There’s a certain peace about riding your bike at 5am this time of year. Sunrise starting, birds chirping, no traffic. Leave me alone, world, and we’ll all be better off.
5:25am – I ride around the old Woodmar Country Club property where Cabelas and WalMart are now. I stop by the big pond to watch the ducks. One duck, presumably a mama, waddles between me and some smaller ducks. She opens her beak and lets fly a hiss like a rattlesnake. There is aggression everywhere, even with ducks.
6:15am – Tony Veneziano calls the show. Remember him? Tony was one of our first radio employees when we bought WJOB in 2004. He was a graduate communications student at Purdue when he came in looking for a sports job.
“Okay,” I told him. “Put together a sports update. Use this computer.”
And Tony did just as he was told. He wrote up a sports update. “Okay, I’m done. Where do you want me to record it?”
“Record it? You’re live in 30 seconds.”
He passed the test and worked for us for three years. He was into auto racing. He started a racing show and was able to get Mario Andretti, Danica Patrick, Jeff Gordon and other big names to call in for interviews. One day Tony got a job with the Dirt racing series in promotions and public relations, and he’s not looked back since.
6:30am – Andrean baseball coach Dave Pishkur comes into the studio. He has 942 wins as a baseball coach. We talk about Andrean’s season in the Northwest Crossroads Conference (11-1, losing only to Highland) and we talked about his many alum who are playing in college and the pros – Nick Podkul’s the leadoff man for Notre Dame. Sean Manaiea is a starting pitcher for the Oakland A’s.
“How long you been at Andrean?”
“Still got the passion.”
“You betcha. I think I can go at least five or six more years.”
7am – Dave Kusiak comes in. Kooz grew up around the corner from me behind Munster Lanes. He hosts for me sometimes when I’m gone.
“You guys are way ahead of your time,” Kooz says. “I was driving in and I switched to a Chicago radio station, and they were bragging about streaming video on Facebook Live. You had that a year ago.
“Plus, they were having all sorts of technical difficulties.”
I don’t laugh at “technical difficulties.” As the three or four you know, when we started doing Facebook Live a year ago, we had all sorts of Facebook Live video problems. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t.
Kooz was in the studio to announce that on Wednesday at 8:05am on the show that he buys, he’s set to have “Puerto Rican Frankie” on. And PRF is gonna tell his life story.
This doesn’t sound like a big deal, a guy telling his life story, unless of course you remember who Puerto Rican Frankie is. He came from Puerto Rico in 1954 and eventually turned into some sort of gangster. He spent time in federal prison for running numbers, and he beat federal prosecutors by taking his case to the supreme court.
There’s a story to tell, if PRF wants to tell it. Let’s see if it happens.
7:20am – Billy Baker comes in. We talk about stuff. That’s what we do. As with Kusiak, I’ve known Baker for 40 years. For much of the time, we make fun of each other.
“You’re retired,” Baker says. “Get a real job.”
He’s got a point. It is time to approach radio like it’s a real job. And that’s what I did today.
9:30am – Monday is Marketing Day. Here’s who attends.
Debbie Wargo – WJOB station manager
Ryan Walsh – WJOB sports director (Indiana grad)
Sam Michel – host and sports announcer and producer (Purdue Northwest grad)
Jimmy Mullaney – Mr. Everything (2017 PNW grad)
Ben Wood – broadcasting student at IU Bloomington
Caren DeCeris – Marketing major, 2017 PNW grad
Me – head loafer
If the three or four of you can remember, a couple weeks ago, I got all of them in a room and we outlined a course for the summer.
“It’s a process,” Ben Wood said today. “It seems like it takes a while to do these things.”
That is correct. It is taking a while to get organized. We have audio files all over the place on dozens of computers. And we don’t update the website in a timely manner and our hundreds of Facebook Live videos are not in any kind of order. We worked on that today.
And as far as making WJOB sound better… what we’re talking about is in the off time when there is not live programming. Since we have all of these podcasts and flashbacks all over the place, the files don’t make it onto the air in an organized manner. We’ll change that over the summer. You watch.
But the one thing that the three or four of you may notice most over the summer is that we begin to market ourselves. And that started today.
In the video above, I gave everyone an assignment to take a half hour and write a 30-second spot that we could play on the radio. This is the beginning of marketing – use our assets such as AM 1230 WJOB and 104.7 FM and the Facebook Live feed to promote WJOB advertising. We don’t do that now. We should.
So we did a Facebook Live video of all of us reading our spots. And they came up with some really good ideas.
Ben had looked up how many views a week we’re getting in Facebook Live video and it’s about 45,000. That’s a lot.
Caren came up with “we do video like no one else can.”
Jimmy Mullaney came up with something like – we’ve always been the voice of the Region. Now we’re also the face of the Region.
Sam came up with a similar message to that of Jimmy, in a clever way.
The only ones who didn’t really come up with anything new were me, Debbie and Ryan. The three of us veterans wrote solid spots, but we didn’t look at our offerings in a new way. That’s what I was looking for in this drill – something new and fresh and sometimes it has to come from people who haven’t been doing radio for a long time.
1:15pm – I ride my bike home – against the wind. Start typing. For no special reason, I write a poem.
Sitting on the porch eating a pear,
Wondering if she’ll come,
When, and from where.
I’d like to think
I’ll see some pink
But that’s not up to me.
When there’s stuff to think about,
I think about it.
But of all the thoughts I’ve
the crook of her arm haunts
It was safe there,
at least for a while.