4:22am on a Tuesday
You know when you're doing good radio and when you're not. For the first couple of years that you do a radio show maybe you can't really tell. But after a while you know when you don't have it and that there's nothing you can do to get it.
Yesterday was one of those days. I started the show a little late, which means you play catch up the rest of the way. I tried to use our new wireless Sennheiser microphone transmission and receiving system, along with a DPA preacher microphone. That's for the radio wonks. What it really means is that you can walk around your studio without wires but you gotta wear two belt packs and some ridiculously uncomfortable earpieces.
For some reason, the microphone was hot. A little too much aspiration, and I couldn't figure it out on the air. So I had to switch back to my normal headset (I use a headset like a sports guy, not a standing microphone). Then I realized that after the Saturday night sectional basketball game, I left the headset in my brother's car. Oh well. Had to scramble with cleaning an old headset and hooking it up and you get the picture.
So I started to finally talk a little.... and then I started sneezing. Not just one or two. A whole battery of ah-choos. Ah-choo. Ah-choo. Ah-choo. You have to press the sneeze button and there's dead air for a second while you sneeze, which isn't a big deal if it's one sneeze. But if it's a bunch then people start fiddling with their radios and most likely turn the channel.
Then Billy Baker didn't show up on time... so I proceeded to enter a new ultimately boring segment. Took a couple calls... and then Baker showed up and just sat there impatiently while I finished up. Then he came on the air making fun of what I was wearing and how there was so much dead air that morning (sneezing) and how the station sucks in general. You might ask the question - why would you ever in God's name have a guy like that on your radio station?
Good question. But he's my childhood chump and once we get going on the radio, often cutting each other down for the sake of the "I'm in it for the laughs" philosophy, it can be pretty good radio. And that happened again yesterday. The problem is that it was two hours into the show. That means for the first two hours - before I found any sort of rhythm - it was pretty much putz radio. I didn't prepare correctly for the show, didn't show up in the right frame of mind (still tired from Sectionals week), and I didn't have the right equipment. Throw in showing up late and some sneezing and you get some fairly awful radio. For these and all my sins I am heartily sorry.
Catholic girls wear short skirts
So what for today? In the ongoing effort to reveal My American, Radio Life, I'll tell you that I'm writing this blog this morning in the dark for the three of you out of a bit of desperation. I could take off today from being on the air to "clear my head," but that's not really the answer in radio. You have to just do radio, whether you're at the top of your game or not. It's like being a parent. 90% of the game is just being there.
so hug your kid.
He or she don't really care
what you did.
One of the ways for me to "clear my head" has always been to write and write and write and then at the end of the writing session to just feel better. It doesn't matter that at the end of the blind scribbling you throw the paper away or you don't save the file. The important part is that you puked out all the crap inside you, you emptied the mind of the morning chatter. You spit, pooped, kicked to the curb, rejected, leeched out. Use whatever imagery that you want, but by the time you pump out a thousand words about anything, you feel better.
That's how it works for me and My American, Radio Life in writing. But not in radio. You could talk for four hours - which is what I'm gonna do this morning - and by the end of it you don't feel as if it's been cathartic. You simply feel as if it's been exhausting. You've given of yourself all that you have to give... .now it's time to run your business. That's the Joseph Heller Catch 22 of the whole situation. No damn cat, no damn cradle.
I'd like to ask them a question
Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump
Mary Lou Perdinkle
If you're white you'll vote for Donald
If not you'll cut a stinker
Or something like that. There's all sorts of charges of racism towards Donald Trump right now. He's in the lead on the Republican side for president. This interests me. He is angering the "Republican establishment" and that sounds like something that should always be a good thing, like bacon and eggs in the morning.
The same thing on the Democratic side. This Bernie Sanders really laid into Hillary on Sunday night in a debate. Bernie's turning the Democratic party upside down, making the "Establishment" have to scramble. Which, as with Republicans and bacon and eggs, can only be seen as a good thing.
It's not that I pull for the underdog or the outsider, it's just that like everyone else in America, I'm disillusioned with what it means to be an American. I'm not sure that we're doing the right things and living the right way. Like everyone else, I see the richest of the rich gather more money, while the rest of us find it increasingly more difficult to get ahead... or even stay even.
It's the American quandary. Surplus powerlessness, that old Michael Lerner term. I don't remember much about working at the Institute along College Ave. in Oakland, but I remember that term. Michael Lerner got a grant on that term alone. It's stuck in my head for use at a later date.
And this is that later date. Something is amiss in America, and even though I partake of the higher calling of doing local radio four hours a day - and I take in call after call and guest after guest - I still have no freaking idea what it is that Americans are saying. It's hard to hear through the noise clutter of creaking wheels and screeching cries. There are voices not being heard and if there's anything that puts America in danger more than anything else it's
Voices not being heard
Silent in the shadows
of alleys where you better not walk
for fear of being stabbed.
There is fear and hatred and
decreasing money so you might as well
steal. Do drugs. Hurt others.
Take their things. Take their
Do not sing together as a people.
Do not allow certain types to
sit next to you in your chosen
It's okay to hate because sometimes
that's all you have.
A little red rubber ball left alone on
the lawn. And then it starts to rain,
storm, lightning. Rivers of rainwater
carry the little red rubber ball
down the sewer pipe and into the
Little Calumet River and then out
to Lake Michigan and then to the
silt on the bottom where it will sit
until it breaks apart into little
rubber pieces that a
Coho Salmon chokes on.
Such is the cycle of life.
So there. I feel as if I've sufficiently puked out the morning chatter right on to the laps of the three or four of you. Wait, I'll get you a towel.