Here's some of yesterday's show on Facebook Live. Jenn Cosenza comes on at the beginning. Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott is at the end of the show.
- AM radio
- FM radio
- Facebook Live video
- Roku, Amazon and Apple TV
I struggle with this as I wake at 3:19am to prepare do a radio show that I’m not gonna do. We have all agreed – Ryan, Debbie and I – that for now I will only do the morning show four days a week so I can work on the future.
looms large today.
I can feel their sorrow,
longing, callouses, love -
not what they say.
… Yesterday, Amanda Diombala Repay was laid to rest. She was the wife of Lake County Commissioner Mike Repay. She died of breast cancer at the age of 33 with a one-year old daughter, Vivian. Alexis and I went to the wake on Tuesday night and, with hundreds of others, waited in line for 90 minutes to hug Mike and Amanda’s mom, Carrie, and brother, Danny. It was at Kish Funeral Home in Munster, where Kevin Kish is proprietor. I sat in his office for half an hour reminiscing about the old days to break up the sadness.
Mike came on the show last Tuesday. We talked about guns. After the show, producer Ryan commented to me – “Mike seemed a little unfocussed. Hope everything’s all right.”
And then we went on with our day, not in our wildest dreams imagining what he was going through. Here he was with a one-year-old daughter at home and a wife in the latter stages of cancer trying to hold a cohesive conversation on the radio. That’s tough. I admire him for his courage.
Amanda died on Friday. On Saturday, Mike’s brother Dan was scheduled to travel with Ryan to Winamac, Indiana, to announce a Bishop Noll girls basketball regional game. On Saturday morning, Ryan and I talked on the phone.
“Who you gonna get to do color with you?” I asked.
“What do you mean? I’m on my way to pick up Dan right now. We’re driving to Winamac.”
A day after his sister-in-law passed, Dan rodet an hour and a half to announce a tournament game involving his alma mater. It wasn’t public when he left home that Amanda had passed. It was by halftime.
“Dan’s phone was blowing up the whole game,” Ryan told me afterwards. “At one point, he put his head down and said - ‘I shouldn’t have come.’”
These are strong men. Even if you don’t know the Diombalas or the Repays, you know them. They’re good Region people. Carrie Diombala grew up in north Hammond by St. Casimir. She likes to laugh loudly. Her late husband, Rich, who worked at WJOB for a while with me, told great stories about working as a teenager in the hardware store on Hohman just north of downtown. The Repays are “Slacker” people. They grew up on the Little Calumet River by Riley School, which has been torn down. Their dad, tall and a bit gruff at times on the radio, was on the Hammond City Council forever. This is a sad time for these families and all of us who know them even if we don’t know them.
of the whole year.
Gray icy slush blankets
your soul and everything
you hold tight, close.
It really has been nasty outside for a long time. You can feel it in the shortness of the people waiting in line at the deli counter at Strack & Van Til. When it’s this cold and gray and snowy and slushy, I don’t fault people for cutting in line or being short with the deli gals. I also have more patience with them on the radio.
“Why’d you let that caller Dave talk to you like that?” Ryan asked me after the show the other day.
“Listen, we’ve all been cooped up for months. And when we go out, icy sleet slaps us in the face. People are tired of this. Let ‘em blow off some steam.”
Going to bed
angry sure sucks.
Gears grind you to a sleep
filled with Eagles songs
and gnashing teeth.
It’s 3:50 on a Thursday morning and I should be preparing to do a morning show. Except that I’m not doing the show today. As mentioned, Ryan, Debbie and I agreed that for the time being I will only do the show four days a week. We’re working on too much stuff, the main thing being the launch of Roku, Amazon and Apple streaming TV channels.
When we put together the application for the channels – which took forever – we were told they would probably be approved in late March. A couple weeks ago, we got word from our developers –
“You’ve been approved by Roku, Apple and Amazon. Your channels are live right now.”
We’re not ready for this. People are already going to the channels and they’re not configured correctly. I need time to work on the channels and a website that complements them. It was much easier when we sent all of our video to Facebook.
When you are trapped,
all you want to
do is escape. Sometimes,
that's not possible, so
dream of blue sky.
Jennifer Cosenza came on the show and talked about her travels to Facebook headquarters in California. She was our representative in a summit of community leaders. Facebook’s trying to figure out how they can better bring communities together. I gave Jenn a letter to give to Facebook with suggestions on how to help radio stations, which in turn helps communities. I don’t know the fate of that letter.
What truth you want,
which facts you see,
on what you want to be,
real or not.
There’s a story going on that I am curious about. This doesn’t happen very often. Most of what I do is stand outside freezing my ass off on Indianapolis Boulevard talking about random stuff and rehashing what we already know.
Once in a while, a story comes across my desk that doesn’t make sense. This is what is happening with Gary casinos.
Gary’s trying to move their casino from Lake Michigan to a land-based resort along the Borman Expressway. Evidently, a guy named Rod Radcliffe bought the Gary licenses and is trying to move one to the Borman and the other to Terre Haute, which is four hours away.
It would seem to be a good deal for Rod Radcliffe and, possibly, for the city of Gary. But Hammond’s boat and East Chicago’s boat would no doubt suffer in revenues.
There was a huge committee hearing in Indianapolis last week. I expected downstate powers to stall the plan. Let’s face it. Many people in Indianapolis, three hours away, don’t like us. They consider us an extension of corrupt Chicago. Maybe we are.
Then this Gary casino deal flew through committee. The newsman in me perked up. This doesn’t make sense.
So I asked Dan Carden about it on the air. He’s the Times writer who covers Indianapolis. He laid out who gets what in the deal.
I had on Gary Mayor Karen Freeman Wilson, who told of how her city needs to move the casino so they can put in a deep water port. And I had on Verlie Suggs, who brought with her some tape of a Hammond policeman who testified to the committee about Gary’s inadequacies.
It still doesn’t make sense to me that a deal of this magnitude could fly through committee. Everything we try do up here – EVERYTHING – gets examined and re-examined and stalled. The Larry Peterson in me is quite perplexed.
Hammond mayor Tom McDermott came in yesterday smoking hot. He says that Radcliffe is quite connected in Republican circles and that guys like Dan Dumezich, a powerful local guy, have ownership. McDermott compared the Radcliffe deal to the East Chicago casino deal in the 1990s, which Larry Peterson had a whole lot of fun with.
McDermott dropped another bomb. He says the state of Indiana is sticking it to him.
“I’ve been fined $50,000 by the state of Indiana. Personally liable. Not campaign. I’m not gonna go into details, but 50,000 dollars…. And we’re not wealthy people.”
I’m not sure what this means. But later in the day, when I went to Kenwood Tap to pick up some Lake perch for takeout, several people stopped me –
“What the hell’s up with that 50 grand fine McDermott was talking about this morning?”
“Beats the hell outta me,” I told them.
I am, for better or worse, a lazy newsman. It was not always this way. I was trained by Larry Peterson, the greatest newsman in the history of the Calumet Region. Larry shared with me the joys of a good mystery.
“This week, you were ALMOST a newsman,” one of my childhood buddies texted me. “Don’t lose the tapes.”
Lay like you are
in a coffin.
Let death take you away
over land and sea to
your final home.
That should do it. It’s now 4:42am. I should be leaving to do a morning show. Instead, I’ll be working on designing a website that complements Roku. And sleeping. See ya.