What works on radio and what doesn’t?
I have no freaking idea. The other day at The Grateful Dead Movie, guitarist Jerry Garcia told a story. I’ll paraphrase.
“I really can’t tell when we play well or not.
“After a concert one time, I walked off the stage completely disgusted with our performance. I was so agitated that I shoved bassist Phil Lesh down a little stairway. That wasn’t like me. I never did stuff like that. I thought we could do better.
“Six months later, we listened to the tapes. And it was so good we wound up using them on an album. From that day forward, I learned to keep my mouth shut.”
That’s how I feel about radio. After doing it for so long, I really can’t tell if what I just did is any good or not. I’ve given up trying.
6:15am – Chuck Pullen sits with me. He’s the new head of the Lake County Libertarian party and a huge opponent of things like the expansion of the South Shore commuter train.
“Why would we invest millions and millions of dollars in hundred-year-old technology? Flying cars are coming anyways.”
Chuck’s also a huge opponent of the Munster schools referendum, which gets voted on in May.
“Munster overspent in the past. Who’s to say they can change direction in the future?”
That brought a quick and terse response from caller Roland – “Name me one solid community that has a failing school district. Go ahead, Chuck. You can’t.”
Chuck and Roland obviously know each other. They argued like schoolgirls on a playground. I sat there and, like the three or four of you, listened. Was it good radio? As mentioned, I have no idea. But I think so.
6:50 – Dan Carden (Caller Mad Mac called him “Vladimir Carden” today), a writer with the NWI Times, tells us all about taxes that passed the Indiana legislature to pay for a ton of new roads in the “Crossroads of America.” We do have bad roads, especially in comparison with neighboring states. This bill will try to change that. A bunch of new taxes, though, including 10 cents a gallon on gas, higher vehicle registration fees, and, I believe, 5 bucks a tire. If you’re a radio host, I don’t know about you, but my callers hate new taxes.
7:10 – Jenna Candiano, the theater director at Griffith High, calls in to tell about this weekend’s performances of Cinderella. There’s even a “Cinderella tea time” from 11:30am to 2:00pm on Sunday before the show. Bring your little one and meet the cast and eat chocolate bon bons.
One of the kids in the play is Cameron Bobos. He’s been on my show a few times. He’s an internationally ranked cup stacker. I love it. Bobos stacks the cups so quickly, you can’t see his hands move.
“Don’t play mumbly peg with him, he’ll steal your leg.” If you know which album that quote comes from, you get a gold star straight out of Wampum.
7:20 – My childhood chump Bill Baker comes in. He calls me “knucklehead.” I call him “shmuck.”
“Shmucklehead,” I say. “It’s a new term.”
“Did you write that down in your notebook.”
“Yes I did. There it is. When etymologists investigate where the term started, they’ll be able to go to my notebooks and see it written right there. Monday, April 24, 2017 – 'Shmucklehead.'”
“So that’s what those notebooks are – historical documents?”
“Yes they are. When radio goes away, all that will be left is my notebooks.”
Shmucklehead Susie, Shmucklehead Sam. Baker opposes the Munster schools referendum. Caller Carl couldn’t wait for Baker to come on the air to take a shot at Munster schools.
7:32 – Carl – “Munster wouldn’t be in this position if they didn’t build gold-plated virtual reality chambers…. They messed up. With this referendum, they’re telling kids – ‘if you make mistakes, it’s okay.’”
7:39 – MadMac calls in to bitch about the state legislature coming up with 32 million to build a new Bio building on the Purdue Northwest campus. Mad Mac, in his hard-hitting accent from the Midway area of Chicago, says – “They’ve got two brand new buildings there in Merrillville that are completely empty. Why would they build new buildings in Hammond when they have empty ones in Merrillville?”
Later in the day, a couple of Purdue people stop me (we’re on the Purdue campus, remember) and tell me that the buildings are actually 70 percent occupied. Mad Mac loses credibility again.
Then the discussion turns to Strack & Van Til’s grocery stores. The question becomes “why have they been forced to sell 22 local stores? What happened?”
8am – Caller Jamie – “Before Jeff Strack took over the reigns, they hired a bad management team. They expanded too quickly also.”
Bill Baker, who loves sayings, chimes in – “However, there’s an old saying in business – ‘if you’re not growing, you’re dying.’”
Matt, Paul, Chuck, Mary, Vinny call in on the topics that we’re juggling back and forth. Mary has a good question.
8:30 – Mary – “What about the people in Munster who can’t afford the new school taxes, people on a fixed income? They’re being forced from their houses, hundreds of them.”
Good radio any of this? Like Jerry Garcia, I have no freaking idea. I also have no freaking idea the poems that come to me out of nowhere are any good. Here’s one I thought of on the way to brushing my teeth this morning.
I woke up one morning
and reached down
to scratch my nuts
but my belly was
in the way.
How’d that happen?
So I started working out
and Eating Right,
but all it made me do
was want new women.
So I stopped working out
and Eating Right
and went back to
being a slob.
It’s 5:42 on a Monday evening. Sunny, pleasant, not a ton of wind. I hope that the three or four of you get off your duff and enjoy the good weather. It doesn’t last very long, you know. Sooner or later, it’ll all be gone… just like radio. Another Thousand Words.