As I have been off building a TV network, you have passed the time living your lives. I am almost certain that you have been following the life of Donald Trump. It is so interesting.
And if you’re a “Trumper,” then you think he’s the best thing since sliced bread. You have an uncanny knack for ignoring his faults. Good for you.
Wherever you stand on Donald Trump – and most people stand on one side or the other – you have to at least acknowledge that he entertains us. It can get old putting one foot in front of the other day after day, week after week. There’s nothing but blaring television sets and vibrating phones in the background. News, photos, songs, Facebook posts, Twitter feeds, trucks, trains, planes, schools, banks, four-lane highways. You can’t keep up, so you tune a portion of it out. That brings on the beginning of numbness.
Gradually, you become numb to more and more. Then it’s like sunshine day after day. I lived in California for five years. It wasn’t the snow I missed. It was the clouds.
Anyways, a few months ago I told you of this experiment to hire three interns from Purdue Northwest and put together a marketing department. I figured that if we could sell $30,000 worth of advertising that it would basically break even. It’s the end of summer. We finally made it. Just barely, but we made it.
In 14 years, we haven’t really had a broadcast marketing department. We had a marketing department to sell ads for The Calumer Press newspaper. But we never really had a marketing department for radio and, now, mobile video.
It’s a few clouds to break up the sunshine. It’s a red M & M mixed in with the bag of mint ones.
In the three months, we have at WJOB:
- built a marketing department
- built a new website
- built the beginning of a TV network
It is the process of taking the spirit of WJOB, which is good and pure and beautiful, to the internet. But not as audio. As video. It’s a weird, circuitous route to giving the spirit new life.
As far as the three marketers go, it’s Darya, Christina and station manager Debbie Wargo. One of the other interns, Mark, doesn’t do direct sales. He takes care of the website and cuts up video.
The streaming video market is a bit hard to figure out. I find myself explaining it to people a lot. A lot of the time they just don’t get it, especially if they’re not big streamers of content. If they watch cable most of the time, we probably won’t get the sale.
But some clients are not technically savvy at all and they still buy. Maybe we’re telling a compelling story, or maybe they comprehend more than they let on. Either way, it’s easier to sell mobile video than it has ever been for radio or newspaper.
Still, we have to deliver a quality video product. And we’re geting closer to doing this. Here’s the plan.
First, for a bunch of reasons, we decided to start the network with Sports. This is partly because we have been doing sports for 94 years and by now you’d think we at least got kind of good at it. And, secondly, timing. The start of the academic school year was coming up. We could broadcast games in video pretty good. So it all came together.
We’re broadcasting live video of 4-5 high school games a week. A volleyball game, a soccer game or two, and two football games. We’re also doing a ton of soccer and volleyball games for PNW. This is a lot of TV to do. But we got the people and the drive. I like watching the games on my phone. And so do other people.
The plan is basically this:
- Fall: introduce video sports on the network
- Winter: introduce talk shows and events on the network
- Spring: introduce a nightly TV newscast for the Region
With the popularity of the Sports – we’re just about sold out – we gotta think about moving up the timeline a little. Tomorrow, I’m meeting with Rob Ellis to see how we might build more of a TV set than what is essentially a radio station that we happen to put on video. I don’t know which way we’ll go with this. It is possible that the reason the studio shows work is that they really are radio shows that people happen to eavesdrop in on video. So we’ll see. Maybe we’ll make a TV studio and maybe we’ll just leave it looking like a radio station.
That’s about as much as I want to talk about mobile video for tonight. It’s 1:36 in the morning on a Tuesday. Yesterday, my lifelong chump of a friend Billy Baker came on the radio slash mobile video with me and we yucked it up. I told one of my favorite Billy Baker stories. I’d repeat it now but why the hell would I tell it twice in less than 24 hours when you could just go to our Facebook Live feed or to WJOBNetwork.com and watch it.
In a few hours, Verlie Suggs will join me because it’s Tuesday. You never know what’s gonna happen when Verlie comes in. You pretty much know what’s gonna happen when Baker comes in. We’ll make fun of each other and then get serious about a murder or local economic development for a while. Then, right before 8am, I’ll make fun of when he used to wear Coke bottle glasses as a kid and then we’ll go on our ways.
With Verlie, we could wind up with a nasty debate about race or Donald Trump or both, or we could talk about the good things people are doing at the local soup kitchen. It’s a mystery what will happen. And I like that.
Today, Mad Mac called in and it took all the gumption in my overhang of a gut to remain patient as he ranted about John McCain. The senator and former POW died on Saturday. I told everybody that I thought he was a statesman and a patriot. Mad Mac called in to disagree. He said McCain was part of the Keating 5 and that he did some underhanded stuff in Illinois. Mad Mac didn’t give much credence to McCain’s service to our country, especially when he was holed up in the Hanoi Hilton for five and a half years.
It’s a divide in this country that showed up in this phone call from Mad Mac. It’s easier these days for people:
- to be crass, disrespectful. John McCain just died. For some reason, Mad Mac thought it was okay to disrespect the recent dead. My German-Dutch grandfather would have boxed me upside the ears for letting Mad Mac besmirch a soldier like that. But grandpa’s not around and I’ve got free speech to contend with.
- to be a bit racist. You can hear it in the innuendos and the policies. Whereas just a few years ago we were a country that seemed to be on the verge of eradicating certain forms of racism – kind of like we did with polio – now we’re back to whole segments of the country gathering in garages to drink beer, look at lawnmowers, and talk about N’s and S’s.
- to be addicted to the life and times of Donald Trump. If the three or four of you remember, this blog isn’t just for you. It’s also for broadcasting students 50 years from now. And they won’t have any way of truly comprehending how totally engrossed we are with our orange-haired president. I can’t take my eyes off of the television every night. I read every newspaper, magazine, website that leads with a Donald Trump story. And I am not alone. There’s a good chance that the three or four of you do the same. Students in the future won’t have any idea how addicted we are.
That’s just a few of the things going on in America. I started back up in MBA school. It was little awkward when the instructor, a Mr. Pat Obi, called roll call. When he got to me, a guy in the back called out.
“Jim Dedelow. Are you the Jim Dedelow who is on WJOB?”
I was hoping to avoid this. I don’t know why. I am normally quite content for people to know that I am Jim Dedelow from WJOB. The phrase has a nice ring to it and I love WJOB. But for some reason, I just wanted to sit in the corner and learn statistics. Everyone in the class looked at me.
“That’s you,” the instructor said. “I appear on your media once in a while.”
So my cover’s blown, not that I got much cover anyhows. When all we did was radio, there was a lot more cover. You could actually have a pretty close bond with the person in line behind you at Starbucks and neither one of you would know it. But now that my aging mug is all over Facebook, I can tell when someone recognizes me. It’s not fame or even anything like it. It’s just trying to start your own mobile video network based on something that is good and pure and beautiful.
When I was young
with a big fat tongue
I’d go out late
and wait and wait.
I’d pounce when necessary
on a spright little fairy.
I’d often wake up
with her make up
all over my pillow.
A weeping willow
is my favorite tree.
That’s a secret
between you and me.
These days, as words and phrases run wild in my mind, it often devolves into a rhyming sequence. I don’t know why. Maybe it has to do with something that I’m experimenting with and am more than a little embarrassed about. As a matter of fact, I’m admitting to being embarrassed twice tonight:
- once when the whole statistics class turned and looked at me. I saw more than half a dozen young people mouth to the person next to them – “What is WJOB?”
- secondly, when I admit that I’ve been making extensive use of the HeyJED app.
Here’s what happened over the weekend. Alexis and I went to see some friends at Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver, Indiana. I rode the bike for 14 miles all around the lake on Saturday afternoon. Then I got up on Sunday and did the same thing.
While I was riding around the lake, in the relative solitude and quiet – except for armies of cicadas ramping it up – I had these shreds of phrases and half poems popping up into my awareness. So I pulled out my phone and starting saying them to the HeyJED app.
Now what is the HeyJED app? It’s this thing I came up with and Shamari Walker made happen for me in which you can
- say something for up to 22 seconds into your phone
- press a button and send it to the app.
You could go there right now, if you want to download the app. There’s a whole bunch of little poems and shreds of thought. I don’t know what they mean or why I started doing it. But it feels right. I’m going to pick up my phone and do it right now.
“It’s the middle of the night in late August, 2018. Cicadas just won’t stop. I don’t know if this happens every 17 years or what. But I just can’t sleep. So I thought I’d tell you.”
That’s not the most compelling content, certainly not as interesting as watching a half hour of CNN or Fox about Trump. Now that’s interesting. The walls may be closing in our president. Will he be the Artful Dodger? Or will he fold like Nixon? Only time will tell. For you and me and the other couple of people, we may have to wait a while to find out the answer. For broadcasting students 50 years from now, you saw the movie. How does it feel to know everything that happened to us?
Kind of boring to know everything, right? Not nearly as exciting as sitting down to a bowl of popcorn every night to see what Donald Trump does next, right?