A longing to break
free of the noise.
Clear, open terrain, sky.
On the fifth of July
will be silence.
When I left the Board of Trade at 40, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I was lost. So Alexis and I bought two radio stations and a newspaper. It seemed logical at the time.
It's 15 years later and I'm still lost. It's a different kind of lost. Back then, I had a little PTSD from the pits and all that goes with it. I needed, for lack of a better term, to heal. This is evidenced by the shear number of guys who left the Board of Trade and killed themselves or drank themselves to death. It's some sad stories that someone will tell someday. Not me. I put it behind me. I know now that I sold my soul for money and to build up a sense of myself that wasn't real. Oh well.
Now, I'm lost in another way. I thought that when we bought the radio stations that I would ride it out just having a good time in my hometown. This is partly what has happened. Look through the pictures in this blog. I'm having a hell of a time.
fading soul to
The best way is to get
out of the way.
This week, we broadcasted live from the 65th annual Sportsmanship Dinner at the Halls of St. George in Schererville, Ind. You can watch the video or look at the pictures above. In the past, I have hosted this event. Ben Wood hosted this year. He interviewed:
- former Gary athletic director Earl Smith
- longtime referee Larry Samano
- Lake Central coach Dave Milausnic
- Munster coach Mike Hackett
- Sportsmanship committee member Mike Golumbeck
- and others.
I took the mic to interview the two men of the hour, Munster grad Hal Morris and former Bishop Noll athletic director Eddie Hreha, partly because I have known both for more than 40 years. Hal came in to give the keynote speech to 900 people, about half of whom were high school basketball players. I interviewed Hal about his dad, a physician, and what he learned during his 13-year career in Major League Baseball. As I wound things up, Hal stopped me - "Wait, one more thing."
"Okay. Go ahead," I said.
"It's funny how you remember these things. But when I was a sophomore in Jack King's Health and Safety class, and it came up who was the best athlete in Munster history. You know who Jack King said? Jimmy Dedelow."
"Get the hell out of here, Hal. Go give your speech."
Gray sky, black street,
Car wash signs, restaurants.
Six months cold. Somewhere, it's
warm and sunny.
Fifteen years ago I thought I would buy the local radio stations and weekly newspaper and ride into the sunset. Sounded like a decent enough gig, kind of like operating the local hardware store.
The problem, for radio, newspaper, and the local hardware store, is that the world changed. Menards and Home Depot stole the life that a hardware guy could live. Facebook and the internet stole the life that a local radio guy could live. We have had to change.
And change is happening at a rapid rate. I am letting it happen to me. We're taking what once was radio waves off a tower and turning them into x's and o's on a website and Roku. It's a tectonic shift for the hardware industry and WJOB.
reminds you that after
you are through, you still have
something to do.
Yesterday, I spent hours crawling behind TVs at Bridges Scoreboard Restaurant in Griffith. WJOB video guy Ben Cowart and I got together with Jeff and Scott Bridges to find a way that diners could watch Purdue Northwest and high school games in the restaurant. This was not easy.
Bridges has a traditional setup. Satellite comes in at an access point and then it's distributed to dozens of TVs. We send out Purdue Northwest games through smart TV. Satellite and smart TV do not match up. So we had to reach behind TVs and plug sticks into HDMI ports and then find power sources and USB ports and log into their internet and different accounts. Each TV took a while. I went in to the restaurant in the morning and came out at rush hour. At one point, Ben and I had to move dozens of booze bottles so I could wiggle down the bar and stick my head behind a TV. He held my legs so I wouldn't fall.
But it was worth it. While we were doing all of this, the Purdue Northwest's women's team was sitting there eating lunch with coach Tom Megyesi. Typically, we wouldn't be walking around clanking our tools while customers ate, but it was only Medge. When we finally got one of the TVs working, we played the womens game from Thursday against Ferris State. The women stopped their chewing and watched.
By the way, it was just a couple days ago that we broadasted for the first time PNW men's and women's games on Roku, Amazon and Apple TV. We've been doing high school games for a while, but we couldn't figure out a way to get PNW involved. That's part of the reason Bridges is suddenly interested in getting our feed on their TVs.
The long and short of it is that there is some interest from restaurant owners to carry the games that we produce and distribute. Big Frank's Sausage in East Chicago now has a stick and can pick up our high school and college games. As with Bridges, we hooked up streaming video for them. Glad to do it, but also hoping that after a while restaurant owners will pick up on the momentum and do it themselves.
Sherwood sure shucked
He also lived in a
Chicago rooming house
that never was.
So here it is a Saturday morning. Sectionals start on Tuesday. We have three crews and five sectionals to cover, so we'll be rotating all around from:
- Crown Point
- Hammond Civic Center
- Lake Station
I'm scheduled to announce the Lake Central vs. Munster game on Tuesday from Crown Point and the next morning after the show drive to Indianapolis for a lunch and a symposium. I won't be back in time on Wednesday night, so my cousin Scott is set to drive in from South Bend to announce two games. I'm set to be back for the semifinals and finals over the weekend. Ryan and Sam each have announcing crews that will rotate among the sites. Jimmy Mullaney and Ben Cowart lead production. It's a solid crew of broadcasting professionals who believe in the sanctity of Indiana high school basketball... and also believe that it's time that we bring it to the living rooms of the people of the Calumet Region.
Lost? Yes. Still lost. But in a different way. It's a whirlwind of podcasts, blogs, streaming video, websites and dust bunnies behind old TVs. I have no idea if this huge investment in digital media will pay off. Right now, though, I'm having too damn much fun to care.
Dead Sea Scrolls still speak. Poe.
Wright brothers. Jesus. And
all else you know.