Last night during a rare dinner with my daughters and wife, I got a foreboding text from longtime WJOB head Mark - JED, you need to go to bed early.. In a.m. you got cold, wind chill -20, icy roads. Kids back to school so school delays? Big snow Monday night too.
So there. It was a slippery drive back from Chicago and then a wakeful sleep thinking of all of the challenges we'll face this morning on the radio. It's -1 out right now with a wind chill of about 20 below, just as Mark predicted. I haven't checked my email yet this morning but no doubt a superintendent out there somewhere is gonna start school at least two hours late.
We could talk about school closings. It's really what WJOB used to be known for. Kids and parents would huddle around their radios listening for their school to be listed as one that's closed due to weather. Sometimes it's a really long list and you have to pay close attention in case your school got read and you didn't hear it.
Jeff, Brian, shut up, I'm listening to this, I said more than once hunched over the stereo in the entryway of our home. Goddamit, shut up, I said also as I wrestled them to the ground and made them be quiet. A decent radio host, yes. A good big brother, not really.
Anyways, that tradition still plays out around the Calumet Region, although I don't know why. I accept fully that most parents and students have email and that nearly every school sends out an email alert that they're gonna close or delay school. Many send out text alerts to the numbers on file. Then there's the school district website, which kids wake in the middle of the night to check all night, and there's school closing websites that list all the closings.
So even though I still give the school closings, it eats a little bit of my heart away every time someone says to me - Oh, WJOB, school closings. I remember those.
More than once I wanted to tell that person, no doubt smiling and thinking that they're somehow ingratiating themselves to me - Go ---- yourself. But I don't. Tell that to one person and they'll tell ten more and you do that enough and you won't have enough people left to listen so that you can continue the slow, sweet death of local radio.
By the way, it's 4:30am and Mark just texted me - 80/94 east to I-65 south has slick spots... all ramps are slick. Broadway south to Summit Street is slick and drifting. So there. Good morning. Welcome back from Christmas vacation.