but not no god.
I really do like talking to the three or four you in the middle of the night. I’m sitting in the spare bedroom in the dark writing to you on a laptop. You’re sleeping on a pillow next to a nightstand with a clock on it. We are one.
- Radio is dying. We gotta record it while it’s still here. Broadcasting students at a small liberal arts college on the East Coast 50 years from now gotta know what it was like to live a life of local radio.
That’s basically it. That and the transition from radio to something other than radio. That transition is accelerating. If any of the three or four of you watch me stand on Indianapolis Boulevard and talk my “JED in America” segment, then you know what I’m talking about. If any of you watched the Highland at Hobart football game on Friday night your phone then you know what I’m talking about.
You may have watched Hammond mayor Tom McDermott talk at a podium in front of the new Hammond Sportsplex. You may have watched the Lake Central volleyball game or Purdue Northwest students do a sports talk show. The list goes on. We are half radio and half TV. And I don’t know which half is more.
That’s why it takes me waking up at 2:30 on a Sunday morning to find the time to roll around under the covers with you. Yes, I am under my covers. It’s cold outside and Alexis won’t let me turn the heat on yet. You are sleeping under your covers, hopefully with someone next to you. If not, I’m with you. Don’t worry.
On Friday night, Alexis and I and daughter Jack and nephew Jack went for dinner at Doc’s in Dyer. We made fun of Jack and Jack and ate barbecue. Afterwards, nephew Jack and I went by the WJOB studios to check on things. At the studio were Andrew Garcia, Sonny Santana and Robert Aguirre. They host Friday night football. Here’s how it works.
A crew of six goes out to one high school football game. A crew of another six goes out to another game. They broadcast the games in video to WJOBNetwork.com. That feed also goes to the website of IHSAAtv.org, which in turn goes to Roku so you can watch it on your TV in your living room.
The three guys in the studio log onto WJOBNetwork.com and they take the audio from the game and play it on the radio. They switch back and forth between the two games depending on who is about to score. It may not make much sense to the three or four of you sleeping soundly underneath the covers, but it works. It takes people who understand the technology, but it works. I would argue that with the switching between the two games and with the guys in the studio giving live scores, our radio coverage is as good as it has been in a long time.
The sports coverage on the radio is better. And we’re blazing a trail with video sports coverage in the Region. How does this add up in terms of advertising dollars?
I knew that one of you would ask this. And the short answer is – it’s none of your damn business.
But that wouldn’t be right. The agreement is that I tell you about My Radio Life and you wake up and read my blog on your laptop or on your phone while scratching your privates on a Sunday morning. Deal?
The long and short of it is that advertisers want TV commercials. Our area doesn’t have its own TV station. We never have. There’s a ton of Chicago stations that dominate our area. There’s a limping public television station. But there’s no commercial TV here. We’re TV. Advertisers have been starving for TV commercials for generations.
This creates a dilemma going forward. Do I continue to invest in radio? Or do I only invest in contraptions that will allow me to fulfill the crave for TV commercials?
I don’t know the answer to this. In the end, I’m a decent innovator but a bad businessman. That’s why I’m going to MBA school.
After visiting the studios and buying the guys some dinner, I took Jack to his house and came home and sat with Alexis for a while. We watched the fireworks of the political day. It was the Friday in which Jeff Flake met a screaming woman in an elevator and that occurrence may very well change the course of history. It’s all-consuming, this confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh. I can’t get enough of it. It’s riveting.
But I still gotta do my statistics homework. One or two of the three or four of you may not know how this works. But to take a test in modern day graduate school, you sit at your computer on a weekend and you got four hours to answer all the questions that pop up. It’s not like the old days. Back then, you would go to class, come home and review your notes and read a book, then come back to class with a sharpened pencil and take a test.
Now, you go to class (maybe) and then come home and take a test on a computer. You still gotta study your ass off to take that test. But you can do it sitting in your spare bedroom in your underwear scratching your privates and listening to Neil Young.
So, on Friday night, I lifted myself off of the couch at 11pm and went into the spare bedroom and studied statistics until one in the morning.
Now don’t get me wrong. I really am getting into graduate business school. I’ve learned accounting, marketing, investing and more. It’s been, for lack of a better term, enlightening. The biggest thing I have learned is that I am, or was, a horrible businessman. I might be able to innovate a little in media, but when it comes to the nuts and bolts of running a business, I blow.
That’s changing slowly. I may not yet be able to run things efficiently, but I can at least understand how much I suck. Really. You have no idea how many times I’m reading in the spare bedroom in my underwear and I say out loud to myself:
“I am so f----ing stupid. What a f---ing idiot.”
That’s a way of saying to myself that I realize the mistakes that I have made in business. Really, we have survived in spite of me. And perhaps the one thing that I have done right in the face of all of this mediocrity is to keep costs low. That’s it. I suppress cost. Other than that, there is nothing you can learn from my business dealings other than the Passive Marketing System.
And that’s only born out of laziness.
Anyways, I studied sampling distribution, degrees of freedom, the t table and the central limit theorem until one in the morning. Then I fell asleep next to my wife. I woke at five and studied for another six hours and then took the four-hour test. By three in the afternoon, I texted my wife.
“I’m finally done. Movie?”
We went to a movie – “White Guy Rick.” It was perhaps the most depressing movie this year. But it was good. Afterwards, we stopped for Indiana food on the Boulevard.
“So how’d you do on the test?”
“I got an 18. Can you please pass the masala?”
“18 out of what?”
I chewed my garbanzo beans, took a swig of tea.
“18,” I mouthed. “And I have no freaking idea how.”
That is true. I figured at best I would get a 15 out of 18. There were six questions that I was entirely unsure of. But hey, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.
I tell you this rather mundane story so that you will understand why I shirk my thousand word duty. There’s school and there’s radio and there’s family and there’s working out. I have filled my days in contrast to the implied advice of Thoreau, or was it Emerson?
“Most men live lives of quiet desperation, frittered away by detail.”
Yes, I live a life of detail. It is dominated by the thousands of details a day it takes to turn the Titanic around. I am transitioning my little old radio stations into a TV station. It’s starting to work. In answer to your nosy question, we’ve sold a lot of advertising on our TV side in the past couple of months. It’s an easy Yes.
But not so much on radio. We’re getting a few new buys from agencies and political candidates, but almost no local businesses come through the door wanting to buy radio only. They know enough about what we’re doing to ask about video. So it goes. So it goes.
That should be enough for tonight. I really do feel as if I could write several thousand words to the three or four of you just for the hell of it. But nah. I’m hungry. And on the way home from the movies and Indian dinner, Alexis and I stopped at Oberweiss Dairy and bought a quart of chocolate chip ice cream. It’s got my name on it.