It's 4:19 on a Wednesday morning. This used to be my short day. Instead of doing a show from 5:30am to 10am like most days, on Wednesdays I would get off at 8am when Kusiak and Reardon came in for their show. Now, however, I pretty much get off at 8am or 8:30 most days. Sam Michel mostly hosts after 8am.
This new schedule has allowed me some free time to save radio. That's not entirely accurate. I'm not out to save radio. I'm out to update it. For some reason, fate has put me in Hammond, Indiana, with two radio stations and some brand new studios and a 400-foot tower and a bunch of college broadcasting students and recent grads around me and next thing you know these ideas on how to do radio better come to mind.
The main idea is that you don't do all radio directly. Instead of Jean Shepherd speaking into a microphone at 11:15pm every night and a ton of people up and down the Eastern seaboard listening to him... instead of that, you speak into a microphone in your basement, create a podcast, and soon after it airs on AM 1230 WJOB and 104.7 FM and you can listen to it across northwest Indiana and much of Chicago.
"But that's not live radio," the three or four of you might say.
I get that. Live radio is the key to radio. As the three or four of you know, I'm not any good at anything that's not live. It's that way on radio. If I try to tape something like a commercial or an ID tag or an interview or, yes, a podcast, it comes out dry. I'm just not as good in a recording booth as I am behind the microphone live in the morning. That's just how it is.
It's how I was as a trader also. I would try like hell to prepare to stand in the pit all day... candlestick charts, range projections, support and resistance points, announcements from the Fed, etc. I would even try to imagine what I would do in this market situation or that. Sometimes, I would even "paper trade," which is you mark where you would have bought a future and where you would have sold it.
None of this works for me. I despise sitting in a recording booth, and I despised preparing to trade in the conventional way. The only thing that mattered to me in the pits was when the bell rang at 7:20 in the morning. Then I was free. It was live and that's all that mattered. Same feeling happens now at 5:30am when the music stops and I start talking. It's beautiful. Live is beautiful.
So there's a couple of things to say to the three or four of you about live radio. First, I haven't been doing my podcast, "My Radio Life," and I don't know why. I sharpen my pencils, cut up tape, take some notes about what I'm gonna talk about... and then I clean the kitchen and do some laundry. I'll do anything but sit behind the microphone and talk to the closet door. Nobody's listening. I don't why I have a mental block about this, but I do.
Secondly, starting on March 10th, we're gonna try something I'm calling "Live-assist" radio. On March 10th, our contract runs out with Clark Howard in the afternoons. After that, Tony Panek, Sam Michel or I will host the afternoons on WJOB. But we won't do it in a traditional sense. We won't host a radio show. We'll host a podcast show. I have no idea if any of this is gonna work but we're gonna give it a try anyhows.
It goes back to the fact that there's so much talent around me with our studios on the campus of the Purdue Northwest Commercialization Center. It's not only students and recent grads from Purdue, it's students and recent grads from all over... along with generally creative people in the community. This week we added "HeyMyMan," a podcast by Ben and Dave that works. And another called "On the Blue Line" by a couple of local hockey aficionados. My sense is that there's a ton of talent out there either doing podcasts, or, with a little prodding, gonna do podcasts.
Where can you go on the internet to find these innovative local podcasts?
You got it, the three or four of you - JEDcastradio.com. That's the plan for now. We aggregate local podcasts onto one site. That way when you're on vacation in Florida and you're bored out of your mind, you can go to JEDcastradio.com and listen to two dudes from the Region talk about fixing a sink ("HeyMyMan" this week). Or you can listen to two dudes talk with the owner of Froyo ("The Region Ramble" this week). Or you can get the latest on the Penguins ("On the Blue Line" this week). Or you can listen to some cuts from and commentary about a Grateful Dead show in 1991 ("This is Dead Air" this week). You get the picture. If you're on that beach in Florida, you can either turn on the audio stream of WJOB by clicking on the tune-in app... or you can listen to Region podcasts at JEDcastradio.com. Your choice.
But what happens after that? There's all of these podcasts by really creative people in the Region. Big deal. You can, if you know how to look, find them on the internet anyhows.
Yes, but can you find them all in one place... and hear them on the radio?
Here's where I think we're all missing the boat. Why in hell's half acre do podcasts live in the podcast world... while radio lives in the quite separate radio world? And never the twain shall meet? I don't get it. You should be able to turn on WJOB and hear the best audio material being created in the Region. We do that with our many live radio shows, but there's a whole world of good podcasts being created all over the Region. So I'm gonna play it on the radio. That's the plan. Starting on March 10th, Tony, Sam or I will sit in the studio in the afternoons and tell you that it's 35 degrees outside and that traffic's backed up on the Borman. We'll tell you what's coming up on Harlow's afternoon drive show and we'll tell you what happened on my morning show. We'll review a couple of news stories... and then we'll play a local podcast, in part or in whole. And then we'll repeat the process again. A little live talk, a little podcast, a little live talk, a little podcast. And so on. That's "live-assist" radio. That's JEDcast radio.
I have no idea if it will work. Typically, when I ask a question like - why isn't anyone doing this? or why isn't anyone doing that? There's usually a pretty good reason, which is usually, "it doesn't work." Sometimes there's no logical reason for it not to work. It just doesn't work.
Here's one that doesn't work. You can't do a radio show and try to make it into a podcast. It just doesn't work. Radio and podcasting are two different art forms. This begs the question - if you can't do radio and turn it into a podcast, what makes you think you can do a podcast and turn it into a radio?
Good question. I have no idea if The Great JEDcast Experiment will work. But at least I'm enjoying the ride. At least I'm enjoying the ride...
Before we go all Grateful Dead at 4:46 in the morning... we should probably get back to this mental block I have about doing my own podcast. In the beginning, I figured that I had to do a podcast as part of being a leader of some sort. If I want the people around me to dabble in podcasting since it's the future and the now, I gotta dabble in the future and the now also. At least that's my thinking. But you have no idea how clean my clothes closet is and how much fruit there is in the refrigerator. I've ordered new jeans online to replace the tattered and worn Eddie Bauers, and I topped off the transmission fluid in the Ford Fusion. I even cleaned off the picnic table on the back porch and fixed the doorknob in the kitchen.
Anything... ANYTHING... but sit in my home recording studio and do a podcast. That's my problem. I'll deal with it in my own way. For now, why don't the three or four of you go brush your teeths and turn turn on WJOB? I'll be there blabbing in 29 minutes. LIVE, not taped.