It's 5:47 on a Sunday morning and I've been lying in bed for a good hour listening to the birds chirp and hoping like hell that it's cooler today. Yesterday it got up to 97 degrees and it was really humid and if you're not used to that kind of heat, you can walk around all day overheated.
"Oh my god you're burning up," Alexis said after a good night peck on the cheek.
"I'm a slightly-overweight guy who went for a walk and a bike ride in 97 degree heat. So go figure."
Every once in a while you have to turn radio off. That's different from driving around in your car and you reach down and hit the dial for silence. That's turning off the radio. When you're a couple that owns not just one but now two local radio stations, you have to turn off radio itself.
Which isn't easy. Radio by definition never sleeps, unless you have one of those radio stations that turns off at night. We don't. WJOB 1230AM and 104.7FM are always on. All night and all day they need to be fed, talked to, sung to, changed, coddled, kissed, loved, carried around and listened to. And you have to work like hell so that you have enough to provide. It's exhausting and exhilarating and I hope that this blog, "My American, Radio Life," gives you a sense of this.
But sometimes you have to turn radio off. And if you're in local radio, I give you this bit of advice - get away from your radio station(s) for periods of time. It doesn't really matter what you do during that "get away" period... you just have to do it.
Yesterday was that day for Alexis and me. We walked around Wicker Park in the glaring sunshine and gathering heat of a Saturday morning... and then later in the afternoon to shake the general anxiety that builds in me when I try to turn radio off, I went for a short bike ride. It worked. For a good 45 minutes of riding in a steam-bath, for some reason didn't think of radio... but then again right before bed I was still burning like a little kid with a fever. That's what being a man and being a little bit fat in a heat storm will do for you.
As you know, Alexis and I went for eight days to New Mexico to visit her sister Rose and her husband Brad in the mountains. They were just normal Region Rats until one day they packed up the truck and they moved to 7,600 feet. And since we've been back now about 10 days, it's been 12-14 hours days of.... radio and law. That's the thing about owning your own businesses and then going away for eight days. All the work's still there for you. You still gotta do it.
This discussion of "turn radio off" reminds me of something that my 93-year-old Dutch grandmother would tell Alexis and I when we'd drive down to her house in Orlando with the kids.
"Always make sure you take time for yourselves. Bill and I, no matter what was happening in our lives, would at least once a week go on a date. You have to do that."
The same applies to radio. Once a week, at least, you gotta turn radio off, however painful that may be because really, if you think about it, radio is one of the coolest things on the planet. Like butter. And bootleg Grateful Dead recordings. And Bears games, either in person or on the television. And Joseph Conrad novels. And sex.
But you do have to turn radio off once in a while so that when you come back to it, you're fresh and more creative. That's what I wanted to tell you on a Sunday morning when I'm trying to still turn radio off. Walk away from it for a while while you write about walking away from it.