On a moonlit night walking
Around with the dog listening
In my headphones to old
Jim Croce songs.
Laying in bed looking at the
Pennants on the wall. Bears,
Cubs, Bulls and Black Hawks.
Purdue, East Chicago Roosevelt
Roughriders, Hammond High
Without the sense to saunter
Across the lawn after a warm
Rain, there wouldn’t be any
Reason to build a treehouse
In the backyard.
The moon pulls me to places
I don’t want to go. It leaves me
All alone and still I have to talk.
That’s what radio does to you.
You long for the moon. It would
Be perfect to do your show from the
Surface of the moon. After your
Shift, you could turn off the mixer
And go for a hop across the moon.
You wouldn’t have to talk to anyone.
You could just hop and hop and
Swing a golf club and listen to the
Music of the cosmos. It is
Difficult to imagine what that would
Sound like, but you can bet your last
Dollar it would sound a lot better than
A banker at a luncheon.
If it were up to me, I would do my radio
Show on the moon. I’d still be able to
See earth, to keep an eye on it. It would
Be the same view God has. You wonder
If the Supreme Being sometimes sits on
The moon and talks to himself. Put a
Microphone in front of him, or her, and you
Could get a million dollars a minute on
The longing for solitude can usually be
Met by talking to people from behind
A boom mic. There may be a producer
To ruin the perfection, but if you go it
Solo everything becomes a hassle after
A while. You just want to talk on the moon
And eat on the air and make as many
Off-color jokes that you can think of.
Screw off, everyone. I like talking to
You on the air and only on the air. After
The show, I want to hop across the moon
Looking for my golf ball. I’m getting older.
I don’t hit the ball as far. On the
Moon you can drive the ball a full mile
Before it comes back to earth. I mean, the
Moon. The moon. The moon. Radio on the
Moon. Release me from my obligations so
I can send some waves into the oblivion
Of black holes and dark stars. There must
Radio there. There is radio everywhere.
Radio waves don’t die, unless they run into
A bridge or something. If you let a radio
Wave go free into the atmosphere, it keeps
Going until it runs into something with
Metal in it. It might be an asteroid or a
Comet or a planet or a sun. Whatever it is,
The matter that obstructs brings silence to
The cosmos, which is preferable to going to
Another luncheon. I run out of things to
Talk about and I wind up saying stupid
Stuff. I don’t care. I have no luck. There’s
Just so many things that don’t taste like
Anything. You could concoct a Kombucha
That tastes like a mixture of strawberries
And heaven, vanilla and a kiss. Still, on
Days like today, when I just got back from
Another luncheon of:
And coffee, it wouldn’t
Taste like anything. I have nothing to
Say. I have bled myself dry. Take me away
To the moon. I hear it’s quiet there.
It’s dangerous for me to go to too many luncheons. In an average day, I meet a lot of good Region people. But if I go to too many luncheons and dinners and awards ceremonies and picnics and weddings and speeches, I start to go squirrelly.
I would do just about anything to continue to talk on my own radio stations every morning. It is my destiny. I feel alive. Part of the allure is that you really are alone in the studio. Most of the morning, I am by myself. The producers are on the other side of a window. There’s windows out onto Indianapolis Boulevard, where big trucks go by and people beep. But for the most part, I am alone. I am alone talking to the three or four of you who read my blog and to the seven or eight who listen to my show.
This is what I love. I’m guessing that you can tell this by just listening. “it’s good to be exposed to someone who really loves what they’re doing,” a guy told me once in the canned goods aisle at Strack & Van Til. He listens to the show every day. I would have never known this if we weren’t both buying green beans at the same time.
I like talking to people who listen to the show and care about the Calumet Region. You’d be surprised how many different walks of life they come from.
What is wearing me down, however, is some of the stuff that I have to do to be able to make enough money to ccontinue to talk on the radio every morning. I just got back from a luncheon to honor some friends of mine. Jeff Strack and Bill Hasse got inducted in to the Business Hall of Fame around here. I talked to two several dozen people who are good people. Some made me laugh. Some, I made them laugh.
This should have been a really jovial occasion. And it was, for a while. But then I realized how tired I am. I have brought this exhaustion upon myself. I agreed to teach a Sports Broadcasting class. I am taking my finals for my MBA. I’m leaving in a few days for a streaming media conference. It’s political season, so we’re busy as hell at the stations. We’re taking on a couple of interns for the summer and we gotta sift through resumes. I gotta grade a bunch of finals. I’ve been to a dozen dinners and luncheons in the past two weeks. And, of course, I gotta prepare to talk on the radio three hours a day.
I have reached overload. I can’t carry any more. It’s a cry for help to learn how to manage my life better. I share this whining with the three or four of you because that’s the deal. We agreed a long time ago that I would share with you what it is like to live a life of local radio. Me, my type, we’ll be gone soon enough. This is a historical piece that I’m almost too tired to write. It’s not a sleepy tired. I do a radio show every morning and then live a full life of going around the community. It’s too much of a good thing.
You should see her smile when I
Tell her that I love her. She looks
At me as if she doesn’t understand.
There’s a story in those eyes that
I can't comprehend. It’s written in
Another language. The only way
To decipher it is to give your whole
Life, which I’ve done. I’m waiting for
The translated text any day now.
Thank you for listening to me whine. I have nothing to complain about. My wife and I own a couple of radio stations in the best place in the world to live. There are more stories in one walk around Wicker Park on an 80-degree day than there are in all of Winesburg. Family and more family, and no matter what happens in life they can’t turn their back on me. Unless I turn my back first on unions and then the Cubs.
I’m tired of the Cubs. They’re on the
Television all the time. You can’t get away
From them. You turn on the radio,
There’s the Cubs. You log onto
Facebook, there’s some Cubs
Highlights. You go into a bar,
There’s a bunch of blue on the
Wall. My daughter wears a
Cubs shirt around the house.
You go to the beach in the summer
And a plane goes by carrying
A banner - Go Cubs. And my
Dad – oh my dad – we can’t talk
For a full minute without him
Mentioning the improving
Bullpen. Cubs, Cubs, Cubs.
You see. When you get to My Radio Life overload, there is little pleasure in things that would normally be pleasurable. I love sitting in the stands with my wife drinking beer and watching the talent go by from behind my sunglasses. I love sitting in the stuffy armchair with the air conditioner blaring and watching the Cubs. I love Cubbie blue. I love my dad.
But when you’re on My Radio Life overload, even a chocolate chip cookie tastes like sawdust. That’s the best way that I can explain it. A life of local radio isn’t always pillows and roses. Sometimes it’s sawdust and politicians.