I don’t know if this was a normal day of radio, but it was a day of radio.
2:20am – I woke up in the middle of the night wondering if I should get out of bed and start studying for my final, or if I should get that last couple of hours of sleep I know that I’ll need.
4:30am – I must have fallen asleep because now I don’t want to wake up. It’s calm. Alexis has fallen asleep in the living room. I am alone. Let me sleep.
5:30am – I’m driving to the radio stations and I’m running a little late. So I call in live to give a weather report as if it is the most normal of things to phone it in about the weather and the traffic.
5:40am – I start my morning radio show. It feels a little foreign at first since I haven’t done a show since Friday. And that was live out at Pierogi Fest, so, really, I haven’t done a live show since Thursday in the Strack and Van Til studio on the campus of the Purdue Northwest Commercialization and Manufacturing Center. There’s one thing. I don’t start the show inside the center. I do this thing where we point the camera out the window and I wear a wireless mic and I go out in the parking lot right next one of the busiest roads around, and I yell “Big Truck.” I don’t know why, exactly, that I do this. But I do like big trucks.
6:40am – Hammond councilman Anthony Higgs walks into the studio. I’m going on and on about some theory that I have, so the councilman waits while I babble. That happens sometimes. I don’t look at the guest arriving until I’m done talking about whatever it was that I thought was so important at the time.
7:05am – MX calls in. He asks Councilman Higgs about some immigration ordinance in Hammond. MX says that at some time in the past that councilman Higgs introduced an ordinance to make Hammond a “safe” city.
“Would you like illegal aliens in your house?” MX asks. “Would you, councilman? Would you?”
I look over at councilman Higgs. He’s rolling his eyes to the left. It’s a huge, dramatic roll of the eyes.
“I didn’t think so, councilman. You got nothin’ to say.”
Councilman Higgs gets even more dramatic with is eye roll. He is, I think, really having fun with MX’s comments.
“Get a cameran on this, will you?” I say to the producers, once again thinking that the councilman is showing his best sarcasm.
And then the councilman went to the ground. Spasmodic. I realize, finally, that the councilman is not messing around. He is having some sort of medical episode.
“Call 911 right now, “ I say to Ryan, but it’s on the air too. “The councilman needs assistance immediately. And turn off those cameras.” I say as I thrown off my headset.
Thankfully, Munster High School principal Mike Wells is waiting in the Laborers 41 green room. He’s the next interview. He’s there to announce that I will be inducted this year into the Munster High School Hall of Fame. The principal is kneeling next to the struggling councilman.
“We need to roll him over. I’ve seen this before.”
I will not go into the details about the appearance or motions of the councilman’s body. But I will say this – if the seven moons of Capricorn were not lined up perfectly and Mr. Wells was not sitting in the Laborers 41 green room, I don’t know what would have happened. And neither do the three or four of you who read my blog.
This all played out on the air. I look over at Ryan. He’s talking with the 911 operator. Now here’s where a little knowledge of public safety response systems could be helpful. I know, and perhaps even the three or four of you do too, that if you call 911 now in Lake County that it goes to a central depot in Crown Point. No more calling the Hammond Police Department directly.
“What the f--- are you doing?” I yell at Ryan. “Just tell them to send a f---ing ambulance.”
In this moment of panic, I feel completely powerless to do anything for a man whom I have known for a long time. I don’t know if he’s a good man – he’s a politician, after all – but despite the many political foes he has, he’s always treated me with a decent amount of respect. And, besides, councilman Higgs makes me laugh. I like to laugh.
I am panicked, but the calm and cool producer Ryan Walsh is just that. And so is the seasoned principal of four years. Tick, tock, tick, tock.
“Give me the headset. I’m going back on the air.”
Now there is some planning here. It comes down to the fact that if you call Crown Point, they may not know exactly where the Purdue Commercialization and Manufacturing Center is. And they probably have a form they have to fill out each blank.
“Give me the headphones,” I say to Jimmy Mullaney, one of the producers. “Hello, everybody, this is Jim Dedelow and this is serious. If any Hammond firemen or ambulance people are listening, we need an ambulance right now.”
A couple minutes later, a Hammond firetruck pulls in. So does and ambulance. They take care of the situation. We play music while the seven or eight listeners sit in suspense. When we return, we tell people that before he left, councilman Higgs talked with me. We’re hoping and praying that he’ll be okay, but for now he was lucid.
7:30pm – Munster principal Mike Wells tells everyone that I will be inducted on August 18th, along with six other alums, three of whom I know - state rep Mara Candelaria Reardon, Community Hospital CEO Don Fesko, and insurance guy Will Glaros. Tickets are $40 apiece and the induction dinner is 3:30-6pm at the Center for Performing Arts on Ridge Road.
8am – 9am – Dave Kusiak and Matt Reardon do a show in the studio. Ryan, Jimmy, Sam Michel and I sit behind the glass and review the morning’s show.
“Councilman Higgs left his keys,” Jimmy says. This will become important later.
9am – All four of us go into action. We have a few minutes to turn the studio from a radio studio to a TV studio with chairs for a iive audience of about 25. This includes turning on the big TV, setting up a power point, moving lights, zooming cameras, checking audio level, and more. I have a good team. Whether the three or four of you believe it or not, my people are really good.
9:05am – The live audience starts filtering into the studio. We’re there for a 1 Million Cups segment. This is when an innovative business tells their story and then we ask questions. I host it. The 1 Million Cups shows run on:
Facebook Live video
That’s a lot of places to run a show, and when you do them all, it’s called a “JEDcast,” in case any of the three or four of you are wondering.
Beth Gederian Muckel is the presenter today. She started a local chapter of XCEL2 Fitness. It’s a program for boys to learn how to exercise and have fun with it. Beth has passion for her program. She stared with “Girls on the Run” and realized that there wasn’t a corresponding boys program, so she started one. She has 130 boys participating now, up from 65 not too long ago.
10am – We finish 1 Million Cups and the live studio audience meanders out into the main hall of the Purdue Center. Soon, Jimmy Mullaney and Sam Michel leave. Their radio day is done.
10:45am – Hammond councilman Anthony Higgs returns. “Where are my keys,” he says.
I ask him how he’s doing, and as he’s about to answer, he sways. “You okay, councilman?”
“Yes, I’m fine. I’ll be fine.”
I won’t give the councilman his keys. I wonder how he could have been let out of the hospital so quickly, given the severity of what Munster principal Mike Wells and I witnessed.
“I’ll drive you home. Ryan will follow me.”
And we do just that. I drive the councilman home, walk him inside. I contact a couple of people I know that know the councilman and they agree to check on him.
11:20am – I arrive at Starbucks on Indianaplis Boulevard 20 minutes late to meet with a Chicago radio force. This happens from time to time. I will tell you this – I love hanging out in the Region doing a radio show every morning on stations that my wife and I own. These are things I remember during the discussion.
12:20pm – I stop for takeout at the Chinese restaurant on the Boulevard behind Dickie’s barbecue in Highland.
1pm – I return to the WJOB studios and eat the Chinese food. Now it’s time to study. I have a 6-page paper to write and I have to take a 50 true-or-false test by Friday. Also, there’s a client that wants a proposal now. Debbie Wargo, the station manager who is out today, keeps texting me – “They want their proposal by the end of the day.”
1:20pm – I’m working on the proposal. Advertisers love Facebook Live video, and we got a lot of that. It’s a lot easier to sell radio when it’s not really radio.
Debbie, a different one from the one who manages WJOB, knocks at the door.
“Jim, are you busy?”
“No, what’s up?”
“This gentleman would like to speak with you.”
He’s an older gentleman in a straw hat. He has a lesion on his now. Later in the conversation, he will tell me that he is 80 years old.
“Ah, yes. I’ve listened to your station for about 45 years, and I listen to you now in the morning. There used to be a guy on in the morning who was really nasty to people sometimes – “
“John Anastopolous,” I tell him.
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe that’s it. Anyways, I listened to Larry Petersen and Irv Lewin and I remember the hoedowns back in the day.”
The man’s name is something like Phillip Moore. He lives in Merrillville.
“And who are you?”
“I’m Jim Dedelow.”
He looks confused. “You’re the guy on in the morning?”
“Yes I am.”
Phillip and many men his age don’t watch me on Facebook. They’re the last of a dying breed of man who does not know what his morning radio host looks like.
“You’re Dedelow. Really?”
Eventually, Phillip leaves and I get back to cranking out the proposal. Now, since it’s only the three or four of you – and we’re nearly 2,000 words into this thing and even if someone else crashes the party, they’re long gone by now – I’m gonna tell you what I believe about the near-term commercial viability of Facebook Live and other streaming video services is.
What it is is really bright. As the three or four of you know, I have been working on doing something with streaming video for radio for seven years. I along with the expertise of others have built our own servers, designed our own apps, built websites to host the streaming video, signed up with Livestream, YouTube, and several other streaming services to find something that would work.
Imagine how much money and time we’ve spent to get to this point.
And what point is that?
It’s the point at which perhaps we start to reap at least a little reward for our perseverance. The past four clients who came to us wanted live video. And they wrote us checks quickly. That rarely happens in radio. Here’s my prediction – although you might think that live streaming video has taken over already, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I believe that live streaming video is going to change everything. And that advertisers are going to pay, before it’s all said and done, outrageous sums for what seems like stupid video.
That’s what I think and I’m sticking to it. You see, I’ve been working on this streaming video shit for a long freaking time. And I always figured that eventually it would just come to me somehow, that I’d be able to get at least some of my investment back.
Now I don’t know if that can happen since I’ve put down a good percentage of my net worth to follow this elusive holy grail. I may not get any return because sometimes I am just plain stupid in business and sometimes I just get tired of things.
But if, for some unknown reason, I stick it out, I believe that there could be copious returns.
I didn’t feel like this just a few months ago. I figured I was just doomed to tinkering with this live video of radio idea… and that it would be fun and it might even make a little money. But now, my perception has changed. And it’s not just the last four clients who’ve come through the door. It’s something else… Yes, I know what it is.
Live streaming video is fun. It’s fun to produce the video, fun to watch, to share, to edit sometimes, and, of course, it’s a whole hell lotta fun to interview someone interesting on AM, FM, Facebook Live video, Twitter Live video, and the TuneIn app. The video is the key. It changes everything.
2pm – Ray Candelaria walks through the door.
“What are you doing here?” I ask him. I am irritated. I need to finish this proposal for this client. Debbie’s not here, so it’s up to me.
“You told me to be here at 2pm on Wednesday to do another health show.”
“Oh yeah. Can you wait in the studio while I finish this proposal?”
Ray waits while I type into the computer, not unlike what I’m doing right now in my living room at 11pm on Wednesday, August 2, 2017. I figure, after a while, that I won’t be able to finish the proposal, set up the studio for a yoga show, and do the show. I call Tony Panek. He agrees to come in right away.
2:20pm – Tony Panek and Ray Candelaria set up the studio while I type. The numbers don’t add up. I’ve given too much discount for a sponsorship. I need to adjust the price a little.
2:45pm – The studio is done. Ray Candelaria wants to do a show called “Shanti Wellness Today” or something like that. Ray had cancer and beat it. His yoga may or may not have been a contributor to his victory. Ray and I sit on mats in the studio and Tony Panek mixes the video and audio behind the window.
Later, as we’re sitting at dinner, Alexis will make fun of me for sitting on a mat in my shorts. I can’t remember the joke that she made about it, but it was funny.
Ray and I talk about wellness on the camera and on the radio, and then we do a couple of angry cats and then Ray stands on his head and then the video’s over. When we cut from Facebook, Ray doesn’t realize that we’re still on live radio. He almost cusses but I raise my finger just in time.
3:25pm – I receive a text from Debbie Wargo. A big client, Napleton River Oaks Honda, is giving away a car to help the Carmelite Home in East Chicago. I send Tony Panek and, since we don’t have anyone to hold the camera, Ray Candelaria, the yoga guy.
“Just hold the cellphone like this, sideways, and put it right up in their faces so we can hear them. If you don’t, it will sound hollow and far away. Put in uncomfortably close to their faces while they’re talking.”
Ray and Tony leaves. That means that I’m going to have to produce the afternoon show. Harlow takes his seat and, behind the window, I try to get Facebook Live working. I realize that I haven’t sat in the video producer’s chair in a long time. I can’t figure out the stretch ratios and I can’t find the output settings. Eventually, I get the whole thing working about halfway through the show.
4:20pm – The office phone line rings.
“Open the door. I’m sweating my ass off out here.”
So I go to the door. No person. No next guest. Ken Davidson is standing there. “I think that my next guest, Michael Ball, is at the old studio.”
I think he’s right. This happens from time to time. The old studio is seven blocks away. It shouldn’t take him too long to drive down to the new studio, although there are a ton of big trucks on the Boulevard and it’s backed up for blocks.
4:50pm – I finally arrive home. I take off my button-down, put on a tee shirt, and go and start the weedwhacker. I haven’t touched my lawn in ten days. It’s shabby.
I weedwhack the front and start mowing it. I look up. Brian Beatty, my former neighbor, is sitting in his Chevy Volt.
“It has 177,000 miles on it and I’ve only used 550 gallons of gas,” Beatty tells me. He’s a little like that with numbers and figures, and I guess I must be a little like that too if I remember it so clearly.
Beatty and his dad own Beatty Machining, a machine shop and scrap hauler in Hammond.
“We just celebrated our 100th anniversary,” Beatty says. “It took a lot to stay around that long.”
No shit. Beatty agrees to come on and do a “JED in the Money” segment to talk about the first 100 years. I resume mowing.
5:30pm - Alexis pulls up. “I’m hungry. Let’s go to eat.”
I mow the rest of the front lawn in a hurry. Alexis and I go to Theo’s, a longtime client. Pete, the owner, and his wife, Athena, come by the table. They’re relatively new newlyweds. For the past five years or so, Pete and his dad – Theo – have been buying advertising with us. Pete won’t come on to do a “JED in the Money” segment. Until today. He said, finally, that he’d do it.
“Debbie will call you and set up a time.” That’s two pretty good interviewees for “JED in the Money.”
6pm – A waiter comes up to the table at Theo’s.
“Someone would like to buy the two of you a drink,” the waiter says.
“How many of them are there?” I aks.
“There’s four of them.”
“Great. Then we get two drinks and then I gotta turn around and buy four. What a deal.”
“Are you Dedelow?” the waiter asks. He’s young, 25 maybe.
“I see you all the time on Facebook.”
Bingo. Next thing you know, Alexis and I are laying on the mattress watching Billy Bob Thornton in “Goliath.” It’s an Amazon series and it’s really good. Here’s another couple predictions.
Bye for now. See you on the radio in a few hours.