It's Sunday morning at 8am and in a few minutes Alexis and I are set to drive to Orland Mall and, hopefully, finish the bulk of our Christmas shopping. It's not like the old days. Our kids are 35, 23 and 20. We buy things like GNC gift cards and trendy sweaters, makeup and airplane tickets. Today we're looking for a backpack that could stand up to the fashion fancies and packed trains of New York City, where one of my daughters now lives. One day she's waking up every morning in the bed that I'm now sitting on to blog to the three or four of you. Next thing you know she's standing on a train holding the plastic strap above her head to keep from falling into the overflow crowd on the train from Long Island City to Manhattan. Go figure.
So I started to tell you last night about my business philosophy. And I'm guessing that you figured out the same thing that my good buddy Billy Baker figured out a long time ago. Billy comes on the air with me every Monday morning and we laugh for a while and then he goes to his job in Porter County and I continue to talk on the radio. We met when we were eight years old and have pretty much stayed in contact and hung out ever since.
Eleven years ago, Billy and I bought the local community newspaper together and worked like hell to try to make that 85,000-circ paper work. We couldn't. After a few years we just walked away. We lost a shitload of money and a ton of sweat non-equity hours on that one.
Anyways, Baker says that I don't run a business. He says that I'm still basically trading. And he's probably right. If I spent all of my time on simply running the radio station and squeezing all of the money I could out of that, then we'd probably be way ahead of where we are. Simple truth. Alexis and I run the radio station, mostly at my urging, as if we're waiting for something. We don't go out and sell radio ads per se. We wait for the business to come to us. That's ludicrous, I know. But by not using up a ton of resources on backslapping and phone calling and emailing and prompting... that leaves me time to build other business ideas that we can wait on to see if they ultimately can work out.
Maybe it makes sense. Maybe it doesn't. Maybe, when the children or grandchildren of the three or four of you grow up enough to read this, I'll be destitute and living under a bridge like old Martin Piniak in East Chicago. Martin lived under a bridge near my aunts' and uncles' houses in Roxana and Frogsville, poor parts of EC and Hammond. For some reason he dropped outta the race and lived under a bridge. Maybe my act and wait strategy will ultimately lead me to live under a bridge not too far from where Martin lived and not too far from where our 400-foot tower now stands in the frigid temperatures.
Or maybe one or maybe even two of my cockamaymee ideas will pan out and we'll wind up with a summer home in Culver, an apartment in Manhattan so that we could go there to see the grandkids that have not yet been produced. Who knows. For now, though, understand that I agree with Billy Baker, but don't anyone tell him. He's my friend and all but he's kind of a dick and if he knew that I thought he was right after all, he'd use it for fodder to laugh at me at the brass rails of the Calumet Region. I'm not sure I could stomach that.
For today in radio, after we fight the crowds, I gotta figure out something to put on for Christmas Eve and Christmas. For the past 10 years, we've kind of half-assed it with random Christmas songs. One year, Dave Innes and Stew and some other folks did a really cool Santa tracking segment on Christmas Eve and I'd like to find that tape and play it. That takes time. I could either eat chips and watch the Bears game at a brewery near Orland Mall. Or search for tape and edit it. You choose.
And then I should probably prepare just a little for the show this week. Don't tell anyone, but I do prepare. It's supposed to sound like I'm this bumbling Region guy who happened to stumble in to a radio studio to do a show. I'm supposed to be that guy on campus who didn't study at all but showed up and got an A on the test. But it's just a facade. I read a ton of crap over the weekends and watch a ton of news shows... and then I put it all together on Sunday night by just listening to my wife about what I should talk about. She's a bit of a news junkie and she could smell bullshit from around the corner, so if she's not around to point me in the right direction I could very well step in someone's bullshit.
Time to shop.