It's basically two transitions as we move WJOB from the old to the new studios.
One. It's a geographical relocation. For 60 years, WJOB's broadcasted out of the same studios at the base of the 400-foot tower near the intersection of Hammond, East Chicago and Gary, Indiana. There's so much stuff to either get rid of or move or keep around in case we want to open an old-time radio museum one day. It's like cleaning out your grandma's house after she dies and there's all this crap that may or may not mean something to the family or be freaking valuable as hell.
Two. It's a digital transformation. We're changing from analog audio with a hundred or more old pieces of equipment on the line from microphone to pre-mixing board to main Autogram board from the 70s to compressor, modulator, Arbitron tracking and then the transmitter and you listening to the whole thing on your radio. Now, we're prepping for the future of streaming, podcasts, free-form radio, video, digital photo sharing, social media and you get the picture.
It's Thanksgiving morning so I'm twitching to drive down to the old studio and play some vinyl like on a lot of holidays. A little Clapton to cook by, a little Zep by which to decorate the dinning room.
But not today. I've promised neighbor Pete that we'd honor tradition and walk to longtime sponsor Commander Restaurant for breakfast. Eggs for me, no vinyl for you.
Yesterday, Thanksgiving's Eve, WJOBcaller Walt shed light on a long-baffling mystery - what does "you can't have your cake and eat it too" mean? Walt's translation - "You can't eat your cake and expect to still have it." Now that makes sense.
6:15am - Judy Wahl promoted her Haven House Toy Drive at White Castles on Friday, Dec. 5, 7am to 1pm. Bring a toy or cash if you're lazy.
6:30am - WJOB intern Cristina Cortez came in on her way to Munster High. She was just named Kiwanis Student of the Month for her work in radio and video and because she's so cool. Please do not hold it against her that she is the niece of Michael Puente of public radio station WBEZ. Cristina said she wants to be a film director. Don't bet against her.
6:50am - Andrean football coach Phil Mason called in.
Here's a radio timeline for Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014.
350am. Wake to watch the riots and looting following grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in shooting death of Michael Brown in #Ferguson.
515am. Drive around Region to check icy road conditions, call live to WJOB, talk for ten minutes. Like this early morning call-in on my way to the radio station. Producer Ryan Walsh allows it today for some reason.
530am. Walk into new studios at Purdue Commercialization Center, where there is construction going on all around us. "Watch out," Ryan says as I enter. "What the f#@*," I say, breaking my own rule of no swearing in WJOB studios. There's two mice stuck to a glue trap. The construction across the 20,000 square feet is forcing the little critters into our space. One mice squeals.
433am. Perhaps Lulu was right.
Sometimes I ignore the elephant in the room. And this morning, it's #Ferguson, Missouri. Overnight a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, refused to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. Summer marches turned into winter burning buildings overnight, gunshots heard, anger across the board from black America.
And all I could do last night was blog about my day in radio. Lulu didn't like that. "Who cares? Blog about the news #Ferguson."
Okay, you're right. I argue that radio as we know it may very well come to an end and I'd like to chronicle it somehow, but you're right on this one.
As a white guy in middle America, I'm a little surprised at the strength of the outcry from black America. That's my issue. What will be your issue for the next few hours of radio will be how did we get here and where do we go from here.
And the #Ferguson decision isn't the only racially-charged happening on the board. It came out last night that the FBI has notified the city of Hammond that they're no longer investigating the Taser incident in Hammond. That's the one where a white and Hispanic cop tasered a guy in front of his family. Charges of racial insensitivity around this one too.
So let's hope Verlie is ready. Ms. Suggs joins me every other Tuesday as a cohost and today's the day. She'll bring the African-American perspective and no doubt that will clash with the MadMacs and Walts of the WJOB world. It could be good but ugly radio.
Also I was woken a couple times from texts from Jordan Beasley, who's been with me for five or so years since he was a student at Hammond High. Sports-oriented Jordan is as pissed as I've ever seen him, texts about his "anguish and disappointment." As a white guy who can't even begin to pretend that I understand, I just counseled him not to do anything he would regret later. He said he agreed and would go to bed, stay off social media. Maybe he'll call the show this morning with Verlie.
It's a busy day later after the show. I'll head to Ohare to pick up my daughter from the bus from UW Madison. She was trying to come home last night but a big snowstorm halted that. We'll hurry back for an 11am meeting at Purdue Cal in which a group of four students will present their findings on what WJOB should do going forwards. It's part of an exit course in the business school. Professor Jamal Hussein's class picks a few companies and does a consulting job on them. No doubt they'll critical of our PMS.
That be the Passive Marketing System.
I run radio stations and a streaming video network in Hammond, Indiana, and write this blog.