It’s 1:49 on a Tuesday afternoon and I’m alone in the Strack & Van Til studios on the campus of the Purdue Commercialization Center. It doesn’t happen very often that I’m alone here. There’s always people around.
I suppose that’s the nature of radio – people. You need people to produce the talk shows, to announce the high school basketball games, and, now, to operate the cameras for Facebook Live. People make the radio. You need callers to add some spice to your morning show and you need people to listen so that sponsors will buy advertising. It’s a continuous circle of people coming and going through the doors at Purdue and I’m just grateful to have my two radio stations to myself for a few minutes. It’s a good feeling.
It's a good feeling because as you the three or four of you know, we’ve rebuilt WJOB into something we can all be proud of. Alexis and I bought the station out of bankruptcy and put a bunch of dough into it. But, really, it’s been a group effort. People. All sorts of people made it happen and continue to make it happen.
There have been milestones. In a couple of weeks, I will celebrate ten years of doing my morning show. If memory serves me correctly, I started the show on Sept. 24, 2007. Dave Ryan, the executive director of the Lake Shore Chamber of Commerce, was one of the first guests. I did the show alone at first, and then Michael Stewart sat with me and then Dave Kusiak sometimes and Vera Mileusnic… and then I went it alone.
Kusiak and I actually did a show in the afternoon for a while. It was called, “Jimmy D. and the Kooz,” and I’m pretty sure that none of the three or four of you who read my blog ever heard that show. It’s not that it wasn’t any good. Put Kusiak and me in a studio and it doesn’t matter what time of day we’re gonna come up with radio that’s at least passable.
The problem was that we didn’t have a purpose to the show. And, believe it or not, you gotta have some sense of direction and purpose to do a radio show right and for a lot of years. If you are not dedicated entirely to it all the way down to your core, then people will be able to tell after a while. You’ll be a performer and not a local morning host. There’s a big difference. If I gotta explain what the difference is then you probably weren’t gonna understand anyhows.
WJOB station manager Debbie Wargo left the studios for a while and she left some music to play in the mid afternoon. It’s disco. I’m not kidding. I don’t know the artist, but I’m pretty sure that Alexis and I danced to this song at my brother Jeff’s wedding in Bloomington, Indiana. He and Laura got married on the veranda at The Pointe outside of the town. There’s a golf course there. It was hotter than hell the day he got married, which makes for good dancing and good visuals. That’s because women strip off all but the most necessary of clothes. And they sweat. Does it make me a bad person if I like sweating women who have bared their shoulders?
If so, too bad. There’s a certain calm that comes over you when everyone leaves the premises of your radio stations and you have the offices, the green room, the studios all to yourself. Debbie left a little Elvis to play this afternoon –
I’m in love. I’m all shook up.
I could go on about being in love with a woman for 28 years or so. Or I could go on about how much I love radio. Instead, however, I will tell you that Alexis and I drove out to the Purdue campus in Westville on Sunday to hear Joe Scarborough speak.
Joe’s the Joe in “Morning Joe” on MSNBC. He was once a Republican congressman. Now he’s a morning host and, as previously told to the three or four of you, he must be all in to have such an enduring show.
Alexis and I met Mr. Scarborough in the meet and greet before the speech. We are, after all, part of the extended Purdue family. We go to a lot of these Purdue things. On Sunday, we attended, gladly, the Sinai Speaker Series in Westville. On Friday, I’ll attend a Chancellor’s reception in Portage. It goes on and on and I really don’t mind. It’s too bad, however, that my attendance at these events cannot be used as extra credit towards my Accounting class. I’m lost. I can’t tell the difference between Accumulated Depreciation, my ass, and a hole in the ground.
I know good music, though, when I hear it. And since big truck after big truck goes down the Boulevard on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, what better time is there to put some Grateful Dead on AM 1230 WJOB and 104.7?
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world…
Anyways, Joe Scarborough – in his speech, not in talking with Alexis and me – said that we as Americans have to stop being so partisan in our thinking. Joe – I call him by his first name now (entirely without his permission) - referred all of us to the days of yore when Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill, bitter adversaries on the political battlefields, would get together in the evenings and drink together. They’d figure stuff out. The country was not nearly divided then as it is now.
And I don’t have to tell the three or four of you more than once that we are a divided people. Just look at my show. Watch it. Listen to it. There is hate in the world and it has been planted in the soil of WJOB… and every other radio station in America that allows people to speak freely and openly.
Open the airwaves and you will find
Hate and mistrust. It lives in the bosoms
Of what would normally be sane
The hate festers, and next thing you
Know, you’re cleaning out your garage
On a Saturday afternoon and you can’t
Remember why you’re so pissed off.
It’s called general hate… versus the other
Kind, That’s specific hate. That’s when you
Want to kill a guy who slept with your
Girlfriend during junior year in high school.
Or, once in a while, you meet someone
And you just know that you’re supposed to
Hate him or her. It’s written in the Tarot cards
And try as you might, you can’t do anything
But spit up a little bit of vomit everytime
He or she opens his or her mouth to
Say his or her words.
Shut the f--- up, will you?
I hate you.
That’s what local radio and local
In general has become. People spitting
Vomit at each other. I wish we were
More like Ronald Reagan and
Tip O’Neill. By the way, I could
Really use a drink right now.
I wanted to hunt Joe (there I go again) down after his speech and tell him –
“You don’t get it, Joe. You can talk all you want about how we should come together as Americans, how we should put our differences aside. Good luck with that. I used to take that approach. I would counsel people on my radio show to work together. Whether it was trying to put together a 911 system for our county or whether it’s for our country to get together on health care.
It doesn’t matter, Joe, my buddy, because people have a lot of hate right now, and all of this do-gooder stuff you’re talking about doesn’t mean anything if people don’t want to change. Believe, me, in my own little corner of the world I have tried. And it doesn’t work. You just wind up bashing your forehead against the wall. It feels good when you stop.
“So now, Joe, I just accept that there is hate in the world. And once you accept it, for some reason you become one with the world again. There it is – hate. There it is – love. Sometimes they’re one and the same, reverses of the same passion.
“What? You have to make a plane back to New York? Oh, okay. Bye.”
I’m still sitting here alone in my radio stations. I just played “Candy” by Iggy Popp and “Eyes of the World” by the Grateful Dead. Now, I’m playing “Bittersweet” by Big Head Todd and the Monsters. What else would the three or four of you like to hear?