I did something today that I haven’t done in a long time. I laid on the couch and fell asleep watching the Cubs.
There is a long history of doing this in my family. I learned it from my dad, who learned it from his dad, who may have learned it from his dad. The latter may have involved radio instead of TV, but the principle is the same.
Here’s what you do. You put the Cubs game on. You pick up the remote and you turn the volume down to where you can barely hear it. You watch a couple of innings.
Right about the first pitching change, you doze off into a reverie of marshmallows and candy canes. Then, when one of the Cubs hits a home run, you wake up to see him come around third and touch home plate. Then you doze off again.
If someone sneaks in the room, pries the remote from your hand, and changes the channel, you snarl – “Hey. What the hell are you doing? I’m watching the Cubs game.”
“The hell you are. You were sleeping.”
“I was not. Kris Bryant just hit a home run.”
It’s an art. I did this to my dad when I was a kid. I’d tiptoe into the living room, quietly change the channel, and then hear him roar.
“What the hell are you doing....”
I have had the ability to roar for several decades. I refined it when the kids were little, partly because I insisted that we only have one television in the house. I did this because I grew up with one television in the house.
“One TV, goddamit. One TV.”
I don’t demand much in our home. As a matter of fact, if any of the three or four of you dropped by, you’d be amazed at how obsequious I am in my own kingdom. I prefer to pretty much do as I am told. It works better that way.
So when I make a demand – “one TV, goddamit” – I usually get my way. The girls and my stepson would have friends over at the house in Griffith and one of the friends would say – “Since your dad’s watching a game, let’s go watch TV in the other room.”
“There is no ‘other room.’”
“You mean you only have one TV?”
We have more than one TV in the house now. We have four televisions. Part of this has to do with television itself. It has gotten better in the last few years. Now, instead of waiting to watch something good, you can click “on demand” and watch whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s an invention that has changed lives almost as much as air conditioning.
On Friday night, after a grand anniversary day with my wife of 27 years, I settled into our bed to watch the two football games that WJOB was broadcasting in video. It was Munster at Lake Central and Crown Point at Merrillville.
A little context here: For the past two years, we have been broadcasting our local video almost exclusively to Facebook Live, earning 5,000,000 views in the process. This is an impressive number by any measure.
Now, we are starting our own network, one on which we can sell commercials. It’s called WJOBNetwork.com. We have also partnered with the IHSAA, which runs high school sports in Indiana. We send them our content. The games appear on the IHSAA network.
This is key in that the IHSAA network is on Roku. WJOBNetwork.com is not on Roku. It costs a bit of money and some deep development costs to get your video department Roku eligible.
How does Roku work?
On the Roku TV that we have in the bedroom – a big Roku TV – you download the IHSAA channel and you can watch a game that any network in the state that has signed on with the IHSAA is broadcasting. We have, as mentioned, signed on with the IHSAA.
This means that I could lie in bed and watch Munster at East Chicago. I could also flip between that and Merrillville at Crown Point.
Even though it was our anniversary, my wife, as a present, allowed us to come home from the beach so that I could watch the games in our own bedroom – for the first time. It has taken me a while to download the app correctly and make it work. I was all set. I even had popcorn on my lap. At 7pm, I turned on the TV and there it was. Munster at East Chicago Central. They both wear red and white. It was beautiful Success at last.
Then the lightning came. The game got cancelled. So did Crown Point at Merrillville. I sat there in silence and ate a whole bowl of popcorn by myself. Sad for a moment, but after a while Alexis came in and we watched three episodes of “Succession.” I love that series.
For our anniversary, Alexis took the day off. After I did the morning radio show, we shoved off for the beach at Michigan City. We parked at my sister’s beach house, shimmied down the hill with a cooler, and sat in the sun for four hours. It was perfect weather. You could see the skyline of Chicago.
On the way home, we drove into the setting sun through Gary, which is a bit of an allegory in itself. We held hands in the downtown area. That’s where my wife of 27 years grew up. She started school at six years old not speaking any English. Their family ate a lot of beans and eggs because, you know, that doesn’t cost much. Now lawyers caller her “your honor.” I find it sexy. Every once in a while, I resort to similar verbage. She won’t bring her robe home, though.
The next day, we broadcasted the two football games. I went out to the Munster at EC game and hung out with the crew.
Brandon Pavline – announcer
Ben Wood – color analyst
Ben Cowart – producer
Brian my brother – helping with a camera
Angel Jimenez – camera
Nick Gallas – camera
They broadcasted the game in the rain. The cameras had Strack & Van Til plastic bags around them to keep dry. It wasn’t a very good game. Munster beat EC badly.
It was a lot of life this Labor Day weekend. My daughter Jeanie stood up in a wedding for her longtime friend, Shailee Kumar, to a white guy named David. The wedding started on Thursday and didn’t end until the wee hours of Sunday morning.
On Thursday, we started the celebration with a dinner at Andorra Banquets in Schererville, Indiana. It was about half Indian people in traditional, colorful Indian dress. And about half white people in boring suits and dresses.
Indian people do a really cool thing at this pre-rehearsal dinner shindig. After the cocktails and food, the bride and groom sit on a stage and watch the shows. Indian women come out and do traditional dances. So do children. Then the best man gets up and tells some embarrassing stories about the groom. My daughter chose as her talent show entry to do a rap about Shailee. She called it “Shailee-ishis.” It was pretty funny.
The celebration culminated with a wedding at the Palmer House in downtown Chicago. My other daughter, Jackie, is besties with the younger sister of the bride, so me and my wife and daughters wound up dancing to:
By the time Alexis and I got back to the hotel room, I had sweated through my stiff white shirt and into my black coat. It was one of the hottest nights of the year. And when it's that hot in the city, all you want to do is drink. Which is what I did. Copiously.
The next day, Alexis, Jeanie, her boyfriend Daniel from New York and I ate breakfast at a place called “Milk and Honey” in Wicker Park. Eventually, Alexis and I made it home Sunday night and fell directly asleep.
Running through all of this was my statistics class. I had a quiz on binomial distribution and standard deviation due on Sunday. I wound up finishing the quiz on a laptop on a couch in front of the elevators on the sixth floor. I sat there from 6am until 9:30 am. In expected fashion, it was quiet as hell while I studied there for two hours.
But as soon as I entered the website to take the official quiz, a bunch of kids started running around. It was a timed quiz, so I just had to tune them out and do my work on Microsoft Excel – with a raging hangover. If you wanna make God laugh, tell him your plans.
It was Labor Day weekend, so I had a chance to catch up on everything today. I mowed the lawn, did laundry, cleaned the garage and went grocery shopping with my daughter Jackie at the Strack & Van Til on Ridge Road in Munster. Snow crab legs are on sale for $8.99 a pound. We bought three pounds. I would buy three pounds of snow crab at normal prices, which is $12.99 a pound.
I’m writing to the three or four of you in hope that at some point I’m gonna get to a plan. Yes, a plan. I’m looking for some direction. I knew what the direction was over the summer.
These projects are well underway. So what next? I don’t know the answer to that. We are basically sold out on how much advertising we can sell on the video broadcasting of high school sports. 15 companies stepped forward. It was pretty easy selling the video.
This puts me in a quandary. This blog is titled – “My Radio Life.” I give my life, or at least a good portion of it, to radio station WJOB. You know that. But the reality of the situation is that video is where it’s at. It’s what the Region consumer wants. And it’s what the Region advertiser wants. I am adapting. That’s all I am doing. Still, I feel a pang of guilt every time I tell the three or four of you that we’re having some success with video. It just hurts that radio is dying and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Except adapt. My thinking is that I should probably turn my morning radio show into a morning TV show. We’re almost there already. A few tweaks and it could look like a small market ha-ha show. Banter and jokes and standing next to a screen of weather predictions and highlights from last night’s game. All in video. Me walking around with a wireless lavolier instead of headphones and a mixer. It’s not radio. It’s television. I may have to change the name of this blog. Good night. I have to go to bed to wake up and do a morning radio, er, TV show.