Numbers won’t leave me alone.
55 – That’s how old I am. Every once in a while you look at how many years you lived and you realize how much time you wasted. Radio is not included in this calculation because radio is good and pure and beautiful. I believe this. It’s why I live this life of local radio and write a blog for the three or four of you.
2 million – That’s how many Facebook Live views we’ve gotten since we started doing the live video 14 months ago or so. Today we had about 15,000 views. We Facebook Lived a press conference about a Hammond youth who may have raped two women and killed another. In the latter, a six-year-old kid found the mom in the kitchen stabbed multiple times.
2 – That’s how many younger siblings that the six-year-old has. After the murder of their mom, all three children went into the Department of Child Services. I do not know if they are still there.
15 – That’s how old the juvenile is who is the suspect in the rapes and maybe the murder.
3 – That’s how many years it’ll take me to finish my MBA at Purdue Northwest. I had a three-hour class tonight on gross profit margins and cash flows. The three or four of you might think that accounting would be boring for me, But that is not the case. With every figure that Professor Pogach puts on the dry erase board, I am reminded that I don’t know shit about running a business the right way. I am ashamed at how I have missed opportunities because I am sloppy and lazy. It’s never too late, I suppose, but see the first number that I produced for you this evening – 55 – and your opinion of this adage may change.
6 – That’s the percent of time spent listening to terrestrial radio that is lost each year. That’s a lot less time that people spend listening to the radio on average across America. The number is not as negative for local radio. We still rock. And for some local radio stations – I’m hoping that WJOB is included in this group – the number is actually positive, which means we’re gaining listeners. This may be the case for us in that after a bunch of years trying to get the right mix of people associated with the station, we just may have something. Besides, we just bought an FM station and if you put the listenership of the two together we most likely have more listeners than we did five years ago. Perhaps a lot more.
Still, radio as a whole in America is dying. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be a way to turn it around. It’s just that the trend is working against us and no matter how adeptly we navigate the undertows and rip tides, radio is still a dangerous thing. It’s dangerous because we lose listeners. It’s also dangerous in that there could be some amazing opportunities to buy up radio stations. Something can happen here. Radio can be used for something other than what it is currently being used for. I don’t know what that is, but I can feel that the answer is out there.
22 – That’s the number that I wore in high school in football, basketball and baseball. Someone found my practice jersey from high school basketball and dropped it off a couple of years ago. I tried to pull it over my head but couldn’t. I was at the time quite a bit heavier than I was as a high school point guard.
50 – That’s how many pounds heavier I was than when I played shortstop for Mike Niksic. Not anymore though.
10 – That’s the percent of battery left on my laptop before it konks out and I lose all of what I just wrote. It’s really not that big of a deal if these words are lost. It’s just that no one likes to be held captive by a battery.
692 – That’s how many words I’ve written so far.
38 – That’s how many years I’ve been keeping a journal.
200 – That’s how many people lived in Barrington Hall just off the campus of UC Berkeley when I was there.
3. – That’s approximately how many years I lived at Barrington Hall. Look it up on the internet. It was a crazy place with almost no rules and a ton of drugs and naked people. I miss it sometimes, but for the most part I’d be dead if I hung around there too long. Barrington Hall was like that. It could swallow you up if you stayed too long.
3.5 – That was my grade point average at Berkeley.
76 – That’s how many trombones are in the big parade.
14 trillion – That’s roughly the national debt.
12 – That’s how many eggs come in a carton.
65 – That’s the degrees right now outside.
18 – That’s how many years I traded at the Chicago Board of Trade, which doesn’t exist anymore.
5 – That’s how many guys I knew or kind of knew who killed themselves or more or less killed themselves after they left the Board of Trade.
13 – That’s how many years I’ve been out of the Board of Trade. And that’s how many years after the Board of Trade that it took me to enroll in an accounting course. I am back with numbers. I turned my back on them for a long time. For 18 years at the Board of Trade I thought in numbers. I dreamt in numbers. I spoke in numbers. I babbled numbers in the middle of the night. Alexis would shake me – “Be quiet. You keep mumbling numbers. Go to sleep.”
But I was sleeping. I was sleeping with numbers. There were spreads to be counted and positions to be reconciled. There were trading cards with numbers on them and newsletters with charts and ratios. If you stood in the pit and looked around, all that you would see on every wall in their flashing, changing glory was numbers. Numbers, numbers everywhere, and not a drop to drink.
Numbers won’t leave me alone.
12:22 – That’s the time in the morning. I have to do a radio show soon.
5 – That’s how many hours before I start talking again.
4 – That’s how many hours I have to sleep.
3 – That’s how many hours I slept last night.
1 – That’s how many people are on the couch with me right now. Me, and only me, unless of course we count the three or four of you who come along for the ride for a Another Thousand Words about My Radio Life. In that case, it would make four or five of us here on the couch.
1 – And one dog. Abby’s not technically on the couch since she’s on the floor at my feet, but she’s so peaceful right now that we’ll count her anyways. I wonder if dogs dream in numbers. Do they even conceive of numbers? Do they count how many little pieces of dog food that they eat? How many times a day they pee? How many naps they take? How many people they sniff? How many leaves there are on the tree just outside the sliding glass door?
You never know. Dogs could be serial counters. They could count everything and we would never know. That’s because they can’t talk. Warren Buffet says that accounting is the language of business, and if you don’t know the language, then maybe you shouldn’t be in business.
30 – That’s how many years ago I wish I would have heard what Warren Buffet had to say. Good night, the three or four of you. I hope you sleep well and that the numbers leave you alone.