Here’s how I found out that the CME is closing almost all of its trading pits – Matt Maloney called in live on the air on Thursday.
“Hey JED, did you hear?”
“That they’re closing down the pits.”
Yikes. That was Thursday morning at 6am. Here’s how that day’s Wall Street Journal put it.
One of the last vestiges of the swashbuckling era of commodities floor trading is fading away.
“It was one of the last places a Midwestern kid who didn’t know what he wanted to do could go and make something of himself,” Maloney said.
Then I had Maloney tell his story of starting as a runner in the early 90s and then I told my story of starting as a runner in the mid-80s and then we hung up and I was still stunned.
Not, like Maloney, sad stunned. I was stunned because when I left trading ten years ago to become local radio guy I already heard the footsteps of the computer. And I wasn’t gonna be John Henry.
“John Henry told his captain, a man ain’t nothing but a man…”
But anyways, I rarely am stunned on the radio. And this time it was because I thought the CME had already decided to close all the pits. Yikes. Shows how much I know.
….. That was only the first big announcement of the week. The second is that Adam Carolla and Dennis Miller are doing a podcast together. Just once a week and they’ve only done two so far, but it is the best radio that I’ve heard in about 13 years.
Adam and Dennis – as they call themselves, in that order – are two of my top five in radio and they’re doing a show together. It’s not an AM radio show with all of the structure and focus that it demands. It’s a rambling podcast of about an hour and they just talk about shit and then it’s over. And it’s great.
Two nights in a row I couldn’t sleep, the radio anxiety and general fear winning once again, so I listened to their first podcast on Friday morning and then the new second one just a few hours ago. They didn’t lull me back to sleep, which I very much would have welcomed and allowed. Their first two podcasts do, however, fill me once again with a sense that radio can be perfect.
Other people’s radio hasn’t made me feel this way in 13 years. Sure, our own radio, with the amazing cast of callers and the often-sad things that play out live, fills me with a sense sometimes that local radio is fun and real and should very much occupy the pedestal upon which I place it.
But as for other people’s radio… I haven’t been stopped in my tracks by its beauty in about 13 years, and I know exactly when and where that was.
It was at the Arts Center in Munster. Chris Morrow of Mercantile Bank paid like 50 grand to bring Roe Conn and Garry Meyer down to the theater to do their afternoon show. Roe and Garry and newsman Jim Johns sat at the front of the stage, with the lights dimmed except for where they sat. They talked into standup microphones. Behind them was a live band, which was in the darkness mostly except for when they played live bumpers in and out of breaks.
Yes, the stage and lighting and background colors and the setup of the simple table in front all worked. But that wasn’t even it. It was Roe Conn and Garry Meyer talking together. Roe is good. And Garry is good. But together they became great. I walked out of the Arts Center with a sense that anything is possible, and that’s always a powerful feeling.
… So there, in one week two pretty big announcements in my life.
The move, which will take effect by July 2, brings to a close nearly 150 years of barking and jostling over the price of grains, oil and interest rates.
“The time has finally come,” said Leo Melamed, chairman emeritus at CME… It’s a historic moment, but one that I think was always out there and was going to happen.”
I suppose there’s guys I know who still work in the pits. I went to an “Occupy LaSalle Street” rally to cover it a few years ago and ran traders leaving the Board of Trade building. The two I knew and spoke with seemed sad, kind of like Maloney did on the radio on Thursday.
The protesters? They seemed happy.
Anyways, as for the beginning of Adam and Dennis. It may not last long, kind of like Roe and Garry went their separate ways not too long after I saw them together 13 or so years ago... but it might be just enough to again motivate me to buy another radio station. I hope not. Because podcasting’s the future, baby. Podcasting’s the future.