So yesterday, I:
1. in the morning helped set up for "Pints in the Park."
2. hung out at the studio with musical host Geno Sferruzza for a while on his birthday
3. interviewed a half dozen brewers at Pints
4. tasted more than a half dozen beers at Pints
5. went to Beatlesfest
6. took a ton of pictures and video at Beatlesfest
7. stopped at White Castles on the way home for some "sliders"
What I didn't do was ride my bike for 34 miles across the Calumet Region in the middle of the night. After 14 hours of doing a bunch of radio-related shit, I just didn't have it in me, and my back just didn't have it either, to do the WHAM ride. Alexis and I gotta drive her parents two hours each way to a family birthday party this morning and that was hanging over my head. Next time.
As far as radio goes, I did interview a bunch of brewers and people who assist brewers at the Pints craft beer festival. And what I'm starting to suspect is this - I should go into the community and do more interviews. I don't know why exactly. When I do on-the-scene interviews, I rarely play them on the morning show. There's just not enough time. But for some reason I think I should just do more of them. It's a hunch, a suspicion. And it is in that hunch, that suspicion, that for me most often generates workable creativity.
It's like this. You sense that you should do something - write this blog, for example. There's no real economic reason to do it. No one's paying me to do this. But I get the sense that it's what I should be doing. That's the extent of it. When I sit down in the backyard and get quiet for a moment... or I walk the dog and let the constant rhythm of the expressway seep into my soul... there's a whisper that just tells me that I should write a blog.
First, it's just something I want to do. I like reviewing what it's like to be on the radio, to listen to radio, to get ready to do a talk show, take callers, do stuff in the community related to radio. It's what I do and I like what I do so why not write it down.
For later. I get the feeling that I'm putting all of this down so you or I can look at it later and say - "okay, that's what local radio was like. I remember now." I'm putting this down for the me later and the you later. Tell me you wouldn't want to read the daily journal of Jean Sheperd or Jack Benny or Wally Phillips or Ed Sullivan or Warren Freiberg or any of a thousand local radio hosts once immersed in their communities. They each talked or spun records or told jokes or introduced guests in their own way, in their own time, and if you're into radio and you're in the future then that might just be of interest to you.
There's another reason, and it has to do with the sense that there is a slight chance that there might be some reward at the end of the day for writing this blog, collecting the photos, linking the audio podcasts, and sometimes even doing a video. There's a far more likely chance that this blog could lead nowhere, is an exercise in self-indulgence and futility. But I'll take that risk... solely based on a hunch that this is what I should be doing.
There's that balance again. Do things you like to do that could possibly make money.
So back to doing on-the-scene interviews. I like to do them. I like to talk to people in the context of radio. It's an overarching blanket that allows me to speak directly and openly with people, to pry my curiosity about their reality, to produce a meaningful moment. As I've already revealed to you, without the blanket of radio, I deal with the ongoing struggle of what to say next, how to act, whom to hug and not hug, when to swear, how far to push the line with a joke.
On the air, none of that happens. Or at least it rarely happens. So in the end if you're just naturally curious and you want to talk to people but you don't know how, then you might be a good candidate for radio.
So there, it's settled. Doing on-the-scene interviews fulfills the first criteria - Do things you like to do. But what about the second part - Do things that could possibly make money. Now there's a more difficult possibility. If you're going to do on-the-scene interviews and not using them on the air, then what good are they?
That has to do with the way radio's changing. You can podcast them, use them in videos that you post on your site, you can post them directly to Facebook and youtube, and, for WJOB, you can insert them in the "Region flashbacks" rotation so they play at night and on weekends. That's another preservation of history project I'll tell you about later.
In other words, maybe 10 years ago it would be a waste of time to do on-the-scene interviews that you were rarely going to use on the air... but now it's not a waste of time. You have a lot more distribution channels than you had 10 years ago. So get off the couch, JED, and go interview some of the Polish people staying the night at the Monastery down the street. There's like 7,000 or them and they should be getting ready to start the hike up again in a little while.
Go see what they have to say.