If you’re gonna bow out,
But if you’re gonna
sit on the fence,
then go back from
whence and where
If you’re gonna meander,
But if you’re gonna pretend
to understand her,
then just rub some sandpaper
on your balls and
forget about it.
If you’re gonna give love
If you’re gonna hold back
But if you’re gonna give love
then roll up your yoga mat
before class even starts.
It’s Monday night. On the morning show, I stood out on Indianapolis Boulevard and speculated about what might happen if special prosecutor Robert Mueller comes out with obstruction charges on our president. I fear that we are so separated as a people that we might turn on each other.
Are our institutions strong enough to hold things together? If you’re reading this 50 years hence, you know the answer. The most probable outcome is that nothing crazy happens. Maybe all the craziness is going on right now. A couple months from now will just be epilogue.
I hope so. There is so much divisiveness and hatred and mistrust that I’m not so sure. I keep getting this movie scene flashing across the inside of my forehead. It’s a young soldier holding a gun on the grounds of the White House.
“Attack,” shouts his commander. “Go forth.”
The young soldier is expected, at least by his commander, to storm the White House. He hesitates. You can see in his eyes confusion and fear and the overwhelming desire to do what is right for America.
Cut to gunfire. Cut to explosions. America under siege. Whose side am I supposed to be on?
I speculated for the first half hour. Then Chuck Pullen came in We talked about plans for a new convention center. Chuck opposes it. At least he’s consistent. He pretty much opposes everything.
Chuck spoke of a possible 1% tax on food and beverage purchases in bars and restaurants.
“That’s taking 10 million dollars a year out of the local economy.”
“But what about the money coming into the economy?”
It’s not that at this point I give two shits if we build a convention center or not. It’s just that you gotta at least present both sides and have an intelligent discussion. They built the softball fields in Crown Point. Over the weekend, there was a national tournament here with 84 teams. That’s a lot of butts in hotel rooms. I interviewed the CEO of the NSA, Bill Horton, on Saturday. He says we got it right.
There’s another factor. The guy pushing the convention center for the past few years – Speros Batistatos – won’t talk to me. He’s the head of the convention and visitors bureau. Not too long ago, I reached out to shake his hand and he told me to go to hell.
Now this is not an uncommon occurrence. If you talk openly on the air, this kind of thing is bound to happen. It’s not pleasant. It’s just part of the job.
I’d carry the water for a new convention center – Speros or no Speros - if it was the best thing for the Region and I was certain of it. But as the three or four of you know, I’m knee deep in doing what I can to help get a huge emergency response center built at the Gary airport. Focus is king.
Later in the show, my childhood chump Billy Baker came in. We talked about the shooting at a gas station in East Chicago not too far from the WJOB tower. Martevius Carter was shot and is in critical condition. He was a football standout at EC Central and Grand Valley State. He was probably headed to the NFL.
“They’re just so jealous,” one observer said. “When you get successful, you can’t come back. They just get so jealous.”
I don’t know what happened to Marteyvius Carter. It’s been years since I interviewed him. He set all sorts of rushing records at Grand Valley. I hope he pulls through.
The tone of the show wasn’t right for a story that I’ve been waiting to tell. Billy’s wife, Mary Kaye, told it to me.
She came home from shopping one day and threw her keys in the ashtray on the ledge in the entryway.
“Oh, look, a shell,” she said. She picked it up to show it to the kids. But when she took a closer look, she figured out it was a huge toenail.
“I almost threw up,” she said.
It turns out Billy had been walking around with a loose big toe nail for a while. When it finally fell off, he thought it was so cool, he picked it out from his sock and put it in his pocket.
“So I’m just wondering, Billy,” I said. “How does it come to your mind – ‘hey, I should probably keep this toenail?’”
“It was just so cool. Huge and long. I couldn’t throw it away.”
“But in the keys ashtray?”
“It was in my pocket. Where else was I gonna put it?”
Now that I write it out, it’s not that funny. It was, of course, a lot funnier at 11:30 on Saturday night.
After the show, I rode my bike home. It was take-your-breath-away-beautiful. Blue skies, a couple stray clouds. 70 degrees. I was riding along and I can usually tell which way the wind is blowing just feel. But I couldn’t decipher the direction, so I looked on my phone.
“Winds out of the south at 0mph.”
How the winds could be out of the south if there is no wind, I don’t know. But for that perfect 2.9 mile ride home, it made sense. After frying up a couple eggs, I drove to work out and got back to the station about 11am.
I spent the next five hours working with Debbie, Christina and Darya on marketing. As the three or four of you know, we’re introducing a new television station for northwest Indiana. We decided to do it in stages.
We’ll start with Fall sports.
- high school volleyball, boys and girls soccer, and football.
- PNW volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer.
We’ll do all of these in video in a variety of locations on the internet. On the radio, we’ll do college football and NFL. This is a lot. It’s the first introduction of WJOBnetwork.com, a comprehensive broadcasting alternative for the Region.
After we get this going, we’ll start broadcasting to our website for 12 hours and 30 minutes. (1230, get it?) during the day. We’ll start at 5:30 in the morning with me yelling “Big Truck” on the Boulevard. And we’ll end with Harlow and Tony cracking late evening jokes.
At some point, we’ll probably have to add a newscast. And since it costs a lot to hire people to write and read the news, I’ll probably have to do it. I won’t do it, however, until we establish
a. a marketing department
b. sports and talk
c. and buy a bunch of new equipment.
We need some new cameras and lighting, mostly. We have a teleprompter and lavollier mikes and the rest. We just need a few $3,000 cameras that I’m reluctant to purchase right now.
As the three or four of you know, two things I’ve been working on for a long time are coming together at the same time.
1. a television network
2. the HeyJED app
Without going into what each of these is supposed to do, know that they have both absorbed considerable resources. Our business plan is basically to spend whatever we make on research and development. And then some. We’ve been able to do this out of operating profits, but I’m starting to get a feeling that we could use a little capital to really do it right.
One of the things that you have to guard against in developing innovative products is not having enough money around when it’s time to step on the accelerator. In other words, we could go on indefinitely like we are – investing profits into new technology.
But now that we’re past the development stage with the TV network and the app, maybe it’s time to put them into the marketplace and market them appropriately. That would mean an investment beyond what we make in real time.
This is the rub that all venture capital-types face – grow organically or grow with capital.
It’s by design, you know, that I only keep so much capital available for the new media. If any of the three or four of you stood by me at the Chicago Board of Trade, you know that I am capable of taking on tremendous risk. If you stood there long enough, you might even say with some credibility that I thrive on it.
And if you stood next to me the whole time, then you’d know that I ultimately turned into an addict. It’s a little unclear exactly what I was addicted to – the market, the trading, the risk, the pace, the uncertainty, the action. In a way, they’re all the same side of the coin.
So as we proceed forward into the land of unknown television and patents, it’s not just the money that I gotta manage. I also gotta manage myself. I know the demons. You can’t get lost immersing in the risk. If you do, you lose sight of the shore and next thing you know you’re swimming around in the dark…
And you like it.
This may not make much sense to the three or four of you… unless you have gone through an addiction or two in your life. Or have had someone close to you do it. I had a guy tell me the saddest story I have heard in a long time today. It was about addiction and death and unrelenting sorrow. I’d tell you the story but it’s someone else’s to tell someday. I hope he does.
That should be it for today. After work, Alexis grilled up a couple steaks for her and daughter Jackie and some salmon for me. Alexis and I walked around Community Park, stopped at Dairy Queen for a dilly bar, and walked home on one of the top ten evenings of the year. This idyllic portrayal of parts of My Radio Life has to get sickening after a while to the three or four of you. But it’s a true life. I never asked for it or even deserve it, but here I am walking across the church parking lot at sunset holding hands with a hot Mexican chick. Go figure.