroom closet, etc. It's an ongoing battle with chaos and I suppose at some point I could make enough money to find someone to follow me around with a broom, but not now. I'm forced to work hard on a daily basis to keep the lights on at the radio station. I am not afforded the luxury of inventing and innovating for the sake of Science like some character out of a Vonnegut novel.
And work my ass off on radio I do. In a two-day period from Monday to Wednesday, I interviewed Congressman Pete Visclosky - twice - and Senator Joe Donnelly and governor candidate John Gregg and about a dozen or so other people. Producer Ryan and I have built this system which at first blush doesn't look like a system at all, but it works for us. He doesn't tell me who's up next on the show and right before they either come into the studio or call in, he hands me a few notes on the guest or guests and what they'll to talk about. Sometimes I glance at the notes in the break before the interview, and sometimes I don't. Either way, if someone comes on and I don't have notes from Ryan - even though when it comes down to it I really only use the notes less than 10 percent of the time - I get snippy.
"I can't go into interviews blind," I tell Ryan, which is a lie. If you ever took a minute to listen to my past interviews of people, you might find that the best interviews I've done are when I don't have any notes at all. You figure it out.
Back to Facebook Live. I told the three or four of you from the beginning that I'm on a quest to tell the story of My America, Radio Life in the best way that I can. I am still dedicated to the mission, but like everything else in My American, Radio Life, it's turned a bit chaotic. For a while there, a year or more, I thought the best way to tell the story was to write this blog, take a bunch of pictures and post them, to record podcasts for the website, and to have Ryan cut up the morning show into swallowable packets of Region flashbacks.
Now I don't know if that playbook works. I'm starting to wonder if it's not better to tell the story of My American, Radio Life... and the story of the Region Rats all around me... by just concentrating on one thing.
I love radio. I love listening to it and thinking about it in a nostalgic sort of way and I love listening to good AM talk shows in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday when it's raining and college football hasn't started yet. And I love doing radio, as you can tell. But when I really think about it, it's only Live radio that I like to do and listen to. As a matter of fact, I can't even record a commercial or an interview very well. Yesterday, Dr. Loren Brown asked me to re-record his commercial in my voice and not someone else's... and I wound up spending a good 20 minutes in the WJOB recording booth. Take after take after take.
So to be more precise, I love live radio.
And the same holds true with video. I've recorded hundreds if not thousands of videos of radio over the years. Little of it's really real. I don't know why. But when I go out into my backyard on Tuesday and my leafblower won't start and I do a Facebook Live video about it... somehow that comes off as almost genuine. Go figure.
It's 5:52 on a Saturday morning and I don't suppose it's radio, per se, but it's something. Last night I tried something that, looking back on it, was kind of stupid and I won't do it again.
I went out to the Munster at Lake Central football game to see if I could announce a football game while at the same time operating the iPhone camera and streaming it live in video. The verdict is clear - I can't... and nobody can. It's at least a two-person operation, so in the sense that we learned something from this misadventure, it was a success.
It really is 4:15 on a Tuesday morning and in a half hour or so I'll get on my bike and ride to the Purdue Commercialization Center to do my radio show. I only go until 8am most mornings anymore. That's a good thing. It frees up a lot of hours to do other projects that, hopefully, fulfill our destiny of making radio better.