What it boils down to is the clock. When it flashes, that means that your power went out at home. This is worrisome if you own radio stations. Any number of things can go wrong once the power goes out in the area, so you turn on your radio to check that you’re still on the air. And you do it again. And again and again.
… One of the things you really do have to guard against in living a My Radio Life is burnout. Not just burnout from being on the air too much. That’s only the beginning. But remember the purpose for writing this blog in the first place for the three or four of you – to record the final days of radio as we know it. And to catch radio in transition to something other than radio.
And radio, like anything else, will consume you, if you let it.
And I’ve been letting it, recently. Pick a day and there’s five hours of live radio (including minimal prep), a couple hours of Facebook Live video (some prep time setting cameras, lighting, etc.). I usually spend an hour or so a day designing and updating the websites. Then there’s the Facebook page to organize. And how about photos I’ve taken and this blog to write.
That’s before I go into the community for whatever doing I’m supposed to attend. On Friday night. Alexis and I went to the Bishop Noll high school “Big Event” and sat with the Kusiaks and Whelans and Floreses and the Mertzes.
The next morning, I got up early and spent a “facilities day” at the old WJOB studios. You gotta have a facilities day once in a while. You clean up, throw stuff out, rummage through old equipment, replace light bulbs, fix a sink, etc. It’s a large, mostly empty building and you gotta keep it up or it’ll go to hell in a hurry. My brother Brian dropped by and we talked about having two kids in college at the same time. He’ll be there soon. He’s a union carpenter and he knows the challenges ahead.
“I don’t care who you are, if you got two kids in college, you’re just chugging along,” I told him. He scratched his head, looked worried.
“Don’t worry. Nine years from now, all three of your kids will be done with college.”
After that, I drove seven blocks down Indianapolis Boulevard to the new WJOB studios at Purdue. I’m on the board of the Purdue Commercialization Center and we were hosting this competition known as “The Big Sell.” It’s what’s known as a “pitch competition.” Entrepreneurs looking to get funded pitch to a panel for prize money. These go on all over America. It’s a good way for entrepreneurs to get “free money” and to practice their pitch.
It’s also a good way to get the word out about the Purdue Commercialization Center. I spent my Saturday snagging entrepreneurs to walk next door to our WJOB studios and sit with me for a Facebook Live video.
You can check it out at Facebook.com/wjob.1230. I interviewed:
- a rocket scientist at Purdue-West Lafayette who grew up in Oakland and went to UC San Diego. He actually won the first prize, which is $5,000.
- a Purdue-West Lafayette student who came up with a hydroponics cabinet that lets you grow plants four to five times faster than conventional methods.
- a Hessville doughnut delivery truck driver who came up with Stack Rite Totes, which keep doughnuts from sliding around the back of the truck.
- a couple of Munster guys who came up with a device that dispenses pills only at the time you’re supposed to take them.
- two young women who travelled from Southern Vermont University to show how they make jackets from ground Alpaca fur.
It’s a dizzying thing to interview back-to-back so many entrepreneurs, who oftentimes are better at inventing things than getting interviewed. But I also do it during the week when we host this thing called “1 Million Cups.” That’s like a mini-Big Sell without the prize money. We host 1 Million Cups every Wednesday at 9am at the Purdue center right down the hall from WJOB. The three or four of you should come.
I realize, now that we’re 852 words into this thing, that this is not the most riveting blog I’ve ever written the three or four of you. Too bad. Five times a week, we should share at least Another Thousand Words. That way what I do won’t be lost forever. It’s that simple.
I do want to share with you a brief conversation that I had with Ed and Melissa Hickey on Friday night.
“I read your blog,” Melissa said. She’s a realtor. Who would have ever thought a realtor would read my blog? Thanks, Melissa, since if you really do read my blog, you’re reading this right now.
And then Ed went into a message that he’s directed at me before. Ed and I are both former pit traders. I traded in Chicago for 18 years. Ed traded much longer. We share this understanding that what we did was pretty cool. We also share the understanding that re-entering into civilian life is difficult.
“I’ve got this accountant friend who does the taxes for a bunch of us former trader types. And he tells me the same thing every year, that I’m one of the lucky ones.”
“Why’s that?” I ask.
“Because I’m still around. You wouldn’t believe the tales of woe.”
Yes, I would believe the tales of woe. I know several. Guys drinking themselves to death. Guys living in ramshackle apartments with strippers. Guys with drug problems. Suicide, divorce, bankruptcy. A couple years ago, I ran into a guy who stood in the pits with me for years who was driving a limo.
“I got a hunnerd dollar tip once. That’s the biggest I ever got.”
The irony is not lost. This limo driver used to be the guy who gave hunnerd dollar tips. Now, he waits in the oasis near Ohare for his next trip.
Ed congratulated me once again for making what he sees as a successful transition back to civilian life. If Ed only knew the struggle it’s been, how much of me it has taken to get these two radio stations and the new digital media stuff to where it is now… which is not entirely clear. What is clear is that radio is an every day, every moment, all abosorbing thing. I love radio, and radio loves me back. But sometimes love keeps you up all night. There we go again. My hand just slipped onto the nightstand, pressed the AM button without me saying so. Now the FM button.
Yes, we’re still on the air – both stations. Another Thousand Words. Now go back to bed.