9:22am on Wednesday. I’m not usually talking to the three or four of you at this point in the middle of the week.
Normally at this time on a Wednesday, I would have just finished the morning show and there would be people filtering in to the WJOB studios from the Purdue Center. Our morning crew would all be there – Me, Ryan, Sam, Jimmy Mullaney, Debbie, maybe even Christina. We’d be talking about the streaming live video and how to make it better or, if my sister Jennifer was there, I’d be arguing with her about if I could buy a new gadget for a couple grand.
Jen runs the money. Debbie runs the office. Alexis rules. I’m surrounded by women telling me what to do.
Add another one to the list – Christina. I didn’t do the radio show this morning because I don’t have a voice. I didn’t have a voice yesterday but I did the show anyways. That was a mess. By the end of the show, several people texted in stuff like –
Put this guy out of his misery.
You sound like someone’s standing on your throat.
I’m pretty sure the three or four of you who read this blog would never say something like that to me. Neither would Gloria, a longtime caller who used to have her own shows on WLTH back in the day.
GLORIA - Now you cannot play golf in winter, Delo. Plus wear winter clothes. Remember, you are not Trump. Do the running at the club in this weather. Also, start your day later.
ME – How can I start later? I do a morning show.
GLORIA – Put that young man I hear last week. And you start at 7am.
Hmmm… now you would think that a cantankerous old woman texting me from her living room in Gary might not have that much wisdom to bestow on me, the morning talk show host for the most popular radio station in northwest Indiana. But the three or four of you would be wrong.
Gloria understands what waking up at 4am day after day does to you. I’ve read biographies by radio hosts and morning newspeople who, after a while, switch to the afternoons for one main reason – it’s just so freaking hard to wake up in the middle of the night… over and over again. After a while, you’re just tired. And you get sick a lot.
Now I’ve basically been waking up between 4am and 5am for my whole worklife. I started at the Board of Trade in 1987 and worked there until 2004, waking up about 4:40 am every day.
Since 2007, I’ve been hosting the morning show at WJOB, waking up at 4:22 every morning. For three years - 2004-07 - when I bought and served as publisher of the local weekly newspaper, I could sleep in until 7am or so. That was heaven, although it wasn’t heaven to lose money every day. After three years, I closed the paper and went over to the radio side… and that has made all the difference.
The one thing that motivates me to continue to wake up at 4:22 every morning is the chance to do the morning show. It really is a quirky, rugged crowd. The callers come up with some of the craziest and sometimes poignant stuff. When I meet someone in the canned goods aisle at Strack’s who listens to the show, they always have this one or maybe two things that they want to point out.
“I really hate that one caller, Walt.”
Or, “How do you muster up the patience? I’d tell them to go to hell, especially the ones who attack you.”
I don’t usually have an answer for these people in the canned goods aisle. Part of the reason is that a sojurn into the canned tomatoes aisle is a real heartstopper for me. I’m more than slightly dysylexic, and I can never remember if I’m supposed to get Contadina diced tomatoes or Red Gold. And am I supposed to get it with Italian herbs or not? It’s just a quirky thing, I suppose, but going to the store without a written list really is a stressful thing for a dysylexic.
You can actually come back home with exactly the opposite of all of the things that your wife tells you to buy. Like this – “JED, don’t forget to buy the thinly sliced chicken breast, not the thick ones.”
So when you’re standing over the freezer at Strack’s, your criss-crossed mind thinks – “Hmmm, am I supposed to remember to get the thick cut chicken breast or the ones that are thinly sliced? I can’t remember.”
You see, if Alexis had only mentioned the thinly cut chicken breast, I’d probably be okay. I’d only have that one thought in my head. But if she even mentions NOT to buy the thick ones, then I have a problem. For some reason, unless I’m paying really close attention, both the thinly cut and the thickly cut get equal footing in my brain. The do and the don’t become equals, and there I stand trying to remember whether to buy the Contadina or Red Gold diced tomatoes… and whether to get them with Italian herbs or not.
I don’t expect this to make any sense, other than to help explain sometimes why it’s not that hard for me to take in widely disparate arguments on the morning show… and why, when standing in the pits, I could fairly quickly come up with the computations in my head to give both sides of a complicated across-month spread.
When someone calls in and gives side A to an argument… and then someone calls in and gives side B… and both are fairly cogent in their musings, my mind takes both and puts them on equal footing. In this way, I can detach from an argument and let people have their say. It’s not a talent, really, it’s just something that comes easy.
The same thing happened in the pits. A broker would come in and ask for a bid and ask on a spread that involved two different futures over three months, and I’d say – “Minus 5, minus 2,” often before anyone else.
What that means is that I’ll buy the spread at minus five and I’ll sell it at minus two. It’s often important to be first in quoting a spread because, if it’s a rather small order, the broker will give it all to you.
“Okay, JED, I’ll buy a hunnerd at minus two.” And then no one else would get any. Boo hoo.
It could also become a curse to be first in that if the broker has a large order, he could buy 100 from you at minus two, and then keep buying at higher prices. You gotta use your judgment about whether to use your judgment sometimes.
This should be enough for today. I’m sitting on the bed writing 1194 words to you by now. Alexis has left for her law day, and I’m supposed to stay home and rest my voice, which doesn’t exist right now. But now that she’s gone, I’m gonna make my way over to the studio to work on a couple of technical things.
First, Christina and I have been working on a way to stream video to Facebook, YouTube and twitter at the same time… and we’re really close. Christina’s there now and I’m following her on the three social media sites. If there’s any other pioneers in this field, I can tell you that if you’re having problems, look to the frames per second as the culprit… or where the audio routes.
Also, Jean Keslin our web designer and I have been looking at using a new theme on wjob1230.com. She and I have been emailing back and forth for a good 24 hours now and we’re almost done redesigning the site. It would no doubt go a lot smoother if I’d just get out of the way and let Jean do it, but the woes of a disylexic micromanager cannot be understated.
Doesn’t sound much like radio, does it? Streaming media, bit rates, frames per second, third party apps, headers, html code, etc. But that’s the point, really. Don’t the three or four of you get it?
Radio is changing. That’s the part I want to catch with these ridiculous blog entries for the three or four of you. When I started out writing this a couple years ago, I was a local radio guy just like local radio guys 40 years ago. Now, I’m a local radio guy in transition to computer radio guy. Who the hell knows where we’ll be in five years?
Hopefully by then I’ll be done writing this blog… and waking up at 4:22 in the morning. 1500 words. That oughta be enough for the three or four of you.