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.
They had to broadcast at the old studios. That's because we had a computer die. The one that plays our commercials and schedules all the programming. So since we gotta spend some dough anyhows, maybe it's time to consider a new system.
The leading competitors to our current Simian automation system is, so far, Arakkis and Wheatstone. So that's what I'm doing today. Angel and I are trying to figure what would work best in a world of VPNs, internet radio, podcasts, voice-tracking, contact closures, digital compression and three or four magna calibrators.
Local radio in transition... on Black Friday. You shop, I'll fix stuff.
... Yesterday at Thanksgiving my brother Brian may have come up with the idea we've been looking for. In the back of my dreams I really do want to take the old WJOB building, all 5600 square feet of it, and make it into a radio museum. There's so much old equipment and lore that it really is the history of all radio.
And, like you if you're reading this, I don't want to lose that history. I love radio, especially local radio. It is pure, beautiful, unstained. You know that.
So why not make WJOB a tourist destination, my brother said. But with a twist. "The old-time local radio museum with the Jean Shepherd exhibit."
Bingo. I've been looking for the hook that could get people interested, get bureaucrats to give money to the project. Jean Shepherd did grow up a few blocks from the tower, got his start at WJOB. You could read his old short stories when he talked about Region people... and we're pretty much the same Region people as when he wrote about us. We might have a few more African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans... but we're basically the same gritty people.
But I digress. The connection with the past is more than the Jean Shepherd twist. It's a connection with the love for a mode of communication that is in the midst of a long goodbye. And that be radio.
So there. The WJOB Old-time Radio Museum with the Jean Shepherd Exhibit. If you were a bureaucrat, would you spend a few hundred thousand on that... or would you give millions to promote our one only real museum around here? And that be a museum to glorify a cop killer. The John Dillinger Museum. I want your Dillinger money. It's for something good, pure, innocent, and historical, and I think it could attract a ton of people. Don't choo?