So out of radio host Monday morning anxiety I woke at at 2:27am to prepare for this morning's show.
It's anxiety born of getting caught on too many Mondays without anything prepared to talk about and not being able to carry the show with my amazing wit and candor because I'm too tired from doing a whole bunch of crap over the weekend.
So I wake early and read the papers and magazines that come to my house. That's Time, Business Week, the AARP magazine, the Chicago Tribune, The Times of Northwest Indiana, The Post-Tribune of northwest Indiana, People, and a BizVoice (from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
And it is BizVoice of all things that eases the radio host Monday morning anxiety.
Evidently, perhaps the best host in radio is gonna talk at the annual Indiana Chamber of Commerce shindig, so he gave them a pre-interview.
Q - "What do you like about doing radio?"
Dennis - "What I find is that if you ever try radio, around a month in, you should try to do a show free associatively. If you can't, get out of the business - because it's too hard... Let's face facts, out of a three-hour show, you end up talking maybe an hour and 40 minutes... but you can't really cobble together an hour and forth minutes of prepared chat. And if you do, it's amazingly stilted and sounds like a kidnap note. So at some point, you have to think, 'Alright, there around five things happening in the world. I'll lay them out there and take some phone calls.'
"I'm eight years in now and I like doing it. It's the same stuff I used to tell a shrink for $300 an hour; now they pay me."
Now that September 24th has passed... I can tell you that I have been doing "JED in the Region" for seven years now. Happy Anniversary.
Alexis and I actually bought WJOB a little more than ten years ago and for the first three years we tried several different morning hosts and a few different formats - including oldies, women's talk, and national talk. So one day in a rather impulsive manner I asked everyone to leave the building and the next morning I grabbed the microphone and started talking.
That was, of course, not the original intention. We didn't buy WJOB so I could ride my bike to the station every morning and talk on the radio for four hours. But seven years ago we were about to fail. We had purchased, in 2004, both the local radio station and the local weekly newspaper. I had closed the newspaper in 2007 and WJOB was running out of money. So I grabbed the microphone, and, like the red wheelbarrow, that has made all the difference.
And out of all the things - good employees, colorful locals, radio itself - what most makes it all worth it? That's pretty easy. Callers. We're blessed with the best callers in America. Some may not make sense, and some have the hardest heads in America, and some are completely unlikeable. But it adds up to really colorful radio and I am grateful for that.
Because, you see, it wasn't me that rescued WJOB. It was the other way around. I was a floundering ex-trader looking for somewhere to land. You people gave it to me. Thank you.
Ian Hill of Judas Priest was pretty cool about waiting an extra ten minutes to tape an interview with me today after the morning show. I couldn’t mix to the right levels for some reason at the new studio so I asked if I could call my new buddy Ian back in ten minutes to do the interview.
So I made the mad dash seven blocks to the old studio – “We accelerate, no time to hesitate” - and called him back. Sounds like a pretty cool guy as far as heavy metal Brit bass players go. He was calling to promote Priest at the Horseshoe Casino in October. I told him that I saw him in 1979 at the Hammond Civic Center. I think that’s true, but, you know, that basketball cathedral used to fill up with smoke pretty good and it was hard to see who was on the stage.
On what will Judas Priest’s legacy be?
We had a hand in “defining heavy metal. Of course, Black Sabbath started the whole thing.”
On technology in making music?
There’s good and evil in equal measure in it. You can pick a note and get rid of it, re-record it. The technology makes it a little easier to make music.
Favorite Priest album?
The new album, of course. But of the older albums – Defenders.
On the show today, Noreen Bickel the new president of St. Thomas More elementary school came in with Chet Nordyke, the principal. Evidently the larger Catholic schools are adding a president. I went to St. Thom’s. Every bone in my body wanted to tell about the grade-school exploits and Joey Chruby, Chris Klyczek and me. But I could picture my wife of the rescue marriage whispering in my ear – “Not now, JED. It’s not the time nor the place.
Dave and Nina Davila came in to give me my annual flu shot live on the air. They’re opening a second Quik Scripts pharmacy, this one in Griffith. Check out the trend of WJOB healthcare people expanding. Dr. Mary Tilak’s opening a third office. Quik Scripts is expanding. WJOB’s not the reason for the success… but just sayin’.
And then councilman Bernie Zemen and my cousin Eddie Dabrowski came in for the paid show about Highland. For some reason Eddie and I started talking about grandma Matson turning 95 and the reason she has stayed alert so long has something to do with Scotch. Lots of it.
See you tomorrow on the radio.
Monday afternoon at the Purdue University Calumet Commercialization Center. I just met with the construction managers and there's gonna be a whole lotta building goin on around here over the next few months. We knew it was coming but it doesn't really hit until there's hordes of guys with tool belts running around.
Essentially, while we're broadcasting live from our new studios here, construction crews will be putting on a new roof, replacing the parking lot, and building rest rooms and replacing wiring.
Now we could have waited until everything was done before we moved to these amazing new studios. But that would have been another nine months to a year. No way. I'd rather do the traffic with the warm hum of a compressor in the background than broadcast another year in the old studios. Or how about interviewing a woman about her years of physical abuse through the rhythmic thud of a nail gun on the roof? Or trying to hear the governor on the phone through the soothing whine of a guy grinding drywall cracks?
It'll be interesting, that's for sure. Kind of like this morning's show. For some reason, the caller Walt-MadMac-Granola Bob triumvirate don't think it's that big of a deal that the folks leasing the Indiana Toll Road are filing bankruptcy. I said on the radio eight years ago that the whole deal between our state and these folks from the Spanish-Austrailian consortium smelled bad.
That's a technical trading term. When a trade looks good from every angle but then something in your gut tells you it ain't quite right, then it smells bad. And that's how I felt and said so eight years ago when we leased the Toll Road and for some reason it smells pretty much the same to me eight years later. I hope the bonds get all straightened out and we can go 80 down the Toll Road for generations to come.
.... Jean Bowman from the Nazareth Home came on the show today and told about "Cocaine babies." What a horrificness. Babies fresh from the wound shaking, twisting through withdrawls. Then an hour after Jean left a Candace called in and said she adopted a "Cocaine-addicted" baby from Nazareth Home a few years ago and there is a lotta love goin on in her home. A good story line, good drama and radio. I just can't get the images out of my head of little babies writhing in receiving blankets, their bodies craving cocaine like nobody's business.
There is a lotta sadness, loneliness and pain out there, and sometimes you can feel it through the airwaves that you cannot see.