We certainly haven’t made a ton of money. As a matter of fact, I’ve coined a new term – radioverty. It has to do with driving an older car and skimping on vacations just so you can engage in something good and pure and beautiful.
1. It would make the Region a better place.
2. It would be a lot of fun.
Have we accomplished both?
I think so. It’s certainly been a lot of fun. And for whatever reason, there’s a whole team of people who have come together to propel WJOB forward. For the most part, the Region’s a better place for it.
I want to golf
with my friend Ralph.
18 holes a day, bro
36 if no snow.
This makes no sense.
So now that we’ve made it through the trifecta of Christmas, New Year’s and my birthday – what now?
Typically, in January, we make resolutions – I’m gonna do this, this and that in 2019. I do this also. On January 2nd, I had a list of things in my head to do to make radio work, and TV.
But what if I take a different tack in 2019. For 14 years, I’ve actively worked hard to give life to a dying craft and legacy institution. Out of the ashes, we have created a new form of media for the Calumet Region.
It has sucked up a ton of hard work and initiative. So for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been asking a question – what if I release the active and allow the passive to assert itself?
This might not make any sense… unless of course you lost all your money befor. I’ve basically done it three times in my life. Once, it was my dad and my uncle doing it. Then since it was such a learned behavior, I did it twice as a trader at the Board of Trade.
I learned a lot of things through these life lessons. And one of them is this – the active isn’t always the appropriate course of action.
Faith for the few
A wooden pew
Pray, hope, your destiny
Stripper named Bethany.
Not what it seems.
Sometimes the passive is the answer. Now I know that the three or four of you who read this blog are thinking that I already engage in a fair amount of the passive. We call our selling philosophy the Passive Marketing System, after all.
It’s when you put on such engaging radio and TV that advertisers come to you rather than you going out and actively selling to them. It has worked for us for nearly 15 years.
But PMS, as it's called, isn’t necessarily a strategy. It’s more of a laziness. We just love doing radio (and now TV) much more than we do going out and tooting our horn about it.
What I’m trying to get to is that for me, standing in the pits of the Chicago Board of Trade, screaming, yelling, frothing at the mouth, was partly a passive experience.
Every morning, as I took the escalator up to the fourth floor, I reached into the front pocket of my trading jacket and pulled out a card. It was frayed and faded.
Cut losers Now
Let winners ride
Guts to follow your gut.
This was my trading philosophy. Two actives and a passive. And it was the passive that allowed me to make enough money to buy a couple radio stations and put my kids through college.
It works like this. You stand in the pit making markets all day long. You work hard trading in and out of positions, back and forth. First you’re long and then you’re short and then you’re short and long at the same time in different months.
A broker taps you on the shoulder.
“What’s your bid?”
“I’ll sell you 200.”
Over and over, all day long, you make markets. You buy and sell stuff – actively. It’s tough work. Tiring, stressful and exciting.
For me, after about 10 years, I figured out that all of that going back and forth was leading to one thing – a passive state. In other words, you trade back and forth, up ways, down ways, long, short, sideways, dipsy doodle.
Throughout it all, you take the active position that if you have a trade that’s not making money, you get out of it immediately, no matter what the cost. Boom. Cut Losers Now.
This is something that you actively do. You reach inside for discipline and you Cut Losers Now. There’s also an element of the active to Guts to follow your Gut. You gotta keep reminding yourself, as men scream and frollick all about you, that you’ve been doing this for a long time and you have developed a sense about the markets and that you have to believe in your own confidence to react appropriately.
he drove me mad.
He’d hit from the corner
and drive straight through the lane.
So number 1 and 3 of my 11-word trading philosophy are based on something that you have to do. The second line of this formula is based on the passive. It’s engendered by Eastern philosophy or, in an alternative universe, from smoking a garbage bag full of weed at Berkeley.
“Let winners ride” is the most difficult part of trading. You have scuffled and thrashed your way to a position that exists in the clear. You are tempted at any moment to take profit on it and go drink in the bar and, if it were the 80s or early 90s, snort a few lines. Sorry, but this is the reality and the history.
The challenge is to take a deep breath and see what happens. In other words, you put the winning trades in your pocket and you wait.
Sitting in your study, as the three or four of you are wont to do as you read this blog, you’re probably not quite understanding the difficulty of just standing there in the pit and not touching your winning position. There is bedlam all around you. Your clerks and your good buddies may even know that you have a position on that’s growing by minute.
And it’s a ton of money. I won’t even mention how much money you can make on a growing position in the pits of the Board of Trade. There’s extra zeros involved. The pressure builds to take some of the position off the board, to revel in the plenty.
Instead, you wait. Most of the time – almost all of the time – the market reverses itself and you wind up scratching the trade. There was a bunch of money in it and you just wind up scratching it. What a loss of monetary humanity.
Las Vegas nights
whores and insights.
Cocaine, stay in your lane
Earthy tones, swaying bones.
Welcome to hell.
I can’t tell you how many times my clerks would hand me a note with my position on it and then look at me with these puppy dog eyes.
“You’ve got a winner on. Take some profit,” they’d say with these puppy dog eyes. I had a lot of clerks over the years. They all developed the same, pouting, eyes.
That’s because 95% of the time or more, the market would eventually move against my big winner and I’ve had left a tone of money on the table. 99%.
Come out and play, my lord.
Quite the crowd, quite the hoard.
He’s not that bad.
That means that dozens – hundreds – of times, my clerks had to watch us be up money and then the market drift back so that we’d scratch the position or even lose on it. Sometimes we’d be up a ton of money on the position. Sometimes, it was a much smaller sum.
The important point is that by engaging in this 11-word trading philosophy, you are committing to a life of missed chances. Add up all the times you let a winning position turn into a scratch or loser, and it will blow your mind.
Aha. But there are those rare times in which the market keeps going. The winning position which you name A, becomes another winning position, which you name B. And then you add a C. And through it all, the market keeps going in your direction.
Bills that I owe.
A Thanksgiving turkey
that will not show.
This doesn’t happen very often. Almost all of the time, when I added a position B to my already-winning position A, all hell would break loose and I’d wind up losing money on the day. Add a C position to the A and B and the situation only gets worse.
But what happens when A, B and C continue to grow? That’s when it gets beautiful. To sum it up, when I finally left the Board of Trade, I left with enough money to come back home and buy two local radio stations and the 85,000 circulation local paper.
And the reality is that I pretty much made all of the money in six trading days over 18 years. The rest of the days, thousands of them, I pretty much scratched on. How’s that for tragedy and serendipity?
I have to stop
Call me a cop
The words just keep flowing
without the wind blowing.
Relieve me, please.
So the question that I’m wrestling with, after the trifecta of Christmas, New Year’s and my birthday, is is it time to shift to the passive? Are we in a winner enough to let something ride?
The answer is murky at best. I have to pedal the gerbel wheel all day long every day just to keep things afloat, moving forward. That doesn’t sound like a winner. It sounds like 15 more years of hard work.
But then again, we’ve been doing this for 15 years, all of it in the active survival state. Is there enough of a cushion in there for me to let radio ride for a while, concentrate on something else?
This is a question that I wrestle with at four in the morning on the first weekday day after the trifecta, 2019. There’s an answer in all of this rambling somewhere.
Wake up, scratch your privates, comb your hair (if you have any), and go to work.
And on the way, listen or watch AM 1230 WJOB and 104.7 FM. And streaming live on the Tune-In app. Also live, in video, on Facebook Live. We are the Voice and Face of the Region.