Noon on Saturday.
Has this ever happened to the three or four of you?
You write a good thousand words of your blog… it’s really funny and insightful and tells a little about your American life and a lot about your radio life… and then when you press “Post”…
Nothing. The screen goes blank. You do all of the things that a nerdie tech type would do to try to retrieve the masterpiece of a blog entry that you just produced… but to no avail. Chalk it up to one less bit of genius in the blogosphere.
My initial inclination is to leave the bed where I am resting on a Saturday afternoon and take a shower and “get busy.” But that’s not the answer. I have done this a good dozen times. I write a great blog entry for the three or four of you, then, near the end of it, I try to cut and paste a passage – and the screen goes blank. No blog for you.
The easy way would be to say “F--- it” and go see what Alexis is doing. We have an empty house right now. It’s a kinda big house. You can buy a lot of house in the Midwest, especially in Indiana, for a three hunnerd grand or so. I’m in the bedroom at the southeast corner of the second floor – our bedroom – and she’s down in the TV room on the first floor walking the treadmill. This is what empty nester couples do on a Saturday afternoon.
Yesterday we held a little party for our daughter’s 21st birthday. They’re all gone now. It is quiet.
Here’s something Alexis pointed out to me at breakfast this morning. It’s from the Times of Northwest Indiana. I’m gonna try to post it again to my blog. If I lose all the words again, I promise to throw this MacBook Pro against the window just to see if it will break through and fall to the concrete patio below.
PBS affiliate cancels 'Lakeshore Report' after 25 years
The headline of the article copy and pasted okay. Let’s try the body of the article.
MERRILLVILLE – Most Northwest Indiana residents get their local television news from Chicago stations, and now that's the only alternative.
After 25 years, Merrillville-based Lakeshore Public Media is going to stop doing local television news reporting. The PBS affiliate will suspend its "Lakeshore Report," which went from being a nightly show to a weekly program in 2014, after Friday's broadcast.
"We have experienced challenges over the last few years with staff departures and loss of funding that have led us to make a very difficult decision," Matt Franklin, vice president of TV operations for Lakeshore Public Media, said. "We have always been proud that we have been able to produce local news, but it is a real challenge in a public broadcasting environment. That’s why fewer than 10 public television stations across the country are doing it."
Lakeshore will continue to provide local content, but mainly in the form of public affairs-type talk shows since timely news reporting is expensive, Franklin said. "Lakeshore Report" staff will be transferred to other parts of the station, and there will be no layoffs.
"Public media in general is facing a number of challenges," Lakeshore President and CEO James Muhammad said. "Nevertheless, Lakeshore continues to provide regular news coverage on radio and solid public affairs programming on television."
I don’t know how I could be surprised that copying and pasting something from the Times would make my blog entry go away. It’s karma, really. For a good five years, I wrote Sports articles for the Times – for free. Why free? If they paid you as a part-timer, then for some work rule reason you couldn’t come to the Times newsroom on 45th in Munster and do your work from there.
And what I really wanted to do by writing articles for The Times was work in the newsroom. I like newsrooms. They’re busy and full of importance. Besides, you can learn a lot in them that you can take to your own media enterprise, should you ever be in a position to buy one.
I shouldn’t really have been surprised, then, when Alexis and I bought the local radio station – WJOB – from bankruptcy and vowed to bring it back to prominence on the local media scene. That must have been seen as a threat and competition by the recently-departed Bill Nangle of the Times… so he sent reporters out to do what amounted to really negative articles about me and Alexis.
Just part of the game, that’s all. I accepted it then and I accept it now. My wife didn’t accept it nearly as well at the time, but she understands the game better now.
“What does The Times mean in this article – ‘the only local alternative?’ They’re forgetting about radio,” she said.
That may not sound like progress, but, believe me, it is.
Anyways, as far as the Lakeshore Report out of Merrillville, which is in our coverage area here in northwest Indiana, I’ve always wondered – how in the hell can they support this comprehensive and no doubt very expensive newscast every night?
The answer is in – they can’t any longer.
As far as I can tell, Lakeshore public media has gotten at least two really big cash infusions over the years.
One – they sold channel 50 years ago to a group out of Chicago for, say, around a million dollars. That gave the local group some dough to work with. I’m not sure how this all shook out, but in the end a ton of money came to public media around here. (I also remember a news story that the people who bought that Channel 50 ultimately sold it years later for, like, 120 million.)
Two – Lakeshore is reported to have sold their huge tower in the south end of Lake County for, like, two million dollars. That may be part of the money used to buy a local radio station to bring in to the fold. The challenge is, if I remember it right, that Lakeshore had to rent back the tower for, like, 10 or 20 grand a month to continue broadcasting.
Now don’t hold me to any of the specifics above… just know that at some point Lakeshore got some pretty good cash infusions. So what does the end of the Lakeshore Report mean for local media?
I really don’t know. There’s probably an opportunity for me to do some sort of nightly report to talk about what happened throughout the day in northwest Indiana and the south suburbs of Chicago. Not a newscast, per se… more of me just babbling on about things. We could do it in video or radio or both.
But just writing about this opportunity in this Microsoft Word program (I’m a little paranoid about writing directly into the blog. I will try, if there’s not too much questionable karma hanging around, to cut and paste this Word-based entry into the blog later)… Just writing it down that I would have to come back to the station every day to do more radio or video – after doing four hours of radio in the morning – it’s making me irritated just thinking about it.
Nope. That’s not it. The JED Report was born and died in the space of one rather meandering blog entry that due to all the questionable karma out there may or may not make it to the world wide web. There’s something else out there for me. I can feel it. I don’t know what it is, but I sense that it is there. I’m just waiting for the little birdie to appear on my shoulder and tell me what it is.
… Also, I’m really glad to read in the above article that none of the people associated with Lakeshore Report were fired. A lot of people have left over the years as the Report got smaller and smaller, but there’s still good people left and I wish all of you the best.
How’s that for patching up karma?
And as far as blogging about the late Bill Nangle taking a shot at me when I left The Times part-time to rebuild WJOB… I expected nothing less from Bill. That’s how the game works. Also, he would expect nothing less from me than to say it exactly how I feel the reality of it.
That leaves the question – what is the best for northwest Indiana and the south side of Chicago? And, further, how can you make money off what is best for the community?
That’s a lot of irony to deal with on a Saturday afternoon. I’ll leave you with a little ditty from last night’s shindig filled with pork tacos, guacamole, beans with chorizo, rice, homemade salsa and a three-layered masterpiece by Cakes by Karen.
Here’s the punchline first – “Take it easy on her?”
My brother-in-law Mark has two daughters, Maddie a freshman, and Annie in eighth grade. Boys are starting to notice that he has two daughters, and that’s causing ole Mark a whole lot of frustration and consternation.
So he came up with a plan. It’s two pronged. 1. Exact strict discipline on his daughters, especially when it come to boys. 2. Heap a healthy dose of intimidation on any boy who might be brave enough to come around.
As far as strictness goes, a couple weeks ago ole Mark grounded freshman Maddie for staying out with some boys past a clearly-defined curfew point. Never mind that Maddie wound up spending the weekend with Alexis and me, and we let Maddie go wherever the hell she wanted. Mark did his job by attempting to exact discipline. That’s all that America asks of a bewildered father in the 21st century.
As far as intimidation goes, Mark has enlisted the aid of his youngest – 8-year-old Jack - who is one of the three coolest people on Earth. So we’re all standing around the island in our kitchen:
Jackie, the birthday girl.
Kusiak – the radio loudmouth.
Lisa – his wife.
Steve – my once wild stepson turned docile father figure.
And a bunch of other hangers on…
Mark decides to relate to all of us how he initiates The Intimidation Game.
“Jack, tell everyone what you do when a boy comes over to see Maddie. You sit on the couch and what is it that you whisper into his ear?”
Little Jack scrunched his face, turned his head. He couldn’t remember what it was that he was supposed to whisper to the would-be suitors of his older sister. We all looked and waited.
“Come on, Jack, tell everyone,” Mark said.
“Take it easy on her?”
That, of course, drew general guffaws from the Mexicans and Pollacks hanging around the guacamole… except for Jack, 8, and Alan, 12. They stood there with questioning looks, trying like hell to figure out why it would be funny to tell a would-be boyfriend to take it easy on Maddie. Maybe when they’re older they’ll join the three or four of you and read this blog. Maybe then they’ll understand.
“No, Jack, you’re supposed to tell them this – ‘My dad isn’t afraid to go to prison. AGAIN.”
That’s 1917 words. That should be enough about My American, Radio Life for today. Let’s see if it posts. 1935 now. 1937.