10:36am Sunday morning. Fathers Day. I get time to sit in bed and think. This doesn't happen very often.
So what I've settled on thinking about is the NOW. Somehow, this whole Periscope video thing, the "teleportation" of humankind, has me thinking about the NOW. And I've come to this conclusion. I want to
COMMIT TO THE NOW.
You may be thinking. What the hell does that mean? Wherever you are, no matter how you got there and where you're going next, that is the now. If you really think about, how could you not commit to the NOW. If you weren't here NOW, you'd be dead.
Good point. But perhaps some further analysis is in order. Periscope video, as brought about by Twitter through acquisition, illustrates the power of NOW. You hit a button on your phone and you instantly stream your NOW to the web. For NOW, only Twitter members can watch you... and only, as far as I can tell, Persicope members can comment on your shit. But it's like this.
Here I am NOW. And here I am on video NOW for the whole world to see.
Welcome to NOW... and only NOW...
... Welcome to NOW... and only NOW. Sure, the video stays up on the Periscope site for 24 hours - so people can see your NOW in delay for that long - but there's no editing out parts of your NOW that you don't want to hang around for 24 hours. And there's not a lot of scheduling beforehand. You pick up your smartphone and your NOW everywhere (for all 3 or 4 viewers to consume).
So since I interviewed Dice Clay 36 hours ago, and he told me in the train wreck of 34 minutes, that his buddy Wheels Parise is doing this Periscope thing.
It's like TV all the time. What's the name of that show, you know, Truman Show... and that other one, Ed. Who starred in that one. Hey, Wheels, who starred in that one, you know.
Matthew McConaghey, I suggested.
Yeah, McConnaghey. Yeah, that one. It's like all TV now and my bestest of friends, Wheels, he's a technical genius, and he's got it all set up for me...
That is, of course, not exactly what Dice said, but it's the gist. If you want exact, listen to the train wreck in my podcasts.
So there. The buzzword of Ed.tv caught my attention. You see, as a local morning radio host and my wife and I own the station and all the crap that happens that you can't make up - I've always thought that the crap would be kinda interesting for people to see and listen to.
But I'm too f@#*ing lazy to set up cameras, lighting, microphones, external disc storage, editing software... and then edit the video, add music, change camera angles... and then process it through Final Cut and then post it and you get the picture. I'll just never do it. Never. That's not me.
I will, however, do things in the NOW. I traded in the NOW... and I do radio in the NOW. Sure, I have to be there at a specific time, and that cuts down a little on the spontaneity inherent in the NOW. But I didn't prepare for trading in the pit, figuring that for every moment I spent looking at a candlestick chart or trying to figure out what the Fed was gonna do, that cut down on my ability to react naturally to the mayhem around me. In a way, the preparing and anticipation and planning for the event actually hurt my performance during, say, the release of an unemployment number.
I know what you're grandparents would be thinking - what a load of crap. Sounds like an excuse to be lazy, to not do your homework, to not plot out a strategy. Maybe. But then again, maybe we live in a different time. Whereas your grandparents got ahead through envisioning a goal and then working hard towards that one goal no matter what... think the 14-hour-a-day cobbler trying to buy a home for his six kids, the guy by the blast furnace who guts out the heat and splashes of fire so that one day his kid will go to college.
I get it. Planning, sticktuitiveness, perseverance, stay the course.
But NOW it' all different. Somehow, it's the NOW that matters. And if you get too caught up in a plan, a vision, a goal... and you come up with a plan, a strategy, a roadmap... and you stick to that plan no matter what, you outwork everyone else in your pursuit of that plan, you embrace that golden rule that your family has held for generations - hard work - then what happens?
Most likely, the world has completely changed by the time you're a third of the way through your plan. And if you can't also commit to being flexible, you'll be left behind.
Anyways, what does all of this have to do with Commit to the NOW?
As Grant Dunlap already told you, I'm a shitty practice player. I kicked ground balls during practice that I would field cleanly during a game. In a real game, I took a curve ball solidly to right field that I would pop up during a practice scrimmage. I get this. This is me. It's not that I'm such a clutch player or anything... I don't know what it is. Perhaps part of it is that if the NOW doesn't really matter all that much, I'm not that interested.
So why not commit to the NOW?
I'm already part of the way there already. Everyone at the station already knows - do not schedule any appointments for me after the show. I want the rest of my day free to create stuff. No appointments. Almost never. That works for me. If I know I have to be somewhere at, say, 2pm... I get anxiety from 9am when I get off the show until the 2pm appointment. Usually it's someone we're trying to sell advertising to. That's a good thing but even with that, if it's a formal appointment... I get a little woozy.
So here's what I already no in the NOW.
Radio. I do a morning show from 5:30am to about 9am on average. Some days I go til ten... on Wednesdays I get off at eight. That's the time I have to be there talking, dancing around a little, making stupid little jokes, interviewing important and/or interesting people (there's usually not too much crossover there), playing spots, reading sponsorships, doing traffic, singing even sometimes. I'm a roving vaudeville act plopped in a chair for on average of about three and a half hours.
Sure, I have to be in that seat - or near it - for 210 minutes. If you consider that it's a daily appointment, then it's not totally living in the NOW. I get that part of it. It's a little bit limiting. If you were going to do radio totally in the NOW, you would just carry a microphone around with you and when the spirit hit you would start talking. That's impractical.
So within the show I try to preserve a rhythm. Not spontaneity, mind you. For if you strive for spontaneity, you lose before you start. I just want rhythm. I do traffic, weather, a little on the markets, a little news, and then I expound free form on stuff and then maybe I take a couple of phone calls and see where that goes and then we go to a commercial break. It's a series of 12-15 minute shows and then commercials.
Within those 15 minute shows, I do try to keep a rhythm... and in a weird way the rhythm sets me free to do radio, as much as possible, in the NOW. Does that make any sense? I don't have any hard breaks throughout the show, and to anyone in radio that's gonna sound weird... or unprofessional. This means that there is no set time for anything. I do traffic when I feel like it, and weather, and read the sponsors when I feel like it (as close to the specified time as possible)... but in a weird way, even though I don't have a traditional radio clock, I still get to all of the stuff IN MY RHYTHM. I rely on me in the NOW to say interesting stuff and to get all the crap done.
Photos. Now I know what you're thinking. Isn't the nature of a photo not in the NOW? Aren't you really just snapping the shutter open and then preserving whatever comes up for posterity? How could that possible be related to the NOW?
Yes. But also consider your process in recording that infinitely-split second forever. Sure, if you have an appointment to take photos of two kids and their parents at your studio for their Christmas card at 1pm, that's not an in-the-now photo, no matter how many Tinker Toys you give the little brats to play with. Or what if I tell producer Ryan to take a photo of every guest walking in. That's a varying appointment.
With photos, then, I do want to preserve what happens in radio for future generations who won't have any idea what terrestrial radio looked like.... but I do it like this. I just keep a Nikon D40 DSL hanging around on the desk, and Ryan can pick up to take some photos or me or even a guest once in a while. And then sometimes I just go walking around taking pictures of random people and places at random times and that's my life, in the NOW. Works for me.
Writing. You'd think that this blog is the only thing I write in a day. Think again. I've been keeping personal journals for 36 years now. Almost all are lost by now, but that it not the point. The point is that in the moment I could sit down and write down what was going on in my life. It's also part of the reason that if you're reading this at all, this blog that nobody reads, that I have some sort of talent in writing out....
Writing out what? Think about it. Writing out what? Why the f@#* would you waste your time reading this at all. Do I give you specific insight about radio? Maybe a little. Am I kinda funny. Sometimes, by accident. Do I bring you a unique perspective of the white American male at the top of the food chain? OK. Is it all the colorful characters around me? OK again.
It may be a little of these. But what I really think it why you're reading this is that I bring you a sense of the NOW. Sure, it's the NOW of my life and not yours, but perhaps there's a few things in here you can relate to and that brings us together for a NOW when I type it out and the NOW when you read it.
But think about it. What would happen if I tried to write down a coherent story that happened in the past. Or I tried to write a historic timeline of our radio adventure. Your left foot and my right wrist would both fall asleep. That's because I don't really have any talent in the reflection and planning and implementation department when it comes to writing. I just have NOW and I'm okay with that, and evidently you are, too. Unless of course you've been assigned this by a journalism teacher in a frayed sport coat. Then this whole thing sucks to you and you just want to get enough out of it to get a decent grade.
Radio, photos, blog, podcasts. Podcasts, yes, podcasts. Try going to a radio conference and stand there for 15 minutes without someone telling you -
Podcasting is the future of radio.
Sure. Podcasting. I am in to podcasting. Just look at my pod bean site. It's not just my podcasts but a bunch of other people's podcasts and for some reason a decent number of your listen to a podcast on the internet. And you listen to the podcasts on the WJOB terrestrial radio signal, too, in that we play the "Region Flashbacks" whenever we don't have a real radio program to go to.
Yes, podcasting. For me, though, all that the podcasting is doing is capturing the NOW of radio. I have tried to schedule a guest or just me to talk to do a podcast... but it just doesn't work. If I'm not live on AM radio it doesn't seem to be real to me. I'm also not the best of tapers of interviews, which is a taped podcast of sort. Somehow I want find a way though this Commit to the Now bullshit I'm coming up with on a Fathers Day morning to do radio podcasts in the NOW. You tell me how to do that.
Radio, photos, blogging, podcasts. Those are the four things your find a lot in this blog. Maybe not in the beginning of this blog... but it's developed into something that begets that most dreadful of terms - a blog that is
And for this reason, I do believe that at least one journalism teacher with coffee breath will someday assign my blog to his or her class to examine the MULTIMEDIA aspect of what I'm doing with my blog. But anyways, the one thing that is missing in this blog on a regular basis is video.
It's not that we haven't tried video. As a matter of fact, I spent a good 200 grand or so in buying servers, software, high speed internet, people to try to stream video directly from our WJOB server room to your smartphone. It actually worked. From, say, 2010 to 12 we streamed on lifestream. And then we built our own lifestream for a couple of years. Our vision was to provide a place for all local radio stations to stream economically and then to aggregate all of their streams so that you could go to one page and there would be
Winter Springs, Florida
A pretty good idea, really, but youtube hijacked that whole ordeal by letting you stream live fer nuttin. And now Periscope does it even better. Easy come, easy go.
I'm also one of the early users of a GoPro. I have one of the original ones. It still works. I got a ton of video of radio shows, bike rides, festivals, interviews, golf rounds, you name it. But it all amounts to, as my Dutch grandmother would say, a hill of beans.
Why? I now realize, after a rather silly late Friday afternoon interview with Andrew Dice Clay that I didn't want to do in the first place - and after a few years of failing miserably at video in general - I realize that I haven't succeeded with decent video because, you guessed, I have yet to
Commit to the NOW
9:47pm. A long day of stuff. I went in to a long soliloquy above about how I don't like appointments. You can throw that out the window, though, when it comes to hanging out with family. They're just kinda fun. Three major appointments on Father's Day.
Noon - Alexis, Jackie and I walked around Wicker Park. That's all I really wanted for Fathers Day. A 2.5 mile walk around the golf course on the walking trail. They did, however, get me a couple of other things for Fathers Day. A waffle iron, which I have asked for repeatedly on the air. And Scrabble. I like to play Scrabble but not on a tablet. When you're done with your move, the computer always tells you what score you could have gotten if you weren't so stupid. You don't need that.
2:30pm - Dinner at Father-in-law's house. The wife's 86-year-old dad was born here, went back to Mexico for his boyhood, and then came back to America and served in the Army, worked 37 years in the mill. A real success story getting kinda old. His uncle used to have a show on WJOB 80 years ago or so, the station's first Spanish language program. Go figure.
6pm - Dinner at sister's house a couple blocks away for my dad and Dr. Foreit on Father's Day. Nephew Al got MVP of a baseball game in Milwaukee and nephew Jack made 8-year-old All Stars. A bunch of the nieces were there with their exploits too. A nice Midwestern hillbillyfest with beef tenderloin, shrimp, salmon, Quinoa salad, and my sister's cheesecake, which is to die for.
That's a full day of family that doesn't include radio. Sometimes you just need a break. Radio will take over your life if you let it. Now it's time to go down and watch the 10 o'clock news. Show in the morning.