A word on that. I was here working in this building in 1985 when Julian Colby was starting up his cable TV company. I washed his Bentley and did little duties for him like run contracts to get signed. Some of that was for his new cable company.
At the time, he was buying and installing switching equipment and other pieces of machinery to build cable connectivity across Hammond. I was here while that development was going on. My suspicion now is that Comcast, which wound up with what was essentially Colby's cable company, has not replaced some of the original equipment that Colby put in decades ago.
This is unfortunate. It puts the urban-industrial area of Hammond, Indiana, at a disadvantage - in my opinion. If you can take your internet-based business to an area that has new, dependable, fast internet versus taking it to Hammond where there may be old, questionable and often slow internet, then you'll go to the new area. Case closed. It's an economic development issue. It's just one more challenge to trying to bring high-tech jobs to an industrial area. You have to have the cooperation of high-level internet providers.
That's as much as I'll say about this. I've been bitching about it forever. Nothing changes. I don't see any new initiatives to make Hammond some sort of advanced internet zone. It's just not happening. Dead in the water.
In the end, we did the morning show from the old studios. I haven't worked from here in a long time, which I guess shows that Comcast has been at least reliable for the past year or so.
If any of the three or four of you have ever been to the old building, you're probably picturing me sitting in the old studio where we broadcasted from for 60 years. Not so. After we moved out of this building to the sparkling studios at Purdue, I moved us out of the Army barracks of a studio and into Colby's old office. We renovated the old studio and it's ready in case we need it, but for now we broadcast out of Colby's office.
I kind of like it here. There's a phonograph built into the wall along with a barometer and several old radio tuners. There's a bunch of levers that you can use to listen to any phone call in the building. According to legend, that's what Colby and Judy would do for a good portion of the day. They had these surveillance devices installed so that they could listen to everyone's phone calls. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean it's not true.
A lot of us packed into Colby's office to do the morning show today, which we couldn't for obvious reasons do in video. The always-contentious Verlie Suggs joins me as co-host on Tuesdays. Zooey Mintz, who's studying Atmospheric Sciences at Indiana University, sat right next to me all morning doing the weather. Will Haczl, a Ball State University broadcasting student, did Sports. Producers Jimmy Mullaney and Ryan Walsh scurried around trying to keep the whole thing moving with the right spots playing.
I'm not used to this mixing board, so in one of the breaks I left the mics live. That's a hillbilly way to go about doing radio.
We had some pretty heated discussion with Mad Mac and Lefty about tow truck contracts. Amidst that, we had an oil tanker spill on US 41 at 45th Street in Highland. We took in several live reports from the scene while trying to adjust to being in a new studio. At one point, I looked at Zooey and asked - "Learning anything today?"
"For sure. The show must go on."
And go on the show did. A few moments ago, Comcast came back on. Everyone left and went back to the new studios. Here I am with the ghosts of Julian and Judy. The rumors about their involvement ran rampant for years. He owned this place and had a wife and family. She ran this place and had two daughters and was, as far as I could see, single. You can draw your own conclusions.
I can tell you this - when you were doing your thing in the newsroom and someone tapped you on the shoulder - "Colby and Judy want to see you" - you crapped your pants. They knew their shit. They knew how to run radio stations. I respect them for that. Often, when I'm faced with a decision on which direction to take the radio stations, I ask myself -
"What would Colby and Judy do?"
Most of the time it's the right answer. We're still here, aren't we?