2:46pm on a Friday afternoon at the studio
There is a certain peace that you get being at a radio station when no one else is here and the network programming is running. There is, however, havoc ouside the four windows in that the state of Indiana is repaving US41/Indianapolis Boulevard. Traffic is backed up at least a mile from the Borman in both directions. Here I am in relative tranquility typing away in a radio station... and a couple dozen feet away there are people caught in traffic. You can see the strain on their faces as they watch the paver go by. This massive road is down to one lane and if you ask me - it's a good thing.
Why? Because in the end, this isn't gonna be known so much as Indianapolis Boulevard as it is going to be known as "Silicon Boulevard." I'm sitting in the emptiness of a modern radio station... but I'm also sitting a few feet from the emptiness of the Purdue Commercialization Center. It's an expansive space that will someday be full of startup companies and their poorly-dressed entrepreneurs who are gonna change the world. You watch, you wait. If I have anything to say about it, we are gonna change the Region world.
But not today. Today I'm the radio station owner stopping by the new studios bkz everyone else is gone. Debbie Wargo is out. Ryan is home resting to produce and host from the studio Friday night high school football, and my sister Jennifer already stopped by to see if we got any checks. It was left to me or me and Alexis to stop by and check on things. So here I am... radio station owner checking on things. Looks good to me. Time soon to fight the traffic in front of the Purdue Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center on what will someday be known as "Silicon Boulevard."
Laugh if you want to. That's what a lotta people did when we bought this iconic radio station out of bankruptcy. We've been doing it 11 and a half years and still going... strong? Yeah, I guess kinda strong, but we're in a declining industry. It's pretty much why I keep this rambling blog. I want to chronicle what very well may be the death of radio for you. I didn't do it when I endured "the death of pit trading" and I don't want to miss another chance to chronicle a death.
Speaking of death... what will the rebirth be? The rebirth of radio... or the rebirth of me? Christina Cortez is helping me set up our video equipment so that we can do video of radio. That may certainly be part of the rebirth of radio and the rebirth of me... as a brand, show, personality, talent, blowhard... but it's not all of it. I sense that there is something I'm missing right now... somehow I don't hear the little birdie tapping me on the shoulder with news of my fate. It's out there and will surface. I believe that with all of my heart. It' s the plight of a healthy white man in the 21st century - I believe that it's all gonna work out.
On today's show, I pretty much sucked. It's weird on the first Friday of the month. I only do a two hour and fifteen minute radio show. I say "only" in that sometimes I go four and a half hours. With a longer time slot, you can take your time getting to your rhythm... you can let the radio come to you rather than actively going out there and trying to make something happen because you're on a tight schedule. That's pretty much how it went today.
Nick Meyer told about NIPSCO wanting to raise everyone's rates. And Brett Jennings, the goof of the Jennings clan, promoted a fundraiser tomorrow in Whiting for a coach who passed at 28 years old. Also, I blew up at Mad Mac about what I percieve as a racial slur - "your boy Obama" - and I'm not too proud that I lost my cool for a second but maybe it was good radio and maybe it wasn't. At 7:45am I left and went home and tried to sleep off this cold that Alexis so nicely handed me.
Below is a letter from Dave Ryan, the executive director of the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. Pretty much everyone got what they wanted out of the big Lakeshore business expo. The panel of five experts and me moderating gave everyone their money's worth... although it happened on a beautiful September day and every bone in my slightly overweight body wanted to ride my bike to Crown Point instead of put on a sportcoat. You gotta do it sometimes, but there's a part of me that agrees with one of my childhood chumps Mark Kiernan , who greeted me with, "Faker. Faker."
Yeah, maybe I'm a little bit of a faker, a little bit of Vaudeville, travelling one man show, poet, your feet show it, Longfellow. As you can tell, I'm delaying the ultimate left turn that I'm gonna have to make onto a stop-and-go Indianapolis Boulevard. Maybe I'll just go in the studio and talk for a while. Why?
Because we can.
So I did go on the air for a good bit to tell about the traffic in front of our studio. It's bad. Producer Tony Panek came on with me and said it's backed up from the Borman Expressway (80-94) all the way to the East Chicago train station. What a mess.
This impromptu appearance in the afternoon isn't that unique. I will pop on the air once in a while with a big story. But what is different about it is that it's not that big of a story. Traffic around here at the bottom of Lake Michigan is a pretty routine thing. But what is not routine is me going on the air at irregular intervals.
And I've been thinking about this. What if I just went on the air every once in a while... unannounced... and just start talking about what's going on in the Region in terms of weather and traffic and a little news and sports... and then tell a couple stories about what I've been doing today? Would that even be listenable?
But let's take it a little further. What if I asked some of the loyal listeners to record a little 22 seconds or less ditty on their smartphone about what they're doing... and then just play their stuff along my irregular appearances? Why not? Today is the day it all started. You wouldn't say anything while I was sitting her blogging to you, so I decided to go on the air and just start talking about nonsense in the middle of the day.
Doesn't that kinda sound like Facebook? The Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Vimeo of radio. Hey JED, whatca doin'?