The trick is to wake up and start writing. It doesn't work so much in radio, where you have to put at least some effort in before the show. If you wake up and just start talking, it sounds like the edge of a dream. That's cool for a while, but after a few minutes people know that you just woke up.
The ironic part is that even when I dream, it's about radio. I just woke from a dream in which I'm sitting in a movie with my wife and I'm getting texts the whole show from people at the station. The power in the neighborhood of the old studio is out, which means the transmitters won't work. Dead Air. I walk out of the movie three times to deal with it, missing some of the best parts of an unfolding drama.
Wait. That's not a dream. That was yesterday's reality. Alexis and I went to the movies here in Scottsdale, Arizona. We do that sometimes so we'll have something to talk about on the air. We do it also when it's raining like hell outside, which is what it's been doing here for the better part of two days.
Another irony - we fly out to Phoenix to watch some baseball and it rains like hell, while back at the ranch in the Calumet Region it's 70 degrees and sunny in February. So it goes, as another Hoosier would say. Can you guess who that is?
Radio plods along. We're getting a whole bunch more views on our Facebook Live videos. That's a good thing. And we're getting closer to launching "JEDcast radio" on March 10th. In the meantime, we do local radio. For Thursday and Friday of this week, however, it wasn't me at all on the WJOB morning show as I have been in rainy Phoenix, Arizona.
We flew out on Thursday, which was a good thing because on Friday, the baseball schedule changed. We were walking back from breakfast and I thought - "you know, with all of this rain coming over the weekend, I'd better check to see what the baseball schedule is." And true enough, the people at the Surprise City Stadium moved up the Indiana vs. Oregon State game from 7pm to 10am. And they added a second game at 2pm with Indiana vs. Gonzaga. Yikes. We hightailed across this desert town and got to the first game in the fifth inning.
On Thursday afternoon it was nice here. Alexis and I sat by the pool. And then all day Friday we watched our nephew play baseball for Indiana University. They lost 1-0 to the #6 ranked team in NCAA, the Oregon State Beavers, and they beat Gonzaga 12-3. It was a long day at the ballpark, but I did get a decent interview with nephew Craig after the game which has 2,700 views on Facebook.
Craig got drafted last year by the Pittsburgh Pirates but decided to come back to IU for his senior year. Good for him. Get a degree. And put on some muscle. He's a 6-4 outfielder with a gun of an arm and he can hit for power and average. Last year and the year before, he was third team All Big Ten. Now he's a good 15 pounds heavier with some muscle on him. I'm pretty sure that'll help.
Craig didn't dazzle at the plate like he did last year in his first game when he went 4 for 5 with a bunch of RBIs. As a matter of fact, in IU's 1-0 loss to Oregon State, no one for IU dazzled at the plate. Oregon State had a pitcher that no doubt will be pitching on TV one day. I forget his name. Craig did make a diving catch in center field in which his whole 6-4 frame was stretched out on the Arizona turf. He's a good fielder, but he's really known for his bat, leading IU at the plate last year. It was a good thing with all of the pro scouts hanging around to make a catch like that.
Also, in the nightcap when he switched over to left field, he backhanded a ball going to the foul pole and turned and pegged a guy out at home from almost 300 feet away. That play was worth the price of admission. It also took the wind out of the sails of a Gonzaga rally. Gonzaga may be rated #1 in college basketball with a record of 28-0, but they're 1-1 in baseball. They beat Duke in a game here in Arizona, but IU was way too much for them.
In a few hours, Alexis and I are set to drive across Phoenix to watch another game. This one's against Gonzaga again. I'm sitting here near a closet in the hotel room trying to type quietly so as not to wake up Alexis. I'm near a window, and, yes, it's still raining like hell. If this were the Midwest, you'd know that you're not gonna play, or watch, baseball today. But this is the American desert. It's all sand out here. And a guy at the bar in Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale yesterday told Alexis and I that it can rain like hell here and an hour later they're playing baseball. That's because it's all sand and the water just rolls off the face of the earth like sweat off a raccoon's ass. The guy was from Amherst, Massachusetts, where he taught middle school for 40 years.
"I came out here in 2013 and didn't even know this place existed. I retired the first day I got back and have lived here ever since."
Good for you, Mr. Teacher. And thanks for preparing the youth of tomorrow.
"JED, can you quit pounding on your computer?" That's what Alexis just said. "I turned on the fan and then my Pandora and I can still hear you pounding hard on your keyboard. Go get 'em, JED, just not so loud."
So I'm trying something new. I draped a towel over the laptop as if I were protecting it from the rain that's five feet away through a window. I don't think it's helping. I type hard, and I walk hard on wooden floors. I talk hard on the radio and chew like a mongrel. That's part of being a man, I suppose, but it's also part Neanderthal, which is how I bumble through life. I eat like an animal, reproduce like an animal, breathe like an animal, and, if you really think about it, do radio like an animal.
What does that mean - do radio like an animal?
There's not a lot of thought put into it. I just pretty much sit down and start talking. Yes, I watch the nightly talk shows and read the local papers and dink around on Facebook and through my email for topics. And I do do things like go to movies and to Phoenix to have things to talk about on the radio. But in the end, it's not altogether different from a desert coyote scavenging for food all day, all night, every day. I sniff and sniff and sniff and eventually pounce in for a kill on some quirky thing I saw or some meaty controversial topic in the news. That's animal radio. And this is animal typing. It's coming to a close so that my wife of 26 years can sleep. After all that time living with a Neanderthal, she deserves it.