2:47am Tuesday morning.
It's me again, local radio guy. Alexis and I went for a quick trip to New York City to visit our daughter who has moved there. She attended Catholic grade school, the public high school around the corner from our house, then the University of Wisconsin... and she winds up in Queens. Go figure.
Jeanie moved to New York less than two months ago and she has a job and a safe place to live and a boyfriend and she's starting to look like a person who's comfortable standing on a train everyday. It has happened so quickly and starkly that as a dad I really don't know how to handle it. So instead I get quiet and take it all in and save it for my radio show.
Her boyfriend, Daniel, took us to where he works - Bloomberg - to show me around the studios of Bloomberg TV and Bloomberg radio. Now that was pretty cool. As you know, I just spent a couple of years getting one world-class studio built on the campus of the Purdue Commercializaton Center. We did it, but it cost a ton and took a ton of me to do it. I can't imagine the cost and the design work that went into the gaggle of Bloomberg studios. Let's just say I have studio envy. But let's also say that I have seen what is possible with the right LED lights, cameras, boom mikes, studio furniture, background sets, huge TV screens and more. If you dream it, it must be possible. And Michael Bloomberg must have woke up one morning like I have today and just looked at the ceiling and thought - let's build the best set of studios in America. And then he did it.
One thing that struck me about the Bloomberg studios was why they were there in the first place. A while ago when Daniel got hired at Bloomberg I looked it up and Bloomberg makes like 80% if its money from financial data and consulting. From reading the wire, it appears that they don't make that much money at all from broadcasting, Business Week magazine, radio, digital media. So why do it?
It must be general marketing. Build a network and you can better sell your other services, I guess. No matter what the reasons for doing media, Bloomberg has built a behemoth of a building with open space throughout, and the glass-enclosed studios as the centerpiece of the empire. Daniel took us around a huge fish tank and pointed - "I think that's Michael Bloomberg's desk."
I looked. It's just an open desk in the middle of a huge room of other open desks and screens. "Really."
"Yeah, the whole company is based on the open concept. We don't even have titles on our business cards. It just says your name and Bloomberg and that's it."
So much for hierarchy. It's a Tuesday and I'm getting ready to go back behind the microphone after taking Friday (Kusiak as the replacement host) and Monday (Verlie) away from talk radio. I needed it. I'm burnt out and my jokes seem to fall flat and I don't even read my seven newspapers a day. I just go in and talk without much substance and next thing you know I'm riding my bike home to eat a couple pieces of leftover pizza and then go bowling at Stardust in Dyer. I needed the short break, but I needed even more to see my daughter. She graduated from college and moved to New York City. Two months ago every day after the show I'd pick her up and we'd go work out at Planet Fitness. Then maybe we'd stop by and see the nieces and nephews and take them for lunch. Next thing you know we're having breakfast at Sarabeth's at 40 Central Park South and we're walking through Columbus Circle on our way to the largest Whole Foods on earth. Go figure.
As far as radio goes... it's the middle of the night and I wake with the general anxiety that has been passed to me by my Polish mother and aunts and a few uncles and grandparents. It's a general wakefulness that hits you like a bright light when you role over at 12:57 and you know that for the next few hours you better find something to do or you'll lie there with your eyes closed imagining the most horrible of outcomes. It's a curse, mostly, but a blessing also in that you can think - after you leapfrog the imagined horrors - about as clearly as you will all day long. Right now it's mid-September so you can sleep, if that's what you wanna call it, with the windows open and there's the lulling hum of the 80-94 interstate and the much closer sound of crickets working diligently all night.
I tried to listen to KGO out of San Francisco on the IHeart Radio app. But they're not running regular news programming. Instead, on their terrestrial station, they were running coverage of the Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers game. I first tried to listen at 12:57am, which is kinda late for Monday Night football games to still be on. But then again the NFL and ESPN teamed up for a doubleheader on the first Monday Night football of the season. The San Francisco game didn't start til after 9pm our time so I guess the scheduling fits. Either way, since KGO evidently can't stream the 49ers game, they were running flashbacks of an interview one of their hosts did with John Dean about his book on Watergate. It was interesting but it wasn't immediate enough. No shit. So I went downstairs and turned on the TV and there was the Woodstock movie, the really long one. Richie Havens, Canned Heat, Joan Baez and the Who were all right to watch for a while. But that was enough to take and the next thing you know I'm reading my seven newspapers and writing a meaningless blog to you. Good night. Or good morning. Or whatever.
I get a half hour break in the middle of the show, as Andy Qunell hosts one of the shows. I know that it sounds a little odd to take a half hour break in the middle of the show, but we all win with this one. The folks that pay get their word out about their community, we get a little johnnie to keep the lights on, and listeners get useful information that we may or may not have been able to provide otherwise.
This morning, Verlie Suggs joined me and one of the callers deemed her my "co-host." I haven't had one of those for years so it's difficult to get used to. That would make Bill Baker and my wife Alexis also co-hosts for a day when they make their weekly appearances. It's gorgeous out right now so right four hours plus of radio I'll ride the bike over to Planet Fitness to work out. That's the life of a local radio guy with a potbelly.
Major topics today - jury finds Soderquists guilty, Higgs and his restraining order on Anne Herbert, Trump, the Munster town council challenge with a GLBTQ commission. I learned a new one. It's no longer just gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. It's also Queer on the end. I'm not kidding. Back in the day "Queer" was a slur. Now it's part of the official alphabet soup of the sexual orientation and identification community. No shit. Radio rolls on. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Show's finished. In the last hour, Teamsters Local 142 guys Harvey Jackson and Richard Knipp talked about how "nervous" steelworkers are about contract talks. Lockout? Strike? Either way, a lotta ex-wives don't get their child support and that means a lotta kids could go without essentials like school supplies and extracurricular sports. Remember that part of this issue. The kids suffer right along with the steelworker and the ex-wife.
Time to go work out. Ride the bike down Indianapolis Blvd. to a national chain that gets it right in offering fitness equipment and such but won't advertise here. So I'm not gonna mention them, at least not more than once. I did earlier and that's enough.
Just finished a short sales meeting also with Debbie Wargo, Kelly Lauer and Alex Kazmierczak. The latter two are recent Purdue Cal graduates whom we are trying to turn into media salespeople. It's a tough road, but they're learning. In the end, the easiest sell we have at WJOB is "Club 99." That's when you give us 99 bucks a week and we play your spot. Start when you want. Stop when you want. It's easy to comprehend and they add up after a while. Keep it churning. It's local radio. You can never stop.