Here’s our new marketing slogan –
We’ve merged the tradition of WJOB with technology and students to make magic.
Or something like that. At some point I’ll turn to marketing. Maybe it will be this semester. I’m taking Marketing in college. That should count for something.
It’s 7:02 am two days after Christmas. I want to sleep in and not think about radio, but it follows me to bed. There’s a loyal dog silently whining at the edge of the mattress to come up on the covers and purr. Dogs purr, don’t they?
I want to escape the 24-hour nature of radio for a while, but in the escape I rediscover some sort of mission to the whole thing. There is hate and there is despair in the world. I want to allow these stories to be told, but I also want to eat corn chips and watch football. Sometimes you can’t do both. You’re bothered by the pain of people in general, and you’re tired from the whine of horse carriages and the clanging of cash registers.
Every once in a while I understand why artists drank so much in the 20th century and succumbed to drugs. There’s a mystery out there and the more you try to solve it, the closer you come to swirling down a drain. I want rest from radio but the only thing I get is further immersion in it. Help me quiet the continuous hum of 1000 watts on an icy day in late December.
Radio to the black of sky, blue of night
radio men and radio women devour mashed potatoes without gravy
radio for the soul, radio for the dollar corrupted radio rolling off the table at a sock hop in a gym next to a candy factory
radio before radio plugging into a stream of what was already there
radio has to be waves
radio has to be illuminated from behind if you look at it directly it doesn’t work
radio taken as a whole
radio taken as shreds of wisdom in decapitated couplets
radio dies every day with the disintegration of man
radio revolution on the way to a refinery to make gas for black SUVs in third world countries
radio this and radio that but don’t forget to write the epithet on the grave of an unknown beach bum
radio thanks and radio gratitude for the words left on the clouds of insanity before waking in a really good mood
radio floats somewhere over a Kansas barbecue on the way to San Francisco for a piece of bread
radio waves in the bowels of Idaho at a bus stop where there is no cigarette machine
radio for seven bucks, radio for free
radio Americans in clean white shirts on the way to church for the salvation of nuclear wizardry
radio California with a big rock line through the middle swallowing up towers and and heartache
radio silence Michigan cold waves freezing and shivering across pine trees and pinheads
radio Florida baking on the hot pavement of hell
radio radio radio radio lost without a soul
radio radio the last bastion of furnaces that won’t light and minds sterilized by midterms
radio New York radio subways clank sewer grate smells and without the will to listen to Greek music there would be no Astoria
radio this and radio that and for the second or third time there will be enlightenment in the parlors of Savannah
radio on the tops of the mountains in Colorado where hoofs slip not so silently into the Continental Divide of losing your mind
radio will exist long after the devouring of people by technology radio existed before the Deep Sea Scrolls were a glint in the eye of a linebacker
radio tradition of Alabama kings enamored with the idea that there could be a Santa Claus and a cheeseburger
radio elusiveness between two women at a Chicago bus stop talking about change purses
radio reality losing battles without swords or altercations on the way to the men’s room in a bar that has no floor
radio America radio America radio Uzbekistan radio plows through the soil of a broken toe of sadness and confusion
radio laughs and busts a gut full of platitudes for the masses of late night Texarkana
radio too doo loo for the breaking of bread at halftime of a Colts game
radio Canada healthcare oblivion radio cold without the caribou of lost flashlights
radio radio radio radio heavens and stars and red lights signaling to the planes of an army unseen and unfeared
radio within the caverns of Tennessee with the bats and the forgotten baseball cap
radio children radio corpses radio old men smoking Marlboro Lights radio blanks and radio fulfillment
radio lifting and radio resting and radio fear in the middle of the night at a steel mill along a Lake where there aren’t any fish
radio with glee for the barn dance of Mexico, leave your rapists at the door for we have children trying to sleep
radio hate radio hate radio hate radio hate it comes from the Left and the Right and in the middle a man holds his pudd in the dark while a woman whispers in his ear – you left it at the theater
radio into the middle of the pool for there are sharks by the ladder to wherever it is that forgotten souls congregate
radio as a story of America at the beginning of the 21st century on the way to a big fight behind the Civic Center for millennials and beyond
radio New Jersey radio France a subway reader of last year’s newspapers has ants in his pants for the future is here
radio recreates the past of the future we already lived
radio repeats the cold of Orlando and the warmth of an Eskimo’s nose
radio means that no one is alone as long as there are waves circling our heads on the way to a leaf in Afghanistan or just dying in the clouds for lack of enthusiasm
radio last or radio slurped up by the transcontinental highway of truck stops and whores lollipops bad tomato soup
radio as follower radio as leader communication stops the moment a leopard crawls into the room and licks her paws
radio Arizona for the lizards of the soul
radio New Mexico could never really get off the ground for lack or purpose and maiz
radio radio radio radio radio radio radio radio
radio plentiful in the Thanksgiving of Missouri sunsets over lakes that don’t end rimless and bounding strong-shouldered and fly like an eagle
radio after the holocaust
radio before the birth of Christ
radio to the left to the right up and down and all around the campfires of western Virginia when there’s no food left to feed the cat
radio story every night to chronicle eating enchiladas for the last meal of uncertainty
For some reason, I belted out a ramble. They come to me at times and then they go, so might as well write them down. For in 50 years, there are broadcasting students at a small liberal arts college on the East coast who just might care.
Speaking of college courses, it’s time for me to put together a syllabus for Sports Marketing 101. I’ll be teaching it at Purdue Northwest in less than a week. I know that it doesn’t sound like much time to pull together a college course, but in the end I have been talking games and writing games for more than 30 years on and off. I must have picked up something.
I didn’t do the show this morning, and I could have. Yesterday, I drove to Ohare Airport with daughter Jeanie to pick up her boyfriend Daniel. Jeanie and Daniel live in New York. That’s a long way from here, but as you can tell from the above ramble, they have radio there. Just ask Jean Shepherd.
I realize one thing now that I’m sitting around going to airports and doctor’s appointments and working out at Planet Fitness and eating way to healthily – I am lost without my morning radio show. I am no better and no worse than all of the people I have known who have become addicted to the microphone. When you remove it from their hands, they lash out at you. I too would be a lasher. I don’t begrudge the people who have wound up hating me for taking away the microphone. It is a guttural, primal desire to keep talking and when you take that away, an animal comes out.
Last night, Alexis and the two daughters and I and boyfriend Daniel who works at Bloomberg went to dinner. I’m trying to make myself accept and appreciate the gravity of having the wife and two daughters around a dinner table. At one point in my life, as one who was addicted to trading, I could chew through dinner not even realizing that they were at the table with me. Now, I go the other way. I keep taking deep breaths to remind myself to appreciate the miracle that has been given to me. It’s a lot of work to keep doing that, so perhaps for the next few days I’ll just quit trying and see what happens then.
After dinner, we went to the 50th birthday party for Lisa Belinski at Byway Brewing in Hammond, Indiana, right along the 80-94 expressway. Wayne Micka, Lisa’s lesser half, threw the party. A bunch of people associated with the radio station were there. Wayne Micka, you might recall, was for several years the oldest radio intern in Indiana. A 1982 graduate of Hammond Tech, Wayne helped me slog radio equipment all around Indiana to announce basketball and football games. He got pretty decent at not only carrying a Marti machine but also commenting on 2-3 defenses.
But since radio really just means family, it is not at all surprising that his son, also named Wayne Micka, is a much better color announcer than the dad. Little Wayne doesn’t have any formal training, but when he picks up the microphone to comment on the flow of a game or on what a coach should do in the last ten seconds of the half, he’s doggone near brilliant. You never know where real talent is gonna come from in radio, especially not from the loins of a Hammond Tech grad.
That should do it for today. Like I said, I’m gonna try to get away from radio for a few days. I may write this blog for the three or four of you, and I may not. Either way, there’s waves circling all around your head. You can’t escape them. Neither can I.