It's 2:50 in the morning on a Wednesday. I'm back from Phoenix, Arizona, where Alexis and I watched nephew Craig Dedelow play a ton of baseball for Indiana University. The Hoosiers went 2-2 on the trip, losing to powerhouse Oregon State twice. The two losses were very painful to watch. Both were close games with great pitching on both sides. But IU managed only one run in 18 innings, and that was a solo home run by Craig. A lotta hours watching IU go three up, three down. Oregon State may win it all this year. They're that good.
It's time to ride the bike down to the radio studio and do a radio show. With radio, like any long-term creative activity, you gotta get away from it for a while, if for no other reason that it seems fresh when you return. A constant danger is burnout. I have guarded against it by shortening the time in the morning that I'm on the air. I used to go 5:30am to 10am. That was a grind. Then I shortened it 5:3-9:00. Now it's 5:30 to 8:00 am and that's just about right. Actually, it's a little short to get a real rhythm going. I have to show up ready to hit it hard. In the old days, when I had four-plus hours to talk, I could ease into the show. Not now. It's different.
I want to talk away from Donald Trump and all that is happening at the national level. But it's tough. I know that there's the three or four of you who read my blog, and you guys understand what I'm about to describe. But it may be a little more difficult for those who discover this blog in a few years or a few decades when, you know, they're researching this thing that used to be called "local radio." But it's difficult to describe to future researchers of long-gone "local radio" how completely Donald Trump has captured the attention of people in America.
Every night, there are dozens of television news shows dedicated solely to detailing and analyzing every move of Donald Trump. Sometimes it's something he's tweeted overnight. Sometimes it's a clumsy move in appointing someone to his cabinet. Yesterday, it was a proclamation to beef up our immigration forces to possibly lead to mass deportations of people living in this country illegally.
You hear talk of Trump all day long on the radio, and on podcasts, and at the counter where I stop for breakfast. You hear it in airports, where Alexis and I spent a good deal of time yesterday. I heard a guy say something about Trump in the bathroom to another guy. They were standing at the trough washing their hands. They didn't even know each other but there's this understanding that Trump and the thoughts of what he's doing and saying are at the forefront of what a lot of us are thinking about these days.
I don't have any real comment on the sanity of our president or whether what he's doing is good or bad for this country. But I do know that the constant deluge of information about what he's doing and how it's hurting certain groups and how he's alienating our allies does not set well with at least one person. My wife, Alexis, watches the nightly news shows a lot. She takes in every twist and turn and it seeps into her core. She's worried about the country. And as a husband who's pretty close to his mate, I can see it in the lines of worry on her cheeks and forehead.
"Why don't we take a couple days' break from all the news," I said on the airplane yesterday.
"Okay. But only 'til Thursday."
And then we were walking through Ohare to baggage claim and the TV was on and it told about possible massive deportations of people, mostly Mexican people (and as the three or four of you know, my wife's Mexican).
"There goes getting away from the news for a couple of days," Alexis said, pointing to the latest by Donald Trump.
I have to admit that there's a part of me that likes the constant pound of Trump info and analysis. It's something to come back to. It gets me away from worrying about the minutiae of running a couple of radio stations. There's a certain amount of relaxation that comes with lighting a fire and curling up with my wife of 25 years and watching the Trump show. It's a routine for empty nesters that has its beauty.
I also have to admit that on the radio I fall prey to the topic. A lot of times recently I find myself blabbing about the latest thing Trump has done and what it means. I go on for a while, not taking a side for or against, but analyzing the move and sometimes poking fun at either Trump or his critics. I find it fascinating and so do callers and next thing you know we have a hullabaloo of a show going on and it has nothing to do with what's happening on the streets of of Lake County, Indiana. It has all to do with Trump.
Trump has hijacked local radio.
He's even captured me. I'm the guy who concentrates on things happening in these parts, northwest Indiana and a little about Chicago and the Illinois suburbs. That's what I've talked about since I first did a show in 2004 - local stuff. Now I can't help myself but gravitate to Trump. And so do my callers. I'll be talking about a new business coming to 45th Street in Highland, and a caller will call in:
"You see. Trump's plan is working. The stock market's up. Businesses are expanding. It has all to do with Donald Trump."
And then maybe I'll be talking about the changing ethnic makeup of of Hammond. Maybe some new numbers came out and it shows that the city will soon be 50 percent Hispanic.
"I doubt that will happen with our current president. If he has his way, we'll all be sent back across the border."
You can't get away from it. And that's the part I'd like the future researchers of long-dead local radio to know - that Donald Trump has hijacked local radio. We can't get away from him. He's everywhere.